This is however, not a story of self pity and loathing. There were 30 days in September, and that 30th day provided vindication and relief. On Friday I arrived at the river at 8:30AM. It was too early to easily spot fish so I went straight to a classic ambush location. Feeding fish are readily available here tight to a bank of boulders but they get heavy pressure and the cover is inadequate. If you want to sneak up on the fish you have to crawl down to the bank as slowly as possible taking advantage of the light brush when available. After taking a good 10 minutes to slither down I was in position. So far so good, there were about a dozen fish holding tight to the boulders roughly 10 feet away. Most of them were still in an early morning snooze, but three or four where in a slight nose down attitude and one fish was tailing hard so tight to the boulders that his head was actually under an over-hang.
I was nearly on my belly using a clump of 10" tall grass to hide most of my profile. I couldn't get off a cast though and had to partially raise my torso just to make an attempt. Raising my head a couple of feet blew my cover and all the fish slowly but emphatically ghosted away.
But wait. Remember that one fish tailing with his head under a boulder? He could not see me and was intent enough on something delicious that he failed to notice all his buddies making for parts unknown. I lobbed a lightly weighted Trouser Worm 3 feet past the stone over-hang dragged it back and let it drop slowly through the gap in the boulders at the bottom of the picture above. The drop was about 6" to the left of where I imagined it's head to be. With just a slight flick of it's tail the carp changed directions and after a brief pause I set the hook into resistance.
What a relief. I have caught many carp on flies this year, but even though this is a cookie cutter DSP carp (just under 9lb) this may be one of my favorites. After all, it busted my September slump! After that I was able to relax a little bit and get into a better flow and by the end of the day I had caught 2 more in the river. I may talk a little more about one of them in another post because I would like some thoughts from others on how to deal with one particular scenario.
On the way home I stopped off at a local pond and nailed a couple of smaller fish on a prototype carp fly I am working on. Progress has been slow. Although the various iterations have hooked some fish here and there (including one in Oregon by John Montana) they haven't landed a fish yet. I am not certain they are getting the response I am looking for and it was nice to get a couple of really savage takes with a happy ending. This latest iteration is a combination of prototype 1 and 3.