I have a confession to make. In my last slurp* post, I claimed to have caught a carp during a quick trip to the grocery store. The truth is that I reached for the leader, at which point the tippet parted, sending both carp and my fly back into the murky depths. It just didn't seem like important information at the time, at least not information that you, Gentle Reader, needed to know. But the guilt has gotten to me**.
Plus, it makes the next story better. Two days later, I was back at the store and decided to take a peek: a carp! In the exact same spot! Could it be?
I scrambled over the concrete rubble, positioned myself, and pitched my fly. The carp took the fly, came to the surface, and in that brief instant I spied not only the fly to which I was currently attached, but also the rusty red fly from 48 hours previous!
No, that's not how it happened. I can't stand the lies any longer. The carp did take the fly, but it came unhooked immediately, and I never saw the fly. But it was probably the same fish.
Now, I have lost two fish from the same spot. This won't do. To a new spot I went, where soon I spied a feeding carp. I got a good slurp from this fish, but the shakes revealed this carp to be very small. Until it wasn't. After an initially uninspired fight of a few seconds, this carp made a bee-line for some very thick cover - a series of partially submerged trees, really. If I could turn this fish, it could be mine. But I couldn't, and it wasn't. When the carp finally surfaced to thrash about, it was so far back into the trees that I knew immediately that this was soon to come to and end, and so it did: pop goes the tippet, and another carp now swims adorned with a Brayshaw lip ornament.
Today, during my lunch hour, I returned to this place but found nobody home. A hike upstream, to new water, eventually revealed some carp. A brace of carp spooked, but then a bit upstream I spotted this shallow-water feeder.
I got above this fish, crept low, and knelt within range. It was feeding in just inches of water, and inches from the bank, such that the cast that produced a slurp involved no fly line in the water at all. An explosion of water, mud and scales followed but despite the gesticulations, this fish decided not to break for cover, and was landed in short order. I know that the appeal in carp fishing for so many fly fishers is the potential for long, fast runs but those of you who have tangled with carp in small water near tight cover know that this is really good shit.
[Editor's Notes: * carp do not strike flies, they slurp them: see minute XXX of the Brayshaw interview; ** it's interesting that he feels guilty about this, but not about deceiving his wife, isn't it?]