It was about 11:00 Saturday morning. In the past day and a half I had suffered an eight hour flight delay resulting in an all-nighter, we had struggled for a full day to catch one carp (an awesome carp, but still only one), I had ruined my phone, and we had suffered a tic infestation. A tic infestation of epic proportions including one disgusting specimen that had to be pulled out of my left butt-cheek. Its a good friend that will do that for you without laughing. Without laughing until he cries at any rate. (click here for more details on Day1)
Back to "The Goods". It was about 11:00 Saturday morning. A dramatic shift in wind speed and direction had completely shut down our one productive spot from the day before. We were inspecting our second spot (back in Lake Michigan) of the day from shore with a lack of optimism brought on by previous failure. Then suddenly we saw it. A single hell raiser jumped nearly out of the water far out in the massive bay.
In small water I usually ignore such behavior. At best it is irrelevant and at worst a bad omen. In big water it is a very good sign though. In big water this kind of behavior usually means allot of carp are in the area. With any luck it means you have found a ton of carp, now you can start to identify where the positive targets are.
We waded in with a new-found enthusiasm and withing 15 minutes are trip was saved. We were in the middle of a hard-packed mud flat with decent numbers of singles, doubles and triples cruising through with highly predatory body language.
Once again Ty led the way and was quickly into his backing with another 20 plus pound carp. As I was netting it I kept joking that Ty "only catches twenties". It seemed incredible at the time that our only two carp in the net were both so large..
Now, I know people will be twitching to know Ty's magic fly at this point. No magic my friends, no magic at all. Just the right angler with the right presentation at the right time. Both Miles and Ty caught almost all their Great-Lakes carp on a 1 to 2 inch olive Jaime's Crazy Karper similar to this one that Miles submitted to this years carp fly swap.
So there it was. That is big water people. You either have targets or you don't and there is very little in between. Very shortly after Ty landed that carp I caught a "small" fifteen pounder. I almost always consider 15lb a big fish. At the time it was small, aint perspective a bitch? Then Miles followed it up with his own personal best. A beast weighing in at 29lb!
Needless to say I was feeling a little left out of the huge fish department when I stumbled upon a series of cobble bars snaking their way through the mud bottom. It didn't take long to decide that I really liked that bit of structure. Large carp would cruise up to the edge of these bars in a bad goby killing mood and I was there too meet them. In no time at all I too had crushed my personal best with this 27 pounder.
I know, I know. That is a whole lot of grip and grins. You have to understand though. In the first five fish of the trip all three of us had beaten our personal best. It was surreal and mind-boggling but believe it or not the best was yet to come because within 45 minutes I hit big.
I had found a carp casually approaching a bar in water just slightly shallower than most of the fish we had seen so far. I could see the carp from a long distance and I placed a 60 foot cast (massive for me) right on the edge of the bar 10 feet in front of and in the path of the carp. It almost didn't work out. With three feet left to go to my fly the carp started to veer down the edge of the bar and had I not given one small strip it would have missed my fly. Instead it veered back, moved those three feet with an excruciatingly casual attitude and inhaled my fly (The sculpin helmet bunny shown below) from a good distance.
The first two runs were pretty lame and due to the range I really had no idea how big the fish was. The third run was bone crushing and I had my first clue that this was something special. My second clue came a couple of minutes later as I sat staring at my net and then the carp thinking "This is NOT going to fit". Somehow it did though. Sort of. Kind of. Not really.
Not only was this 34.5lb carp my second personal best in under an hour, in all likelihood I will never surpass it.
We all caught several more fish that day in the 17 to 22 pound range but eventually the wind shifted, the sun dropped and the best 5 or so hours of my fly fishing career was complete. How good was it? Well, for perspective I will typically expect to catch one or two carp around 22 pounds in my home waters a year. Our two day, dozen fish average after the end of Day2? 22lbs!
|Thank you Carp Spirits!!!!!!!!!!!!!|