Saturday, December 12, 2015

How It All Began

Written by Brian Shepherd

My obsession with carp on the fly began 4 years ago when a fly-fishing friend of mine took my brother and me to a local lake here on the Front Range.  My friend said to just show up and bring crawdad patterns.  I had no idea what to expect and admittedly had no idea how to catch carp on the fly.  I assumed in some way it would resemble bass fishing where they give it up pretty easily after dangling a pretty fly in front of them.  With that false assumption in mind, I was prepared for a day of non-stop excitement and gratuitous grips-and-grins.  After casting enormous streamers and everything else that pounded the water like cannon balls with not even so much as a glance from a carp or any other fish for that matter, I began to understand in a small way that fly fishing for carp might be hard. 

Anyone see a carp around here.  Photo taken by Kelly Shepherd.
Later that morning my friend said something about how you have to cast to feeding fish in order to catch them.  Okay great, I thought, that should be easy – just find a fish and unload a cast right at him.  For me, it turned out that I simply could not see carp, even when they were right in front of me (I am blaming the super murky water and not the best polarized lenses at the time).  I was certainly not a great fly fisherman back then, and as the day went on I thought even less of my abilities as it became apparent that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  There was some initial success but not from carp.  A hefty largemouth bass nailed a steamer pattern stripped along the edge of some cat tails.  It was the first fish of the day for any of us.  But not what we came for.

My first carp - caught on a black Bouface streamer
Photo taken by Kelly Shepherd.
A bit later in the day, my friend suggested we move to a more sheltered area of the lake (the wind was very strong that day) where there was a shallow flat area.  By this time I had picked up on a few other tips from my friend about how to spot carp: look for bubbles and their silhouette in the shallow muddy water.  That was the last bit of advice I needed.  I was soon proudly holding my first carp on the fly – gripping and grinning like an idiot – and marveling at how tired and sore my casting arm was.  It was the only carp I caught that season, but the experience slowly permeated the depths of my fly fishing soul.  My first carp on the fly experience stirred a desire within me that no other fly fishing experience had ever done.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that Jay Zimmerman first introduced me to fly fishing for carp.  Jay was kind enough to post my journey to the Dark Side on his blog back in 2012.  Thanks, Jay!     


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