Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Friday, April 1, 2011

Carp Redux 2011 - Fixated On Carp By Elk Hair Caddis

I've never considered myself much of a dry fly fisherman even though I have caught trout, bass, pan-fish and now carp on dry patterns.  Since catching my first carp on an Elk Hair, I seem to have become fixated on doing nothing else in the pursuit of carp. The window of opportunity in capturing carp on the surface is short, and therefore my fixation has become compounded. 

The gloomy weather of last week has given way to bright sunlit days and today the temperature was close to eighty degrees.  Going to the pasture we called the Shallows, I carried great hope of capturing and battling a carp today.  Very well did I know that my best chances would be using a subsurface pattern such as a Carpola Charlie, San Juan Worm, Crazy Charlie or Zimmerman's Backstabber, but, upon getting to the local water there were a few sipping carp - the beeves of this pasture feeding on blossoms.

So, the Elk Hair went on.  As it always seems, getting the fly to the carp was going to be a chore.  Today, they were sipping the blossoms that were directly underneath a low hanging tree limb.  The beeves, being where they were grazing would require a side-arm cast from said fly angler and therefore a side-arm was employed. 

I'll have to say I was pretty darn proud of the side-arm casting today with the first attempt landing directly above the grazing carp.  My blood pressure probably rose a good ten or twenty points as the fly drifted into the thick of the five or six carp.  But... one of those prairie ocean banditos - the thieves of a fly angler for carp dreams, intercepted the Elk Hair and spooked the carp. 

Attempt number two would play out the same with a perch stealing the fly and sending the carp back downstream.   Each time the carp would spook they would return five or ten minutes later.

Love these little creatures, but they can be pesky.
Also likes the Elk Hair.

The third attempt was another good cast and with great anticipation I watched as once again the fly drift into the carp when one opened his mouth and sucked the Elk Hair in.  I went for the hook-set and the carp promptly scattered.  Evidently, I wasn't patient enough on the hook-set, and thus my reasoning that I'm not a good dry fly fisherman.

Ten minutes later the carp were back and another attempt was made.  This time the carp spooked for no apparent reason except one of them sensed my tippet.  This wasn't the first time I've seen this happen and I simply don't know what to do about it.  To hold these Longhorns of the water, we must rope them with 2X and 2X is certainly not conducive to floating a size 12 dry pattern. In an attempt to help the Elk Hair, I went as far as greasing the last two foot of the 2X.   Any suggestions on how to keep from spooking the carp with the tippet will be greatly appreciated.  Just leave your comments in the comment section... please.

Long story short is that I would have two more sucks on the Elk Hair Caddis and I would go for the hook-set too early each time.  Three great opportunities today, and I blew each one.

The main reason as to why I go for the hook-set when I do, is the fear of letting the fly get too deep in the throat of the carp and possibly cause damage to the creature. 

After missing the third carp on the Elk Hair, the beasts went to mudding and grazing on the bottom.  Guess I could have switched gears and tied on a counter-weighted fly, but somehow I just couldn't take the Elk Hair out of action.

If tomorrow proves to be a fishing day, and I see just a few sipping carp... the Elk Hair is going back on. 

If anyone has suggestions about my hook-set and tippet problems I will appreciate your comments.  

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