Carp Ahoy!

carpapalooza6

carpapalooza6
Hit some local urban ponds today with Ben from Azwanderings.com and his buddy Justin for a couple hours this morning. The target... Carp!

We had gone out the previous weekend with another friend and saw a ton of carp, but just couldn't quite figure out the puzzle and get them to take the fly. Ben got into one for a short bit that weekend, and it started the desire.

 We hit the water about 7:30am and the sun was already warming things up quickly. We all set off on our way stalking the carp that were feeding in the shallows. I saw a couple fish feeding in a group about 20ft ahead of me along the bank and started to strip out some line to reach them. I cast out and got the fly just ahead of the group and waited, hoping to feel a little tug on the end of the line, no dice, the group saw the fly after a few seconds and bugged out! As I walked up to where they were one of them decided to come back and started to munch on the algae on the edge of the pond. I highsticked the fly directly in his feeding lane and he slurped it right up, I lifted the rod and felt the fly was in his mouth, so did he and it was on! He bolted for deep water and I gave a good solid hook-set to be sure he was locked in.

His first runs were 20-30ft at a time, and he was making some runs directly at me forcing me to take up line fast to keep pressure on him. At one point he decided to take me on a tour along the pond, around the corner about 50ft or so. I followed him to keep the line out of the concrete pond edge and during the walk made up a lot of ground on him, I was at my leader, and he was in the shallows looking at me. BAM!, he bolted again, this time taking a good 40ft of line and was headed for the other side of the pond. This went on for about 10min before he started to let me have line without immediately taking it back, I pulled out my net and scooped him up. He wasn't quite out of fight yet and decided to take a few laps around the bank and covering my rod and reel in slime, yum. A quick snapshot and he was back in the water, I on the other hand was covered in slime, what a mess.

carpapalooza1

carpapalooza1

That was my fish for the morning, we left about 10am and headed to Cabelas to browse the reels. Ben caught a great fish, the pictures I saw in the camera were great, look for his write up over at his blog Arizona Wanderings, I'm sure he'll have great pics of the stinky giant.

I get home and Crystal (My wife) see's the carp pic and wants to head out there and see what she these things for herself after some lunch. We get there about 1pm and notice a lot more Bass and Bluegill crusing around and the carp are feeding less in the shallows and a bit more just hanging out suspended in the middle of the ponds. I show her how the fish are feeding, and what I learned about getting close to them without spooking them.

carpapalooza5

carpapalooza5

After a bit I get the fly right in the path of this bright orange fish and he sucks it in, I lift and set and we're going again. I call to Crystal who is down the bank a bit, she doesn't notice that I've got a fish on till she sees the rod double over and line playing out. I fight with the fish for a few minutes as she makes her way over and I ask if she wants to fight him for a bit, sure she says... Now keep in mind, the largest fish she's caught was about an 8in Bluegill, so when I hand her the rod she is not quite ready for the Buick on the other end and almost looses her balance when she grabs the rod and the fish takes off for a run.

As she's fighting the fish, it seems that all the carp on this side of the pond are coming over to see what all the comotion is. At one point about 20ft in front of her there were about a dozen carp just holding their spot watching this fish run in and out of the group. In the photo to the left here if you open it up you can see a half dozen fish sitting there checking things out.

During the fight Crystal is getting some good reel practice, when to reel and put pressure on the fish and when to let him run a bit. She's also getting a good understanding of what the drag system is and how it works to help tire the fish out. Once the fish seems to be tiring out a bit, I try and have her bring him in close so we can land him in the net. This goes on for a while, he's just bull dogging her, he wont come in close, and the couple times she does get him within 3-4ft of the bank he just turns his head and dives. So we work the fish a bit more and trade, she's got the net and I'll get the fish in close. She scoops him up like a pro, and Carp #2 landed!

Because it was a joint effort to land it, we both take a pose with the fish, we earned it. Next time we go out, she's determined to hook into one all by herself, I can't wait!

carpapalooza2

carpapalooza2

carpapalooza3

carpapalooza3

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