Last weekend I got the opportunity to do a little early season carp fishing.....this is how it went.
Awoke to cloudy skies with light winds, and a chance of rain on Saturday morning. Suited up, and began the drive the first of many spots on the Wash Shit A River.
Arrived at "Super Secret Spot #1" to find the water a little off color. The first group of fish spotted did not appear to be in the "oh so happy, I'll gladly eat anything you stick in front of my face" mood. We made casts anyways....first group of fish spooked. This might get tricky....or ugly. Moving on.
Second group of fish....slower, deeper water. I cast my prototype.....the "Kangaroo Rat" (see recipe below) in front of the first fish. Where the hell did it go? Damn dingy water. Wait, fish seems interested. Strip line, strip again, fish is following. Still can't see fly. Mouth open...sucking water....waiting for tug....nothing. Need more visible fly. Damn dingy water.
Preparing for second shot. In steps West OK before I can pull the trigger with some sort of gaudy, white, cream colored.....thing. He has an advantage....he can see his fly in the damn dingy water...smart. Second cast. Boom.....first fish of the day. I change to a lighter colored fly. Damn him and his tricky ninja ways.
|Yes, that is a Story Kromer on his head...it's badass...get over it. It goes well with his homemade net and neck pouch/lanyard.|
We scan more water at SSS #1. Time to move on.
Arrive at SSS #2. Peek over the edge of the bank...feeders & cruisers....let's do this. West OK begins his stalk. Has a few looks.....can't connect. I move further downstream and leave him to his work.
Nice hole....clearer water. Time for the LOD (rubberlegs version). First cast too far. Second cast....tree. Dammit!! Regroup. Third cast.....we have a taker. Fly hits bottom....immediate suckage. The battle begins. I win. Lather, rinse, repeat. One more fish caught. Rain. Pack it in and head to the house for some sustenance and a siesta.
|Gotta love the glass.|
Noon Carp count:
Me - 2
West OK Creek Ninja - 1
I'm in the "lead".....something is not right.
Wake up from nap, still full from lunch. Sun is out now....temps rising. We should have been gone an hour ago. Suit up and hit the road.
Arrive at SSS #3 and begin assault right out of the gate. Two fish spotted. Intermittent cruising followed by brief periods of feedage. I cast. No go. Cast again.....get a look. Third cast....foul hooked. Damn sharp hooks.
West OK Creek Ninja plans approach for the next hole after doing some recon while I was preoccupied with aforementioned foul hooker. Two beefy brutes show themselves unexpectedly. West OK gets impatient. Fish spooked.
Round bend in river. Fish laid up in current break, pulling bits from a stump. West OK attempts a shot....cover blown. Fish retreats to pool with several others. Erratic behavior ensues. Moving on.
Continue leap frogging downstream, looking for feeders. Time to give the "Rat" another chance. Spot a feeder on the edge of some grass. Place fly in current slightly ahead and to the right of fish. Fly is immediately noticed and pounced upon. Battle begins. I win.
Walking....no fish. More walking....still no fish. Walking....FISH!! Plan, and begin approach. Cast to rooter, he doesn't notice. Leader slides over back. Foul hooked...again. Damn sharp hooks.
Getting dark....steaks and beer are waiting. Book it back to the truck. Spot a couple of sleepers in the shallows near our parking place. What the hell, I'll give it a shot. Sloppy casts...water erupts...fish gone. Never had a chance....oh well. Great day.
Final fish count:
Me - 3
West OK Creek Ninja - 1
I "won". This is not the norm.
The Kangaroo Rat
The base for this pattern originates from the The Damsel, tied by the dudes over at This River Is Wild. I took the original pattern and tweaked it just a bit. I tried to maintain the same general profile, but incorporated pine squirrel as a tail to add movement (a la the Trouser Worm tied by McTage) when fished in short strips, as well as to add a fuzzy shellback in one step. The original Damsel is meant to be fished on the drop, without much weight. Likewise, the "Rat's" sink rate can be adjusted by using different sized bead chain eyes, or by substituting mono eyes for a much slower descent. It's still a little early to tell if the pattern will be a consistent producer, but I have high hopes for it.
|A slightly "brighter" variation|
The Recipe (in the order tied on the hook)
Hook - Gamakatsu Octopus Circle, Size 4
Thread - Flymaster Plus, White (colored with sharpie to suit the fly)
Eyes - Bead chain in various sizes, or mono
Tail - Pine squirrel
Shellback - Trimmed pine squirrel tail
Legs - Round rubber legs, spinnerbait skirt, whatever you have on hand.
Ribbing - Vinyl D rib or brassie size wire in the color of your choice
Body - Dubbing of your choice.
Hackle - Hen saddle in the color of your preference
Head - Dubbing of your choice