I wasn't even supposed to be out fishing today. I had a Dad's day at Zack's school until 9:30. It was fun and he loves that stuff. When I got home to go to work my wife reminded me it was going to be 60degrees today and that I should take the day off and go fishing. What can I say, she is a bad influence! Or a great influence since I went 2 for 4! (Sorry, no pics, I forgot my camera)
I was at the river by 10:00. The water was still up and off color in the section I have been doing so well in and I couldn't find the fish. I think I had one decent shot and blew it so eventually I moved downriver to a new section with a possible big-fish run I wanted to try. It would involve blind-casting to deep water (approx 3-4 feet) with intense current but I figured it was worth a shot.
I hooked 2 medium sized fish pretty quickly in a semi-slack side eddy with an olive Carp-Stew. 60deg weather makes a big difference in the quality of the battle! At first I thought that they MUST be foul-hooked to be kicking my butt in January. No, I got a good look and both were fair. Unfortunately I haven't had to worry about carefully setting the drag lately because the fish have been cold-wimps. I had been careless and it was too tight so I lost both fish. You would think I would figure it out after the first fish wouldn't you.
I gave the spot a rest for half an hour and moved over to the other side. It was a quicker tougher drift from this side but I didn't feel like I was getting to where the big fish would be. I switched to a Jaime's Krazy Carper VERY heavily weighted with lead dumbells and started in with a slight up and across drift with light strips and the occasional mend to slow it down. On the 4th cast I hooked the monster of the run....in the dorsal. I am sure it was over 30" but I intentionally pulled the fly out. Bummer. On about the 12th cast I hooked up hard and was fair into a nice 27" fish. This was my best battle since August at least. What a difference 60F makes.
After that fish I spent another couple hours blind-casting but eventually it was about 3:30 and time to go. the route back to the car passes a really big hole. One of the biggest and deepest sections on the river. It holds very large fish but I have only ever found them in spawning, sulking or hiding-deep mode so I usually ignore it. Not today. I happened to glance over as I passed and there were at least 20 large fish tailing just on the deep side of a sand bar. I have never seen that many fish tailing at one time on the Platte. Never.
I ran up to the next ford, crossed and moved down into position. By some freak of lighting I could see shadows well enough to pick the head from the tail but I was screwing up left and right. This section is so large and deep that it is nearly a still-water and after 4 months of fishing current I was jacking up the presentation. Too heavy of a fly, too hard of a cast, too close, too far etc. etc. Eventually I switched to an Egan's Headstand to lighten the splash and finally started some decent lob-drag-drop presentations (I will blog on this method at some point) followed with small 2" intermittent strips. I couldn't see them well enough to visually detect a take so I was careful to maintaining contact with the fly and when the take came it was like a hammer-blow. After the second great battle of the day I beached another 27" carp and headed home. What a great day!