The weather made me do it . . .
I took advantage of the sunshine, warm temps and light wind and headed to a backwater area of a local lake to see if it was possible to catch carp on a fly at this time of year. I parked the car and headed to the water's edge to take a look without even taking my gear out of the car, since I wasn't really expecting to find any fish. The first place I checked was well shaded and still had a thin layer of ice on the surface. The next spot, just a hundred yards down the shore or so, was not shaded and was clear of ice. As I walked along the shore peering into the shallows I spotted a broad tail swaying slowly at the edge of a pocket in the weeds. Shielding my eyes from the sun that was reflecting off the water, I carefully observed the fish for a moment and saw that it was cruising slowly along under the weeds just a few feet from shore, its nose stirring up silt from the muddy bottom. It was feeding! I hurried back to the car, quickly rigged my 5 wt, tied on a brown woolly bugger (what else?? :hehe: ) and returned to the spot where the fish was, but it was nowhere to be found. It was either under the weeds and obscured from view or it had headed out into deeper water. I walked a little farther down the shore and soon spotted another carp feeding among the weeds. Even though the fish was no more than 20 ft away I made several unsuccessful casts because the fly kept hanging up on the weeds and I couldn't get it into the strike zone. Surprisingly, the fish didn't spook and continued feeding, and it finally moved towards an opening in the weeds where I was able to drop the woolly bugger just ahead of the carp. I couldn't see the fly, but when I gave the line a very short tug I saw the carp make a slight change of direction and dip its nose towards the bottom. I gambled and made a short strip set, and then felt the weight of the fish as it started thrashing back and forth on the end of my line. Woohoo! Fish on! It was decidedly sluggish and didn't really fight hard, but it was a decent sized carp -- perhaps 8 to 10 lbs -- and it took me a couple of minutes to get it close enough to grab the leader and remove the hook from its lips. I spent the next couple of hours searching the shoreline trying to catch another, and although I saw a couple more fish I was unable to get into position where I could place the fly into the strike zone. Oh well, at least I got one! Maybe I'll go back tomorrow and try again!