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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Catfish on the Fly

Many years ago when I made my first cast to a tailing carp how was I to know what doors that would open in the future?

Nearing the end of a good day of carp fishing I was slowly wading back in the direction of my Carpwagon but still keeping an eye out for another shot.  The silhouette of a fish came into view; I thought it was a funny looking carp but he was big so I was immediately in the hunter's mode.  As I eased closer to the fish I thought damn, that carp has a big head.  A bit closer and I realized that carp was a catfish.  Well, I've never caught a catfish; I had no idea if one would take a fly or not.  I just acted like he was a carp and put the Chocolate Cherry in front of him.  Go figure; I made one cast to that ugly handsome sucker and he took the fly.  What a surprise!  I'm one for one; I'm battin' 1000 on catfish.

This first picture shows the fly in the right side of his mouth.

He is sloshing in this picture.

He just finished sloshing and has the leader under the other whisker.  This picture gives some perspective to his length.

Handsome? Beautiful? Ugly? Exotic?  What do you think?  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wanna be a Baller--Shot Caller...

I wanna be a baller, a shot caller...you know, a carp fishin' baller...

It is such great fun to catch carp that are over 15 pounds!  Posting pictures of those carp is easy; it makes me feel like a bad-ass; a baller.  Well, as much of a bad-ass or a baller as a 64 year old guy can be anyway.  Here is the thing about posting pictures of big carp--it gives the impression that all, or at least most, of the carp I catch are that size.  It just ain't so.  On a recent trip to the Columbia River the smallest fish I caught was 14 1/2 pounds; that was because I didn't cast to fish that appeared to be smaller than 15 pounds.  (Except for one)

Something that is much too easily taken for granted is that I have to be seeing 15-20 pound fish to catch 15-20 pound fish.  The Columbia is the only water I fish where I have that opportunity regularly.  I fish other water for carp, and on some of that water I don't expect to get a single shot at a 15 pound fish let alone a 20.  On one particular body of  water I have caught fish to 17 pounds but haven't done that for a few years; it's pretty rare.  I adjust my expectations knowing that there is a good chance I won't get a fish over 10 pounds.  By comparison to the carp in the Columbia these fish are small; I know that and I still return several times each season.

I use the same flies but lighter leader.  These 5-8 pound fish  make me smile; they are immensely satisfying.  They are unforgiving when I make a bad cast just like a fish two or three times their size.  I have asked them out loud, "Come on, how can you be so picky?"  It takes every bit as much skill to catch these fish as it does to catch their larger brothers and sisters.

Five to eight pound fish like Black Betty just like their big, fat brothers and sisters do over on the Columbia River.  

I'm acknowledging how much I enjoy the days when I catch these fish; alas I think it may confirm I'm not such a baller after all.