It was 114 degrees in Kingfisher, Oklahoma today. Here, on the southern current of this prairie ocean where Charlie, me and the carp live... it was only 109.
It's hot everywhere here. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are trapped under a heat dome that just won't seem to move. It seems like the weather in Oklahoma dominates weather news these days. Just today, there was a report that reveals in the month of July, 64 heat records were tied or broken. Also, we learn that the time period from January through June of this year was the warmest recorded period on record in Oklahoma. This past Monday, Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency because of the heat and exceptional drought.
Over the last several weeks I have found myself conflicted whether to continue to pursue the carp. I have indeed cut my outings by more than half and only go out in the cool of the morning or evening. It is to wonder though, if my outings are wise at all.
There are a number of fly anglers for carp that I exchange with and many of them keep telling me that as long as the carp have water they'll be fine and it's okay to fish them. As much as I respect the advice of these anglers that have been at this game longer and know more than me, I must follow what my gut, heart, and soul tell me.
I've been fishing long enough to be able to watch and observe the behaviour of fish and get a feel for how they're... feeling. When I encounter carp in the early morning hours still acting lethargic, it tells me that these creatures are slow to recuperate from the blistering temperatures of the day prior. To capture and battle such a stressed creature will only add to the stress, in my opinion.
I know that carp are durable and tough... survivors for sure... and what many call rough fish. Rough fish they say, but I look at them as sweet ruffians in the riffling tears of time. Creeks, streams, rivers and waterways are the collection points of the tears of humankind - they always have been and will always be... as long as they exist that is.
Many who begin fly fishing cannot capture, keep, and kill enough fish when they first begin. Eventually though they reach a point where they make transition from fisherman to angler and it is there and then... they ask themselves if everyone else that fly fishes kill fish like this, how long will there be fish to angle?
A dead carp is a dead carp. A living carp presents a challenge and it's that challenge that draw us who prescribe to the fur and feather in the pursuit of carp.
This morning a dispatch from Charlie was received and he is beginning to see what I'm seeing and suggesting we leave the creek carp be awhile. Hopefully, the scorching temperatures will break soon and we can resume.
Until then we will look to the big and deep water of the large lake pastures. These pastures are, for the most part, uncharted water for us and present a huge challenge.
However... it's the challenge that we love, isn't it.