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.