With spring in the air and some more stable weather my local creek has finally cleared up and I can sight-fish for carp again. Afternoon dog walks now often involve me wandering the 2 or 3 km to my favourite carp hole rather than to the dog park, which brings lots of strange looks from commuters as I wander through Collingwood, rod in hand. The dog isn’t all that happy about it either, fishing bores the living daylights out of him 🙂
In any case, at the moment, for whatever reason, the fish are often feeding hard up under the undercut banks and in the reeds, only their tales visible. It makes them absolutely impossible to present a fly to. They happily sit there with their heads under the banks munching on whatever they are munching on for hours on end. Watching these fish happily feed in safety has frustrated me numerous times. They almost never poke their heads out giving me an opportunity to present a fly, so to be successful I’ve had to think outside the box to try and catch a few. I came up with the technique that has ended up being the most successful by accident. A fish was feeding in the reeds where it is a little easier to present a fly to than to the fish feeding right under the bank. After waiting five minutes for a shot without one presenting itself, in a fit of frustration I decided to try and cast into the reeds, a hail mary cast over the reeds to a beer coaster sized target of clear water. The cast was a failure, I missed my target by 2 or 3 inches and instead of landing the fly in my beer coaster sized target a few inches in front of the fish, I landed the fly right on the fishes head, spooking it. Luckily for me it was only a “soft” spook, the fish didn’t go running off in fear, it just turned around and looked and little worried. Four or five minutes later as I sat and watched, cursing my impatience, its body language seemed to change a bit, it seemed to relax, it moved to head back to the reeds. Taking what seemed like a fortuitous opportunity, I decided to have another shot at it… This time I got the cast right, landing the fly softly 6 inches in front of the fish, it slowly mooched over and ate my offering, a brown size 12 damsel pattern. BOO YA!
After that fish, I started using that “technique” deliberately on other fish: soft spook them to get them out from under the banks or out of the reeds, wait till they relax and think about heading back to start feeding again, then re-present the fly. The fact is to present a fly to these fish you have to get them out from under the banks and through a bit of luck, I’ve come upon a technique that is working incredibly well on those fish. While there is a load that can and does go wrong, properly spooked fish on the attempted soft spook, where I try to land the fly/flyline over them just softly enough to get their attention but not scare the crap out of them, fish that spook when I re-present the fly because I fluff the cast or cast to early, fish that fail to “relax” and end up just slowly swimming out to deeper water but thats a small price to pay for catching more fish. The technique has now accounted for half a dozen carp in the last week that I simply couldn’t have caught any other way… Sometimes to be successful, you’ve gotta break the rules.