Last night, Charlie sent me a report of how he could stand high on a bank above the shallows at the pasture that bears his name. He could stand there totally undetected by the carp below foraging in the shallow drink. And... he reported that there was some carp activity taking place.
On my lunch hour today I had to go see for myself. Upon looking over the bank I see two rather good-size carp about fifteen feet upstream and they are indeed foraging. In the prairie schooner is the rod already assembled with a Creek Critter tied on. I trot back to the schooner and fetch the rod and sunglasses.
In order to cast to the carp I could see best I would have to lean out and up against a tree that was about 40 to 50 inches in circumference. Shaking line out of the end of the rod I threw out the amount I thought it would take to roll cast the Critter to the carp.
I made the roll cast and the fly landed about a foot directly in front of the carp. I watched the fly fall quickly in the column and it turns out I wasn't the only one watching. The carp rushed to the fly and I planted the hook firmly in his upper lip.
The carp took off like a rocket straight upstream and this is when I realized I was in a heck of a predicament. I hooked the carp with the rod being on the left side of the tree I was propped up against. In order to land the carp I would have to try and pass the rod to my right hand by passing the rod in front of the tree that was in front of me. Being 40 to 50 inches in circumference it was going to be a stretch under perfect conditions. The problem was the fish was on a hard run and I couldn't bend the rod enough to grab it with my right hand.
Three different times I almost had the rod when the carp would make another run. When the carp got into the backing I didn't know what to do except hold on. Finally, I felt some slack and I once again tried to pass the rod. I got enough bend in the rod to grab the rod at it's mid-length, (which is probably a terrible idea - if the carp would have run then I would have carried a broken rod home), and now had the rod in my right hand.
Now, I could step down the tree root staircase to the edge of the creek. The last step of this tree root system puts the angler about six inches above the creek. I didn't want to get in the creek because I had work shoes, khaki work pants and white shirt on. But, it worked out well. I simply spooled up enough line and got the leader inside the guides and then gently reached down and backed the fly out of the mouth of the carp. He quickly left the scene.
When I gathered myself I saw blood dripping and what I didn't know was all that reaching around the tree had scraped the skin off my hands and I was now bleeding from both hands.
Sad part of today was I was on my lunch hour and the camera was back at the bunkhouse... so no picture. It was a very nice carp though - one of the largest for me this year at about 12 pounds or so.
I left the creek to go the house and wash up before returning to work. At the house I decided to take a picture of my scraped hands and bloody khaki pants just to document what some of us who fly fish for carp will do to land a fish.
|At least I didn't get the Khakis wet. Hope the blood comes out.|
I have no idea of what a passerby must have thought when they seen me with my arms wrapped around that tree. Probably thought I was some kind of weirdo tree hugger or worse.
The lengths we who fly fish for carp will go to in order to land a carp. We are a sad and hopeless lot.