Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Gar and Grass Carp On The Fly

I set a couple goals for myself in the 2011 fishing season. I told myself I would catch carp while fly fishing and I would try to catch a gar on the fly. I am proud to say that I have accomplished both feats. I landed my first gar while fly fishing and I got my first grass carp on this last outing to the River Des Peres in St. Louis, MO.

My buddy Brian and I ventured into the storm runoff / sewer drain ridden River Des Peres. Brian is the king of finding fishing spots in the urban setting. He is constantly on the look out for the next spot to find some fish to cast at. Once again, I would have walked right by this river. I would have never dreamed it could hold fish. We had a great day catching a lot of fish. We both landed our first gar while fly fishing that day. Good times.

Brian wrote up a great blog post about our trip and he posted a video of a slight mishap while fighting a fish. Check out his blogpost here.

Fly fishing tips:
1. Clean your gear after fly fishing in dirty, slimy and scary water.
2. Gar will hit anything bait fish looking. Our gar were mostly caught on wooly buggers.
3. Sharp hooks when fly fishing for Gar.
4. Sight cast to gar and strip the fly across the gar's path. They will react to the fly and hit it.
5. It helps to have a fishing buddy to net fish.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wading For Carp In A Flooded Field

Recently, I got the opportunity to spend an afternoon fishing some waters with a new fly fishing buddy. Brian and I are learning how to catch carp on the fly this season. I met Brian at a local fly shop in St. Louis called Feather-Craft. Check out Brian's blog here.

Brian found a spot he calls the secret carp flats in the St. Louis area. We met up and he drove us out to a flooded field fed by the Missouri River backwaters. I lost a pair of wet shoes to the mud and then I switched to hip waders but I didn't have any socks so I got a mega blister on my foot. We did get one carp each for the day and Brian landed his first Common Carp.

I don't wade much, so I learned a few things on this outing. Here is a short list:

1. Wade slowly and when you get to a spot, be still. The carp will come back and get within a couple feet of you if you are still.

2. Pay attention to how the carp are reacting to your fly. I started the day with an orange carp carrot fly, but the carp were spooked by this fly. It is killer on my home waters, but not on that field with the light brown surroundings. I switched it up to a green wooly bugger and I had a hit within a couple casts.

3. Wear freaking socks with waders. I am still limping around from that stupid mega blister.

4. Get closer to the carp than you think you should. It is super important to see the carp and you can generally get within a few feet of most carp if you use some caution. I do have great respect for the guys who are casting long distances and getting takes. I like to ninja my way to the carp.

5. Finally, inspect flooded areas for carp. I would not have imagined carp were in this field. It didn't look like enough water to hold a puddle let alone 4lb carp. Check it out before you write it off.

I had a great day of fly fishing with a new friend on new waters. What is not to love about that?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Truth to the tales

A huge grass carp has been stalking the shores of my local pond every time I have gone fishing. I think it is a game where he mocks me now. I sneak up on him, he fakes being interested and then waits until all is quiet and then bolts away with waves following him. Of course, I am in the zone and being super ninja stealthy, so I jump and look like an idiot.

However, I had a sweet victory yesterday. I fooled him for once. I landed a carp carrot right in front of his face and he couldn't resist. I set the hook and the fish was on for a split second. He shot away with intense speed and my line went slack. Needless to say, I was super confused. I pulled in the line and all I had on was my carp carrot and a single scale from the grass carp. A token to me and yet again the fish mocked me. Dang it.