Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My First Grass Carp

I decided to hit a pond by my house after work. Fish can usually be taken with a dry fly or popper. Today was strange in the fact that different sections of the pond fished different ways. The first part I fished the fly had to be left alone. If I twitched it at all it turned the fish off. I was able to hook a few of these guys.

I love the bronze belly on these fish.

In the second section the fly needed to have some movement. There were bass chasing shad into the shallows. A kingfisher was using this to his advantage. When the fish would scatter the bird would jump right in the mix and pull out a minnow. It was fun to watch. I was moving around the bank where it made kind of a cul-de-sac. I had my line in the water and I was dragging my fly. After a few seconds I heard the sound of a fish hitting the fly. I looked back and saw a swirl near where the fly was. I started to use a quick retrieve with the fly and there were some ferocious strikes. Most of the fish caught were small bass. I fished this way and worked the pond until I was near where I started.

I saw a grass carp lingering just under the surface. I've cast to grassies this way before and had them hit poppers but I never could hook them. I first cast the popper way too far out in front of the fish. It didn't move. My next cast was behind the fish and I was sure it was going to spook it. The fish turned and I figured it was over but then it turn around again and held it's original position. My next cast was right on target just ahead of the fish but in the strike zone. I gave the fly a little twitch and the carp started to move. It got closer and closer and it was moving at a pace you see so many times fishing. Where a fish comes up to the fly nonchalantly sips it then keeps going. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the carp swim up and engulf the fly. I set the hook and the fish immediately turned and headed for deeper water. Then I remembered I was using a 5wt. I have only used the rod a few times and I wasn't sure exactly how much it could take. This fish looked to be 10lbs. The other issue was the reel. I left my 5wt in another case and in a pinch I grabbed my 4wt reel which has a click paw drag and who knows how old fly line and tippet. I was worried the fish was going to take me to my backing immediately. Luckily with the force of the rod I could turn the fish. It was a good enough amount of pressure but not enough for me to have the upper hand. The fish would come close then bolt back away again. This seemed to happen for an eternity. I walked the bank and tried to get the fish in shallow enough water to bank it.

With other carp they always snapped the tipped right when I went to land them. I wasn't sure exactly what size tippet was on my line it had to be old and 5x at the heaviest. I decided to try to snap a pic of the fish figuring the knot would pop anytime.

I made an attempt to land the fish similar to a bear trying to paw a salmon on to the shore. The fish just turned and sped off back into the water soaking my pant leg at the same time. It also decided to try to take my pole with it. I grabbed it just in time and then noticed I had an audience. Not a huge crowd just one woman, I had no idea how long she'd been there. I was determined to land the fish not just for her but for my own peace of mind. I decided to either pull the fish in or snap the tippet. A few times I got the fish in and made a swipe for my leader and the fish would flee almost as if it knew what I was doing. I worked the fish for another minute or so then made the final attempt to beach it. I saw the fly right at the edge of the fishes mouth. I pulled on the tippet and the fish came up on the shore surprisingly easy. I realized the fish had more of an advantage in the water than out of it. Once the fish was in the grass I could see it in all of its glory and actually enjoyed the moment.

This was by far one of the biggest fish I have ever caught on any rod. I snapped a few pics with my phone and prepared to release the fish. A man came down that I assumed was the womans husband. He looked at me, then looked at the fish and just gave me a thumbs up. It was a funny interaction but somehow for the moment totally appropriate. I released the fish and in my head imagined this must be what releasing a salmon or steelhead is like. The fish swam away slowly and it seemed to have the body language the said "ok, you won.... today." Till we meet again.


  1. You are such a great fisherman and story teller. I felt like I was watching. Ant Nee

  2. Kevin, that is a HUGE fish! Nice work & join the "underweight rod" club. I know how you feel -- what you described is the feelings I've had several times recently when I've hooked those big bass on my 4wt.

  3. Wow that fish is gigantic. Those gills are nice too. Great story to go along with a great accomplishment. NICE JOB.

  4. Awsome fish Kevin!!! I bet that was a rush to hook, then finally land that Grass Carp. I hope to land one too one day.

  5. Thanks guys, It was a moment I probably won't ever forget. Especially since the fish was so close when I hooked it. I could see everything unfold almost as if it were slow motion.

  6. There is pond behind my office that is full of large grass carp. I can't seem to get anything else to bite and I am starting to wonder if there is anything but grass carp in there. I keep my saltwater 6 in the truck.......... gotta try a popper. In this pond the carp are almost always in the shallows. Great story, thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Awsome fish mr.kev u ought to meet me out on bond lake i saw one 4 foot long brought to shore before the line snapped a few weeks ago.

  8. Kev, That is really cool - pretty sure you are in a fairly elite club with a grassie to your name. Going out at another attempt at my first grassie tomorrow.