>Carp-e diem.

>I found myself with a few hours free and despite actually catching trout in a recently non blown out local creek yesterday, I decided to teach myself patience at a lake stalking carp. I have been carp fishing a half a dozen times, usually by myself flinging flies, and wondering why these fish are so much smarter than myself. I have repeatedly gone into Front Range Anglers to listen to the wisdom of the people that I see in the blog with many golden monsters in their hands. I thought that I was doing what they told me, but it was never producing fish. The closest I ever got was when I found out the hard way that my tippet was too light. (Something a trout fisherman just doesn’t understand.) 

Today with thunderstorms threatening and not much hope remaining, I still found myself creeping along the banks of my favorite lake, stalking the Colorado Bonefish. The first fish was huge and feeding hungrily. His tail was making ripples on the surface and he was neck deep in mud. I still found a way to spook him. He cruised away slowly seemingly annoyed that I was dropping “food” all around him. I continued walking to my favorite spot and found a couple carp eating pretty close to shore. What I thought was a stealthy approach was too quick for one of the fish and he disappeared beyond casting range. His buddy didn’t notice me and I got a cast a bit further than I wanted. My brain still thought these were real bonefish. I thought of all the tips that I had gotten from FRA and tried to slow down my heart rate. I stripped my fly hoping to drop it close to the fish’s face. I pulled it a bit too far, but let it sit for a moment. The carp noticed, turned 90 degrees and sucked up my fly. My heart stopped. When I set the hook (with a big strip like Jay said) I expected to see my fly skittering across the bottom. Instead, there was a tightness in my line that meant I had hooked the fish or another rock, stick, weed, bottom of the lake, or other more likely scenario. Then he ran. Fish on! Hot damn, I had finally hooked a carp. Then I got nervous. Would my knots hold? My drag is too loose. Can I actually land it? How do I land a carp? I had to stop thinking and start reeling. Luckily, my friend was watching and I was able to tell him that this was my first carp and I was very excited. I noted the bend in my rod. Man that looks good. The fish tried to run into the reeds, but I was able to keep him out. This was nothing like dragging a log to the surface that so many people expect. This fish took off. I would get him close and he would run again. Eventually I was able to land him (I dropped my rod in the water and scooped him up) and pose for a picture.
The folks at Front Range Anglers know their stuff. With their help, I was able to land my first carp. Now who wants to go fishing tomorrow?

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