My first extended carp outing on my Diablo Paddlesports Chupacabra came at the end of April on a nice sunny day. The tides aligned well out in the bay and I anticipated some good action in the first half of the morning. I awoke early and paddled out into the fray but it ended up being colder and much windier than I had anticipated. For five hours, I didn't see a single fish. Without a jacket, I paddled around and shivered in the wind straining to see any sign of the golden ghosts. I even contemplated spending the hour paddling back to my car against the tide but thankfully decided to stick it out. Things turned on in a matter of minutes and I ended up having a banner session with more than a dozen fish landed and plenty of monsters that got away. I usually only catch a few twenties each year, but I ended up catching more in three hours than I did all of last summer. It was epic...
My first three fish of the morning. They happened in rapid succession and were some of the first fish I actually had a chance to cast at. They were also the smallest and I would spend the rest of the day ignoring fish of similar sizes. What is cool about carp in the teens is how much spunkier they are than the big guys. They fight a lot harder and go on some nice little runs before I put the breaks on them. The one above chased down a three inch fly in less than a foot of water like something out of a redfish video. The take was amazing.
It didn't take long before the big ones started to show up. I lost three fish that were pushing thirty pounds before I finally netted a big girl. She was the largest carp I have ever landed and I made the mistake of landing her a little too green. I was taking the hook out when she rolled hard. The hook, still attached to the fish, went into my hand. She rolled again, tearing the hook out, and literally jumped out of my net. My hand did not stop bleeding for the rest of the day. I tried several things to stop the mayhem and ended up using fishing line to tie off a little tourniquet. It worked but whenever I hooked a fish, my finger started to bleed again. Shots of adrenaline from big carp aren't good for open wounds.
One of two fish I actually weighed.
The perfect carp stick: Loop Cross S1 798-5.
Orvis Mirage putting the breaks on them all afternoon. No backing allowed.
This guy was my favorite fish of the session. Long and lean, the fish was a rocket ship of energy. I didn't let him go too far though. Too many hazards in the water.
I was targeting a pretty big fish and had a shot at him when a larger object caught my eye in the distance. I decided to stop my cast and paddle off to chase the giant above. We danced a few times before I repositioned myself for a clean shot. Her eyes were the size of half dollars and she closely resembled the one that got away earlier in the day. She was old, large, and in charge. I was pumped.
A prior commitment drove me off the water after a few solid hours of action. I returned after work the next day, to a different spot, and had similar results. I lost another really big girl. They have a habit of rubbing me off in the bottom and for now I need to develop a strategy to deal with that, or else I am going to keep losing the really big ones.
For now, I patiently await an opening in my busy schedule where the weather and tides present an opportunity to even have a shot. Until then, I will be dreaming of the ones that got away and that 40 pounder I sense coming to hand sometime soon.