So there we were, just the three of us. Me, a new variation of the Crazy Charlie, and a beautiful day upon the prairie ocean, a day given.
It's hard to say whether it was the tug of nature or the possible tug of a carp on the line that called more today. Perhaps both? Regardless of which it was, it was enough to chance an extra early departure through the backdoor of the mercantile store on the way to the workshop for the soul.
Leaving an hour earlier than normal, when there is no normal in my schedule, carried additional reward with it today in the form of time of day. To understand how important time of day is, you have to try and imagine the water that Charlie (the fly-fisher) and I fish.
Our carp water is an intimate creek that at points is as much as 35 or 40 feet wide, but, is only three or four feet wide in other areas. Along the way both banks are lined by trees - trees that stretch their arms toward one another forming a canopy. This canopy creates a great deal of shade on the water. Sometimes shade works to our favor, but, more often than not, when sight fishing for the carp shade is a great hindrance.
It would reason as gorgeous a day as it was on the prairie ocean today, the carp would be on the move, frolicking in the beauty of the warming water that spring has delivered. They were not. However, it should be noted than our temperatures are running about ten degrees below normal, and this may very well have an effect on the carp movement.
Starting at the pasture known as Shipwreck, there were few carp to be seen. Ten minutes into the outing however, a rather good size and lone grazing beeve was spotted. The new offering, that one mentioned as a variation... that variation being a single set of rubber legs dangling from the thorax area, was presented as a gift to this lone fish. It must have been eye-candy to this beeve as he deliberately swam to it and sucked.
This carp was, without a doubt, the largest carp I've caught this season. Even though we never weigh our carp, we have a good sense of what their weight is. Looking at this beast, I dare say he would tip eight pounds. The carp in our creek do not reach the size of the carp is some of the Colorado reservoirs or the water of Idaho, or a lot of other fisheries. But, with that being said, these fish we fish for have tremendous heart and dogged determination to escape the clutches of our sharp-pointed hooks.
A lesson learned last season, a lesson learned through bad experiences, is to always re-tie the fly after battling a significant sized carp. In battling a large and powerful carp the knot does become stressed, and far too often last season I would loose a fly on the next fish after roping a large beeve... because of not re-tying.
With that chore being done, a course upstream was struck. A half mile of water was covered without a glimpse of a carp. The poor performance of this fly fisher, on the stage of this great theater nature had given today, was rather... disappointing.
It was the damn shade I tell you.
It has come, however, as a part of frequent trips, to realize that when the shade hinders sight fishing for carp, it also affords opportunity to fish for the bass that have the tendency to favor the shaded water. Two fat Kentucky bass, or spotted bass as another moniker owned, came to hand courtesy of the Crazy Charlie with legs.
Reaching the pasture known as the Courtyard, the nexus of carp social and necessary interaction was discovered in bountiful form. Here the carp were grazing heavily, but here... throwing the rope around the beeves, is at times... insurmountable.
The bank at the Courtyard is a steep and sheer one. It is a good eight to ten feet above the water. On the fly anglers right and left, above and behind, is a thick blanket of nature's greenery. The only option is roll casting and that in itself is often tough to accomplish.
After a number of attempts, a risk in spooking the lot was taken. In one corner of this pasture a good roll cast can be made, but again, spooking the fish is highly probable. Making my way to that corner, the one lone beeve detected my presence. As the fish turned to swim away, I sent the offering rolling anyway figuring there was nothing to lose. The Crazy Charlie caught his eye... and he sucked the fly mid-column.
The afternoon range ride had come to an end as I made my way back downstream and thankful for the beeves branded.
Charlie, the fly fisher, is one hell-ava scout. Of all the pastures we have to fish, Charlie discovered the "Pasture", the "Courtyard", and "Dry Gulch". Now it seems that he may have discovered a sea of it's own on the greater prairie ocean. A sea that has the promise for leviathan sized carp.
Tomorrow, if the promised rain permits, a course for that sea, in a journey of discovery, will begin.