Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dividing Line

That Charlie... I don't know what to do with him. It seems as the weather grew hotter, the more Charlie went carping on the fly. And... as the weather grew hotter, and the more Charlie went carping... the more carp he has captured - almost at will.

At times his reports can be excruciating. Twenty-two, twenty-four, twenty-six inch quality carp, that fight like there is no tomorrow. It's more than any inactive fly-fisher should have to bear.

I was doing perfectly fine sitting in the air-conditioned confines of the fly tying studio, if you will, tying up creations that I hope will serve the fly fisher for Blue River trout quite well. But... Charlie's dispatches kept coming. The dispatches, in form of modern day telegram's (email), were quite more than enough to whet my appetite for carp action on the fly. So, slowly I have found myself migrating away from the tying station to the banks of Rock Creek and those ever-so-addicting carp.

Now, my migration has, or is, coming at a cost. I certainly notice the glare-stares, along with the hands-on-hips, slow motion "you're so fired" head shakes from the boss at work, upon returning from a quickie to Rock Creek. Of course, I always have an excuse why I left work... but me think these excuses are running rather thin these days.

Then, there is Miss Carol. It's funny how love and fly-fishing can often times create a friction. Now, Miss Carol seems to have this dividing line between love and fishing with the fur and feather. I'm not so insensitive that I don't understand her position, but, for me, the two are synonymous. I love Miss Carol, but I also love fly-fishing. Quite often she finishes our conversations with "You fish too much", as she waltzes out of the conversation arena. Fish too much? If I've ever heard a more oxymoronic phrase, I don't know what it would be. There is no such thing as fish too much.

Perhaps I shouldn't cross any lines right now, particularly that line in the sand of Rock Creek that Miss Carol has drawn... as the metaphor she intended to be, and hope for some kind of just living life oil, that will calm all the friction.

As far as work... that's a different story. Today, sometime near what should have been considered a "lunch hour", I snuck away from the employment pool to dedicate thirty minutes to the creek hoping to catch a carp. However, all I would end up realizing is a feisty drum that would get in the way. Drum fight differently from carp. They'll actually hit the fly and then take off like a bat out of hell.

And when I returned to work... there was the boss with those hands on hips.

Here's a picture of my lowly drum and some of Charlie's recent carp.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rush Hour

I was hoping to have much more time this morning at Charlie's Pasture, but Miss Carol required a breakfast out, and therefore I made short order of the fly-fishing.

Arriving at Charlie's Pasture just as morning was breaking, I went to the upstream shallows. As the sun was beginning to kiss the tree tops; casting a sheen on the smooth-as-glass water; I watched a thousand insects dance and hop in the reflective light.. where they looked like prancing crystals on the surface. However, the carp were not in the shallows, so I ventured back downstream to the big pool.

At the big pool there was also an absence of carp. I found the lack of activity as strange, but figured the community was hiding on the far bank, thirty-five feet across, laying in their den, waiting for a call. So, with a roll cast I knocked on their door and they answered.

Using the olive and orange Carpola Charlie I immediately hooked-up with one of the Leviathan carp of Rock Creek. Our meeting would be short and sweet though, and in less than a minute the carp would bid farewell to this fisherman. The short, but frantic, fight aroused the rest of the community as they come to the middle of the pool to investigate.

I spotted a lone carp that looked of significant size and cast him the Carpola offering. He sucked it up right away and from thirty feet away I went for a hook-set. The hook-set was successful and the fight begin. These carp know their territory well, and with this fellow he kept going for the far bank, the root balls along that bank, and any structure he could find that would play to his advantage.

The fight came to an end ten minutes later as I immortalized the carp by picture that will go in my archives. He was a hearty fighter and very nice fish.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The New Carpola Charlie Kicks!

Tied up a new version of the Carpola Charlie fly this afternoon - olive and orange. Took it to Rock Creek and gave it a test drive. Started off with the original Carpola in olive and white and landed one, but the rest of the action came on the new version. I did learn one thing however. I left the legs on the olive and orange and little long and three carp came to the fly and felt the legs with their barbules and just stared at it. After cutting the legs the same length of the marabou, the action heated up.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Those Wonderful Soft Hackles

I truly believe that a fly angler can take a soft hackle pattern such as the Partridge and Orange, and catch as many or more fish than using any other pattern in the arsenal. Now... I can already hear the grumbling from those that are steadfast and true to the Woolly Bugger, and I can't deny the bugger is a great fly. However, maybe it's a great fly because we've become so darn dependent on using it, and that includes yours truly. I mean... if I have the Woolly Bugger tied on sixty-five percent of the time I fish, then sure... I'm going to catch more fish with that pattern.

I like soft hackles because I like fishing wet patterns. There's just something kind of special about the whole experience. Partridge and Orange, Partridge and Yellow, and the Hare's Ear Partridge... all wonderful flies. Cast one of these in the film and stay focused on your line/leader connection or the end of your leader/tippet and get ready for a quick strike. If you wait too long in responding then fish will be gone. It's a challenge for sure.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Carp Crusader Recommended Gear

Here is this crusader's official recommended gear list when flying for the carp.

Rod - It's TFO without a doubt. The Rock Creek carp took my nine foot six weight past the reasonable breaking point time after time and the TFO is still in good shape. A darn good rod for a reasonable price.

Reel: Okuma - The reel I started out with was seven or eight years old and had already been subjected to my punishment before the carp crusades. However, it held to the end of the crusades having it's guts absolutely ripped out. Again, good reel for the price.

Line - Scientific Angler GPX Mastery Series. Weight forwarded six weight floating. You can't spend too much on good fly line.

Leader - Robin's customer leaders or Scientific Angler 2X or 3X.

Tippet - It's Scientific Angler again. This is simply a good product.

Flies - This one is easy. The carp flies you tie yourself are the best ones.

Sunglasses - The best money you can spend in fly fishing for carp will be on quality polarized sunglasses. Recommended is Smith Optics.

Sunblock - None!!!! Kinda like the character Old Rawhide says in "The River Runs Through It." "I ain't burned. The sun don't bother me." Besides, you get sunblock on your hands and you're gonna get it on the fly and the carp will sense it.

Insect Repellent - Quit being a wussy! You're gonna get that stuff on your hands also, and then on your fly, and the carp will laugh at your offerings.

Official motto of the Carp Crusades: "This ain't pretty fishing." Motto comes courtesy of Charlie Wright.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress

Now as I look back at this spring and summer of the carp crusades, I realize that I had become much like John Bunyan’s character Muckrake in the work Pilgrim‘s Progress. I was so fixated with the riches that were at my feet, I couldn’t look up or beyond to see the real treasures that lay therein.

By looking beyond I could have easily seen the large number of carp on the far side of Rock Creek. By looking up, I could have easily realized that indeed there was enough room to make a back cast, even though it might not be a terribly long one. In my fly fishing for carp life, the world was at my feet and I resigned myself to short lob and roll casts.

These days, even though I’m not fishing much, I am finding that I have about as much luck making casts of thirty-five, forty, or fifty feet and fishing blind. It feels good to make those longer casts and to vigilantly watch for movement in the leader.

Alas, my poor friend Charlie. Charlie seems to be agonizing lately over the fear that he has forever lost his fine and graceful casting. On the pilgrimage that Charlie has taken, he too has been forced to settle for the toss, lob, or bow and arrow type cast. I can almost hear Charlie as he makes one of those lobs; under his breath he utters, “That was crap.” With carp fishing, Charlie had to give up the four, five, and six X leaders, although he was game enough to give these light lines a try. Quite simply, the carp were just too much for such fineness.

As far as Charlie’s casting never recovering from carp fishing, I am confident that once the season of rainbow’s arrives at Lady Blue, everything will return to normal for Charlie. There, he will once again make the graceful delicate casts with light leader. His offerings will be the wets, and nymphs he endears so. At Blue, Charlie will able to leave behind the heavy lines and those heavy metal flies; the ones so full of fur and feather; the aerodynamically incorrect creations that splash down like a 1960’s Russian spacecraft.

However in the mean time, Charlie will continue to have to throw the heavy stuff and to insure he does I’ve tied a fly in his honor.

With the Carpola Charlie fly, I tried to incorporate some of the things Charlie does indeed like in a fly. As a simple trailing apparatus I tied in a small long tuft of Icelandic Wool at the bend of the hook. My thinking on this was since carp feed not only by sight, and smell, but also touch, the Icelandic Wool will feel natural and increase the believability of this pattern. Next, I tied in rubber legs which Charlie really likes. The rubber is supple, pliant, and gives attraction to the fly with movement. Flash that matches the body color of the fly is used on the hook shank and the main part of the body is marabou. Marabou is fluid and moves so naturally in the water it not only serves as an attractor but also imitates a live creature.

I tied two color versions; one being brown and yellow and the other olive and white. The question became will these flies catch a carp.

I took the Carpola Charlie’s with me to Charlie’s Pasture this morning and give them both a try. The brown and yellow yielded absolutely nothing, but the olive and white did have one take but yours truly blew the hook-set. I left the Pasture empty handed and traveled to the Well Springs.

At Well Springs I tied the olive and white Carpola Charlie back on and targeted two carp feeding together. The fly landed about two feet downstream from them and they didn’t seem to notice. So, I gave a slight twitch… and there was no reaction, another twitch and the same results, but on the third twitch I enjoyed seeing the carp come to the fly and suck it in. I set that hook this time.

For a fish this size the fight wasn’t all that remarkable, which speaks for what I’ve been seeing in these fish of late. For the most part the carp have become somewhat lethargic and they tend to suspend and rest a lot.

The olive and white Carpola Charlie after the battle.

I did go to the Bend and here were five or six waking carp in the shallows. It would seem like easy picking but getting the fly to the carp was an insurmountable task. Oh, I could get the fly to them all right, placing it just inches in front of them, but there was so much moss and debris in the creek the fly simply was swallowed up in the stew.

The pilgrimage continues but not as much as earlier in the year. It’s become way too hot and the creek is in bad need of rain. I guess it’s all part of the carp-pilgrim progress.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Prairie Ocean Flies - The Griffith's Gnat

The batch of mosquito's are done so now I turn my attention to another favored small fly on Blue River - the Griffith's Gnat.

Again, this is a very simple tie but an extremely effective offering to the trout of Blue.

Although it's considered a dry fly, I've found myself to drown it at times fishing it more like a wet and having good results in the effort.

The size I'm currently tying is size 16, which for me, seems to be the perfect size in most cases. I can see where smaller sizes will prove very productive also.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Prairie Ocean Flies - The Mosquito

The dog days of summer always brings me a lot of vise time while I start to fixate on trout season at Blue River.

Currently I am tying a batch of Mosquito patterns which have worked well on Blue in past years. This pattern is a fairly easy tie, although I must admit they are getting harder for me to see with each passing season.

Here's what you'll need to tie this pattern.

Hook: Mustad Dry
Size : 16 - 20
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Four to five grizzly hackle fibers
Body: Black thread or quill (your choice)
Hackle: Grizzly dry fly hackle

I always trim the bottom of the hackle to make the fly ride upright.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oklahoma Wildlife Expo Coming Soon

Mark your calendars for September 25th and 26th because the very successful and growing Oklahoma Wildlife Expo will be taking place.

Tons of activties being planned and this event continues to get bigger and better with each passing year.

Here's the latest news release from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

Ancient art of archery a modern pastime and big business; try it at the Wildlife Expo

Some things never get old, like archery. Though the art of shooting an arrow with a bow is considered ancient by anyone’s standard, it remains a popular outdoor sport today, with continually advancing technology and a booming industry. Visitors to this year’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo can shoot a bow and arrow for free and receive hands-on instruction to sharpen their archery skills.

This year’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo is slated for Sept. 25-26 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Activities available to visitors include a range of outdoor recreational opportunities. In addition to archery, visitors can plan on free fishing opportunities in a stocked pond, shotgun shooting, kayaking, mountain biking, ATV riding, bird watching activities, wild game meat samples, seminars, prizes and more. Visitors also can shop at the Outdoor Marketplace, a large area where outdoor-related businesses will be selling gear and services for sportsmen. This year’s Expo also will feature popular attractions like wild game calling, hunting dog training and performances, wildlife photography and more.

The Wildlife Department partners with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the free event, which is designed to provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts while promoting and instilling an appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources.

Whether catching a fish for the first time or building a birdhouse to take home with them for free, visitors to the Expo get the chance to soak up a weekend of free outdoor knowledge, skills and experiences as hundreds of volunteers and Wildlife Department employees work to keep the event exciting, educational and entertaining.

The Wildlife Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 25-26. Log on to regularly to stay up to date on this year’s Expo activities.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sustaining The Prairie Ocean

Officials of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, part of the national park service, announced new plans for management of the famous Vendome Well.

The Vendome Well was drilled in 1922, and since has served as a welcoming sign and centerpiece to the one million annual visitors to the park.

Officials plan on reducing the flow of the well by one-third. This will be accomplished by reducing the flow of the well by 50% daily from midnight to four o'clock a.m. This action will save 108 million gallons of water annually.

Park officials expect little or no degradation to the downstream waters and the life therein.

This new management plan is part of the effort to bring sustainability to the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer - the lifeblood of the prairie ocean.

If only such a plan would've been put in place many years ago.