Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yeah, He Super-Sizes

Check out this little chunk-o-love.  I do believe this is one the shortest carp I have ever caught.  Undoubtedly the roundest.  Either this little fella is working hard to be a big fella, has somehow figured out how to get through the Burger King drive-through or has a thyroid issue.  Do fish have thyroids, because this carp was practically round.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Should I Fish Sand Creek or Not?

The Denver Post recently published a detailed article on the Suncor Sand Creek petroleum spill with some startling and disturbing background.  It seems like some folks had their heads firmly buried in the sandy banks of the aptly named Sand Creek for months if not years before the shit hit the fan. 

I had a discussion the other day with a friend about fly fishing for carp in the area.  He was of the strong opinion that fishing there implied forgiveness or that everything was OK when clearly it is not and will not be for some time.

He is probably correct on many levels and I struggle with the symbolism of fishing there but I will continue to at least occasionally.  Not because everything is fine and dandy but because this is my river.  This is your river.  This is our river, and I will be damned if Suncor can take it away.

It has taken quite some time for the fishing to return to anything even resembling normal but they certainly couldn't take the river or even the creek away from the carp forever.  Tough bastards those carp. 

On a side note it was probably a bit idiotic to actually wade-in for the photo.  I got caught in the moment which had deep meaning for me.  Maybe this space-cadet shouldn't fish there after all.  What do you think?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Head Hunting and the CAG Big Four

Some folks take a negative view on fly fishing tournaments. I guess the idea is that there is something impure about competition that sullies the sport.   As long as people don't take things too seriously I view it in a positive light.  For me competition is a good way to add a fun wrinkle to a fun activity. It enriches the experience, socializes what is frequently a loner activity and provides a different context for learning.

At the beginning of May I entered the Carp Anglers Group Big 4 competition.  The competition adds up the participants four biggest carp by weight in the month of May and is really for euro-style carpers.  My only goals were to not come in last and generate motivation to focus on targeting big fish.  Looking back on May, the competition had an interesting effect on my fishing habits.

I am usually a shot slut.  I take any and every shot I get in the order I see them. If there are multiple shots I don't expend a sliver of thought on which fish is the biggest but rather go for certainty.  This past month I put allot of effort into trying to pick my shots.  I was weak at times but if I saw a small fish tailing I would try to check out the immediate area for bigger fish before taking the shot and even occasionally skip the shot altogether.  If I saw a group of positive fish I would take the time to try and target the largest of the bunch. 

The end result is not what I expected.  I adhere to the John Montana 15 pound criteria and by that measure I did not catch any big carp this May while I caught several last year.  I guess I probably got a few more shots at big fish that just didn't work out, but mostly I found that I became more observant.  Although I caught the exact same number of carp this May as last, I somehow feel that the quality of my shots increased significantly.  I really think I generally got more exciting shots than usual.  I also caught two mirror carp that I may have otherwise missed.

So here we are at the end of May, at least for McTage's fly-carpin adventures.  How did I do in the Big Four?  I think I will take the fifth on principle.  I wouldn't want to sully the sport with any impurities.  You know, stuff like "shit" and "shitty".  Nope, wouldn't want that at all.  At least I have some pride left though.  I am not going to log this awful picture of a very small carp.  Unless I move out of second to last place by 7lb 1ounce of course! 
Is it my imagination or does lack of focus add a couple of pounds?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Carp-Stew, Now in Technicolor

A good friend recently asked for a favor.  Seems he fancied a bunch of carp-stews but thought the color options could use some sprucing up.  Tis true, I started boring with my color selections and have pretty much stuck with comfortable.  I suppose orange, rust and olive does not a full arsenal make.

I wish I had a better color for the legs / belly on the otherwise very cool looking grey combo but am pretty pleased with what I worked up.

Carp-Stew carp flies in a variety of colors

Carp-Stew carp flies in a variety of colors

Of course now that I look back at it I didn't really stretch myself much there.  These color combos came out really great looking but hardly outrageous.  Except for maybe that yellow one.  Yeah, that one is feeling pretty bold, even with Nate's Mello Yellow making waves.   Big outing tomorrow, better get some of those tied up for myself.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thunder, Thunder, ThunderNet Hoeeeee!

Some kids wanted to be a fireman or Superman.  I wanted to be a ThunderCat.  Two weeks ago I went out and bought a new mongo over-sized triangle folding net (35 bucks at Bass Pro Shops) and rigged a back-sling for it.  It feels like I have a huge double-handed broadsword ready and waiting.  Living the dream baby.

Thunder, Thunder, ThunderNet Hoeeeee
How big is ThunderNet?  Freaking huge compared to my old one that is for sure.

So far this setup is a little awkward when I have to bushwhack.  When ducking under branches the net bunched up behind my head likes to get caught.  Branches no bigger around than your little finger have almost dropped me like a damaged prize-fighter several times now.  I will get used to it.

My old net was pretty cramped.  Carp 17lb and over like this one from last month would barely fit.  

This fish that I caught today were all at least 5lb lighter than that one but ThunderNet is like the lap of luxury for any carp unlucky enough to book a room.  

Mirror Carp

If you were thinking to yourself that this whole entire post was just an excuse to post a picture of my latest Mirror carp I deny everything.  Here is another picture though. 

Seriously though, at least when it comes to the fish-handling angle, this net is the bomb.  I can't wait to try it out for something a little bigger.  And another picture.  Just in case.

Fly caught Mirror Carp Scales

Sunday, May 13, 2012

They Call Him Mello Yellow

Fishing time has been a tad scarce lately and the weather this weekend did not help.  I did manage to get out long enough to land one small carp locally but for the most part I am living vicariously through others.

I was very excited to read about John Montana and his first 30 pounder of the year this weekend.  First of many hopefully!  It also got a nice rush from the following email from Will Rice about one of the fly-swap flies he received:
Who tied this fly?  And why are fish chasing it down and crushing it?  Please tell the tier in question: "Will Rice owes you a brewski..."
Will Rice
PS: feel free to use any of these pics.

Well, that there is the Mello Yellow tied by the DSP's own Nate Taylor (visit Nates carp fly page with a Mello Yellow Tying Video).  And since I certainly don't have any pictures as sweet as this lately, don't mind if I do!
Nate Taylor's Mello Yellow Carp Fly in Action - Photo by Will Rice
Nate Taylor's Mello Yellow - Photo by Will Rice
Carp Hooked on a Mello Yellow Carp Fly - Photo by Will Rice
Fish and Photo By Will Rice

Landing a Carp caught on a Mello Yellow - Photo by Will Rice
Fish and Photo By Will Rice

Carp and A Mello Yellow Carp Fly - Photo by Will Rice
Fish and Photo By Will Rice

Thanks Will.  The fly swap may end up being the coolest thing I ever have done or will do with this blog.  Keep the truth alive brother.

I Believe
Photo without a fish but about Will Rice

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Medina You Lucky Bleep

I seem to be better at finding exotics than catching them lately.  My carpin buddy Mike doesn't seem to have a problem.

Me "I had half an hour to scout that lake you told me about and had a good shot at a totally awesome pure white KOI"
Mike "You mean the white and grey one?"
Me "Uhhhh, I thought it was all white but how did you know?"
Mike "Southwest Corner?"
Me "Uhhh did ya..."
Mike "Gotta go"  Click.

Less than 24 hours later -

Mike "Yeah they were both back in that corner."
Me "Uhhhh....BOTH?"
Mike "The all white one you missed and the white and grey one I stuck."

He didn't mention it was a white and grey MIRROR Koi until he sent me the pictures.  How freaking cool is that!  Just one small line of scales down the back.  Which would officially promote him from lucky to lucky bleep. 
Mike's White Mirror Koi Carp on a fly

If something seems odd about that picture, well Mike is what I call "spin-curious" and he caught this fish on a black leach fly on a spinning rod.  Mike is a life-long fly fisherman, teaches fly-fishing and even makes the occasional fly fishing video, but when nobody is looking he carries around a long noodly spinning rod which he over-hand fly-casts freakish distances with.  How does that work?  More importantly WHY?  Beats me man, but the first time I met him I opened the conversation with something like "that would work a whole lot better with a fly-rod"  At which point he cooly and casually dropped his fly within inches of a carp a good 30 feet away.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bath-Tub Testing The Carp-Stew

I can vaguely remember a really cool toy whale I had for the bathtub when I was a kid.  You would wind it up and then the fins would wiggle and off would swim Mr. Whale.  Cool. 

I still like to play in the tub, but now I play with carp flies.  Sit back and enjoy the latest installment of fly-carpin bath-tub testing, it has been a while.

I need to make more time for these videos.  I really took notice of that little explosion that the carp-stew does when it hits bottom and now that I think back I have had several carp this spring ignore the fly until it hit bottom and then show sudden interest.  I think I will put a little more effort into letting the drop fully terminate before deciding that a carp is not interested and imparting some action.