Monday, January 3, 2011

First Carp of 2011.

Early November, and I deemed thee a time of late season carping. With descending water temperatures, cyprinus carpio is out of the shallows and prowling somewhere in the deep preparing itself for the long haul. Late November, and a change of plans had us back on the chase. Carp were nowhere to be found until one made a grand appearance and Adam made his chance count. I dubbed thee the last carp of 2010 and the end of our season. I remarked that I may or may not be eating those words but I suspected that maybe in the days following that last catch, I too would have one last chance before the end of the year. With the end approaching and anchor ice creeping out onto the lake, I figured my carp flies would be taking an extended break until early spring. I was wrong.

With the third and final day of a warm front on the east coast, temperatures approached the mid fifties. Ice had all but disappeared from several lakes in the area. It was my last day of my winter vacation and the first time in several weeks Adam and I would be hitting the water together. We decided at the last minute with only a few hours of light left in the day, to hit up the lake to see if carp were even a possibility. Even in terrible conditions we have settled into the idea that carp are worth more than the potential of slaying some nice trout. We arrived to find low light conditions, a steady wind, and several hundred geese on the water for the winter. To top it off, a few dozen people were enjoying the weather, including a group of young boys. They had a large stick tied to a rope with the intent of clubbing a geese on a wayward toss. The geese were freaking out. A lot of commotion for prime carp fishing in the spring let alone for January 2nd. Our line of visibility stretched a mere twenty feet into the lake and the water was cloudy from melting ice and snow. We decided to give it a go before packing it in. We were glad we did.


Been Awhile Since the Heart Sank & the Adrenaline From Carp Coursed Through Our Veins. 


First Bent Rod of 2011.


The Eruption.

As our eyes adjusted to the new water the same way a spelunker's does as he/she enters a cave, we discovered the tell tale outline of a decent carp in the murk. I took a shot with a damsel and laid my sixteen foot leader out onto the water. The damsel in distress descended two feet to the carp's left. She was interested and made a move in the flies general direction. I had lost sight of the fly moments after it hit the water due to the water clarity and instead relied on my sixth carping sense. I was rusty and she spooked. Adam and I had 5-6 more shots at lone ranger carp who were willing to investigate the shallows. Their orange outlines barely visible, I decided to switch to a sucker spawn imitation to increase my chances of seeing the take.


The Beach and Grasp.


Pumpkin Orange.

With only an hour left of light, I had one last chance and it all came together. I set the hook and felt the weight before the eruption occurred with the carp's realization of his folly. He made a run to a nearby branch in the water but I increased the drag pressure slightly to prevent the 4x from breaking. Soon, I beached him at my feet and posed with the first golden ghost of 2011. In a matter of hours I went from having to wait until early spring to catch a carp and instead found warming conditions and curious carp to ring in the first fish of the new year.


Hopefully Another Comes Sooner, Rather Than Later.