On the first day, I left work with the intention of catching my first carp of the year and simultaneously notching one on my belt for the month of January. I arrived with only an hour left of light and rapidly dropping temperatures from the high of 45. I immediately saw what I wanted to see. A mud plume ascended from a deep section of water. Down below, a carp was actively rooting around the substrate gorging on detritus and aquatic invertebrates. However, I couldn't see him. No shadow or tail could hint at the movement of a take. I tied on a small indicator above my fly hoping that a soft winter take would register. After that initial excitement, I only saw a few hints of activity. An occasional mud plume would surface in the middle of the lake and out of reach. In the low light, bubbles would break the surface. I left empty handed.
On the second day, I left work a little earlier giving myself two hours on the water. The temperature was now in the upper 50's and we had a bright sunny sky. I decided to change locations. Never leave fish to find fish. At my new location, I didn't see a single sign of activity despite having the advantage of an elevated position and clear water. I squandered my last day in January. All hope of catching a carp every month of 2012 was thrown out the window.
Twas on the third day that rain descended upon the area. I didn't pack up my fishing clothing, camera, or spare material before work. I had no intention of carping. With the steady rain came even higher temperatures, into the 60s. Towards the end of my classes, the clouds rolled out of the area revealing bright blue skies. Despite not being prepared, I had a rod rigged in the car and a spare pair of waders. I went for it. Shirt, tie, and all.
I found what I so desperately sought. Mudding carp that could be seen. A shadow here and there, roaming the shallow mud flats. No indicator required, I had my visual cue. Despite the shallow water, I couldn't see my fly settle upon the bottom. However I could watch the slightest hint of shadow move into the vicinity of my fly. My sixth carping sense kicked into high gear as I patiently waited. As it usually does, I feeling enveloped my rod hand and I just knew I had to set the hook.
The weight of my first golden ghost of 2012 bent my five weight in half as line peeled into the middle of the lake. I brought her in quick and a freshwater bonefish tossed and turned on the bottom of a Brodin Coho Ghost net. I released her and she gave me a goodbye by powering off the flat sending cold water all over my face and work clothes.