"It is self-evident that no fish that inhabit foul or sluggish waters can be 'game-fish'. It is impossible from the very circumstances of their surroundings and associations. They may flash with tinsel and tawdry attire; they may strike with the brute force of a blacksmith, or exhibit the dexterity of a prize-fighter, but their low breeding and vulgar quality cannot be mistaken. Their haunts, their very food and manner of eating betray their grossness."
C. Hallock, author of "The Fishing Tourist" (1873)
I mean no offense Brother Hallock, but that's just rubbish. Take, for example, the last carp that I caught. Here's how it happened. My wife and I were planning the birthday party of my 5 year old son. The party was scheduled for 2 pm. At 9 am, my wife sent me to the grocery store to fetch a few last-minute items. As it turns out, the stream runs just past the grocery store parking lot...so after picking up my items, I naturally detoured across the parking lot to take a look. There, under a some over-hanging branches (which, I later learned, held mulberries...Oh! What joy!), were three feeding carp. My vittles were frozen, so I could only sigh, avert my gaze, and head home.
But! At 11 am, my wife asks if I wouldn't mind running to the store for just one more forgotten item. "I know you were just there, Honey, but I really need just one more thing," she pleaded. I hemmed and hawed a bit, rolled my eyes appropriately, then sprinted for the car, but not before a quick (but unseen) detour to grab the fly rod.
When I smelled the diesel fumes of the delivery trucks, I knew I was close.
I crept to the edge, peaked over, and there 'twas, the most wonderful of sights: low-bred, vulgar scaly grossness, actively feeding and oblivious to my presence. Who needs crystal clear mountain streams when you have this?
The water was so off-color (though I now refer to this pea soup as "on-color") that I was able to creep to within just a few feet of my target, and it took just two or three casts to get the presentation I wanted. The carp slurped the fly in, I set the hook, and it shot across the stream, leaving a groove in my line-hand that it still evident today, several days later. Once across the stream, the carp nosed up under the opposite bank...and would not move. When finally I managed to loosen my line, I could no longer feel the fish but instead only a branch. Defeated...or so I thought. But when I untangled the branch from my line, I saw that the leader continued upstream, and soon the carp was fighting again. Up to the rubble it came, a quick release followed, the fly rod was stashed, item purchased, and I returned home, my wife none the wiser. I had pulled off a double deception in less than fifteen minutes. If that's not 'game', I don't know what is.