A recurring vision of futility kept jumping in and echoing through my skull at random times all day yesterday and on into the night.
Part of the vision is painless or even pleasurable. I see my hastily attached olive ostrich-hearl fly plummeting for the bottom. The grass carp is casually tailing in some moss when the falling fly catches her eye. She goes oddly still until just before the fly hits bottom and then she explodes in a blurred shape across a foot and a half of mossy bottom.
For a take over such a distance you must pause. You must control the urge to set the hook immediately and endure the moment. The moment lasts a split second but it seems longer. The moment is full of suspense and slightly disjointed as a compartment of your mind steps back and coolly watches the action in slow motion while holding another more predatory and instinctual part frozen like a cat just before it pounces. Eventually an alarm goes off in your head, the predator part of your brain is freed into jolting motion and you set the hook.
This time my vision of the moment is haunting. As the scene progresses the part of my mind watching the action seems to go blurry and hazy. I can still see the carp in motion but there is no recognition or meaning to the scene. The moment flows over into eternity. No alarms, no bells and no transition. I feel repeatedly impotent and powerless as over and over again I watch my suppressed predator give nothing but a feeble and belated hook-set. With just the barest sensation of fly bumping mouth the fish reverses direction and thrusts for deeper water.
I have not yet caught a grass carp, or at least not one that counts. At 20+ pounds this particular grass carp is the only fish in my favorite pond that is over 8lb and I have only seen her 6 times. I have only had three shots. I have now botched two incredibly aggressive and visually stimulating takes from this supposedly vegetarian carp. Sometimes in life we only get a couple of chances at something special, here is hoping for another.
In case anybody is curious here are the two flies that this particular grass carp has attacked. They couldn't be more different.