Stupid Is As Stupid Does

25 09 2019

Some fish deserve to be caught.  They do something so stupid and so against their normal behavior that removing them from the gene pool would be doing the species a favor.   This was the case last night when I ventured out to my usual fishing grounds.  Water levels were up and there was a bit of a stain to the river so I was hoping to find fish in the areas that are normally dry. As usual I managed to spook the first few and had one refuse my fly before he swam off.  I did spot a silt cloud in one of my high water spots but the fish was in an area between two blow downs and in a lot of heavy cover.  I figured there was no way I could sneak up on him, let alone land him if I could.  With a lot of patience and a bit of luck I was able to get into position and hook up.  It didn’t last long though, once he was hooked he headed for the nearest pile of branches and busted the line.  No big deal, I fooled him and then he fooled me.  We’re even.

The next spot was a lot of walking and a lot of refusals.  I managed to present my fly to about a half dozen fish and every one of them turned or just plain ignored it.  I was beginning to think that these fish were on to me and that I would need to find a new area (which I did later).  While I was walking along I saw a carp swimming towards me and he was followed by a small bass.  I cast the fly out in front of him and of course the bass swam up and grabbed it.  He started splashing around right on top of the carp but the carp never left.  Normally, at any sign of danger, a carp will swim off to happier waters. They are convinced that everything in the world is out to get them, even when they are in the 20 pound + range.  I’ve seen it happen dozens of times, except for this time.  The carp hung around and when the bass came free the carp swam up and grabbed the fly.

???

Of course once he did I set the hook and he wasn’t off to the races.  He just sat there, he never ran, he just stayed close by and slowly swam in circles.  The only reason it took me awhile to land him was because I was standing on a steep bank and I had to figure out how to land him.  I didn’t have my net so eventually I waded in and lifted him up and onto shore.

That was it, pretty uneventful and it really had me scratching my head.  This fish did the exact opposite of any carp I ever caught before.  It was like he just didn’t care.  After a quick pic I revived him and let him swim away to ponder his existence.  He had some very distinctive marks on him so I’m curious to see if I we will ever cross paths again.  Hopefully he will be a bit more enthusiastic next time.





Scouting

19 09 2019

Last night I decided to check out a new stretch of the Huron River.  I had been hitting the other stretch pretty hard, as of late, so I figured it was time to find a new area.  After doing some searching on Google Maps I found a few areas that had potential.  Only problem was that I had about an hour and a half of decent light so this was going to be a quick hit and run trip.

The first few areas I checked showed potential but I didn’t see any fish.  As a matter of fact I wouldn’t see any fish until the very last spot.  Even this area was very hit and miss.  At some access points the bank was 10 feet above the water and no way of getting down.  Other spots were so overgrown I wouldn’t be able to sneak in without scaring everything.  The last area was just about perfect.  Slow moving water, gradual decline to the river’s edge, a few logs and most importantly feeding carp.  I saw the silt trail of one feeding carp but I couldn’t get into position without spooking him.  He slowly swam away and as I was watching him I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye.  There was another carp, with his nose buried under the log, in full on feed mode.  As I got closer he stopped and started to swim away.  I quickly cast my fly out ahead of him and to my surprise he sucked it in.  I set the hook and off he went.  I had left my net back in my car so while I was letting him tire himself out I was trying to figure out how I was going to land him.  The last time I dragged a carp up on the sand with my fly rod, I broke the tip.  I wasn’t going to do that again.  Fortunately, the splashing fish attracted the attention of two other anglers downstream.  They walked up to see what was going on and one of them was kind enough to wade in and land the fish for me along with take a picture.  He was bass fishing but of course wanted to know why someone would actually be targeting carp on a fly rod.  After a brief explanation of how and why I thanked him again and headed back to the car.  I still have a few more miles of this river to check out but it will have to wait for another day.





A little rain is a wonderful thing.

16 09 2019

Originally my plan was to spend the weekend up at my Mom’s, take care of some of her chores and do a little squirrel hunting Sunday morning when the season opened.  Unfortunately it rained all morning long on Sunday so I just packed up and headed for home.  It had rained some at home so I was thinking I could get a couple of hours in Sunday evening chasing carp.

Around 6 I headed out with Orvis Helios 2 7 wt in hand.  I didn’t feel like putting my waders on so I grabbed one of my landing nets to save me from jumping in the water.  I really didn’t know what the water would be like.  I expected it to be somewhat dirty after the rains but I didn’t know how dirty or how high.  When I arrived I could see that the water was dirty but just visible enough to where I could see a carp peacefully feeding along the shoreline.  Easy picking, or so I thought.  I dropped the fly right on his head and he didn’t stick around to see what it was.  I worked my way up to a shaded area that is normally to shallow to hold fish.  Today it was about a foot deeper and full of feeding carp.  Spotting one was difficult but I was able to see some silt clouds and a few bubble trails.  I waited until I could see one working towards me and I carefully placed the fly in his path.  A few seconds later he was on it I slowly lifted up and once I felt weight I drove the hook home.  Five minutes later and the first one was in the net.

He pretty much stirred up the whole area so Once I let him go I moved on to another spot upstream.  The bank on this part of the river is a lot higher so I could see right down pretty easily.  As I snuck up there was a carp right below me, feeding upstream.  I placed the fly ahead of him and to the right.  Once he got close enough he saw it and sucked it up.  A quick set of the hook and he was off to the races.  Unlike the last fish he headed for the middle of the river and downstream.  I slowed him up to keep him out of the weeds and the logs.  I was able to turn him back upstream and keep him out in front of me for the bulk of the fight.  After about 5 minutes I was able to get him into the net.

2 for 2 in the first 20 minutes.  I was feeling pretty good but the next spot reminded me that getting to cocky can lead to a very humbling experience.  For the next hour I couldn’t do anything right.  It was getting darker and trying to spot the fish was becoming increasingly difficult.  Add that to the humidity, and my polarized sunglasses continually fogging up, and I ended up spooking more fish then actually seeing any.  I can’t complain though.  I was able to land a couple for about 90 minutes of fishing.  The last two years it would have taken me months to catch a couple.  Now I’ve caught more carp in the last 2 weeks then I have in the last two years and I still have a few more months left.  I’m learning more about catching these fish and how they react to the different water levels and clarity.  Next year should be epic.





Yet Another Carp

9 09 2019

I think I may finally have this fly fishing for carp thing figured out.  Last year I caught one.  The year before that maybe 6.  I’ve landed 4 in the last week and they have been the biggest ones to date.  I still have a lot to learn but I have a lot more confidence now and I know what to do to improve my chances for success.  Just wish I would have figured it out back in June instead of now.  In a few more weeks it will be back to Steelhead and the carp will have to wait.





More Carp

5 09 2019

I had a few hours to myself last  night so I decided to go fly fishing for Carp again.  Recent rains had raised the water levels and dirtied up the water a bit so I was optimistic about my chances for success.  I quickly learned though that my optimism was short sighted since I left out one variable, the setting sun.  I was fishing the west side of the river so the sun was casting a long shadow on the water.  Every time I tried to sneak up on a feeding carp they would sense the shadow and swim off.  I was able to sneak up on one because I used a tree stump to cover my approach.  I got a little to fancy though and I wasn’t able to see the take and I was late on the hook set.  Lesson learned.

With about 30 minutes of sunlight left I moved off to a different area that had more shoreline cover.  As I worked my way to the water I could see one carp feeding in the shallows.  The water was dirty so I couldn’t figure out which way he was facing.  As I got closer the bubbles and splashing stopped so I just waited.  While I was waiting I saw another set of bubbles and a silt cloud off to my right.  I carefully placed the fly in front of the direction the bubbles were going.  I waited until the bubbles were right on top of my leader and I slowly lifted up.  I felt the weight and drove the hook home.  It was a confined area with lots of logs so I never gave him the opportunity to run.  After a couple of minutes of close quarters splashing I was able to get him beached, unhooked and sent on his way.

 

I think I might be starting to get the hang of this.





Labor Day Weekend 2019

3 09 2019

I was able to get out a couple of times this past Labor Day weekend.  Walleye on Friday night and fly fishing for Carp Monday morning.  I probably should have gone walleye fishing each evening but I figured the weeds would be really bad with it being the non official last boating weekend of summer.  From here on in it should be pretty quiet on the water, except for the occasional storm.

I launched my boat around 8:30 pm Friday night and headed to my normal starting area.  The water was clear and their weren’t very many surface weeds.  Boat traffic was at a minimum and after sunset I was the only one fishing.  I though for sure there would have been a few others out, shows how much I know.  Not much happened at first.  I lost a few larger fish and caught a couple of smallmouth.  The fish were barely hitting, I would pull the wire forward and then there would be dead weight.  This went on for the first 90 minutes.  I managed to get tangled up in some old fishing line twice and the weeds were starting to thicken up.  I seriously debated just going in but it had been 3 years since the last time I got skunked and I wanted to keep that streak going.  I’m glad I stuck it out, around 10 the fish got active and I picked up my 5 fish limit in about an hour.  After that I packed up and headed for home.

 

When I went to bed Sunday I had every intention of sleeping in the next day.  I spent the last two days cleaning up and throwing out stuff from my house and I was tired.  I awoke around 6:30 am and eventually just gave up and got out of bed.  I figured I would try for landing a carp again at some new water.  My luck fly fishing for carp this year had been pretty poor so I wasn’t to optimistic.  I rigged my my Scott Flex 8 wt and headed to the Huron River.  At my first stop I soon found out that the water levels were up some and it was a little stained.  I started to feel a little better about my chances.  I saw a few fish out in the middle of the river and I made a few half ass casts towards them.  Past experience has told me that if they aren’t actively feeding my chance of hooking up was slim and nill.  After awhile I gave up on those fish and worked my way upstream.  I saw some bubbles on the surface underneath the shade of an overhanging tree.  I went into stealth mode and as I got closer I could see a pair of carp feeding in the shallows.  I carefully dropped the fly next to them and waited for one to turn my way.  After a few seconds the larger fish did and I gave the fly a twitch.  That did it and he pounced on it.  I set the hook and off he went, towards a log jam.  I jumped in the water after him and tried to steer him away.  Fortunately I was able to keep him clear of the logs and after a few minutes I landed him on the bank.  A quick pic and he was soon swimming away.

Like I said, I jumped in.

After that I took a moment to compose myself.  My Ross reel got dunked and was full of muck so I had to clean that out.  I sat at a nearby picnic table while I figured out my next move.  I pretty much trashed this area and two kayakers just paddled down so that meant they spooked anything upstream.  After about 20 minutes I started hiking upstream to new water.  I followed a drainage ditch to the river and carefully worked my way up to the edge of the water.  Apparently I wasn’t careful enough because I spooked two fish that were in the area.  I slowly backed out and figured I would come back in about 30 minutes or so.  I tried some more areas but I didn’t see anything.  I walked back to the area I spooked the pair of fish earlier and worked my way to the edge again.  I could see a silt cloud in the water so I just waited until I could verify where the fish was.  After a minute or so the tail became visible and I could make out the outline of a decent size carp.  He started to turn away from me and then up went his tail and he went into full on feed mode.  A cloud of much arose all around him so I took advantage of his blurred vision and moved into position.  I dropped the fly about 6 inches to the left and waited.  He started to turn towards it and when I gave it a twitch he pounced on it like a cat chasing a laser dot.  A quick hook set and off he went.  Once again I was back in the water, doing my best to keep him clear of any obstructions.  He ran underneath one sunken branch which I had to clear out of the way before I could even think about landing him.  Eventually I was able to steer him towards the middle of the river where I could keep him under control.  A few short runs later and I was steering him towards the bank.

I was 2 for 2 and feeling pretty good.  It was getting later in the morning though and the sun was clearing the trees.  The fish were hanging in the shadows on the opposite side now so my chances of landing another one were dwindling.  I drove to another section of the river and saw some more carp but they weren’t very cooperative.  I did see one closer to the bank but there was no way I could sneak up on him.  He was in the middle of a log jam anyways so I doubt I could have even got him out of there if I had hooked him.  Bikers and runners were starting to fill the trails along the river so it was time for me to go home.  I’ll stop by next weekend before I head to Schultz Outfitters Fall Kick Off on Saturday.