Sunday, May 11, 2008

Carp 1 - Murdock 0

With gas hitting 3.70+ per gallon around these parts and all trout streams being at least $75 away, I have decided to try to fish closer to home. Saturday morning I got up early and made my way a few miles from the house to what might best be described as a "suburban fishing hole." This particular spot is located behind a popular local watering hole and, aside from the vehicles of the few patrons who took taxis home, was for the most part deserted. During a recent "scouting" visit to this location (they have excellent Buffalo wings and the beverages are cold) I had noticed a few large carp patrolling the walkway which lines the lake shore.

I parked the car, rigged up my gear, selected what I thought to be a particularly carpy looking fly, and proceeded through the grass down to the edge of the lake. Once there I began walking the boardwalk which winds around the cove with a polarized eye watching for cruising carp.

It was only a few minutes until I spotted a big one moving silently through the water. I moved ahead of him on the walkway and then made a cast with my fly landing a good foot short of the strike zone. He ignored my offering completely never even giving it a glance as he went on his way. I moved to get ahead of him on the walkway and just as I got back into casting range noticed something I had not seen partially hidden in the bushes, a sign that read "Private Property - Owners and guests only beyond this point." I seriously contemplated ignoring the sign and moving the few feet beyond it that I needed to get into casting range. After all the sign was mostly covered up with bushes and a not visible no trespassing sign shouldn't really count. Should it? I could chalk it up as fighting for water rights for the common angler. Remembering my wife's constant admonition not to get thrown in jail, I wisely decided to stick to the (semi) public part of the boardwalk in front of the bar.

As the day continued I had several more shots at cruising fish and managed to get my fly in front of quite a few of them only to have them touch the fly with their barbels and then move away. It was as if to indicate that the flavor wasn't to their liking. I tried casting in front. I tried casting behind the ear in hopes of a reaction strike. I changed to other "carpy" looking flies. Just as I was starting to get frustrated, one of the dumber carp actually ate my fly. My rod went double and my reel began to scream and then went silent as the big fish seemingly spat out my fly and swam away.

Even though I wasn't able get a carp in the net I did learn quite a bit about what it can take to get one to take a fly. I don't plan on giving up trout completely but it's nice to know that I can sight cast for large fish just a few miles from home. As I was walking back to the car I met a gentleman walking his dog and he remarked that one of those carp would be quite a fight on a fly rod. I mentioned that I had not had much luck to which he replied that I might do better in front of a pub with a french fry fly.

I'll be busy checking my supply of pale yellow closed cell foam. Does peanut oil count as floatant?


Pete said...

Getting one to eat is one step ahead of me. (Funny, I just posted an interview on the subject with John Montana of Carp on the Fly.)What kind of fly did it take?

Murdock said...

Well it was more a sip than an out right eating of the fly. I think thats why he threw it so quickly. I tried lots of flies but the one they finally took was a sort of march brown looking thing that I got from a bargain bin somewhere. Looked like about a 14 size and didn't have a bead. I think the slow sink rate helped.

I learned that these fish are much more difficult than they appear. One article I read suggested that if you bit your tippet off they could taste your scent on the fly and would turn away.

I know there is a lot more work to be done to figure these fish out.

I'll want to listen to that interview for sure!