Sometimes the carp thing seems overplayed, like drinking PBR or wearing ironic T-shirts in Brooklyn. But take away the alt -fly aspect of it, and ask the question: In a vacuum, is there a more compelling freshwater fish to chase? Probably, no.
It took me two years of trying to finally get a carp to eat, with a major assist to carp crack, but the payoff has been worth it. I’m still several echelons below Mr. Montana in the “Master of Fat Pigs of Majesty” department, but I’ve been getting some fish this season.
Here’s some of the things I’ve enjoyed while reveling in my nascent carp success.
–Carp take you to the reel. Always. Not in that way where you hook a fish and use your free hand to spin the line back onto the reel, but in the saltwater way where you hold the line and let it slip through as the fish runs. It’s always cool to watch a fish make your reel spin while pulling off line, creating a V wake in the shallow water.
–Accuracy counts. Every fish I’ve hooked or had a realistic chance of hooking has been inside 30 feet, with the fly landing within a foot of an ugly yellow face.
–The hookset is always mysterious. Yesterday I watched a 30-inch fish turn to hoover my fly, I saw it lower its rubbery mouth over the carp crack and felt…nothing. I tried to strip set and pulled the fly from its mouth, causing a freakout followed by a vacated premises, and pangs of wondering what might have been.
–For the time constrained, it’s a short drive to the muni park of choice and they’re either in shallow eating or they’re not. There’s no tide dependency, no prospecting, and no loitering for too long in one spot because you caught fish there last time.
–Fishing in muni parks, no one else, I mean NO ONE else, is ever fly fishing. You are looked at strange. When you hook a fish it becomes a spectator sport. You get commentary such as,
My Man! You gonna eat that thing?
Did you hook the same fish again?
Catch me that turtle, son. That’s soup.
All things being equal, I’d still rather be in the salt. But these muni fatties are good times.