Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Blue Skies and Yellow Flies
Yellow Carp Fly
A few weeks later than usual summer has finally arrived in the Columbia Basin.
I left Seattle early in the morning with flats boat in tow. I drove out of the clouds, over the pass and into the sun soaked desert. Aye, the windless sun soaked desert.
"All systems are green the mission is a go."
On the boat ramp before noon. I like to rod up before I put the boat in the water. Gives the trailer lights a chance to cool before they're submerged. If I only have to replace the bulbs six times this summer I'll be a happy boater. My head is in the game so I put the stern plugs in before I put the boat in the water cutting the actual launch time in half.
Out on the water I head west to Varsity Flats and The Reef. Both are high and dry. Execute plans B and C. Plans B and C are high and dry too.
Plan D is usually reserved for cloudy days but I was out of contingencies and would have to settle on bassin. I motor east, to the rock piles on the far side of the impounment.
Driftng in the wind along the rip rap is the best I can do without an oarsman or an electric motor. It works out well, a faint breeze is enough to push the boat along. I cast a Clouser to rock piles, points and dropoffs. The full sink line taking the fly down to what woould have been feeding level if the bass were actually feeding. I land one nice fish, a 2 lb female that's full of eggs.
It's getting late in the day but the sun still sits high above the horizon. The water begins to rise so I steer the boat toward some carp flats.
Working in reverse order I start at "Plan D" flats. The carp work the leading edge of the rising water as it fills the bay. It had been months since I cast to tailing fish. I worked out the kinks and got into fish soon enough.
The first couple of fish broke off.
Lesson: 6 lb. Maxima is not strong enough to hold angry carp.
After cutting the leader back to 8lb test I was back in the game. The fish were feeding actively and taking the fly well. I quit counting how many carp I landed at lucky # 7 who managed to mangle the fly beyond fishability.
I tie on a fly that I had created over the winter. Its patterned after a bonefish fly that I had seen in a magazine. All I did was change the colors to yellow, all yellow.
I toss the new fly to the fish, putting it on their noses with almost every cast. My casting style morphed from the delicate open loop style required for surface sipping trout to a lazer direct tight loops. I put the fly exactly where I want it to be almost as soon as I think to put it there.
I'm in the groove.
So much in the groove that I do the unthinkable. I leave fish to find fish. Enroute to the next flat I notice that the wind had picked up. Whitecaps were forming, my little flats boat skips across them at full throttle, Mach 3 with my hair on fire.
The small cove is sheltered from the wind. I found a few more fish tailng over the muddy bottom. The sun dropps lower as I make my lasts casts, catching one more carp on the newly adopted fly.