Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Four to Go: Flatlining

The Rockies' answer to the bonefish
About this time of year, when days start to get noticeably longer and the snow doesn't stick around for weeks at a time, I start planning my assault on the flats.

Not those distant blue Caribbean flats I'm about to visit in just a few short days... the flats right here in Idaho, where the poor man's answer to the bonefish swims. Here on the frigid fringe of the northern Rockies, in storied waters better known for trout, swims Izaak Walton's "Queen of Rivers," the common carp.

After generations of unearned disrespect, carp are in the midst of becoming "the next big thing" among fly fishers. Over the last decade, they've inspired many a magazine article, several books and just a couple weeks ago, they were featured in the Gray Lady herself, the New York Times.

The attraction among fly fishers is the way carp behave in shallow water, where an angler can sight-fish for them. They will dip their noses in the mud in search of crustaceans and worms and whatever else dwells in the muck, often leaving their tails exposed if the water's shallow enough. They will cruise the flats in pairs or groups of three or four. They can be ridiculously easy to catch (although this is rare), or unbelievably wary (much more common).

On the prowl for carp
If I'd written the paragraph above, with no carpy context, most fly fishers would probably assume I was espousing the virtues of bonefish or redfish... maybe even permit.

And that's the pull, right there. It's saltwater fishing–complete with a reel-screaming fight–without having to venture to the salt to experience it.

Now, I am about to venture to those aqua-blue flats of the Caribbean, where I suspect I'll become enamored with the shallow-water denizens like bonefish, and, if I'm lucky, permit. It'll be my first trip in pursuit of these legendary fish, but I think I'm prepared.

And I can thank the common carp for that.


  1. Hear, hear! Fantastic post....and best of luck in the Caribbean!

  2. Nothing like honing the skills in preparation...good stuff as always