Friday, June 1, 2018

Trust the Process


High and Muddy

The wet Spring continued into May, putting a damper on a lot of the plans we had to go trout fishing. When we were free, which wasn't often, the rivers were simply blown out or the weather was not cooperative. The lack of weekend trips forced outings to occur after work. Instead of fishing for trout, I targeted some Delmarva carp. Having grown accustomed to this particular body of water and the movement patterns of its fish, I felt confident on my initial forays. On the first two trips the rain ended up severely impacting my ability to sight fish. Despite the muddy conditions, I still spotted an absolute beast of a carp. This fish dwarfed every other carp, including the pre-spawn females, and had no right being in such a small creek. The beast became my target over the course of several trips. I knew that I had to trust the process and eventually I would have a solid shot at the big guy on the block. As things progressed into June, the conditions kept improving and the fishing got better and better. 

Those initial days fishing in higher water were frustrating due to the turbidity of the water and the rate of flow. Turbid water combined with sight fishing to the same colored fish doesn't work, especially in the late afternoon with a setting sun. I used elevation to my advantage and targeted slow eddies and structure where I knew carp would be congregated. My first creek carp of the season came off a log jam. The second came off a flooded pile of sediment that a carp cruised onto looking for a meal. I simply had my fly waiting for him on the bottom. During this time, there was a lot of competition in the water for my fly's attention. Sunfish, perch, catfish, shad, and stripers attacked my offerings before they would get in the zone. These "carp blocks," were frustrating to say the least. 

A major high water event occurred at the end of May, which completely transformed parts of the creek. Thankfully, the carp population only increased and it also removed a log jam under a certain bridge that holds a lot of carp. The water eventually dropped and cleared. With clear water, the beast couldn't hide. After a few failed attempts, I retreated to a different area of the creek to catch a few other carp. Returning, I spotted the big one on a sand bar. I was about 40 ft. upstream and didn't want to get any closer. I casted down and across, allowing my fly to swing into the correct position. I mended right and gave my line slack to allow my fly to drop into the zone. I watched the silhouette of the carp move towards my fly and saw the unmistakable outline of protruding lips sucking in the carp crab. What followed was a tense battle between a mid-twenty pound carp, a 6 wt, and a flowing body of water. Eventually, I beached the post-spawn female on a shallow section of the sandbar. My largest carp of the Spring was finally tamed...


Acting like a tree, waiting for a fish to come into sight...


Poison ivy is everywhere...


There are about 10 carp in this picture...
I caught one in the lower left.



Carp blocked by a channel cat...


Carp blocked by a perch...


Carp blocked by a striper...
The Mop Fly is actually a very good carp fly. 


Finally!


This carp moved up onto a flooded shelf to eat a carp crab.


Pre-spawn female.


A good one in turbid water.


A decent pre-spawner...


Hybrid eater...



Another good one...


There was a log jam here for the past 7 years. A major high water event finally broke it free allowing me to target the carp that used the structure to their advantage. 


A bridge troll...


A "little guy," on a carp crab. 






The beast tamed...