A family function to the local Hungarian Hall was planned but I decided to go fishing instead. My reasoning was simple. It was a beautiful fall day, the water levels were up for the first time in months, and I only had a few hours left on my weekend home. The piece of water I had in mind was my Grandfather's stretch that he fished as a kid. As the family departed, they dropped me off on the side of the road, giving me a few hours of solitude, wild browns, and an unexpected twist.
New side channels...
First cast wild brown...
The outing went as planned for the first mile of water. Wild browns were in all the right places as I made my way upstream. It had been awhile, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how the stream had re-structured itself in the past year. One particularly deep hole had been completely filled in with gravel and there was an entirely new side channel.
A Long Glide Wrapped in Autumn
The surprise came as I was hiking upriver avoiding a stretch of slate water. The hike takes you along a two-acre pond that is not ideal to fly fish in because of the heavy cover on its banks. Off the point of an inaccessible island in the middle of the pond, I saw a vast mud cloud in the water. With Canadian Geese feeding nearby, I assumed it was from them. For some reason, I stopped and did the unexpected. I started roll casting a nymph rig into the lake and caught a few sunfish. I walked out on a log and spotted a nice bass, cut my nymph rig off, and tied on a streamer and single spey casted attempting to catch one. After a short while, I lost interest, and made my way back towards the stream.
On my way back to the stream, I saw something that caught my eye. Halted in my tracks, I saw an active mud plume. I immediately dropped to my knees and crawled to investigate. At the tail end of the plume was nice a carp, in the mid-teens, that was going to town. My heart beat doubled as I reached into my waders to grab my single fly box. I clipped off the streamer and found one of three reasonable carp flies for the situation, a veiled Otters Soft egg. My mind was racing trying to comprehend the situation. I had spent the whole morning fishing at our premier carping destination and saw absolutely nothing. Here I was at a small pond trout fishing where I fished for thirteen years and never saw any sign of a carp.
A few moments later, I was ready for war. The carp had moved on and under a large fallen tree in the water. On the other side of that was our battleground. As I positioned myself, three other carp rolled into the same area, all going head down and tail up to feed. I couldn't believe that this was even happening. I had my Orvis Superfine Trout Bum, which is a 704-4 outfit that actually worked to my advantage because of the limited casting space and an overhang of leaves and branches. Completing the scenario was another fallen tree in the pond to the right. These odds tipped the scales heavily in the carp's favor. The only thing I had going for me was the fact that these guys probably never met a carp fly fishermen before. That was the only advantage I needed.
I had to side arm roll cast to get to the carp. It had to be dead on accurate or it would hang up on a snag. When it didn't hang up on a snag a dozen sun fish would play ping pong with the egg has it slowly sank to the carps level. I had to cast accurately over twenty times before the egg made it through the onslaught. With uneducated carp, they are not spooky to a light fly and a light line. When the carp saw the egg, it moved three feet to suck it in before it hit the bottom. All I needed was that one cast to get through and I was able to watch the whole thing happen. Carp fly fishermen live for that singular moment.
Miraculously, I did not lose this fish on its first two runs even though it went completely into one of the fallen trees. I lost him on my third landing attempt, when my leader caught a small branch sticking out of the water. As I fumbled to clear the caught line, he blitzed under a nearby log and snapped the line. I let out a roar of disappointment and sat on the bank to recover.
Small Egg FTW
After I re-tied, I found another feeding carp. This one was more clear of the fallen trees but I still had to get past the sunfish. This fish was also a little larger than the previous one. He took, and blitzed across the entire pond to the far side where I thought I was going to lose him. With the carp bum fly rod held high and bent in half I had to go for a little walk down the bank where I finally subdued him on a shallow shelf.
Battle wounds from the heavy structure...
"Bridge of Death"
This guy buckled while I was in the middle of it...
High on some carp action, I spent over an hour trying to find some more real estate to cast to carp. I attempted to make my way to the island but found it inaccessible. I returned to the stream and walked the last mile finding several more willing trout. As the rains came, I headed to the road and was picked up for a return home.
Back to the creek...