Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of Class...CANCLED! There’s Only One Thing to do...

The night before my first day of class I spent the night researching local lakes in search of carp to get my fix out here at school. My research yielded that a 45 pound carp was taken from a lake right up the street from campus. So the next morning I woke up early to check this place out.

I arrived at sunrise and started to patrol the shoreline, it only took 15 minutes and my damsel had been sucked in...and I was engaged with a carp…haha. I had seen a few more but lilly pads were making it difficult for me to place my fly. I resorted to working the shoreline with a huge bugger for the rest of my time out, it produced a small crappie and a largemouth.

I went back and got ready for class and did more research on this lake and discovered that it holds a substantial Muskie population, possible state record status…hmmm. I checked my email and was notified that class had been canceled…back to the lake it was. This time I brought my buddy Nate who I taught to fly fish last semester. We arrived at the lake and I was compelled to throw a 6 inch bunny streamer and work this weed bed next to a sharp drop off…This didn’t last too long, I need to pursue “The Fish of 10,000 Casts” on my own time. I rigged up with a large popper with a woolly bugger dropper and Nate and I took turns working this flat.

Nate With a PIG Largemouth..Haha

One of the 2 Best Pictures My Camera Has Ever Taken.


My First Ever White Perch

Feisty Little Crappie

The Fish of The Day

Lost My Bugger on a Stump...

I need to tie some flies that mimic the bait fish that we caught this night. I think my goal for this semester is to tackle a musky on fly…

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Sunday Fix.

Last year during the school year, I would return from class and instead of doing work, I would watch fly fishing videos. Some would get me really pumped up about fishing and I would have to leave the apartment and go out to the stream and get my fix. No matter the hour, no matter the weather, and no matter what my friends were doing. This is one of those videos. 

Two words: BAD ASS.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Well, I'm sure there are worse places to not be catching any fish...

Unspoiled island paradise with no malls, movie theaters, chain restaurants or highways, but tons of tarpon, bonefish, barracuda and permit that will not eat my fly.

The wonderful state of most things on this island.

The one and only bridge: prime real estate.

View from said bridge, flats in the distance.

Rocky shoreline teeming with fish that are not hungry or amused by anything I throw at them.

Mangroves at low tide.

10wt straining in the wind.

The new 'pocket water'.

At least I have this to come home to after a disappointing day wading through paradise.

Persistence will pay off...eventually.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Do’s And The Don’ts, And The Ins And The Out’s Of The GOLDEN GHOST

I’ve been asked by enough people now to finally get my ass in gear and write this post. So here we go…

The Ins And Out’s

Once you’ve found a body of water that contains carp, preferably a good amount of them. Wear neutral colored clothing, and be more cautious than you’ve ever been your entire life when trying to locate them in the water, carp are a very spooky fish. Carp in my opinion have three things in which they could be doing, feeding or “mudding”, cruising, or sunning themselves near the surface.

Your best bet is to fish for mudding or cruising fish. Mudding fish are the most easily caught obviously because they’re actively looking for food. I’ve found most carp enjoy mudding right along the shoreline, creeping along in the shoreline foliage (with your rod at the ready) is the best way to spot them. Once you’ve located a fish, don’t move anything but your rod. Depending on what you see, if just a mud plume…watch closely (polarized glasses are a must) look for its tail, then place your fly 4-6 feet in front of it. Slowly, and I mean slowly bring your fly into the fish’s line of vision. If you just pull your fly up to the fish, this un-natural movement and vibration will send the fish in the other direction. If done correctly with the right fly, the carp will see it, and since already in feed mode will inhale it (by far the easiest way to fish for carp).

Cruisers on the other hand are somewhat tricky for a few reasons. One, they like to cruise in shoals…spook one and your done. Two, they are more aware of they’re surroundings, place the fly too close, or even worse, right on top of them and kiss your chances good-bye. You need to place your fly ahead of the fish with enough distance, A) to not spook the fish and B) to allow your fly to reach the the proper depth. Depending on how far away the fish is, watch your fly sink or watch the fish’s body language. If too far away to see your fly, body language is your only way to know when to set the hook. Watch for head down tail up, or a lazy turn in the direction of your fly...pause..then set the hook. Practice makes perfect when timing a proper hook set.

Sunning fish are the hardest to coax into taking your fly, I’ve done it, but these fish are easily spooked. Use the same technique as the cruisers, give a generous lead and slowly swim your fly past the fish. The majority of the time the sunning fish will spook once it sees the fly, its like they’re in a trance and the fly snaps them out of it.

Now lets say your doing all of this right (not spooking the fish) and still the fish are refusing the fly…I’ve been there. Take a look at the body of water your fishing, try and figure out what the fish could be feeding on. Flip rocks, rip out weeds…these fish can be more selective than trout.

I began carp fishing with sucker-spawn and san juan worm patterns. These patterns were productive in some fisheries but readily refused in others. Only until a particular waterway rendered me fish-less for four straight months did I do something about it. I sat down at my vise and created a fly that revolutionized the way I fished for carp. I designed a hybrid between a dragonfly and damselfly nymph that has yet to fail me in any situation.

My Life Changing Creation

Some Do’s

-Use olive floating fly line

-Use at least a 12 foot fluorocarbon leader

-Get used to being bitten by 30 mosquitoes at the same time, not swatting them away. Because if you do you'll spook the fish that you just casted to.

-Beat the crowd, most carp water is highly trafficked. Get there early.

-Present your fly as naturally as possible, use a weightless fly, it will stay in the strike zone longer. Heavy flies that plummet to the bottom will just spook fish in my experience.

-Make your first cast count.

-Think of how your going to land a fish in the area in which your fishing…scout out all obstructions and be sure to steer the fish away from them…this is one of the hardest fighting species I’ve ever caught, screw smallmouth bass and steelhead…I never seen my backing more.

Some Don’ts

-Yelling is not a good idea. They can hear you…I cursed out a mosquito today, and sent a mudding fish out of sight.

-Try not to get angry or discouraged, it takes time to get the hang of things.

-Don’t be afraid to change fly patterns, even if the one you’re using produced before.

-Boy Oh Boy!…DON’T wear a white shirt.

-Try to not use a "Big Scary" strike indicator, practice makes perfect.

-Don’t give up…

I made two casts this morning…this is what came of it…

A Below Average Fish...still pretty big...

Outta' The Weeds!



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Huge Carp Snaps Helios Like A Twig...

So for the past 3 weeks I’ve been fishing for carp every chance I get, probably landing close to if not more than 50 fish, including the 3 largest fish of my life. I hate to say it but I’m getting pretty damn good at the carpin’ game…This morning I went to Carp Lake X as we so call it and the fish were spooky, a lot more than usual, so I had to work for them. After fishing for 2hrs I finally landed my first of 4 carp. The last fish however ended my day of fishing.

I saw a carp out towards the middle of the lake that looked huge, so at that distance it had to be big. I laid out my damsel about 6 feet in front of him and swam it into his field of view and paused it, I read his body language and set the hook. He went ballistic, he put me in my backing real quick. Then ran right towards me, I reeled as fast as I could and kept up with him and finally gained my fly line back, then…Crack! He made an about-face maneuver and snapped my rod instantly…and took me into my backing again. Since nothing seems to ever phase me anymore, I looked at my rod and there was just enough rod left together that had sufficient backbone to play out the fish…so yeah, I landed the bastard…I really think it was one of the largest fish in the lake, it probably went close to 15lbs. All in all it was a pretty epic cast and hook up…the fight didn’t go so well…I probably couldn’t have even casted as far as a did with out the helios, the rod is amazing or was…sigh…


Time to call it a day

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easier Said, Than Done.

My brother just moved to the caribbean to teach at an international school. He has been on the island for eight days, and has yet to report any fly fishing action. I woke up this morning to a fresh report of his trials and tribulations the night before.

"if you think your pulse pounds when a slammer carp takes a look at your fly, imagine casting into a school of huge tarpon under the bridge at night, where the lights bring them in, and they are rolling and exploding the water all around. imagine one of them turning, and following your fly, stalking it, within feet of the bank, then turning away.
this happened to me 4 times tonight."

After exchanging the usual pleasantries during our nightly video conference over Skype, I asked him what he was doing, and it didn't sound like much. This is what followed...

Mark- "WTF are you waiting for? Go catch a tarpon..."
Matt- "I have to get my outfit ready for the first day of school"
Mark- "Thats the worst excuse I have ever heard..."

Minutes of laughter followed as my brother realized his words. He took a sip of wine, and started to gear up. We discussed tactics and that was that. Off into the night, Matt & Stacy head to do battle with what many consider the greatest saltwater gamefish and one of the most difficult to land (the big guns). I wish them the best.

I think the task is easier said, than done.

Rodent Hatch.

This came out awhile ago but is still sweet for those lazy summer Sundays...

What happens once in a blue moon? A massive migration of mice that drive monster New Zealand browns nuts. Check it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Delaware Bones.

Two weeks of searching and I finally found some golden bones in the state of Delaware. The water is situated right off the Delaware Chesapeake Canal and less than a mile from the saltwater of Delaware Bay. Google Maps and a little direction from Doug at White Clay Outfitters led me there. The lake is quite large and is off the beaten path. A rugged 4-wheel drive high clearance road leads to the water and encircles much of it, but thats all the access it really gives. There are no paths or trails that lead into the water. So once you get in, you are stuck literally in the water and must stalk your quarry carefully. Visibility is low, so you are sight casting to carp that are extremely close to you and the lack of a higher vantage point really throws a spin on things. It was a fun game to play. There aren't any monsters but bones are bones.

Good Place To Park, The Hole In Front Is 1.5 ft. Deep.

First Carp I Saw In Two Weeks Took The Damsel On The First Cast.

No Bank + No Net = No Landing Area

A Splash In The Face and Carp Numero Uno Said, Hasta La Vista.

I Was Pumped, Despite Defeat, & The Multi Took Some Weeds.

Popper Dropper With A Sucker Spawn Does The Job Too.

Skinny Bones.

I Wet Waded For 5 Hours Through This.

The Carp Liked Being In The Thick of Things, Interesting Dilemma.
See His Back?

Small Bass Kept Getting In The Way.

Damsel Doing Work.

The Carp Face.

Mudding Carp & One Muddy Truck.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flawless Victory!

I arrived at the canal at 7:30 with high hopes. It was slightly overcast and humid as all hell, I was the only person there…which was a first. I started to see carp much earlier during my walk down the canal path than I usually did, and they were mudding too. I showed my fly to a half dozen fish…I’d say 8-10lb range, just a few looks and follows. I made my way into prime carp territory and began to see fish cruising slowly around weaving in and out of the weeds. I made a few casts, and since the fish were shoaling it only took one to get spooked and all hope was lost…

I continued walking down the path scanning the water…and I don’t know why, but I turned around and out of the gloom came a monster carp. It was headed towards shore and I quickly put my fly in between. As my fly slowly sank the carp didn’t change direction like they usually do, avoiding the fly, instead it just kept coming and opened its mouth and sucked in the damsel…

During this moment I had an out of body experience, haha. It was like I was watching myself in a dream. Four months of getting my ego smashed by these fish was finally a distant memory.

I set the hook, and the fish was instantly on the other side of the canal trying to get into a logjam. Mind you I’m using my 5wt. with 3x tippet, I put all the pressure I possibly could on this fish to stop him, I never had a fish pull so hard…it was actually scary. The fish finally changed its mind about the logjam and took off horizontally. It was insane how fast this fish was moving, I could definitely tell that this fish didn’t get hooked too often. During it’s running around, a pile of weeds had accumulated on my leader making it extremely difficult to put adequate pressure on the fish in order to direct it my way. Not wanting to lose the fish, I jumped over the poison thicket in front of me into the canal to clean off my leader. The fight overall may have lasted 20-30 minutes, I have no recollection of time…I was too overcome with adrenaline to comprehend anything except how I was going to land the fish. I finally tired the fish out to the point where I could get it close to me without another explosive run out to the middle of the canal, and threw my arms around the fish and drug it close to the bank. I set up my camera on auto capture and took a few shots. Then I realized someone who was jogging was slowing up to see what I was doing waist deep in the canal…I had him snap a picture.

Go Time!

Now Thats A Thick Fish...

3x MaxKnot is the shit...

What A Freakin' Fish!

M O N E Y...

I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I have, not only catching one of the infamous canal carp, but one of that caliber...Haha, two personal best carp in less than a week...I definitely shattered my 12lb record from Saturday. I need to put down the fly rod…

Carp Lake X Slay Fest Round 2

I decided to go back to the carp pond early Thursday morning to test if my new fly creation that I used the previous week still held their interest. Low and behold it did, I don’t know how many fish I caught but I did land a few nice fish. There’s something about this fly that they just can’t resist.

Nice Fish

Backing Again...

First Mirror Carp From Lake X

One Thick Fish

Crunch Time

Another Beauty

After the mornings fishing I’d lost all of my creations and ran out of 3x tippit, I stopped in at the Orvis shop on my way home and picked up some materials and the most expensive spool of tippet I'd ever purchased…MaxKnot…it was all they had left. I tied a few flies once I got home and then decided to try my luck with the infamous Canal Carp. I fished the canal from 5:30 until 8:00 and missed two takes, this was the closest I’d ever come to catching one of these insanely smart fish. I was pleased with their interest in my new fly overall and decided to go back early in the morning to try my luck.


Defeated Again...