Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Monday, April 30, 2012

Conversations With Carp - And Conversations About Water

I've always loved to fish early.  It comes from my youthful days fishing with my grandfather.  In the spring and summers of my youth, it was normal for grandfather to have me at the fishing hole as the sun was coming up. 

As far as fly fishing for carp I can't say that fishing early, as the sun is just coming up, is all that productive.  In fly fishing for carp, good light is often a necessity.  But still, I like fishing early.  Anymore, chances of being at the water by daybreak are few.

However, this morning I informed the headmaster at the mercantile store that the day would be burned. Stepping out the door at my prairie home there was the scent of rain in the air.  A morning shower had just passed and it just enough to freshen the air and moisten the grasses. I headed straight for the creek arriving before sunrise.  Shortly after seven this morning the first fish of the day was on the reel. 

Using Charlie's Biter Critter, a football shaped carp had found the fly as it landed on the bottom of the creek and the suck was detectable in the line.  A good hook set came my way and the morning talks begin. 

Several times this fish was hauled to the fringes of the creek only to have the carp somersault and make another run.  This carp had good fight and that is something I always admire. 

The fight with carp seemed to roust other species from their slumber and soon the Biter Critter would find catfish, bass, and of course those frisky little devils the perch.

As I was standing on the creek bank this morning, watching the water slowly flow by, another conversation came to my mind.

There is currently a lot of talk about Oklahoma's future water needs and management.  For the last couple of years the state has been working on a statewide water plan that will address Oklahoma's water needs and management for the next fifty years. 

In this process, two tribal governments - the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations have asked for a seat at the table in the planning of Oklahoma's future water.  Their requests for such a place at the table were not answered and feeling excluded and concerned, the nations had little recourse except to file suit. 

In response to the nation's suit, the state of Oklahoma has threatened stream adjudication - a lengthy, nasty, and terribly costly process. 

The tribal governments have now launched an educational and informational campaign through print media and television. Their presentations are top notched, well thought out, and based on science.  The message the nation's have sent are both polite and intelligent. 

In looking at both viewpoints, from the state and the tribal governments, the tribal governments arguments are making the most sense.  And, they continue to be patient and polite in asking for a say, for unity, and careful and thoughtful planning that will sustain springs, creeks, rivers, and water basins.

I hope the state of Oklahoma will reconsider and invite the tribal nations to the discussion table regarding water.  Oklahoma's future water needs must be addressed now and cannot wait ten years or more for the adjudication process to be complete. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Clouded Conversation

The Dutch oven cook-off that was part of the festivities of the Arbuckle-Simpson Nature Festival was yesterday.  It was a fun event, lots of great recipes were created, and the event sponsored a good cause.  However, I'm glad it's behind me and there will be time to get back to the water and possible conversations with carp.

At the Dutch oven cook-off I prepared the recipe Chicken In Cherry Sauce and it was good enough to win the People's Choice Award.  I am quite thankful for that honor.

This morning, after leaving the mercantile store, a trip to the creek was in order to see what the carp, if anything, had on their minds.

To say the least it was a cloudy affair today.  The sun was somewhere hidden behind a slate of blue-gray.  The color of the creek this morning is hard to describe - somewhere between green tea and tannin color.  Yesterday winds dislodged a flotilla of leaves and with a southerly wind this morning there was a steady riffle on the surface. In other words, it was difficult to see.

Today's offering to strike up possible conversation was Charlie's Biter Critter pattern.  About ten feet from the bank was a lumbering carp and the Biter Critter was put slightly upstream of this lallygagging fish. It was easy to tell the carp came to the fly, but seeing the suck was another thing. 
We have to rely on those gut feelings we get when seeing is difficult.  Lifting the rod tip, pressure felt, a sudden and resolved upper heave of the fly rod, and the fish bolted downstream.

Not knowing it at the time I had waited just a second or so too long to go for the hook-set.  When the carp finally arrived at hand, the hook was about an inch or little more down the fishes mouth.  However, with the forceps the hook backed out rather easily with no damage to the creature.

This was by no means a big carp, probably five or six pounds, but the creature was thick and had some shoulders.  The conversation was extremely awarding and seemed to serve as enough for the day. 

After lugging heavy Dutch ovens yesterday this body was in need of rest and I returned to the prairie home to do just that.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Lunch Hour Chat

There are times at the mercantile store that things become more than I can bear, or more than I care to tolerate any longer.  Today was one of those days, so my thought was the best course of action was to take a lunch hour and see if any of the carp cared to carry on a... civilized conversation, which didn't seem to exist at the mercantile store this particular Thursday.

Today, Charlie's Biter Critter fly caught my attention and this variation of the Bonefish Biter went on the lasso.  At the creek bank I wanted to get the fly wet, so out she went to fairly shallow water above the Honey Hole pasture.  Not paying attention I begin to strip the fly in when I saw the carp on it.  But, I had already given the fly too much life and the fish turned away. 

Going downstream a position on a fallen tree was taken.  About twenty-five feet upstream there was the beautiful sight of an orange tail waving in the drink.  A tailing carp is what the carp by fly angler dreams of, what we hunt, the thing we always hold high hope of encountering. 

A problem existed however.  There wasn't any room for a back-cast.  In addition there was thick and heavy tree limbs both on my left and right.  With the fish being upstream and tree limbs extending far over the bank, a standard roll cast was out of the question.  The only way to get the fly to the fish was with a back-handed roll, so I let one go out.

When the fly landed a foot behind and to the right of the fish I figured a golden opportunity had just been lost and the fish would surely spook.  The carp did not spook, but turned and came straight to the Biter Critter, slowed, then lunged.  The rod tip went up hard and fast, the hook-point penetrated deep, and our lunch hour chat begin. 

This carp was a strong fellow, peeling line off, taking me to the backing.  While line was being taken out, I was trying to figure how to land this fish.  There wasn't much to think about really - to land this fish required getting wet and here I was still with my work clothes. on.  There was plenty of time left in my lunch hour break and this would provide time to go to the prairie home to change socks. 

Stepping down on another fallen log I was only about ankle deep in water.  The carp eventually yielded in his run and this give me some chance of gaining ground on the fish.  After a fairly lengthy fight a message was sent to the carp with a hard pull-up on the rod.   The fish answered with a riposte in the fashion of peeling all the line I'd just gained. 

Our meeting and chat would soon come to an end as I placed my right hand under the belly of the carp and removed the hook with the left.  It was a nice chat.

And as promised, since the perch require their due, here is today's Biter Critter perch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Crowded Conversation

The opportunities for carp by fly outings have been few lately primarily because of other activities that are looming.  Hopefully, after this weekend some decent time on the water will come about. 

My last outing resulted in much of the same as the previous two outings with other fish butting in the attempted conversations with carp.  Although I vilify the perch at times I'm pursuing carp, the truth is I love the panfish.  Why wouldn't I love them?  Panfish have brought me countless hours of enjoyment over a lifetime. 

It seems Charlie, while on an outing yesterday, experienced the same things I have lately.  He tells me there was nothing, nothing at all, as far as fish activity, going on when he first arrived but shortly after noon a wide variety of fish gathered where Charlie was fishing.  There was carp, redhorse suckers, blue suckers, drum, catfish and most assuredly the perch and bass. 

Of course Charlie wanted the carp, but just like what's been happening on my outings, his fly was intercepted.  Charlie ended up catching three catfish and two drum.  He probably caught some panfish too, but didn't bother to mention it. 

We've already resigned ourselves to the fact we have far fewer carp to chase this year compared to the last two seasons.  There are carp though but their presence is scattered and spotty.  With other fish species being ravenous right now, our situation capturing carp is compounded. 

The only thing to do with hungry fish is simply catch them... and that's what we've been doing.  Here are some pictures from my last outing and Charlie's trip yesterday.

Saturday catfish taken by red San Juan worm ball.

Sunday catfish taken on a Ugly Dame.

Charlie's first catfish of the day.

Another channel catfish from Charlie.

Capturing other species while hoping for carp by fly is certainly not an indigenous condition that Charlie or me own.  Yesterday, I received a message from Gregg Martin in Idaho.  Gregg spent eleven hours on the water and was quite successful in capturing carp.  However, other species that came Gregg's way included the crappie, bass, and yes... the catfish.  Again, when fish are hungry we catch them... whether we want to or not.

Gregg had an excellent outing recently.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dutch Oven Gathering Coming Soon

Next Saturday, April 28th, will probably be an excellent day to fly fish, and as much as this possibility intrigues me, the angling will give way to a worthwhile event - The Arbuckle-Simpson Nature Festival.

As part of the festival there will be a Dutch oven gathering and cook-off held at Sipokni West Old West Town near Reagan, Oklahoma.  Dutch oven cooks will gather in fun and fellowship to prepare their favorite recipes in their black pots. 

Miss Carol and I both will be attending this event, dressed in our time period clothing and cooking in our Dutch ovens. 

Miss Carol will be preparing Dutch oven Chicken Pot Pie

The attending public will be able to sample he various dishes fixed in the black pots by cooks from across Oklahoma and Texas. 

All proceeds from this event go to the support of the TREES (Tishomingo Refuge Ecology and Education Society) program through the Arbuckle-Simpson Nature Festival

Miss Carol will be preparing Chicken Pot Pie in her Dutch oven and I've yet to decide what to cook in my Dutch.  Perhaps Crab Stuffed Anaheim Peppers are in order, or maybe good and tasty Roasted Potatoes.  Maybe my favorite Dutch oven recipe, Chicken in Cherry Sauce, will be in order.  No matter what, the event will be fun and a good time for all.

Again, this event is Saturday, April 28th.  Dutch oven offerings will be ready at 11 a.m., so make plans now to attend and sample the wonderful food prepared in Dutch ovens over open fire.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Conversations With Carp - New Communication Tools

Flies are a tool we use in the pursuit of communicating with carp.

Due to the generosity and kindness of Gregg Martin of Idaho, Charlie and I have received new tools in our pursuit of holding talks with the grand and golden carp. 

In today's mail there was a package from Gregg containing ten of his hand-crafted egg patterns along with a personal hand-written note.  Honestly, I don't know what is more special to me - the flies or Gregg's note.  There is a tendency with this angler to hold on to flies that have been gifted this way, put them in frames, along with the name of the giver.  However, I think I'll fish a couple of these patterns and keep the others. 

As soon as the flies were received I contacted Charlie, telling him of Gregg's gift.  Charlie will be by the mercantile store in the morning to get his share of these creations. 

Rarely have I used an egg pattern for any type of fish so this is going to be something new and most certainly a learning process for me.  Most likely this will also hold true for Charlie.  Gregg, though, is good to offer tips and advice from his outings using this pattern.

Hopefully, we will soon get a chance to try Gregg's Eggs and see what happens, but... the forecast shows more rain possibly tonight through tomorrow.  In the last six weeks, the rain has kept us off the creek and away from the carp for half of this time. 

Rain is good though, and there will be bright, sunny, and clear days ahead when we can show the carp what an egg from Idaho looks like. 

Thanks Gregg... you're a good guy and fine brother of the angle. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Weather Has A Say

Come the angler a still upset and disturbed creek

Water, confused dirty water, much less
    than pristine

The dome overhead dark, not inviting,
   not a fresco chapel Sistine

Nary a carp to be seen,
   but the occasional  jester

Tempting the angler, salting wounds,
   left to only fester

Something taking place in nature
   this dark day

Weather speaking it's mind
   nature having her say

The sky eerie at times
    tree limbs making rhymes

Winds that make the hard gust
    then stop

Rain that would begin to pour
    then stop

Sunlight that would break through
    then stop

Birds singing in chorus
   then stop

Like God had a finger,
   on the divine switch

Squirrel scampering to the tree
   hiding in the burrow

Carp hunkered down low
   hiding in a watered furrow

How can creatures tell
   when us land-dwellers can't

Of ill and mean weather coming
   weather not of faint

The angler that come today,
   for some kind of crown

Leaves the upset water behind
   owning just a frown


Storms rolled through at four this morning.  Loud and blistering storms that added only more misery to a struggling creek. 

No chance of sight fishing carp today.  Blind fishing though is always a possibility. 

Today, however, another species would interject and disrupt the attempt at more conversations with carp. 

The Carpolo Charlie carp fly seemed to be quite favorable to this fish that seemed to own a heightened sense of possible food.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Talks Broke Off

There should be pictures here.  There's not. 

There should have been carp to hand today.  There wasn't.

At the carp creek today it would be all blind fishing.  The creek still has yet to clear and is running the color of beef broth.  Blind fishing was the only option. 

Three times today the War Pony would find a carp... or the carp found this fly.  Three times today a lengthy conversation was begun.  Three times today, the carp suddenly broke the talks off.  The War Pony barbless creation didn't hold the beeves. 

One carp must have been a real beast.  The War Pony was sent to the beef colored sea with a cast that ran parallel to the east side bank.  Here, the water is about three and a half feet deep.  While making one inch strips, the fish picked the fly up and ran.  It was upstream, then down, then back up never leaving this deeper off-colored water.  Several attempts to hoist the fish toward the surface proved fruitless - the fish wouldn't budge.  The rod was bent almost in half and finally the fly pulled out. 

The two other carp were caught across the way - about thirty foot on the far bank near an inflow.  Both of these fish ran with the fly also.  The last carp seemed a sure bet and wading into the creek to work the fish downstream to the shallows, the fly let go.

There are days like this.  There have been days like this in the past and there will be days like this in the future.  It goes along with fly fishing for carp.

It's disappointing the creek has yet to clear.  Of course as far as clearing, each passing moment is in the angler's favor.  The problem here right now is three days of severe weather ahead and that could mean more rain. 

These days when a trip to the creek is planned, the Stimulator is always the first pattern tied on just in case the blossom sipping carp are active.  For the most part, the blossom sippers seemed to be off the surface feeding.  But, I remain hopeful. 

With the Stimulator, there have been nineteen dial-up's and nineteen disconnects. 

Monkey... on the back.  Monkey... must go.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Non-Verbal Language

None of us in the carp by fly world are Dr. Dolittle.  And since we are not, then we really can't hold conversations or talk with the fish.  Still, however, if we watch these magnificent creatures they will tell us what they're thinking through their non-verbal actions.

Carp exhibit different behavior at different times.  Here on this prairie ocean, Charlie and I have identified a number of different behaviors, which include fast lane cruisers, slow lane cruisers, clowning carp, sunning carp, grazers, and lastly tailers. 

In thinking of the different behaviors and what the carp are trying to say to the angler, here are some examples of what their messages just might be.

The Fast Lane Cruiser

"Beep-beep!  There's a party going on downstream and I'm running late so get out of the way.  You might as well drop that fly line out of your hand and save a roll cast because I'm not stopping to see what you're offering.  Party on my friend." 

Fast lane cruising carp are what John Montana refers to as negative carp.  Chances of catching a fast lane cruiser is quite remote.

The Slow Lane Cruiser

"Man, I just chilling and kicking back while taking a little scenic tour seeing what's going on in the hood.  Nahhh... I'm not really hungry, but sometimes if a free meal comes my way I might just stop and have a look-see.  Most likely not though.  See ya some other time... maybe."

Although the slow lane cruiser also is considered a negative fish, there is a better chance of catching this particular behavior exhibiting carp.

The Sunning Carp

"Running a little low on the vitamin D, so think I'll suspend myself along the bank here and soak in some rays.  Not really interested in eating, but man... will I ever look good with this new tan." 

Again, these fish are generally not interested and will often just move out of the way of your fly.  However, they are catch-able at times and I have personally enticed several over the last couple of seasons to dive after the fly.

The Clowns

The clowns are the carp that suddenly blast through the surface, do a belly-flop, then roll in the deep only to come through the surface once again.  Here's what they are trying to say... maybe.

"Look at me everybody... I'm a cruise missile!   Besides, I've got the darnedest itch on my side and this is the only way I can get any relieve.  No, I'm not going to eat a thing until I get this itch taken care of.  Three, two, one.... blast off!!!" 

In my opinion the clown carp are a waste of time in casting to.

The Grazer

Grazing carp are eating, but, at the same time they are not totally fixated on feasting and they maintain a watchful eye along with other alert senses.  A grazing carp should be considered a positive fish, but always respect this fellows ability to sense your presence and your presentation. 

Here's what a grazing carp might be communicating.

"Think I'll graze this buffet line and see what the offerings are this morning.  Yeah... I see you standing on the shoal over there and if you're thinking about flipping that fly out here you better do it quietly, in a most subtle fashion, and your presentation better be of Oscar winning caliber. 

The Tailing Carp

These are the guys that represent the most positive fish we can hope for.  They are cultivating the bottom and foraging with a distinct fixation. 

Here's what they are trying to tell us. 

"There is no tomorrow, I must eat now and I must eat a lot!  I hear nothing, I see nothing but food, I taste everything.  Ooooh, what's that... looks like an egg.  Yummy!

I think the carp, and much of wildlife, do indeed try and communicate with us somehow, someway.  We just have to learn the language they speak.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Conversations With Carp - To The Point Talks

With our precious little carp creek running a sediment-laden, chocolate milk color other pastures have to be entertained in pursuit of having a conversation with the carp. 

This afternoon one of the big pastures was visited.  This particular pasture is one that Charlie and me will probably just call Wilson.  It's a good size lake and deep for the most part.  However, there is a small feeder creek and there are shallow necks.

Charlie was on the water somewhere, but I couldn't locate him.  I would learn later the reason I couldn't see him because he had decided to take a little nap and was low to the bank. 

Starting at the skinny end of a neck, a trail was struck toward the wider part of this particular neck.  As I slowly and quietly walked along the water-line there came a tell-tale sign of the green lush grasses moving. 

Yesterday I read a most excellent article written by John Montana of Carp On The Fly.  In his column, John basically wrote about having and exercising patience.  When I saw the movement in the grass I remembered John's words and I stopped. 

If I had not stopped... the whole possibility would most likely been blown.  Seeing conditions today were terrible.  We had a completely overcast sky, we were fishing under a canopy of trees, and the bottom of this lake is naturally dark. 

It wasn't long until I saw the carp about three feet from my position.  The War Pony pattern had already been doused in the water, which is something I always do when I get to a creek, stream, or other carp water.  The War Pony went out with a flip cast and it looked as the carp would swim around this fly.  A little twitch was employed and the carp turned and methodically swam to eat the fly.

Almost as soon as this fish was hooked Charlie woke up.  Even though he was only seventy-five or one hundred feet away he wasn't sure it was me and hollered out.  Neither Charlie or me see so good anymore and that's a big obstacle when sight-fishing for carp. 

After releasing the fish, a reverse course was plotted to have a little visit with Charlie.  On the way, there was one more tell-tale sign in the grasses.  In front of me about ten feet out was a huge carp - maybe thirty or a couple of inches more.  The War Pony was rolled out, but fell about two feet short.  At that point, I should have just waited.  With the first carp I remembered what Montana wrote, with this second carp... I had a brain fart.  Instead of waiting, I stripped more line out and rolled the fly again, hitting the fish right on the head.  Opportunity lost.

When I got to Charlie it was easy to see the obstacle he was dealing with - hard visuals.  The ability to see in the water where Charlie was fishing was much worse than the side I had started on.  This lake has the potential of producing some good victories for Charlie and me, and someday we're going to get a break.  That break will come in the form of a sunlit day, with no or little wind, and hungry carp.  When that day comes... we will set some hooks. 

Time was short on the water today.  After work and arriving at the prairie home, Miss Carol was napping so I left her a surprise note saying her birthday gifts were by the water garden.  I wanted to get back home to see if she had found them. 

The Wilson pasture is a pretty place and even though I only stayed an hour it was a good hour with the wildflowers blooming and the natural beauty of this place.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Conversation Piece

Well, it was nice while it lasted - the beautiful weather that is. 

Today, the local carp creek is up about two feet and running a light chocolate brown.  Most of the morning this area was under a flash flood watch and the rain did indeed come. 

This time last year it was a matter of not enough rain and this year it's a matter of a little too much rain at the times the rain have come. 

So, the carp by fly life at the local creek will be on hold for another week, maybe ten days.  However, the rain will be good for the long range carp outlook and we should have sufficient stream flow to get this part of the prairie ocean through the long summer.

Plans were to pursue the carp today, but time was spent on the vise creating conversation pieces for another day when the creek gets back to normal.

At the vise a pattern called the War Pony was created.  This pattern is named after the horses that served Indian tribes during battle and when hunting game.  Many of the tribes would paint their horses with symbols and colors that often consisted of red hues, burnt oranges, white, and yellow.  Symbols such as zig-zag lines were painted on the horses and the symbols told stories. 

For this pattern I choose burnt orange, brown, and yellow.  Over the last several seasons, burnt orange or another hue of orange has seemed to be favored by the carp of Rock Creek.  The Carpolo Charlie carp fly is tied in a number of bi-colored schemes, but the top producer is the one that includes the color orange. 

As soon as the creek settles down I plan on taking the War Pony and sending it on it's maiden voyage in search of conversations with carp. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Stimulating Conversation

Early this morning an angler could have sit on the creek with outstretched legs, arms folded over legs, rod by side, taking in the serenity of a new day.  Everywhere looked... happiness seen, in each moment of listening... happiness heard.  Happiness springing forth from creatures celebrating life.  An angler could have simply sit on the creek this morning and had a good morning.

In watching the celebration of life on the creek, it is reminding of growing old as an angler.  Often, I think, the aging angler begins to think more about life in general and the life lived.  Sometimes I find myself wishing to go back thirty years and fish that water in northern New Mexico and the pristine streams of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina. But, this morning the carp creek will be fished, and it is here that serves as a stream of reflection.

While sitting as an angler this morning, the prayers of a rain dove being sent to the heavens would have been heard.  Turtles popping heads above the surface for a look-see could have been seen.  Horatio, the heron that seems to fish wherever this angler fishes was just upstream.  Sometimes it seems Horatio and I have become kindred spirits of sorts.  Yellow creme colored oval lips would have also been seen.  Lips sipping the fallen blossoms and seedlings.  Lips that belong to the reason the angler came to the creek today, but who is enjoying much more than the expectation of holding conversations with carp.

This is a peaceful place.  This is a hopeful place.  The sipping carp, however,  would become more than this soul could bear and the Stimulator went on the tippet. 

As of this morning, eighteen carp in a row had ate, or try to eat, the Stimulator pattern.  As of this morning, eighteen carp in a row had been missed by this angler.  Missing number nineteen wasn't going to be a big deal and cutting through the suspense... number nineteen ate the fly and was also missed. 

So was number twenty. 

Number nineteen should have been a catch - the fly clearly went in the mouth.  Number twenty should also been a catch, but just as this carp sipped the fly in, he was hit in the mouth by a perch who came away with the fly. 

Bringing the fly in, it was easy to see the Stimulator had finally given up the ghost.  Hackle unraveled, thread torn, the fly was tucked deep into the fly patch. A memorial to this life is in order I think.  

On the last ten outings or so, there has been a fixation with fishing the Stimulator pattern and therefore little else has been tied on.  Having met with great failure however, decision calls for a return to the methods that have produced in the past in the search for stimulating conversation.

One thing not seen so far this season are tailing carp.  Perhaps this is due to the carp being so fascinated with the seedlings and blossoms floating the creek.  This morning though, there are a few tailing carp. 

The Carp Carrot goes on and is sent to sea.  The carp takes notices and comes right away.  The fish approaches and then slows.  Inches away from the fly the fish suddenly lunges forward, gills flare, rod tip straight up, hook in the flesh, fish shoots downstream.

While positioning this first carp of the morning for a photo opportunity, the gut-punch realization that the camera is resting on the kitchen table comes to light.  Fish released and a trip back to the prairie schooner.  Prairie schooner turned toward the prairie home, camera retrieved, ponies turned back to the creek... "Giddy-up boys"!

For this angler there is nothing worse than foul-hooking a fish, but it does happen.  On the Carrot's next voyage the hook-point found the tail of a rather large sow carp.  The carp went straight upstream.  There was no slowing this beast, no stopping a sheer determination - it was like trying to hold back a freight train. 

Line peeled, next came backing, and when the spool showed bare metal with only two turns of backing left... the backing knot pulled tight.  Only thing left to go was the knot on the fly.  It would soon give - fly lost, fish lost, not good for fly, not good for fish. 

Whether the next pattern to go on is a creation of my vise or a vise of another... I do not recall.  It's hard when you struggle to remember things.  In looking at the fly I do believe it evolved from my vise because of the similarities of the Crazy Charlie pattern.  Colors of this fly include burnt orange, yellow, and brown.  It's an easy tie with a bi-colored tail, dubbed body with v-rib, of course bead-chain eyes and a beard or wing also bi-colored.

Traveling to the pasture known as Court Yard, another feeding carp was spotted.  As soon as the fly hit the water it disappeared from sight.  In watching the carp however, there was the tell-tale lunge.  With a side-sweep hook set the fish was lassoed. 

With the battle over, pheromones run thick through the creek sending the remaining carp to refuge.  It is time to travel to another pasture.

Arriving at the pasture known as Well Springs, conditions are not favorable.  This thirty-foot wide pool is mostly muddy with little visibility.  After my eyes adjust, a tail of a carp waving in three foot of water in this small pond-like stretch is seen.  Fly is sent, a twitch in the line, carp missed.  Fly sent again, another twitch and carp is missed.  Third time charm - no?  Third time charm yes - fly sent, twitch, quick reaction, fish explodes and runs. 

With three carp to hand, it was time to call a good day a good day. 

However, before leaving I should say since the "other species", particularly the perch, continue to pursue a path and show the propensity of being persistently pesky, they should be give there due with photo's of their own.

After all, they are a fish and I an angler. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Failure To Communicate

Charlie Wright, that ZZ Top near-facsimile angler in the carp by fly world, never ceases to amaze me. 

Last Friday, after failing to bring to hand the fifth carp in a row by way of dry pattern the Stimulator, I contacted Charlie to tell him how the carp are buying-in that the silhouette of the Stimulator is a blossom floating down the creek.  I also suggested that he come get some of the Stimulator patterns I had on hand and give them a try, since I seemed doomed for failure in capturing a carp with this particular fly.

Saturday morning shortly after 7 a.m. at the mercantile store, Charlie walks in to get the Stimulators that were awaiting his presence.  After saying thanks, Charlie leaves the store.

About an hour and half that much later, while sitting at my desk doing paperwork, I hear Charlie call my name.  I look up and there stands Charlie with a half cocked grin on his face. 

"I got one."  Charlie said.

"You got one!  On the Stimulator?" I asked.

"Yep.  The carp was actually on bottom, but I put the fly on the surface and he came straight up for it."

"You get him to hand Charlie?"


"You get a picture!" 

"Yep.  Well... I think I got a picture."

"You think you got a picture - please tell me you got a picture Charlie!"

Charlie indeed got a picture, but given a variety of tech problems he has yet been able to transfer the picture from phone to computer and therefore the picture will have to wait. 

So there I sit flabbergasted for sure after having missed five carp in a row and Charlie gets one on the first try with the Stimulator.  What a royal kick in the pants I thought.

In the conversation that followed Charlie wanted to know if someone had given me a tip to try the Stimulator or if I had read about someone using this pattern to capture carp.  I told him no, but in my mind the silohuette that the Stimulator makes on the surface is about the same as a blossom floating down the creek and therefore made sense to try.

Leaving the mercantile store a couple of hours later, the creek was the next stop and in that place I spotted a blossom sipping carp about thirty feet downstream.  This fish was one of the most magnificent Mirror carp I've seen in the two years Charlie and I have been pursuing carp by fly.  The Stimulator went his way landing about two feet upstream.  As the fly floated directly in his feeding lane my heart begin to pound... louder and louder.  Now only inches away, I bent slightly at the waist waiting for that hopeful moment.  The Mirror then surfaced with an opened mouth, the fly disappeared like a carnival log-ride going into a tunnel, my body tensed.  I waited for just a second more and struck the rod tip skyward.  The connection was solid.  The Mirrow exploded in the water while carp brothers and sisters also self-destructed in a frenzy of disturbed water.  The rod tip flexed downward toward the surface and then... there was nothing.  No fish, no fly, no smile left on my face.

I do believe I felt a tear trickle down a valley on this etched face I own.  Carp number six had been lost... just like the others.  Even with widening the gap on the hook with this fly - probably the only reason the hook found the carp to begin with, I still failed to bring the carp to hand.  On the previous five carp I failed to bring in, the hook gap was left as manufactured.

Dissapointment would soon find me again.  After losing the Mirror, a yellow and brown Carpolo Charlie pattern was tied on and flipped out to a behemoth common.  This fish nose-dived for the fly and he sucked it up.  I set the hook so hard and fast it broke off and the fish swam away with my fly as a lip piercing. 

The rest of the morning wouldn't be the best outing ever on the creek.  I did hook up with what I thought was a carp, but it turned out to be a  young sucker, a Redhorse I think,  that I caught quite by accident.  This fish doesn't count because I wasn't trying to catch him.  As a matter of fact the fly was just sitting in the water as I fumbled for something in one of my pockets.  When I went to bring the line in the fish was simply there and so the fish doesn't count. 

The gazillion and half perch I caught don't count either.  Perch are some suicidal wild and crazy guys I tell you.  Time after time, these Hari Kari fish would impale themselves on the hook-point. 

At the end of the day I realized that a pinnacle had been reached - a not so lofty pinnacle that is.  Upon failing to get the Mirror carp to hand on the Stimulator, that carp became the thirteenth carp, in a row, that had not come to my hand. 

And... over the last six or seven outings I'm certain I have wore-out that famous slang word heard around this part of the country - a word us folk say... "Dammit!" 

It seems I currently have a failure to communicate with the grand and golden ones.