Friday, September 13, 2013

loafers and idlers

Those are my pet names for the carp I watch. Ideally they would be feeding when I go fishing, but loafers and idlers are all I usually see: loafers being the fish hanging quietly a couple of feet down, moving only occasionally; idlers cruising slow along the bottom looking mildly interested in the passing show, but not actually feeding. What you want to see is them nose down and tail up, rootling happily for choice morsels in the mud. Two weeks ago found a couple of actual feeders to my considerable excitement, could have sworn this fine young mirror carp had taken the fly:

However he was hooked about 2" behind the mouth, underneath. Presumably my vigorous trout set as he moved forward feeding actually snagged him, dammit.

Blind fishing hopefully got a 16" trout ? dunno what he was doing up around the flats, maybe chasing the balls of gizzard shad that are flipping around in the shallows. The shoals of the shad younglings band together in tight formation, each individual swimming hard to attain the center of the shoal for safety, but getting ousted by the movement of the others and the shoal; forming a kind of natural kinetic sculpture.

Three big fish, one a mirror, were watching over a dropoff into deep water and moving around, not feeding though looking very predatory. Tossed a leather worm at them and a fourth fish came out of the gloom to inhale it. This was certainly a fair take, as I saw the fly vanish into his maw.. 
Good fight, long run, biggest carp I've hooked in a long time, probably 32"+. This is as far as we got though,

He was wallowing in the shallows and glaring at me when the hook pulled out. Bah.

Cast at two smaller fish that were lurking in the green haze just outside the clearer shallow water, which turned out to be 15" smallmouth bass, oddly. Those shad bring everyone up out of the deeps.

This week in the apocalyptic rains, the fish were all happy and feeding hard in the shallows. There were tails just a few feet offshore, plumes of mud drifting downwave. Presented a McSculpin to the other end of a tail, the strike indicator shot a good foot forward, even I could hook that fish. 

He too ran long, as the line streamed off I remembered that Orvis had mounted the line and backing, and I had not checked the backing knot. Luckily it held. They had made a competent nail knot to join the Dacron to the flyline, but had not run the Dacron through the flyline core first. As a practicing neurotic, I'll have to rebuild that - you only hook the fish of a lifetime once, all the details have to be right all the time. It's a hard life keeping up with my delusions.

That's the first honestly-landed carp on a fly for me. As can be seen, I was sufficiently optimistic about the prospects to buy my first new fly reel in twenty years (on sale, dear). The Orvis Clearwater LA IV is recommended: light weight, good size to hold plenty of backing, closed drag though not sealed, with quick adjustment and smooth performance. So at least I'll have the small pleasure of fishing with nicely-made equipment, while the future fish ignore me.

The rest of the lunch-break the fish performed as usual, treating the fly with disdain if not outright scorn. Oh well, it's a start.

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