In my last post I noted that only six more carp were needed to reach my goal of fifty, and I hoped to be done by June 1st but didn't think I would make it. But, after watching the evening weather Friday night, I decided to turn up the heat and try to get done by this weekend. The temperatures were reported to be in the mid-nineties on Saturday and Sunday, and with me having a predisposed health issue where high temperatures causes physical problems, I knew the time was now or never.
Saturday morning I actually had all the hours needed at work so I left around 7:30 telling them I'd be back in about two hours. Arriving at the Bend near the low water crossing, I would find carp numbers forty-five through forty-seven. All three were taken by blind sets and all were taken on the same pattern the Carp Carrot.
I went back to work and finished the things I wanted done and decided to go back to the creek to try for a couple more. However, I made the mistake of stopping by the convenience store and grabbing a 24 ounce Coors Light.
Ended up sitting on the bank and drinking the beer, not fishing at all.
Sunday morning I was back at the Bend around seven, and within five minutes had carp number forty-eight. Continuing to look for more carp, I spent the better part of a half hour not seeing a single shadow, so I left to go to Mother Hole.
Mother Hole is still extremely off-colored, but I could make out a shadow of a carp and placed the Carp Carrot in front of his shadow. Another blind set and the second carp of the day would come to hand.
On the next cast, after releasing number forty-nine, I hooked up with what would have been number fifty... if I could of held him. Without a doubt, this was the biggest carp I had yet to battle, but stopping him was out of the question. He went straight across the creek toward a brush pile. If he got to that brush pile I knew I'd be in trouble. It wasn't long until I saw the dead limbs moving and resigned myself to the fact it was over. Soon the line went limp, and what a horrible helpless feeling that is.
Moving upstream, I spotted a young carp feeding in the shallows. Guess I could've passed on this kid, to wait for a larger one, but I wanted the monkey off my back... so I showed him the Carrot and he took it.
The youngster would become number fifty, fulfilling my goal.
Now, I'm not saying that I won't continue to fly-fish for carp, but I will have to choose carefully the time of day and time spent on the water from here on out.
The Okuma Sierra six weight reel is going into retirement. The reel has been a good one for the last nine years, catching thousands of fish, and bringing me countless moments of enjoyment. However, the last three months of the Carp Crusades has been hell on the reel, and the inner workings are now trashed. So, the reel will go into the mini-fly fishing museum in my spare bedroom. There it will rest, serving as a constant reminder of wonderful days gone by.
In closing out the Carp Crusades, it is hard for me to imagine any fly-fisher who would not want to fish for these creatures. In pursuing the carp, a fly-fisher's metal, skill, and ability to out think the fish, will all be tested. I have no doubt that the carp is the savviest, smartest, and battle ready fish of most warm water species which we seek. For me, the carp has become a fish that has earned my highest respect and admiration.
I think the most difficult thing about capturing the carp on a fly, is the approach. For sure, they are a spooky fish that are constantly on alert for movement. At times, I considered wearing a camouflage kerchief to pull up on my face once a carp was spotted. I think that illustrates just how wary the carp is. In flying for carp, we must learn to be more of a hunter exercising stealth and stalking skills.
The Carp Crusades of the last three months has been the most thrilling and exhilarating fishing experience of my life. It has also been the most rewarding, and the riches I found come in the friendship that Charlie and I have made in the crusades.
Charlie and I have had some wonderful, almost daily exchanges. These exchanges have been filled with shared information, summations, deductions, observations, and at times some rather hilarious shit. Yes, I have a copy of each exchange, and yes... I have plans for them someday.
If I am ever to pen a book, or maybe two, about the experiences of the last three months, one title would certainly be, "Conversations With Charlie".
I'm sure Charlie will continue with the Carp Crusades and my hope is that he too will carefully measure such things as time of day, temperatures, and the demand placed on the body. He will continue to do well in battle.
Now that I know that I'm done, for the most part, with the carp this season, I have to wonder if there will ever be another fly-fishing experience as thrilling as the Carp Crusades.