Sunday morning and I find myself sleeping in well past the alarm that was supposed to wake me up. It takes me another hour or so to organize my fishing stuff, find some flies, and load the SUP Yak into the back of the truck. I am heading out on a whim to a river to see if I can spot some of its many carp. The river is wildly unpredictable at this time of year and I am rolling the dice. Flows can go from 8,000 cubic feet/second to over 80,000 cfs in about twenty minutes. Fishing can go from I can see a carp every once in a while to I won't see a carp for another few days. When I first laid eyes on the water, it was roaring and looked off color. I sat in my truck for awhile contemplating what to do next. I decided to go for a drive and got stuck in some traffic, found nothing, and ended up going back to the original spot for shits and giggles.
I arrived to find that the water had dropped at least five feet. It seemed like a miracle and I was ready to go. The sun was high in the sky, hardly a cloud to be seen, and the river was low enough to sight fish. I made my way upriver to a large backwater area to park and look for some carp. Thus far, my carping experiences with the SUP yak have seen mixed results. The acoustics that the Yak sends out in the water scare the carp easily, not to mention the sounds of an anchor, two paddles, and me repositioning my feet every minute or so. My best luck comes from anchoring in a position with the sun at my back and waiting for things to settle down. If I am lucky, a carp will work its way into my view and hopefully they'll be feeding. It is a game of patience, that I definitely need to work on.
After the first few spots, my patience was wearing thin and I was about to pack it in. Then I saw it. A large eruption in about four feet of water. The river bottom seemed to be upwelling into a boil. I had never seen a carp go to town this hard along the bottom. River carp must be an entirely different breed and I was about to find out. Amongst the boil, I made out a very large tail swaying vertically back in forth and my knees began to shake. It had been awhile since I sight fished to a large carp. I casted down and across about ten feet above the carp and used the current and the angle to swing my fly into position without spooking the fish. I let it drop and the fly descended into the murk where the head of the carp was munching on the bottom. I had to time this to have the fly land as the fish was picking up his head and on the third try, it worked. I popped the fly slowly twice along the bottom and on the third pop, I stripped tight into a large slab of carp. Needless to say, the eight weight was a good choice.
For awhile, I thought I had on the largest carp of my life because all I had seen up to that point in time was a very large tail. I had out for the first time, a net I purchased to land a musky I have yet to go for. It is a massive net, and it paid dividends landing a large carp in the midst of a river. I hopped out of the yak onto a large boulder and was able to have a moment or two with my prize. He wasn't as big as I hoped he be, but he was a torpedo perfectly designed to power his way through the changing flows and challenges presented by his estate. The only carp that I saw feeding all day found the bottom of my net and I was a happy man.