Friday, July 27, 2007

Day of the Seven Pound Carp

"Day of the Seven Pound Carp." At least that's what I'm calling it. I landed ten carp at my favorite lake today. Five of them weighed 7 pounds on the dot. Three were caught in rapid succession. Seemed like cookie cutter fish, though I'm not complaining. These were hard fighting fish.

Nothing else particularly stood out on this trip. Fish were similar sized to the last few trips to this spot. No really big ones. I did find a new flat that I had overlooked before. I was walking along and spotted a really nice carp cruising and occasionally dipping his head. I tossed out the San Juan Worm I had on my line but he just moved on. However another fish took shortly thereafter. Upon checking it turned out that this flat runs about 30-40 yards out from the shore and was being used by a good number of feeding fish. It was obscured by the murky water.

Besides the five sevens, I also landed a 5.0, a 4.0, a 3.5, and two juvenile carp. Hmm. Considering that the two juveniles were at least a pound, that's almost 50 pounds of fish. No wonder I'm getting spoiled.

Very warm today - uncomfortably so from mid-afternoon on. I quit about 6:00 P.M. with a fairly nice sunburn.

Here are photos of the day. The bullhead and the bluegill were unintentional extras.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Young-Guns Carpin'

I took some young-guns carpin' today. My grandson Matt and his best friend Cody. Both are experienced fishermen. We found some willing fish in the spot I fished last time. Matt used his 8 weight flyrod and Cody used an 8 1/2 foot steelhead spinning rod. Weather was unsettled. The wind blew hard at times, calm at times. When it blew it was difficult to detect the takes, which were characteristically gentle. We did manage to hook some fish however. The following photos tell the story of the fishing and the results. Total score was 9 carp. This included 4 juvenile carp. A number of small largemouth bass and bluegills were also unintentionally hooked and landed.

Cody with first blood. A small carp.

Cody again with nice adult fish.

Matt hooks up.

They really pull hard!

Concentrate. Concentrate.
Why didn't I bring a chair?

Smaller fishies.

Surgical team hook extraction by two good friends.

Grandpa stayed behind the camera. A great day on the water.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Cloudy July Monday Carping

As I am "on call" 24 hours a day sometimes in my work, occasionally it takes me right through scheduled days off. When this happens I try to catch up at a later time. Monday of this week was quiet so I used it for a day off. It's hard to get the carping out of the blood once it is there, as others who have tried it will attest. So... here we go again. I fished today from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and caught 12 carp. Five were juveniles (yes, I caught more "small carp"). The rest were respectable fish. The largest today pulled the scale down to 10 pounds. There was also an 8, and a 7 1/2. The rest were fish between 5 1/2 and 4. Again, too many to recall which picture is which, but you get the idea. The hotspot today was the spot I found last time with the creek coming in. The fish were thick in this area. I was doing quite well until a guy showed up with his two boys. They moved right in beside me and crowded me out. Rather than make an issue I just moved on - not for the man - he should have known better - but for the kids. However, several dog trainers were working their retrievers in the area, which effectively spooked my next two favorite spots. I moved around the pond to try to find a new spot. Since sound carries across the water I found myself wishing I had stayed in the spot I was crowded out of. The guy spent several hours yelling at his two boys. Each time they got hung up or did something wrong he would launch into a tirade. He particularly mocked the oldest one, a boy of around 10 or 11. Finally he grabbed up his tacklebox and rods and stormed off, boys in tow. It was a sad situation. Though perhaps I should have said something, I've learned from past experience that with guys like this it seldom has any effect other than making them madder. It's a shame. Those kids will end up hating fishing, if not their dad. I know I wasn't always as patient as I should have been when my own boys were growing up, but this guy took the cake. A real piece of work.
Anyway, after they left the carp moved right back in. I went back to where I had started and picked up right where I had left off. The spot was such a fish magnet that even hooking and landing them didn't put the others down for very long. That creek must carry some comfortable water or perhaps some nice food. A few large bluegills and tiny bass, also attracted to the spot, decided to get into the action. I didn't photograph them. Here are the photos I took, beginning with one of the feeder creek.

Since the summer weather hit the fish activity has greatly increased. When I first arrived there were carp bubbles all over the pond. Warmer water means faster metabolism, which in turn means more active fish.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Carping on Friday the 13th

"LARGE, LARGE, LARGE!" These are the words that popped out of my mouth this morning as I hooked another giant carp on my fly rod. Right away I realized that this was not like the 5-7 pound fish I had been catching through the morning. I set the hook and instead of the fish taking off and peeling line like a hooked torpedo, it simply started moving off like a nuclear sub on a heading for the uncharted deep. Slow, steady, powerful, unstopable. As the fish moved away I clamped down in the growling reel, but to no avail. I briefly stressed about the 8 pound tippet I had put on earlier, perferring it today to the regular 10 or 12 pound that I use when I expect a big fish. I hadn't expected this. Would it hold? All these things went through my head as the fish, now well into my bright orange backing, showed no sign of stopping. This fish was fully in charge. Could this be another encounter with "Lightning," the 28 pound carp that I caught two times this spring? I was fishing the same area. (See discussion of this twice caught fish by clicking here.) That would be a hoot if I could land the same fish the third time. Would I be able to land him again with the same net that wouldn't hold him last time? He's had two months of prime growing season. Was my camera handy so I could take a shot for evidence if I ever got him on the bank? Then, as quickly as it started, it was over. The hook pulled out. No line break. No broken or straightened hook. Simply a tear out. I felt as limp as the slack line I cranked back onto my reel. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Don't take pictures of another giant fish until you get him on the bank. Don't switch out to a light tippet figuring you won't hook a monster. Do be aware that it can happen when you least expect it.

The day began as I woke early this morning with a case of insomnia - 4:30 AM. Unable to go back to sleep, I finally decided I would get up and load my carp tackle into the car. I had the day off anyway and had figured I might go out in the afternoon. Leaving early would let me avoid some of the afternoon heat. After taking care of some email and website tasks and telling Mrs. zonker goodbye, I was on the road. I reached the water a little before 8:00 AM. Beautiful morning. Calm. Cool. (More of our current heat wave predicted for later today.)

It wasn't an outstanding morning (aside from hooking the U-boat) but I had steady action. No complaints. First fish was this little 4 pounder, rather dwarfed in my large weigh net.

I cast to several other fish, then moved to the other side of the pond, an area with a tiny creek coming in.

Several carp were working the slightly moving water where it entered the pond. One cast and I had a fish on - this 5 1/2 pounder.

Then I did something that was a first for me. I caught a very small carp! I have heard it said that one thing serious carp fishers seldom see is a small carp. Up to this point I had found that to be true. Then bang! Suddenly I've captured a small carp. I also caught a nice 9 inch bluegill from this spot. I should have taken a picture.

One more fish cooperated before I moved from this spot. This nice 7 pounder.

I packed up and walked to the larger lake of the three in this area - to my favorite flat. Fish were active. I saw several large muds indicating fish activity. Soon I had a fish, a nice little 5 pounder.

The water in this area was a lot murkier than it was during spring.

This 6 pound fish soon joined his friends on the end of my line.

Then this porky 9 pounder.

If I counted right that's seven fish. Not bad for half a day. With the sun starting to beat down and warm things up, I retired from the water to go get some lunch. A great day on the water - especially the rush of hooking another large fish.