Friday, July 13, 2012

Pennsylvania River Carpin'

Headed for the river early Sunday morning after a bit of a hiatus for work and family activities, including some time at the beach.  Sitting on the beach is a point, but upon my return to the real world with one day to catch up on all those post vacation chores, I woke up with the sun and headed for the river, for my kind of relaxation.

Ghost carp stalks the skinniest water

Signals were mixed as I worked my way across the growing gravel bar.  Two weeks of searing heat and sparse rain showers had the river shrinking rapidly.  It was obvious carp were, or at least had been, present, but it appeared as though one carp refused to move to deeper water, and had paid the ultimate price.  Of  course appearances can be deceiving, but I believe some carp may be stubborn enough to allow that to happen.

Carp were not tailing in the skinny water as they had been at this spot in years past, but as I reached the long deep pool below the skinny water, I began to see carp, some large, cruising in groups of 3-6.  After a painful number of refusals, I took the hint and changed flies.  The small conehead olive wooly bugger I tied on more closely matched the color of the river water and, almost immediately the fly was getting more attention - mainly from the small smallmouth and rock bass abundant in the river, but soon enough a group of cruising carp took notice of these small eager fish fighting over this apparently tasty morsel.  The biggest bruiser in the bunch decided to beat her buddies to the treat and gobbled down the fly with such gusto that I nearly forgot to set the hook.  Nearly.

After 10-15 minutes (time flies when you're having fun) and one long run into my backing, the brute was brought to hand.

Poor cell phone photography aside, a handsome fish indeed

Put a good bend in the 7 wt.
Nice tail.

The Release - almost as satisfying as the take

Can't wait to get out and try for some more.  A family trip to Maine, to visit relatives and Acadia National Park, will keep me off the river for a  bit, but will hopefully afford some good bass fishing as well.

Fish On.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Get a Grip

Being relatively new to the fly-carpin' game, preferring to travel light, and prone to wandering rivers on foot, I haven't found a net set up for wading that I like, but I admit a net is a good idea.  I'm very intrigued by Mr. P's recent article "Nettin' Carp Like a Gunslinger".  

I'm an advocate of landing a fish before it is entirely exhausted and I do my very best to handle fish gently, and quickly, before releasing them.  Additionally, I like any excuse to buy another piece of fishing tackle.  For those reasons, I'm likely to soon acquire a net for fly-carpin' on foot.  In the current absence of a net I am having good luck using The Fish Grip, a tool that I find to be head and shoulders above the better known, and more expensive, Boga Grip.

The Fish Grip Green
Fish Grip above, Boga Grip below

The locking mechanism of the Fish Grip is more like a Vise Grip than a Boga Grip and, with its smooth jaws, the Fish Grip can be pinched behind the front or corner of the a carp's bugle like mouth to more gently, and securely, hold the fish, in the water, while a hook is removed or a picture is taken.  The Boga Grip has a built in IGFA certified scale, but a carp needn't, and shouldn't, be lifted by the lips, so the scale isn't a plus to me, at least with carp.

Oh, yeah...and the Fish Grip... 
  • is available in a variety of cool colors
  • costs $12, rather than $120 like the Boga Grip
  • weighs a fraction of the Boga Grips weighs - making it handy to travel, and wade, with
  • it floats (the Boga Float will run you another $15)
  • can be easily be carried by clipping to your vest, belt loop, shirt, or nipple ring.

Both Grips are made in the USA.  

The Boga The Boga Grip does have a pivoting head which, sellers emphasize, allows fish to be revived in the water.  I suppose a pivoting head would have some advantages, but I've never had any trouble reviving a fish with the Fish Grip, and I have seen several complaints that the Boga's pivoting head results in some tremendous line tangles when trying to land and unhook large feisty specimens.

One of the best features of the Fish Grip is the extra safety factor afforded when removing treble hooks, and the fact that kids can use it when removing hooks or posing for that fishy shot with panfish or bass.

The Fish Grip helps Henry get a handle on a farm pond bass

Give the Fish Grip a shot and let me know if you're as happy with it as I am.