Thursday, April 25, 2013

"IN THE FACE!"


"IN THE FACE!" -- The origin of this phrase comes from people that snag, line, or floss fish on the Great Lakes tributaries. These individuals utter this phrase with extreme excitement when they realize that their hook is actually in the head region of the fish--anywhere outside of the mouth, from the nose to well behind the pectoral fins. This signifies a legal catch in their minds...

The last time I checked, fly fishing was the art of enticing a fish to eat an artificial fly. As the interest of pursuing carp on fly has grown it seems to me that the general definition of fly fishing has been altered. What do I mean by this? Let me explain…

You have all seen the photos, those where the angler is blissfully posing with a foul hooked carp… Foul hooking carp happens to the best of us. I know. It’s unavoidable and it’s going to happen. What I don’t understand is how someone can happily pose for a picture with a fish that has the fly firmly lodged outside of the mouth. It’s ridiculous. Do they know they snagged it? Do they care? Do they think they actually caught the fish? These are all the things I ask myself when I see a photo like that. I guess people have different definitions for “catching a carp”.

As for me, I visually don't see the majority of my takes. So I pride myself in my ability or “6th sense” to know when a carp has eaten my fly. If I snag a fish by accident (which I do), I’ll slip my barbless fly out of its face…while simultaneously saying a few choice curse words and watch the fish swim away. Absolutely no picture! A snagged fish for me is a personal failure. It’s the absolute worst feeling in the world. I’d rather spook a dozen fish or have the fish of a lifetime refuse my fly than accidentally snag a fish.

I think what people need to realize is that carp are not like the other game fish that we pursue. They do not attack a fly like a northern pike will. When we blind cast for super predators, like members of the Esox family. These fish will sometimes slash at a fly in the process of feeding and get hooked outside the mouth. The angler has no control over this due to the aggressive feeding habits of the fish.

 Carp fishing on the other hand is 99% sight fishing with a non-aggressive species. All rare circumstances aside... It's a species that is going to consume your fly very slowly. Therefore you have the ability to let the fish eat your fly before you set the hook. It's super easy to snag carp all day long if you wanted to, just set the hook too early every time... If your going to take this route your better off using a spinning rod and a treble hook. It would be a lot easier.

I’d love to hear where you all stand on the matter...

All said and done, there is only one location for the fly that I find "acceptable"... inside the mouth.


















8 comments:

Justin Carfagnini said...

I completley agree with your entire post! I have never taken a picture of a fish I snagged. (I haven't snagged one in a very long time. Even on accident.)

Gregg said...

Finally someone mentions this. I am convinced the very occasional fish is hooked outside the mouth due to a late hook set but of course that is still a foul hooked fish. No glory there. I see the same with trout here, some very large, big whupping deal. But your pictures, I am always amazed ,and wonder about me.

Gregg

Matt said...

Completely agree Mark. I don't know how everyone out there deals with the rampant snagging in the Great Lakes tribs. It's silly, like someone who never learned to take off their training wheels. Purposeful snagging and flossing is for badly behaved little kids.

Tim Gerke said...

Totally. Although I certainly snag carp, it's never on purpose and I never feel like it's a real catch when it happens. And I definitely wouldn't take a picture of myself with a carp with a fly on the body.

Agree with Gregg regarding your pictures. If only I could...

Trevor Tanner said...

If it aint in the mouth it just dont count. Period.

Brookfield Angler said...

Nothing more disappointing then fighting a long battle only to realize that it wasn't mouth hooked. Ruins the whole thing for me

John Montana said...

What Trevor said.

Adam said...

-Yeah Gregg, this post was a long time coming. It's something that has bothered me for quite some time.

--"If it aint in the mouth it just don't count."

I love it Trevor!