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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Monkey Forks

I had fished Monkey Forks a few times prior to 2010 but not with much seriousness or commitment.  In 2010, I went to the creek with the idea that I would fish Monkey Forks for two days no matter how good or bad the fishing was. I wanted to learn the creek and fish it during the winter.  It was good enough that I have been back many times.  During the last seven years, occasionally I have gone there and gotten blanked.  Some of those times I work hard to catch one fish; like I did in early January.  Some of the times I get several; that's nice.  Once in a while I hook a lot of fish; not only do I feel very grateful I feel kinda clever too.

Recently, Katy and I were at the Carp Lodge for several days.  I had brought my 5 weight but really didn't think I would have the kind of weather that is needed to have a good day at Monkey Forks.  Blue sky, some wind, and mostly clear water?  Nope.  Not for Monkey Forks.  Those are good conditions for carp fishing.  Overcast skies, wind and rain are the best conditions for catching the piggies in Monkey Fork.  The first couple days at the Carp Lodge, we were able to walk along the river trail in shorts; 73 degrees on day one and then 72 degrees on day two were such a welcome relief from the 40-50 degree temperatures at home.  Ahhhh...

On Thursday morning it was completely overcast, there was some wind, and it was raining.  Hmmm...it looked like just what I said I wanted in order to go fishing.  I dillydallied getting ready.  I arrived at the creek promptly at 11:00 AM.  I grumbled because there were a lot of guys there for a Thursday.  (I have a hard life.)  I ate my lunch and really had second thoughts about walking down to the water.

Remembering my last trip where I got one fish I approached the water with high hopes but low expectations.  Well go figure, I got a 16 1/2 inch fish on the first cast.  That was a nice surprise.  The second cast--dang it; I was blanked.  The third cast, my, my, my...it was fattie!  I carry a Measure Net at Monkey Forks.  According to the manufacturer, the Jr. Guide model I use weighs 2 pounds 3 ounces when it is dry.  Even adjusting liberally for the tare weight of the net, that fish was about 7 pounds.

It ended up being my best day ever at Monkey Forks.  And to think I actually thought about not even fishing.  

Two fish in three casts--time to go back to the Carp Lodge.  Naaaaa...at least a few more casts seemed like a good idea.  Several hours of "just a few more casts" yielded lots and lots of hookups and a good number of fish over 22 inches.

The brightest, most colorful gill plates of the day.  

My favorite fish of the day

Yes, it was one of those days that will stick with me for quite a long time.  It was very real and at the same time very unreal; it was quite an amazing day indeed.    

I was exhausted when I went to bed.  In that hazy space between being awake and sleeping, when you are not quite dreaming but not fully awake, I could feel fish taking the fly.  It was all very special.