Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Diamond-Strike Fish

This weekend I fished for the Rainbow trout, but today I returned to the fish with the diamond-strike pattern - the carp.

I know it's trout season and yes I've been in love with the pretty fish for sometime and still am.  Dylan Thomas wrote, "Lovers are lost, love is not."  That prose is how it is with me and the trout... I still love them but I also admire the carp. 

I think I can effectively fish both species through this winter season, however after today I believe fly fishing for carp is going to get much more difficult.  I set out to capture five carp today.  Only once before did I catch five carp, but one had the hook impaled in the side of his face so he didn't count.  Today... I managed the five carp, which might make it sound like carp fishing is easy right now.  It's not.

I started at the pasture that carries Charlie's name.  A month or so ago I predicted to Charlie that this pasture would be our best chance to capture carp during the winter due to the fact it would receive a lot of sun.  I was dead wrong!  The arc of the sun is much lower than I thought it would be.  Today, Charlie's pasture was a football field-size patch of darkness.  I spent a good hour there hoping things would improve, but they never did.  I could see some carp on the far side and I knocked on their door a couple of times.  They answered my knock, but again I couldn't see them in the shadows. 

The shade wasn't my only nemesis today.  There was a steady and strong riffle on the water for most of the day.  With a strong riffle, it doesn't matter if you have shaded water or crystal clear water - it's still difficult to fish these carp.

In addition, parts of the creek were once again blankets of leaves.  And then, there is the clarity of the water.  Rock Creek is in it's winter-time mode and the areas that weren't shaded were gin clear.  It didn't matter what kind of cast I would make, be it a forward, roll, or low profile sidearm cast... the carp would see the line in the air and spook. 

After leaving Charlie's Pasture I went to the pasture known as the Beach and it too was shaded.  Just above the beach is the Bend, but it was crystal clear and the carp spooked easily.  Then I went to Well Springs and here I found my first opportunity.  The carp here were feeding in the shallows and it didn't take long to take one.  I think this illustrates what our strategy will have to be this winter.  Concentrate on the shallows for feeding carp.  I predict they will come to the shallows to feed, then return to the deeper water and undercut banks.  At these places they go into a non-animated mode, where they are resting.  You can fish to them, but it will be totally ignored.  

All the time I was fishing for carp today I was thinking about trout and the extraordinarily high number of trout I've missed in three outings.  I blame the carp for this.  With carp we set the hook hard and fast even though some recommend a slow-strip hook set.  Charlie and I both tried that slow-strip hook set and that crap doesn't work.  In addition, if we slow-strip the hook set we allow more time for the carp to get the fly too deep in their throat and end up damaging the creature.  That's the last thing we want to do. 

So, with the trout I've been setting the hook hard and fast and all of you know that's not necessary or recommended.  With trout, all it takes is a lift of the rod tip or snap of the wrist.  Since trout have somewhat tender mouths, I've been pulling the hook through their mouths with the fast and hard hook set.  In addition, the trout have been double-striking and with my fast reaction, I'm pulling the hook away from the fish on the initial strike.  So, it's going to take some time to readjust to trout. 

After the first carp, I took a beer break.  Making short order of the long neck, I then proceeded to the pasture known as Mother.  I would take a carp in the shallows above Mother, two in the shallows below the Courtyard, and coming back to Mother - the final carp. 

All five carp were taken on the olive and black Backstabber and all taken by sight-fishing. 

Here are some pictures of my day on Rock Creek.  I gave thanks and left the creek mid-afternoon.
Well Springs carp taken in the shallows.
Rock Creek is gin clear right now.
Taken in the shallows above Mother.
Feeding carp in the shallows at the Courtyard.
Travertine Creek feeds into Rock Creek.
Mirror carp taken in shallows at Courtyard.
Final carp of the day at Mother.
The fish with a diamondstrike pattern.

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