Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth

Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth
Showing posts with label Carp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carp. Show all posts

Friday, May 23, 2014

Carp Afterthought

Have you ever gone fishing and had a fantastic day of catching your intended species only to come across a fish that is quite different and decide to try for it as well?  That is one of the amazing things about tailwaters, the variety that is.  You can fish hard for trout all day and then find that one 4 pound bass or 15 pound carp and fish for that as well.  Maybe you even get a shot at a striper later on as well.  When I'm striper fishing, I sometimes have lucked into trout and even some walleye.  In other words, on a tailwater you just never know what you will find.

Yesterday I headed down yet again to the Caney Fork yet again to get some trout fishing in and check several different spots on the river.  Scouting the water is about as important as actually fishing and this trip was intended to include both.  After all, when heading out on a guide trip, it is essential to be in touch with what is happening on the river.  My basic research was just locating fish and the best places to land both numbers of fish and quality fish.

The morning's highlight occurred when I saw a big brown charge into a pool full of small stockers and eat one or two while I was fishing for them.  Yes, my heart rate is still a bit elevated, but that is the beautiful thing about fishing trips; you just never know what is going to happen.  After calming down enough to actually fish, I worked a favorite section pretty hard and found a lot of chunky rainbows.  These fish are super healthy right now and providing great nonstop action if you have the right flies, the right depth, and a knowledge of where to use them at.


A little after noon, my buddy Tyler and I headed back to the car for some lunch as well as some air conditioning on the ride down to our next spot.  When we got to the next spot, things continued about the same as before.  In other words, we were both catching a lot of fish.  The insects were varied on this day and the occasional caddis and cranefly kept the fish looking up.  Our dry flies were getting enough action that we never switched over to an indicator nymph rig, preferring the dry/dropper method instead to cover our bases.


Eventually the heat and sun took its toll, and I was ready to call it a day.  Heading back to the car, I stopped at a spot where there are usually some carp and buffalo hanging out.  While this was definitely a trout trip, I had no problem at least looking at other fish.  Of course, you can guess where this eventually took me.  Upon seeing all those carp, I naturally had to at least cast a couple of times.

I've fished this spot and a couple of others nearby many times over the years.  In fact, given the opportunity, I would rather catch at least one or two carp on each trout trip.  Not that I'm ready to turn my back completely on trout.  Its just that carp are some of the toughest fish you will ever fish for.  Being a carp fisherman automatically makes you better at catching other species as well, trust me.  The crazy thing about this particular spot is that while I've put in my time to attempting to catch these fish, I've never really had any success.  Oh, I've caught carp other places on at least a couple of different rivers, but these particular fish had always outsmarted me.

So here I was casting to fish that I could see just fine but really didn't expect to catch when lo and behold one of the fish ate!  Seriously, it was all so easy that I pondered momentarily why I hadn't caught one before.  Then the fish realized it was hooked.  If you've ever hooked a carp, even a small one, on 5x, you know how I felt as this fish started running directly away from me for a underwater log.  I really had no chance, or at least that's how it felt.  By some miracle, the fish always came out on the right side of those logs.  All the pressure I thought the tippet could handle was brought to bear. Once the fish ran under another log and only came back out when I kept muscled it back.  I know, it's hard to believe all of this happened on 5x, but in the end, the best moment of the day came when my buddy slipped the net under the finally tired fish.  A couple of pictures later and the fish tore off back to its pool to rest up for our next meeting.



If I lived close by, I would chase these fish all the time.  Seriously.  They are that much fun.  Every one I've caught has been memorable.  Oh, sure, the trout fishing was awesome too, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but as an afterthought, those carp sure provide a lot of fun!

If I can help you with a guide trip to the Smokies or the Caney Fork tailwater, please contact me.  I'm not booking trips through July.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Quick Report: Guide's Day Off


So I'm running low on time today so I'll keep this as brief as possible.  The last two days, the Caney Fork had a couple of windows with no generation for all of us wade fisherman.  That didn't last long as today they are running water all day again, but it was nice to get out while I could.

With no trips scheduled on Wednesday and of course wanting to see how the river is fishing, I took off and timed it so I would arrive just as the water was falling out enough to get in the river and fish.  It didn't take long for me to see some MASSIVE fish busting on the surface or at least so it appeared. My first thought was, "Oh no, the stripers are already here. Too bad for the trout!"  After getting a glimpse of fins and tails breaking the surface, I soon concluded that it wasn't stripers and started to wonder what in the world was going on.

Eventually I discovered the commotion was made by spawning Bigmouth Buffalo.  I'm not entirely convinced that there weren't some carp in the mix as well but let's just say I was in awe.  I've always heard about these fish but never run into them in large numbers on the upper river and by the time I see them on the lower river later in the year, they are very tightlipped.

Running my nymph/midge rig through the deeper water eventually resulted in a hookup.  Wow! These things can pull!!!  My arm is still sore.  After catching a couple on the midge, yeah, that's right, I said a MIDGE on 6x no less, I was worn out and decided to go looking for trout.


That's a size 22 gray midge

The net opening is 16" x 22" for reference and this was not the largest I caught...

In some deeper water downstream I started catching some rainbows with regularity and had a large trout, probably a brown, break me off with just a couple of good headshakes.  The trout were showing a preference for the nymphs which was interesting.  I never did get around to fishing a dry/dropper rig  but they probably would have eaten the Zebra Midge fished that way.  Late in the day I even found a skipjack for a rather unusual slam of rainbow and brown trout, buffalo, and skipjack.  Fun trip for sure!

Fresh hatchery 'bow

Deeper water was the ticket...

The good news is that the midge hatches are getting stronger and the fish are responding.  The Buffalo are in the river as well and can definitely provide some entertainment if you've never hooked one.

This brown fought twice his size and had me convinced a big fish was on for a while.

Yep, spring is definitely here when the dogwoods start blooming!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Fun

So for a bit of fun today, I am hoping to stir up a debate.  Lately, I have been thinking about the similarities and differences between fishing for redfish and carp.  Let's be honest: beyond actual coloration, they look pretty similar as far as body shape and build goes.  Carp pull as hard as any fish I've ever hooked other than striped bass.  Yet, the lowly carp gets only minimal credit and then only among a somewhat cult-type following.  The true carp fishermen are somewhat few and far between.  Out here in Colorado I have noticed a few more than back in Tennessee but they are still not anything close to a majority.

So, my question today is why fish for carp?  For that matter, why chase redfish?  I'm a pretty dedicated trout fisherman but enjoy chasing large- and smallmouth bass, panfish, striped bass, white bass, hybrids, musky, pike, yeah, I guess if it swims I'm willing to give it a shot.  I have even caught a few carp and had fun, but am still not sure whether it is worth my time becoming a proficient carp fisherman.