On the great lakes the winds are the carp Pied Piper. They whimsically push around the warm water and where the warm water goes the carp follow. In this case the wind was now cycling cold water across yesterday's miracle flat and it was a waste-land. All we found was a couple of stray carp cruising through on their way somewhere else and this odd aquatic worm.
The smart move would have been to find a new flat in a new bay, but leaving the spot where you just had one of your best days fishing ever is extremely difficult.
Fortunately the area we were fishing was large and complicated. Islands, long points, ridges, sloughs, and small offshoot bays all added up to some of the most complicated hydrodynamics you can imagine. With enough time putting our boots on the ground we found a small section where the water in a small bay of super-shallow super-heated water was being pushed out into a shallow slough by the wind. This water was a good 20 degrees warmer than water 30 feet away and that had drawn in at least some carp. They were neither as large nor as hungry as yesterday's targets but beggars cannot be choosers. These carp were also significantly shallower than yesterday's and that is Ty's game. For the third day in a row Ty drew first blood. And second blood and third as a matter of fact!
Between the high winds, long range and shallow depth I just couldn't seem to get the presentation right. I never did get it right as a matter of fact, until I totally changed it up. After switching to a smaller Sculpin-Head McLuvin fly and wading onto an island on the far side of the slough I had a pod of 5 fish swim right up to me in total seek and destroy mode. Easy money.
And that was that. We didn't know it yet but that spot and every other spot within wading distance in the area was done. Believe me, we wasted almost the rest of the day inspecting it all and did not get another real shot.
Once again we had to change it up and we got in the car and dramatically changed spots. I only wish we had done so sooner.
The day was nearly gone. Miles was slowly working his way down a bank and into the depths of a windblown bay ahead of Ty and I. I had cast my fly in front of several shadows which seemed to be lazily vacating the area and had turned to essentially tell Ty they were onto us when my my rod was nearly torn from my hands. The rare accidental semi-blind casted at carp. Very rare. Very very rare.
After that Ty and Miles went on ahead to work the rest of the available shoreline while I stayed in the same spot. After such a lucky fish I was really just considering my day done. On a whim however I stepped out on to a large rock jutting out into deeper water. Something about the change in vantage opened a window into the depths and I could several carp feeding heavily in waist deep water. I was blown away. Some of these fish were less then 10 feet from where Miles netted the fish in the picture above. It was shocking. It was also distressing because I could not seem to buy a take from these fish. I put my fly right on them over and over and over with no love.
Finally I switched to a larger rust-colored fly with a massive (supposedly medium) sized sculpin-helmet and dragged and dropped it next to a large tailer in waist deep water that was only fifteen feet away.
The take was one of the best I have ever had. The fish absolutely destroyed the fly and from my elevated position I got to watch the whole thing. It was an amazing moment and a really nice 22lb post-spawn carp.
So Day 3 started with a whimper, had a moment or two in the middle and ended with a bit of a bang when we finally got over it and moved on. Yesterday's flat is always yesterday. When today's flat is clearly empty it is time to move on. Lesson learned, it will not happen next time.