Monday, August 15, 2011

The Moment

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.


  1. Grassies are tough. I've never believed that they are strict herbivores. I've seen them move to a well-placed PT nymph just like a commmon too many times. Never know what kind of fight they're going to put up. Usually make a pretty good initial run. After that it's either like trying to land a bulldozer or a log, depending on how much the fish feels like fighting. Enjoyed the read.

  2. it will happen...and it will be sweet!

  3. @John and David - I hope you are right!
    @Ty - Sounds like you have a bunch of grassies. Is that kinda cool or can you take em or leave em after a while?
    @kev - That is a bunch of Ostrich plume hearl twisted into a dubbing loop and then spun like a giant wet-hackle and then flattened with a flap of peacock hearl. I doubt it has any special grass carp mojo but it is purty.

  4. McTage, I get a fair number of shots at grassies here if I want them, but personally I would rather chase the commons. Better fight from the common in my opinion. Sometimes those grassies seem to more or less give up after an initial surge or two.

  5. They are the latest rage here in CO. The state record biggest fish of all time keeps getting crushed over and over with grass carp. The last two were on the fly and there is allot of buzz about getting them on the fly. I wouldnt mind getting at least one to get off the shnide if nothing else.

  6. I'll be interested to hear your take on the grass carp as compared to the common.

  7. we (brother and I) used to get numbers of grass carp in S. Africa, on greased muddlers, #8 or 10.
    That in fact was the only fly we caught them on..
    Biggest was only 10lbs or so, though. They were planted in the trout dams to keep the weeds down, so when bored or fishless, we'd catch some for entertainment: not nearly as good a fight as carpio, though.


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