The water was crystal clear today and the first thing I noticed was that the yellow color scheme has remarkable visibility in clear water. It really stands out and I was able to track the fly much better than usual. Judging the location of your fly is extremely helpful in recognizing and timing takes but can sometimes be difficult, particularly in current. In the case of this mirror carp the increased visibility of the yellow color combo was critical and made for a very memorable take.
This was a straight-on shot where the fish was swimming very slowly straight towards me after leaving a rubble pile that it had been aggressively scouring for several minutes while I waited patiently for a clear shot. I was incredibly lucky that it emerged on my side and I wasted no time casting the fly behind the fish and drawing it slowly down the side of the fish and letting it dive forward past it's eye and several inches in front of it's mouth. As the fly dropped forward and down through the field of view the fish pulsed it's lips and flared it's gills without accelerating. If you cannot see your fly your immediate reaction HAS to be to set the hook and hope the fish managed to get the fly or you will miss many takes. In this case however I could clearly see the fly and knew that due to the tension I had on the line the carp had not managed to actually suck in the fly.
This happens sometimes, particularly with head-on shots with vacuum takes where the carp does not accelerate. You are effectively taking the fly away from the carp unless you relieve tension at the right time which is really hard to do since that first pulse of the lips is always a surprise. Since I knew that the carp had missed the fly I knew to give one short slow strip and hope for a re-take. The carp accelerated slightly for the fly and once again pulsed but not before I had finished the strip and once again I could clearly see that the carp had missed. On the second strip I changed the timing ever so slightly and was able to put the fly into free-fall prior to the third and final pulse and I could clearly see the fly go backwards prior to setting the hook. Like I said, a memorable take.