Sunday, May 8, 2011

CARPTORIOUS: Love-Handles!

Maybe it wasn't all April's fault since it was my own fools mission.  In April I made a decision to lay off my local river a little and focus on finding early still-water action in metro Denver.  I could have caught as many 16" Carp in ponds as I wanted but that loses it's appeal pretty quickly.  I did manage the occasional shot and landed one fish in a bigger lake but not enough to make it worth the effort.  Live and learn.

This weekend I hit my favorite lake very early but once again there was nothing doin.  To heck with it.  I was crawling off the early spring still-water wagon a beaten and desperate man.  When I fall off the wagon I fall hard.  I raced to my local river and proceeded to have one of my best days there yet.  Five landed, several more near misses and this very large (for me) 17lb carp sporting love-handles of all things!     
Love Handles!
The action started quickly.  Partially hidden behind a boulder the size of a refrigerator I was able to flick out a foam worm and twitch it along in front of a bank-cruiser.   I would twitch the fly forward 6" and he would follow eagerly.  On the fifth or so twitch he had had enough and charged the fly.  This was an interesting fish.  Very nice sized at 12lb, very strong and another one of those lip-less mutants I have been catching in one area.  As you can see, my first ever attempt at a timed grip and grin went poorly!

Where is my Head...where in the heck are the LIPS...would he have gone 12-1/2 with lips????
After that I quickly caught a couple of smaller (22") fish.  On the first I peeked my head around a bridge abutment and there she was tailing hard only 3' away.  I flicked the foam worm underhand into the zone, stepped back, counted one-thousand and set the hook blind.  On the second I cast the foam worm blind into a slow pool and let it drift on a tight swing.  After a half second or so the drift started to go weird and surreal as the line started moving upriver.  Hello...sleeping-jackass...that usually means a fish doesn't it?  No harm no foul as the fish was landed with the fly firmly in the corner of it's mouth.

After that the wind got vicious.  Gusting to at least 30mph.  I had 3 more awesome visual takes but on all three the wind was doing crazy things with my fly-line.  Every time it gusted at exactly the wrong time and pulled the fly out of the zone early.  Two of the fish actually started tailing furiously right where my fly had been just moments ago!  That was EXTREMELY frustrating.

In response I moved locations 1/2 mile downstream to a small deep hole behind a dead-fall under a bluff.  I had excellent cover and was protected from the wind.  I was able to fish within 6' of a group of circulating carp for over half an hour with them none the wiser.

These fish really did not dig the foam worm that others a half mile upriver had attacked passionately.  I cycled through 4 or 5 different nymph and crayfish style patterns with similar results.  They would either spook at the fly or ignore it altogether.  I eventually cycled back to the leather worm.  On the first cast one of the circulators broke ranks and dipped as the fly plummeted for the bottom.    I set the hook and immediately knew this was a big fish, at least by my standards  Of course he made a move for the dead-fall almost immediately but I was loaded for bear with 8.5lb flouro, good knots and an 8 weight.  I asserted myself, tightened the drag and walked straight down river with the fish in tow.

Crazed Chipmunk With
The Kings Own Fish
This time the timed picture went considerably better as I took a practice shot ahead of time.  I did everything I could to get these done quickly but I need practice before I do more of these shots.  Hard on the fish!

It turns out I should have chopped my head off on all the pictures since I look like a crazed chipmunk.  I had a wisdom tooth extraction earlier this week and am still swollen.  I caught one more 24" fish on the leather worm with a drag and drop presentation and headed home.  Very happy but also exhausted and starting to ache where that wisdom tooth used to be.


  1. Dang that is one chubby carp! An ATTEMPT at a timed grin and grin? I'm totally impressed...I can't even manage a timed shot without a fish in my hands. Ah, and a pic of the lipless mutant! You are right....creepy!

  2. Very goog. Congratulations.

  3. Excellent read McTage. Man, those are some fatties.

  4. By the way, that "King's Own Fish" pic is hilarious.


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