Sunday, May 15, 2011

Skinny Water Golden Bones

Where I live, good carp water is hard to come by. I have spent days and hundreds of dollars in gas traveling and searching for new water found on google earth only to be left empty handed. Denied by private property or lack of fish, I was often left discouraged and in need of a freshwater bonefish. I decided to ask any fishermen if they knew of any good carp water. More often than not, they had something to say that usually consisted of them raising their wing spans in the air and giving the universal sign for big fish. A recent conversation with a new fishing partner yielded a secret spot and I couldn't wait to find some new water.

Arriving at my destination, a short walk revealed a vast causeway into a lake that was very shallow. Cloudless skies and a high sun perfectly illuminated the dark silhouettes of cruising carp. As I looked into the distance I could see the backs of several carp emerging out of the water and several eager ospreys overhead looking for an easy meal. Several times, they swooped down only to put the brakes on at the last minute. Many of the carp had deep gray scars along their backs from failed attempts at an easy meal. My brief walk also revealed a complete lack of larger fish. The biggest maybe approaching ten pounds. I guess the constant threat from above kept the population and size in check.

As I geared up for an assault, I was faced with the dilemma of sight fishing to carp in only a few inches of water that had zero visibility. Weighted flies were out of the question because the bottom consists of a very soft mud and a coating of green algae. I decided to go with unweighted patterns that allowed me a few precious seconds before they hit bottom. That meant, that I would have to place the fly on the carps nose at long range to get them to notice it. I started off with egg patterns before transitioning to san juan worms and later a damsel. All flies allowed soft presentations and slow sink rates. Once the fly was placed, I had to read the carp's body language to know whether or not the fly was taken.

After a brief learning curve, I was able to land several average carp from the flat. They were extremely aware of their surroundings and any vibration, errant cast, or fly alerted them to my presence in the skinny water. It was challenging but also extremely rewarding. Perfect practice for saltwater bones.


Jay Zimmerman said...

Aaaaaaaa! LOVE the photo essay! Carp scales...I want, like, an entire back tat! OK...maybe just two full sleeves!How awesome would that be!?

Bjornorama said...

That's cool. The backs out of the water... my carp water doesn't work that way. Pretty neat to see that.

John Montana said...

Good stuff. When carp fishing, size really doesn't matter.

Feather Chucker said...

Good stuff, it has been too long since I've had a carp on the line. I'll have to try those san juan worm patterns. I've seen other carp blogs mention those. I've caught all my carp on a black bead head wooly bugger.

e.m.b. said...

Feeding carp are so primordial...sweet photos! When I was a kid, all I could catch were turtles. I love those photos too!

Mark said...

@ Jay- an entire back tattoo of carp armor....would be awesome! do it!

Thanks everybody, sjw's can be deadly for carp, in this case something very tiny (14-16) and no weight.