Monday, October 13, 2008

Hooked My First Carp

Today was not going that great for me. I wasn't too enthused that the weekend was over and work was kind of busy. The only thing to look forward too was fishing with Preston at lunch. For some reason I was starving and tried to go by the cafe to get a pizza before meeting at the pond. The cafe doesn't take cash so I had to stop by the ATM first. I walk over, put my card in, then notice on the screen, sorry for the inconvenience....... CRAP!!!! I was so hungry but I decided the fishing would take my mind off things. I arrived at the pond, a little grumpy. Preston hadn't showed up yet. It was time for a new leader. For some reason I was having a really hard time tying on the new leader. I finally just tied a Dave Maeda knot at the end of the fly line. The carp weren't showing themselves the last time I visited the pond. I looked in my fly box and figured, the fishing sucked last time, and it will probably suck today. I'm just going with a big black bead head bugger. Preston showed up just as I was tying it on. He showed me some killer spoon flies he tied. They were for the Red Drum trip we were going on this Thursday. We went down to the pond and it looked great but there wasn't that many fish to be seen, no carp. We cast a few, Preston showed me the action of the spoon flies. They were amazing, I'm interested to see how they work on the trip. We stopped fishing for awhile and talked about the details of our fishing trip. Then as we paused for awhile and looked out towards the pond, Preston spotted some fish. They were small bluegill and bass. I knew some more lurked on the corner of the pond and I had him follow me over to see if they were there. On our way around a big tree I saw in the spot where usually bass school a good size carp. I said to Preston "is that a carp?" At first he was like no, then saw the tail slowly moving.."Yeah that is one!" So he told me to get'm and I attempted too.

The shade of the tree was perfect to hide my shadow. The carp was maybe 15-20ft off shore. I knew I had maybe one cast. As I moved closer I spooked some small bass from the shore line, surely they'd spook the carp. I was lucky and the carp didn't seem to even care. It was definitely keeping it's eyes glued to the bottom. I decided I needed a cast right in front of the carp, so I pulled out about 20ft of line and started to cast. I wanted the distance to be perfect, so I went with two false casts. One, two, cast. The cast landed to the right of the carp the bugger slowly drifted down to the bottom. The carp turned towards the bugger. I gave it a slight twitch and the next few seconds are kind of a blur. I remember the carp move towards the bugger, a huge mud cloud, my line jerk, then me pulling setting the hook. The carp made a steady mud trail from the shallow water and headed for the deep part of the lake. I was in disbelief as I saw the carp swim away from shore and my line with it. The carp was just as surprised as I was. It didn't fight that hard, and I figured I was gonna land this thing easy.

I couldn't have been more wrong. Once I started to put serious pressure on the fish it freaked and headed towards the opposite side of the pond. I'm probably exaggerating but I swore in 5 seconds the fish had pulled about 100ft of line and for the first time in my life, I was staring at my backing. My drag was a joke, I had to keep palming the reel to stop it from giving line. Now my adrenaline shot into over drive. This was gonna be a fight. The fish had it's way with my 8wt. It would relax and come towards me then I'd try to really pressure it and it would decide to take off again. Each time I gained line, the fish would make a run and take off again. The fish kept zig zagging and tested every direction possible to get away from shore. Preston was having a fun time watching me and trying to coach me into which way I should pressure the fish. We started running down the bank trying to get the fish into shallow water. This carp had to be at least 15lbs. It would not give in. Then in the midst of our battle I remembered something horrible. I'm at lunch, how long can I really be out here? Will my boss understand if I'm 20min late from lunch because I was fighting a huge fish? Most likely he won't. I said that to Preston, and he was like screw it, you're gonna be late from lunch. I agreed and tried to focus more attention on the fish, then I remembered I had my phone in my pocket and it has a camera function. I tried to hold the fish in one hand and get the phone out with the other. I was able to get it out and I went to hand it to Preston. He was like how do I do the... He didn't even have to finish, I looked at the phone set the options to record faster than anyone has in the history of cell phones and handed it to him. Preston was happy to be the camera man and got the footage below.

That was the biggest fish I've ever had on a fly rod. I couldn't believe how strong it was. You can hear me in the video grunting. I was pulling as hard as I thought possible without breaking the rod. I think that might be the first time that carp has ever been hooked. It ran several times. I had the fish hooked for at least 6min. The run that broke the line clean, I figured was probably its last run. It figures, I didn't have any pliers anyways. I was just happy to have the experience. Next time, I will have the confidence that I can catch one of these beasts.


  1. AWESOME!!! I am still searching for that elusive first carp on the fly. That video makes me want it all the more!

  2. good'll get one! Carp are tough on gear, go bigger with the tippet. I break off a lot of fish trying to stop them from weedbeds/structure, but if there is none of that worry about, i just let them run. on the columbia you can usually just let them run until tired.

    that said, i've broken 6 fly rods fishing for carp.

  3. NOW THAT'S A LUNCH BREAK. It's the new Kevin Frank diet. A strong helping of being taken into the backing is probably enough to make you forget all about hunger pangs. Awsome, I hope this is a good omen for later in the week. Russ

  4. Hey man, great stuff on your blog. I think this is the best fly fishing related blog I have seen so far. Seriously, keep it up man. Carp are one of the only gamefish I have never tried to fly fish for. After watching your video, it looks to be just as fun as catching trout, smallmouths, tarpon, and bonefish. From what I've heard carp like flies that are on the bottom, and that are drab, and on the large side of the hook scale. To think carp are in
    the same family as goldfish....:-)

  5. Kev,

    Great work on the carp. Cool video as as well. Carp will drive you mad.