Daily wind of twenty-five to thirty-five miles per hour has, for the most part, put fly fishing for carp on the skids. The wind not only riffles already compromised off-color water, it also launches the air assaults of blossoms, tassels, and tender young leaves that fall toward the surface. Once on the water, nature takes the leafy material and quilts a blanket of cover across the surface, further shielding the golden ones from the sight of the pursuer of carp by fly.
Pursuing the carp by fur and feather is close to impossible on the local carp creek at this time.
It has been a long while since Charlie or I have held good conversation with the good carp. Said dialogue with these creatures is our ever demanding need, and we are quickly becoming desperate for conditions to improve so we can exchange once again with the gentle creatures that lumber in the drink.
Saturday, the wind was predicted to be as strong as it has been for the last ten days, and Sunday's prediction was for even stronger wind. However, Saturday morning was as calm as a mill pond, so I decide to check the pasture known as Well Springs. Arriving at Well Springs, the carp are out in good numbers having a morning feast. I turn the prairie schooner in the direction of the bunkhouse and once there the carp gear is quickly gathered. I grab the rod, the fur, the feather... and head back to the creek.
As a gris-gris for the tippet, and as a charm to the carp, the Crazy Charlie goes on with high hopes this fly will be the fool's gold for the carp and serve as a good enough trickery so we can do battle.
The majority of the carp are downstream to the east. At a quarter to eight in the morning the sun is blinding to the fly angler for carp. I kept trying to get position where a tree trunk would block the sun's beams... but, that proved fruitless. Finally, I simply turned my back to the sun and looked upstream.
Upstream there were only a half dozen or so carp across a vast span of creek. Targeting two carp in a shallow and narrow channel, the Crazy Charlie is sent with a twelve foot flip cast. The fly disappears from sight almost as soon as it enters the water, but watching the behaviour of the near side carp it looks as if the fish in on the fly and has sucked. A slow lift of the rod tip, pressure sensed, snap of the wrist and the tie is bound - man and carp are connected.
With so much of the creek being compromised, the intended pasture today is Charlie's Pasture. This pasture remains clear with great visibility due to an inflow of water from little sister creek Travertine.
Upon arriving at Charlie's Pasture it doesn't take long to realize that something special is taking place today. The carp of this pasture are in the spawn. It's a frantic, frenzied, passionate and lustful event to watch. Knowing that this is their time, not the anglers, I simply sit on the bank and watch the events take place.
There is tremendous thrashing along the deep cut bank across the creek. Whether this is a result of the chase or the females trying to dislodge eggs... I do not know.
I carried a single beer with me today. It takes a solid hour to sip that beer while I take in the spectacle of nature's call in this carp community - a call that ensures the community will continue.
Watching this event made me realize how little I know about living life in the water and on one hand I wish I understood more. However, on the other hand... I'm glad it is a mystery to me, because it's the mystery of life in the water that continues to draw me.
The male carp are dogged in their pursuit trying to win the favor of the fruitful and fair females. After watching these creatures for a good long while I decide to see what the bass and pan fish have on their minds.
The only fly used today was the Crazy Charlie. Both bass and pan fish favored this pattern and it seems like the presence of both bass and pan fish is healthier this year compared to last year.
Encouraging, delightfully encouraging.
Last night I enjoyed reading one of Tom Chandler's recent posts on Trout Underground. It seems that recently Tom was contacted by a writer doing an article and Tom was asked the question, "What is Trout Underground?', which basically asks "What is fly fishing?"
Of course, like most of us would, Tom struggled to find the correct or sensible answer and perhaps that's because there is no right answer. Fly fishing... is perhaps... impossible to define.
There was a time in my fly fishing life I had to catch fish. If I went fly fishing and didn't catch a fish, regardless if it was conditions, my inability, not minding my P's and Q's, or the sun being in my eyes, I would become quite ill from getting skunked. Ill to the point of being generally pissy, down-in-the-mouth, severely depressed.
Fortunately, this stage would only last several years as I grew in fly fishing and the day would come that catching fish each time wasn't necessary. No sense in lying about it though, I always want to catch fish when fly fishing.
Over the last couple of years I've come to look at fly fishing as not something I do, but rather a place I go. I now call fly fishing the workshop for the soul.
Approaching sixty years old, rather soon, I am most thankful I can still get on the water as easily as I do.
This morning I recognized the smell of spring grass, blossoms, and flowers. This morning... I found the footprints of wildlife bound - wildlife that live along the banks of the creek and share their home with the angler.
This morning... it took me an hour to drink a beer while watching the carp make love.
It was a special morning... this morning.
|Unfortunately, the wind did come up and a gust took the Crazy Charlie into the clutches of a far bank tree. The Crazy Charlie gave his life at sea this morning.|