A-nutter addition to the Video Library. How to “Strip Set” explained by Capt Gregg Arnold. Those of you who already know the technique can skip to about 1:50 seconds and enjoy watching Gregg hook into the Red Fish of a LIFETIME!!!
The First issue of Southern Culture on the Fly (S.C.O.F.) is alive. The issue would have been finished sooner but Dave spent a lot of time, money and effort trying to develop computer software that would have provided readers with a first of it’s kind olfactory stimulation. It didn’t work…..and 2 people almost lost their life…..and 1 will never have hair anywhere on his body again (we now call him powder).
Cooler temperatures are slowly creeping in, and the carp will soon move to deeper water as surface temps cool. Given my busy work schedule, never ending upkeep on my house, and the start of deer season I was due for at least one more day on my favorite lake chasing golden bones.
In our neck of the woods we prefer to chase carp salt water style, we use modified Jon boats to search freshwater flats for feeding fish.
This past Friday I met Matt ” Carp Whisper” Pike at the boat ramp for a late season trip. We hit the water around 10:45 a.m.. Since Matt has fished very few days this year, I offered to man the trolling motor so he could have the first shot.
We made a quick run across the lake to our first shoreline flat, a flat that beat Matt’s ass the month before. Minutes after I drop the trolling motor in, I spot a pair of carp actively feeding. Matt made a quick cast, only to have it ignored. Then the pair spooked as they saw the boat. Just as they spooked there was another pod working the bank. Again Matt cast, immediately a fish strolled over, ate his fly, and before Matt could strip set, the carp had spit the fly. As we troll along the bank, I spot a nice carp pushing 10 pounds cruising the bank. Matt makes a cast in big boys path, the carp turns and takes the fly. Matt stripe sets, and in one motion the fish does a 180 with his back out of the water and he heads straight for the bank. All of a sudden the tippet snaps. All this happened so quick, Matt didn’t have time to clear the line. Matt was bummed out at this point.
We head to another near by flat, but with the cooler water temps, the fish were few and far between. However the ones we did see were feeding aggressively. After inspecting a few more flats, we finally find a few mudding fish for Matt, but no cigar. So we decide to head back to where we started, as I was climbing off the poling platform I spot a mud cloud with a tail sticking out of it just a few feet from the boat. Matt makes one cast and a few strips into the retrieve the rod is nearly jerked from his hand. This is uncharacteristic of a carp, their takes are usually subtle. The fish continues to bulldog and hug the bottom. After a few short runs we netted (to our surprise) a decent little catfish. Yeah it wasn’t a carp, but it was a worthy catch. We snapped a few photos and release the little guy.
So now it was my turn on the stick, I wanted to go scout some new spots. So on our way to some new water we wanted to fish, a particular area of shoreline caught our eye. Matt looked at me and was thinking the same thing I was, so he turned the boat and we headed over for a better look. I quickly stripped line off the reel and prepared for my first shot of the day. As we passed a dock there were two carp feeding in about 2 feet of water. I made a cast and my fly landed between the two fish. It was almost if one carp was trying to beat the other carp to the fly. It all happened so fast, cast, strip, strip, set, FISH ON ! No sooner than I clear the fly line, the carp heads for the dock pylons. It was all I could do to turn him. He wasn’t a beast, but he still had shoulders. After a few minutes of coaxing him from the dock Matt snatched his ass up with the net.
Unfortunately that was the last fish of the day. Like I mentioned before, we didn’t see the numbers we usually see because of the cooler water temps, and the ones we did see were in deeper water, which is a lot harder to fish. All in all it was a killer day, we caught fish, had killer weather, and the lake wasn’t crowded.
When Holiday weekends roll around, I usually sit around drinking beer, sometimes I catchup on household choirs, or I loaf in the sun at the lake property. However this past Sunday (might I note it was a holiday weekend) my amigo Matt called and invited me carping, so against my better judgement (fishing on a holiday weekend) I grabbed my gear and hit the road to “Lago Carpachino”. As usual, Bojangles was a little slow on the cajun fillets, so I was a few minutes late to the party. Matt and his friend Paul had already launched the skiff and were already stalking some fish when I pulled up.
The morning started off slow and there were a few shots here and there, since the sun was still low on the horizon visibility wasn’t the greatest. As the sun burned off the morning dew we were able to spot some feeding fish. As usual, we would line them, make a sudden move, miss a take, and so on. Blown shots are part of the sight fishing game, and when it all comes together you are usually rewarded with some sot of visual stimulation like a vicious take, or screaming run. Carp favor the redfish in many ways, but they will refuse a fly just like a permit or bone.
Matt tried his hand first, and didn’t have the best luck (although he wasn’t given the best shots). I tried my hand next, and struck out on a few fish. After a few blown shots, Paul spotted a small pod feeding off a shallow point near an overhanging tree. I made several casts only to have the fish I was targeting turn the other way. I decide to target another feeder, so I placed the fly directly in his path and made a couple of small strips. The fish seemed interested, when all of a sudden another carp came from shadow of the tree and snatched my fly ! I quickly strip set, and played the fish to open water. While he wasn’t a 10 pounder, he was definitely a worthy fish. After a few hard runs I brought him to the boat, snapped some pics, and released him.
Matt was up again, so we head to another flat and quickly spot feeding fish. Matt lays out a nice cast and a large carp eats his fly, Matt strip sets like Bill Dance sets a hook, and after a violent head shake the carp swims off with a new lip piercing. Several more casts, several more eats, and no fish to hand. I was feeling bad for Matt, he hasn’t really fished much this year, so he had some rust to work out. Since it was approaching lunch time, we headed back to the ramp because Paul had to leave. We grabbed our gear, told Paul good-bye and headed to prep Matt’s boat for launch.
About 15 minutes later we were back on the water in Matt’s boat heading for another flat. Once on the flat I crawled up on the poling platform and started scanning for fish. As I poled the boat across the flat a few mudding carp were spotted, but the carp seemed to spook before Matt could cast to them. We weren’t having much luck, so we decided to head to another flat. When I was poling out, Matt spotted three carp cruising near shore. He made a quick cast and it was “Fish On”. Matt’s carp made several runs before coming to net. Again not a huge carp, but a worthy specimen nonetheless .
With a couple carp to boat, numerous shots and eats, it was time t call it a day. The holiday hoards had officially converged on the lake and it was asshole to elbow with jet skis, ski boats, etc!