Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cyprinus Carpio

For several months my friend Dave and I have been discussing targeting common carp at a local reservoir.  These carp are accustomed to being fed bread from people on the docks.  We thought we could have success by showing up in the off hours of human traffic and throw our own bread in the water to get the carp feeding.  Then we would attempt to hook up to these carp by casting bread flies to the feeding carp and hopefully fool them into taking the fake.  Definitely not traditional fly fishing but similar to the accepted practice of the "bait-n-switch" used to catch sharks or sailfish on the fly.  We each tied up various versions of bread flies using a variety of materials.  The common element was something white that would look like a piece of bread in the water.  My favorite looking fly was made with the core material of a nylon rope.  We met in the morning and launched our watercraft into the lake and headed toward the docks of interest.  We chummed up the water with bread and nothing happened for quite some time.  Then after waiting for a bit a few carp showed up and started vigorously smacking the bread on the surface.  We both cast into the area and bam!  Fish on for me first.  While Dave was shooting video of my battle a fish slammed his bread fly as well.  Double hook up with our target species!  It was my first carp on the fly rod and I learned very quickly how hard these fish fight and how much endurance they have.  We you manage to get them "close to the boat" the battle is only half over.  And once you finally can see your leader these fish will continue to bulldog you making mini runs and trying to stay down as much as they can.  Then once they see the net they get an additional surge of energy and try everything possible to evade it.  An extremely worthy opponent!  With the help of Dave and his huge landing net I finally had my first fly rod carp in hand.

I got a few pics of my fish then proceeded to help Dave net his fish and also take a few pics.  

My rod was getting in the way so I decided to stick it between my back and the float tube.  After the commotion died and we were focused on getting back to fishing I went to grab my rod but it was nowhere to be seen.  I quickly looked at Dave thinking I may have given it to him to hold.  Nope, my rod somehow slipped off my tube and was now sitting in 30 feet of water!  Bummer!  I was a little upset but just had to laugh it off.  Luckily Dave had a backup 7 weight he let me borrow and it worked great!  We periodically would get carp coming through to feed on the bread.  It was never a big pod of frenzied carp but usually a few boiling over our bread.  Five more fish were landed between the two of us.  A few break offs occurred as well.  In one instance Dave hooked up and the fish was so strong he could not turn or slow down the fish.  It ran way under the dock and managed to get wrapped around something then broke off.  All the carp we caught ranged between 7 and 12 pounds.  I managed to catch the 12 pounder pictured below.  Overall it was an awesome time fishing for these beasts.

 Even though I was thoroughly satisfied with my first carp experience I still wanted more and we decided to return the next day.  The fishing was a lot tougher because the carp that did come through would grab a few bites of the bread then move on.  They did not stick around long at all.  I don't know if they caught onto us the previous day or not.  I managed to break off a fish or two.  Dave had a leviathan on at one point that ran super hard under his kayak and broke him off, it was a determined and strong fish.  Toward the very end of our time out a fish decided to show up and munch on the bread.  On his way out I managed to cast my fly and put it right on his nose.  He took my fly then all heck broke loose.  My reel was screaming as this fish ran back and forth.  At one point he ran straight to the bottom then came straight back up to the surface.  This was definitely the most spastic carp I had battled over the two days of fishing for them.  Finally I landed a beautiful carp over the 9 pound mark.

We did some bluegill fishing while waiting for the carp.  Dave managed to catch several really nice gills and a beautiful hybrid bluegill/green sunfish.

I managed a few bluegills as well. It was a great two days fishing that left me wanting to target carp a whole lot more often!