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2010 Carp Slam

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Figured some on the form might like to hear about the carp slam. I love this event because….well…honestly it makes me feel a little less like the lunatic fringe.

DAY1 (PRO AM)

I was a controller on day1 - which is short for bored sweaty dude sitting far off the bank ready to measure imaginary fish. Imaginary because no fish were caught in my beat (I.e. peg?) Conditions were tough with only 4 fish measured all day, which is a big step backwards from last year. I certainly couldn’t have caught a fish on the beat I was controlling. The pros were blaming changing flows. Another issue is that it seemed to me that there were an unusual number of fish hooked and lost. No explanation for that.

On my morning team the amatuer hooked one fish blind and the pro had a couple of good shots with just no luck. My afternoon team had it particularly bad. What fish were in the beat in the morning mysteriously disappeared. They barely saw fish and did not get a single valid shot. Leads to long faces.

They fished two very different styles which was cool to watch. One fished Chezk nymping and one indicator nymping. I was shocked at how much Chezk nymphing resembled chuck-and-duck from my Michingan steelhead days - except I bet you chuck-and-duck is actually more deadly in a masters hands. One is revered as a big-trout-tournament winning strategy sweeping the globe. The other is scorned in most fly-fishing circles. I think a slinky may splash down in the Platte River for what I presume is the first time at the first opportunity. Why the heck not.

The winning fish was 29” ….by two different teams. They went to tie breaker. I will let official results announce the winner since I don’t know the amatuers name and want nothing to do with any possible controversy over the tie-breaker.

The after-party was a blast. I got to meet David Moore, Shawn C and Andrew (CO state Chair) and they were really fun to talk to. Real informative and though provoking. Andrew gave me some good pointers on handling and David has everybody stirred up with some very convincing arguments for allowing scent. I am on the fence myself on this now after talking with David and some discussion during day 2. I am starting to wonder if we really are letting trout culture dictate the evolution or our sport (pastime, whatever). This was the basics of a point somebody made today that really hit home. On the other hand I have worked pretty hard to try and learn how to get by without. it’s a pickle of an issue. And David - believe me people were listening even if they (I) seemed uncomfortable. Expect a spike in pineapple-deliciousness-in-a-bottle sales while the organizers and participants sort it out.

DAY2 (OPEN)

This was my day to fish. Different rules. Fish with who you want where you want from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM. I chose my brother-in-law John who has never caught a fish on the fly. Odd choice? Brilliant choice, we had a blast and he will definitely be carpin in the future.

We started at Sloans Lake at 8:15 after drive time. I don’t particularly like this lake but it seemed more consistent than others in August. Disaster. Major algae bloom. Green glass. I had 20 fish feeding right where I expected them….vacuuming up the algea slick. I have no idea what to do with this. So we gave sloans it’s due course and left at 9:30.

Original plan was to hit Lake Arbor next. Tough lake unless you are better than me but big fish. We nixed it for two reasons. First a friend had fished it Thursday and said it was blooming. And when this lake blooms it BLOOMS. Second, a very respected angler had told me he was starting there and I wanted show respect. Turned out to save the day because the bloom was so bad you couldn’t get a fly to sink through it. Whew.

So we moved on to my favorite super-secret ponds. They had not bloomed and it turns out that we were one of only two teams to find fishable still-water. The fish on these ponds are rarely over 20” but I wanted to get John his first carp on the fly and I wanted to be off the Carp-Slam ofer. 30 seconds in John got to watch his first clear take…he liked it. Carper is born. Unfortunately I set the hook too early. We moved, we fished, we got a shot here and there. I had another take….too early again…must be wound up because it’s a tourney. Finally I get a shot at a 19” fish about 30 feet off shore. He hammered the size 10 black and olive backstabber and actually takes it deep. No chance of being early on that one and we were on the board. About 15 minutes later I pick up a 14” Carp and things are feeling good. And somewhere in this period of time John catches his first fish on the fly…a 3” bluegill. Not the carp I was hoping for but we are both off our prospective shnides.

This is where we made our major mistake of the tournament. Not wanting to come in with just babies and thinking we probably needed another 70 inches to show we changed spots. Left fish to find fish….even if we were kicking babies. More about this later.

We move on to Clemente Park. Medium sized fish with some bigguns if you know where to fish. Can be finicky but it fished good for me last year after the Carp-Slam. Good enough that those 70 inches were not impossible with the time left. Much less odds of John hooking up though. The algea bloom wasn’t nearly as bad here but the water was a good couple of feet low. I had one great shot early but just couldn’t hit it right. As we made our way around we saw one pod of 10 fish feeding super aggressing. I told John “Get after em” and he jumps off the 2feet undercut bank onto the bare section of the lake-bed. Fish blew up for 50 feet in either direction. Many many more fish than the 10 we could clearly see. Awesome lesson learned - I am actually quite pleased this happened. This is as more a fun thing and learning thing and bonding thing than a competition for us really. I learned to not tell a new carper to get after em. Gives the wrong impression. He quite clearly and shockingly learned about the whole lateral line thing.

We eventually found more pods of fish but these were in spawn mode and weren’t really interested in us or our offerings. Not spooky, but not hungry either. I hooked one but it came unbuttoned fast and felt very suspect. Dorsal fin perhaps.

Eventually we left with enough time to hit a completely new lake on the way back for 15 minutes. Scouting as much as anything with the possibility of walking up on that miracle fish. Walked up on sunning fish instead. Big Big sunning fish in crystal clear water with deep dropoffs. I have a tingly feeling in my belly about that lake next spring. Perhaps even this fall. Scouting is never wasted time.

Final tally 33 inches good for 5th place out of 6 teams. It turns out the Algea blooms messed everybody up though. Cool story - Barry Reynolds and Jake Mcitrix (sp?) had caught 400 inches out of one lake in a practice session just two weeks ago - something we could never hope to do in a million years at our current skill levels. They ended up with just 48” good for third place - NONE out of that same lake. First was in the low 100 inch range. Second was somewhere in the 70s.

So yes we where one more average fish from those ponds from moving into third place....and beating Barry Reynolds, which is totally completely ridiculous. Woulda Coulda Shoulda and a good indication of how totally messed up it can get here in August.

Oh yeah, the same Pro from yesterday won today. Awesome. Truly Awesome.

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Guest Brewfish

The Carp Slam IS a great venue. This was my first year also. I fished the 1st day with Jake as my Pro. What an excellent guide. Knows the river well and you won't find more enthusiasm. Although we went fishless, the opportunities were there to take the cup - broke off 3 fish and had 3 pull loose - all before noon. The excitement came when the plastic boilie fly I brought along started producing takes - hooked up on the 2nd cast. From what I saw this was something unorthodox with the fly guys. Shows that the euro style may merge with the flyfishing somewhere, even if it falls short of using scents. I too, have mixed feelings on scent even though I am slipping over the edge. Have a bad feel for those that bait Yogi Bear in with chocolate donuts just to shoot him thru the heart; on the other hand, I like to catch fish!

And yes, from what I have seen throughout my years of flyfishing, trout fisherman dominate the culture of the sport. They have TU, whose members populate FFF and other clubs; thus, the mindset tends to be biased in many chapters. However, it was interesting that many of the trout guides prefer to fish for carp and other species in their personal time. I wonder why? Is it time for the revolution?

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