Pursuing the Golden Bonefish (Carp)

     A couple weeks ago while lazily scrolling through google images at work, I came across a photo of a carp that was caught on a fly.  At first I really didn't think anything of it, at first.  What has followed is quickly becoming an obsession of Moby Dick type proportions.  I am a musky fisherman by nature.  I chase real fish, game fish, the hardest freshwater fish you can chase.  Or at least I thought they were, until I tried to catch a carp on purpose with a fly rod.

     My first attempts were laughable at best.  I went out to known spots throughout Madison and chucked flies at carp.  They bolted or at least some did, most appeared to mock me as I got my line stuck in the trees, in the bushes, and around my feet.  I needed some help, so off I went to Orvis of Madison.  They gave me some fly recommendations and sold me a book called Carp on the Fly.  This book is more or less the bible of fly carping.  The first correalation the book made was that fly fishing for carp was the closest thing to saltwater fishing you can do in freshwater.  It described these fish as finicky, cautious, and smart?  It told me I had to stalk this fish like a hunter.  It even had photos of guys casting on there knees behind bushes along the shoreline.  It also said that they had limited vision and that the fly had to be cast within inches of their head.  To land a fly that close I was gonna need a lot more practice catching things with a flyrod.  So off I went to my favorite residential pond to chase some bass, since they are always biting.  Now that I felt a bit more confident in my casting ability and had landed a bunch of bass on the fly, I thought surely I must be ready to catch a carp. 
Not sure why the fly guys put the rod in their mouths, but I'm game.
      Fast forward a few days and once again I find myself in a fairly busy urban park in downtown Madison.  This park has a nice series of ponds.  The only issue is it's a little weedy.  Lot's of lily pads and pond scum with a few downed trees and snags thrown in for good measure.  Not the ideal place to try and cast a fly, but I know their are carp in the ponds.
A little weedy, here and there.
     As I worked my way around the pond scanning the water, I saw them.  Two carp feeding near the surface just off the far edge of the weed bed.

     I quickly ducked down behind the reeds and waited to see if they would move in a little closer.  A few minutes passed and I prepared my cast.  It was a perfect cast, the line flowed through the air and the fly landed quietly right next to the larger of the 2 carp.  I let it settle and gave it one short strip of line...then I felt it, the carp had the fly!  Now I should be showing you a picture of a nice fat carp, but that isn't exactly what happened.  I strip set the hook and at that point all hell broke loose.  The fish took off like a bullet when it felt the hook pierce the flesh of its mouth.  I laid the rod over to the right to keep tension on the fish as it charged across the pond.  Then I felt a strange sensation to suddenly lift my right foot.  That's right, I was caught in my fly line.  What happened next is kind of a blur, but it went something like this.  The fish ran to the left, the line suddenly stopped (as it was wrapped around my foot), then my rod swung violently to left under tension hitting by arm, then BANG!!!  Everything went slack...
Rod broke right at the joint, I let out a series of swear words at this point.
     The rod broke and it was my fault.  Normally I don't mind when gear fails, but when it fails because of something stupid I did, I end up a little angry.  I gathered up my kids and left the park mad, but determined.  I knew I had another rod at home that would work and I would be back in a few days to try again.
     My next trip out saw me once again stalking carp in a small pond nestled in  some random characterless suburb.  I love these kind of ponds because nobody fishes them.  I had found this pond using google earth and after a few scouting trips I had determined that it held some nice sized carp.  I worked my way around the pond looking for tailing fish (think redfish).  When I saw them, I settled in behind some cattails and made my cast.  It was a horrible cast and it got stuck in the weeds.  I started to strip the line in an attempt to free the carp tickler fly when I heard a loud CRACK!  You guessed it, the rod broke!!!  I still have no idea why this rod broke.  Only thing I can think of that since this rod was extremely cheap and old it was probably on its way out anyways.  It just sucks that it broke 10 minutes into my outing.  My son had wandered over to see how my fishing was going and I informed him that I was quickly starting to hate carp.  He laughed and asked to take my picture, we had a little fun with it.
2 broke rods in 3 days, not my week I guess.
     So this how my pursuit of these crafty fish is currently going.  I have determined that these fish are harder to catch than muskies.  Muskies are hard to catch because they are few and far between, and being the top predator they can be choosy about what they want to eat.  Carp on the other hand are everywhere.  They are smart, spook easily, and seem to have the ability to warn their fellow fish of danger.  Once the carp runs, so does everything else in the pond.  I decided that I was gonna give up till next spring.  This was getting expensive and I can chase other fish locally that were much easier to catch.  At least that was the plan until I went into Gander Mountain...
Don't judge me...it was on sale.
     Tight Lines.


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