My son had gymnastics last night, and my daughter went along for the ride. After dropping him off, and the remaining two of us eating a nice healthy Taco John's dinner, I drove us to a nearby city pond. My daughter stayed in the car to work on some schoolwork she had brought along.
I had 3 fly rods in the vehicle...a 5wt, a 6 wt, and a 7wt. In general, this pond is good for catching some smallish panfish. I had never seen a grass carp in this pond. So, naturally, I selected the lightest of the 3 rods. I was catching a few bluegills here and there, nothing major. I was trying different fly patterns, hoping something would excite the fish. I had put this fly on:
I worked my way along the shoreline, and cast towards a small clump of floating algae that was floating about 30' off shore. Something swirled on the fly. I set the hook and missed, and suspected the fish was just a bluegill. I immediately tossed the fly right back into that spot. A fish lunged, grabbed, and darted to the side with the fly. I set the hook, saw the fish, and knew right away I FINALLY had another Grass Carp on. I was so excited!
Once I decided the fish was hooked well enough to stay on the line for awhile, I started trying to find a place to land the fish. I had no net with me. When a shore angler hooks a big fish and doesn't have a net or partner to help with landing the fish, the best situation you can hope for is some shallow water that you can drag the fish into so that it has to turn on its side. Once on its side, it loses its advantage in the water, and can be landed at that point. At this pond, the shoreline is limestone rip rap, which dropped almost straight off into knee-deep water. There was just once spot that was a little bit shallower (but not shallow enough to "beach the fish")...where I could at least stand in the water and maybe try to land the fish while in the water. So, I got in the water. The fish was constantly going back and forth. I had collected some clumps of floating algae on my fly line, leader, and tippet.
I checked the time on my phone. I figured I was in for a long battle. I was very skeptical that I would ever actually land this fish. I continued fighting the fish. Mostly it was the constant back-and-forth, with the occasional darting for deeper open water. My daughter was in the car just 50' away, but since I was down the bank, standing in the water, she probably couldn't see what I was doing. She was still working on her homework or reading a book. I called her. She answered, knew it was me, but couldn't hear me. So, I just started waving my hand towards her, beckoning her to come to the shoreline. She saw me, got out of the car and walked over. I explained what was going on. I told her I wasn't sure I could land this fish, and I wanted her to see it, and maybe she could take some video of the battle with her iPhone. She did. After 5-10 minutes, I told her the fish was tiring, but we seemed to still be at our stalemate. So, she stopped taking video and went back to the car.
While she had been shooting video, I had been trying keep lifting the fish towards the surface and get its head up. After my daughter got back to the car, I tried it again, and this time the fish let me KEEP its head above water. So, I dragged the fish towards me. It came, without spooking or thrashing this time, so I guided its head straight towards the rocks along the shoreline, and got its head up on a rock. It still didn't thrash, so I dropped my rod in the water and grabbed the fish and carried it up onto shore.
No doubt about it, I was a VERY HAPPY GUY!
Chunky Fish. It measured 30.5", with an (probably under-)estimated weight of 14 lbs.
After the photos, I got it back in the water to revive it, and within a couple of minutes, it swam out of my hands.
Hopefully I can get the videos added to this blog soon.