Monday, August 27, 2012

And the stinky goes to.....

Here is Will Rice's write up on the Carp Slam.  I bodly predicted that it would be coming in my last post, I was correct.  To be perfectly clear this is a must read and is clearly in the running for the coveted stinky award for excellence in carp on the fly literature.  I made that up, there is no stinky award.  There should be and I hereby formally nominate.

Will spends a whole lot of time calling himself a net-caddy.  He makes me feel like a blog-caddy.

Incidentally we do have some real awards to give out.  The winners of the hats randomly awarded for excellence in donating to the Carp Slam via Fly-Carpin are:

Ty Goodwin (Finewater)
Matt Esson
Cory Stansbury
Brent Wilson (Uprising)
John Montana (Carp On The Fly)
Many thanks from me, DTU and the Denver South Platte to these and all the other donors!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Carp Slam: Quick Update

I know everybody is curious so here is a quick update on the Carp Slam.  I will try and write more when I am not exhausted.

We did not win but I did catch a fish and more importantly I learned a ton from Ty and had a blast.  I will try and write about some of what I have learned recently in the next week or so, I am too tired to do much more than this update.  I really think that I need to do a total shift in tactics on the river to make the jump from somebody who can almost always catch some carp on the DSP (not being humble that is actually really big) to somebody who can drop the hammer on them like Ty.  Wanting to win is always a fun part of competition but I do the slam to try and learn how to take the next step from guys who have.

Clint Packo (my partner last year) and Will Rice won with three fish.  Couldn't happen to a better couple of guys and that isn't just bullshit.  Keep an eye out for whatever Will Rice writes about the big fish Clint caught just want to hear the story, trust me.  No pressure Will!

Team Fly-Carpin also raised a very respectable amount of money ($275.00) to benefit the South Platte.  I am so grateful to everybody who contributed!  I am going to try and do the drawing for the hats Monday, DTU has a backlog of people needing a list of contributors so we will see if I get the list by then.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Carp Slam: Ritual

Big day tomorrow.  Beats and partners have been drawn for the slam and I am pumped.  I drew Ty Clifton and couldn't be happier.  He is a great dude and total hard-core carper.  When I want advice on gear for carp this is the man I trust above all others.  His level of carpin experience makes mine look amateurish.  As a matter of fact he is one of the guys I can just point at and raise my eyebrows when people ask why I am in the amateur class.

For beats we drew Florida in the morning and Mile High in the afternoon.  I am not sure how well fly fishing for carp goes down as a spectator sport but feel free to stop on by and say hello if you are feeling it.  These are two of the most famous beats on the river for various in-explicable reasons.  Due to my anti-social aversion to other fishermen on the water I mainly fish Mile-High in the off season and virtually never fish Florida so we will see how it goes.

I am extremely excited and anxious and in the last couple of hours I have had to slip into ritual to try and calm down.  I am sure we all have our rituals for a big day of fishing.  I have verified the contents of my pack and cleaned and conditioned my fly-line for the first time in, well, ever.  I have pre-rigged two rods with fresh leaders, carefully tied knots, and some of the freshly tied flies I obsessed on all week.  The gear is all piled up and verified in front of my fly-tying desk.  My clothes are neatly folded (in a rumpled pile more accurately) next to the bed.  Waters are packed and camera's are charged.  I am ready, I hope the carp are!     

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Carp Slam VI: No More Secrets

Do some digging and you find out that most Carp Slam competitors write the name of their go-to fly on a little piece of paper and then quickly swallow it.  That way nobody can figure out their secrets but their secrets are so secretive they need to be able to dig into the better not mentioned in the unfortunate circumstance where they themselves forget.  I am not sure I am man enough to do the dirty deed if I forget so I got drunk and took this nice picture of my go-to fly instead.  I should be able to decipher it in an emergency.

Oh hell, who am I kidding.  First off I drink about once or twice a year and tonight was not it.  Second of all I have a blog.  You wanna have secrets?  Don't start a blog.  Secrets and blogs don't play nicely.

Don't forget to stop on by my competitors page and donate to the Denver South Platte.  In case you missed it all those who join team Fly-Carpin are entered to win loot.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Colorado River???

So I am on a family trip in Glenwood Springs.  We are having a blast but me being me I keep looking at the Colorado flowing by the hotel and wondering.  Even at this altitude it already has a carpy look to it.  I suspect the chalky brown color to the water is the norm but I still wonder.  How far to the nearest carp and are they reachable with a fly?  I have heard rumors and rumblings but know nothing.  I remember canoeing the Colorado in Grand Junction as a youth.  Those vaguely pleasant memories scream carp on the fly to my adult self, but I could be a state or two from the Colorado River carpin for all I know.  Knowledge is power my friends and I am powerless.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Carp Slam VI: Join Team Fly-Carpin, WIN LOOT!

Don't worry, I will get to the loot and how you might win it eventually.  First, the bully pulpit. 

Every year I participate in the upcoming Denver Trout Unlimited Pro-Am Carp-Slam.  It is a great event and is one of the fishing and social highlights of my year. 

As much fun as it is, there is more to the Slam than just having a good time.  Over six years ago the Carp Slam was conceived as fundraiser to fund improvements and repairs to the South Platte.  It has been success full beyond expectations.  Thanks to the hard work of Denver Trout Unlimited the Carp Slam raised 30 thousand dollars last year, twenty five thousand of which has already been earmarked and donated to projects to improve our river!  That is amazing and has to rate as one of the strongest community driven stream improvement programs in the country. 

Just as importantly the Slam also raises awareness of this incredible resource.  The fact that the Sand Creek oil spill was found and reported was a direct result of the increased awareness of our river fostered by Denver Trout Unlimited and their marquee event.

Alright, I hope that wasn't to bad.  To the loot!  This week I had seven limited edition Fly-Carpin hats (2 grey, 3 tan and 2 black) made up for the cause.  The two grey hats are going to my Pro partner and I.  The five tan and black hats are up for grabs in an electronic raffle to support the South Platte.

To be eligible all you have to do is go to my Carp Slam VI competitor page and join team Fly-Carpin by donating to the Carp Slam.  DTU has made it extremely easy to contribute.  Just press the orange donate button and pony up with a credit card or Paypal.  For each dollar you donate you will be purchasing the electronic equivalent of a raffle ticket.  The more you donate, the better your odds!  First draw will get first choice between tan and black, second place second choice etc. until the five hats are gone.  

Boring Details:
  • Must donate through Trevor Tanner's Carp Slam competitor page before midnight Friday August 24th. 
  • Drawing will be via Excel random number generator.
  • I will perform the drawing and announce the winners on Fly-Carpin and across multiple social media sites within 24 hours of DTU providing me the list of donations.
  • If you would like to remain anonymous please notify me when you make your donation at mctage at yahoo dot com.
  • I will do my best to contact the winners for shipping details.  Dropping me a line at mctage at yahoo dot com after you donate will help.
  • I will ship the hats first class no charge.
  • There is a remote possibility I might win some loot of my own if my page draws the most donations.  If it is one of Scott Wells kick ass carp prints like last year you can pry that from my cold dead hands.  Otherwise I will consider adding it to the raffle loot.  I don't think we have to worry about it at this point though, the leader has raised over a thousand dollars!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Intimidation Time

I may be jumping the gun here but I feel it is high time to let all those other chumps in Carp Slam VI know what they are up against.

We are talking 0.5 ounces of sheer terror
I checked out the last remaining beat that I had never fished today for an hour and a half.  It turns out I had my reasons for not stopping by.  When I finally got a take I was so stunned that I think I soiled myself before forgetting to set the hook in stunned amazement.  No biggy, that just meant I fit in better with my surroundings.  Ughhhhh.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Does Elvis Even Fly Fish For Carp?

Is that CarpFoot.  Nah.  Elvis?  Nope.  That is actually the equally legendary Barry Reynolds being butchered by my limited camera skills.  Well, legendary for us couple thousand weirdo's I guess.  At any rate, Barry and I got out for a couple of hours on Saturday and I was hoping to get some action shots of him landing a carp. 

Picture by me.  Sucks.
What can I say, I like to collect crappy fuzzy pictures of my carpin heroes in action.  You laugh now, but my collection will be worth tens of dollars when I am dead.

It was a really fun outing though.  Barry and I both caught a carp and had a couple more on between us in limited time which feels like redemption for our Carp Slam pairing four years ago.  Ancient history perhaps, but we got very thoroughly skunked.  Barry just doesn't get the offer that often and frankly neither do I these days so it was nice to get a reset.  I also got to see Barry's latest direction on carp flies for the DSP and I think it is seriously on the mark.  Unfortunately with the slam coming in less than a month it is also probably top-secret!

My favorite moment of the day was when Barry looked at me, smiled wryly and said "Looks like your in a pickle".  We were fishing from a bridge in order to get around early morning low-light combined with off-color water.  I had misinterpreted or more likely just ignored his plan for how we were going to land a fish if we hooked up because his plan really only applied to the downriver side of one end of the bridge.  Unfortunately I was on the upriver side of the wrong end of the bridge.  As a result I was fifteen feet above the river and 10 above the bank with guide wires extending upriver 30 feet to either side of me and no apparent way down.  Combine that with a decently sized (low teens-ish?) and angry carp running furiously down-river in heavy current on 2x tippet and while landing the carp was in question, so was the future of my new (for me) Sage VT2 rod.

I worked it out.

Picture by Barry Reynolds.  Doesn't suck.
It turns out that an old Salmon / Steel-head trick I had almost forgotten about works for carp too.  Give a fish running hard downriver a little slack or light pressure and sometimes they will turn back upriver on their own.  After that is was just a matter of temporarily handing Barry my rod and ignoring the fact that I am no longer a whipper-snapper.  Climbing over the edge and hanging from the bottom of a bridge so that the drop goes from 10 feet to 4 feet is after all whipper-snapper territory!

Incidentally, if you want Barry to show you the non-idiotic way to hook a carp from a bridge or anywhere else for that matter he happens to be guiding carp on the South Platte with Trouts Fly-shop these days.    

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hot. Really Really Hot.

It has been some summer.  I have had to bite the bullet and fish through 100+ temps several times already.  Today it hurt and it hurt bad, particularly when I got to the river and found it as high and off-color as I have seen it since May.

It is possible to have a good day with a little color in the water but you are going to have to work for it.  You have to find fish tight and shallow which means you have to move and keep moving and keep moving.  Combine that with this heat and it was excruciating.  By noon I was wilting and for the first time in a long time I seriously considered showing some wisdom and  calling it a day early.  I ended up having a decent day and am glad I didn't.

I was pleased with the first fish of the day but it wasn't my favorite.  It was a nice sized fish but I didn't really get to see it take the worm (guesstimate set) and for some reason this carp gave up immediately.  

The second fish was more like it.  A little bigger, awesome visual take and some seriously hard runs.  This fish felt great because I had switched to a spot that I mentally set aside for these exact conditions 3 months ago.  Successfully patterning carp like that is a thrill, it doesn't happen all the time.  Nice picture too if I do say so myself.  Stupid grass.

My favorite fish of the day was the last one though.  This was a smaller fish, but one of those cool takes where the fish follows the fly down and nails it to the bottom while tailing furiously.  Take your time on the hook-set, that fish isn't going anywhere!  The best part was the fight though.  I had to cast to this fish from on top of an 8' wall with clumps of trees 3 feet on either side from me.  In other words I was hosed as soon as I set the hook.  I had a plan though.  I set the hook and immediately pointed the rod straight at the fish while carefully handing my rod around 4 or 5 trees until I got to a spot where I could get down.  I wasn't even looking at the carp because I had to concentrate on passing the rod so I spent the whole time just watching my Lampson Lightspeed go for a ride.  Really cool.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bimini Twist for Carp

I use the Bimini twist to attach my tippet to my leader for carp or any other big fish on light leaders.  The Bimini twist is a 100% knot and when tied correctly it will always be stronger than your fly connection.  The opposite is true for most other tippet knots.

I read a story about somebody losing a very special carp at their tippet knot recently so I finally got off my butt and made a video to show you the process.  It really isn't that bad and may save you a trophy down the line.