Free Ride

Things finally worked out so that I could take Miles on the carp fishing trip that he won back in February. The recent flooding has temporarily restricted my carp fishing to one lake. So that’s where we headed.
The wind picked up off and on, and the sun hid behind the clouds some but overall the conditions were favorable. We saw plenty of feeding fish but also large schools of excited carp, a sign of imminent spawning.
Miles wasted no time in putting his fly in front of some hungry fish but he quickly found out that setting the hook on a wily carp is a delicate matter indeed! We fished hard through the morning and Miles’ timing improved but he had yet to make contact with his first carp. At one point he made a nice cast to a feeding fish and felt a tug. For one moment we both thought he had finally succeeded but it was just a feisty sunfish that had taken the fly!
Early in the afternoon Miles encouraged me to take a turn fishing. I cast to a few fish along the shoreline with no luck but then spotted a big mud toward the middle of the bay. I paddled quietly within range and made a couple casts before the carp spotted my fly and inhaled it. The hook popped free after only a few seconds and the carp escaped but I think that witnessing that hook-up gave Miles new confidence. We found a pair of fish feeding in the shallows with their shiny backs sticking out of water. One fish got nervous and moved off but the second stayed and Miles dropped his fly gently beside it. The fish scooted forward and paused. I don’t know if I managed to give an instruction or if I was holding my breath in anticipation, but Miles timed his strip perfectly and hooked up his first carp!

The fish stayed in front of us and Miles kept it on a short leash which was the right thing to do because it wanted nothing more than to swim up into a nearby tangle of branches. Unfortunately, after a lively tug of war, the tippet snapped and the carp escaped. Nevertheless, I was impressed with Miles’ persistence and his quick adaptation to a different style of fishing. He definitely deserved that fish and I’m sure it won’t be long before he pulls one into the boat.

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