Monday, March 10, 2008

Quick Carping Trip

I had a little time this afternoon and though a storm was supposed to hit in the late afternoon I decided to go out for a bit anyway. I hooked and landed only one fish - this 8.5 pound Carp. Rain and wind hit about 5 PM which sent me running for the car. Naturally I didn't bring a rain coat. I did spot several more nice carp working around in the dead weeds in an area where I couldn't cast. As I was watching them a guy came up and asked me if I had caught any fish. When I told him I was fishing for carp with a flyrod he was instantly full of questions. We talked for 15 minutes or so and spotted several more carp in the area where I couldn't cast because of a high bank. Fish always hang out in that spot. Guess they know they're safe. Even if I could get off a cast to them I'd never land a fish as it is near some pretty heavy cover. It's nice to see fish in the shallows again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First Carp of 2008

I played hooky today. When I got up I checked the weather. It showed rain for 10 days -- except today where there was a big, bright, sunshine icon for the whole day. Predicted temp was 60 degrees f. Maybe this would warm up the water enough to get some carp active.

Once the thought was in my head I couldn't shake it. My secretary was sick. No appointments. Try as I might, after working the first half of the day I tossed my flyrod into the car and headed for the carp ponds. As cool as it has been, I didn't hold out much hope. I got out of the car and didn't even string up the rod. Quickly I started walking the perimeter. The first pond had a flyfisherman. I watched for a few minutes and determined that he wasn't having any action and didn't seem to know what he was doing. Not wanting to horn in, I walked around his spot to the next pond. No sooner had I arrived than I noticed several thick mud clouds in the murky water. A carp flopped on the surface. Water boiled over in the corner of the cove. That was all it took. I sprinted back to the car, strung up the rod and was back. The fish were still there. I tied on a fly -- one of my new yellow carp bitters -- and started casting. I could see several individual mud clouds, though no fish were visible, which is typical for this spot. I was just getting into it when a small dog came up behind me, rushed past, and jumped into the water. Fish went everywhere. Needless to say, that spot was spooked, but at least I knew they were there. The dog's owner showed up shortly after and called her dog saying that she "didn't want to scare the fish." Too late, but I've learned that I'm better off saying nothing and letting the event pass. Sometimes the fish come back. I exchanged pleasantries and the dog owner moved on. Soon the fish were back.

This first shot is just a mood maker. Look at that bright sun! In Oregon we learn to really appreciate these days.

With new mud clouds forming in front of me I tossed my fly out into the fray and tried to keep a tight line while retrieving ever so slightly. The indicator twitched and I set up on the fish below -- a nice little 6 pounder. Ah, that felt good!

Later I had another slight tap and on the other end was this portly 12 pounder.

The two hours I had set as my limit soon expired and I had to leave for an evening meeting. But this was really nice -- the first carp for 2008. Based on my records from last year I expect the next three months to be the best of the year for carping with the largest fish available in shallow water. From now through the pre-spawn I expect to break my last year's record of 28 pounds. Great day on the water.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Finding His Place in Our Family

My new fishing buddy, Otis, has made himself right at home with Mrs. zonker and me since we brought him home. Boundless energy, pirhana teeth, and a natural desire to retrieve everything including socks, shoes, towels, and his legitimate toys, has made him a very popular new edition to our family. It's a lot like having a new baby in the house! Ain't he cute?


Take a Kid Fishing

That's what I did this last Saturday. I didn't fish much myself but tried to make sure my charges connected. Grandson Matt and his friend Cody ended up with 3-4 nice trout apiece using small jigs. It rained on us and was very cold. My not yet healed Carpal Tunnel hands really felt the cold. They turned blue.

It was a good trip though. Glad we connected, Matt and Cody!


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tyin' and Dreamin'

Hours spent at the vise do much more than provide flies for empty spaces in fly boxes. They inspire dreams of fishing days gone by and opportunities for days yet to come. Being there again in one's mind isn't as good as the real thing, but on a cold, dark, rainy winter day it can really lift the spirits.
These Carp Bitters are modeled after the Bonefish Bitter, an epoxy-head creation made for its namesake in salt water. They appear to contain all of the right qualities for the carp flats so as the feeling in my hands comes back I'm stocking my boxes. Yellow is a good color for the carp that inhabit the small lakes I fish.
Click on the pic for a more detailed view.