Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Carp Spring...

Mirror carp
Say what you will about the carp, but you're reading words from one trout bum who, on any given day, would rather catch a rubber-lipped "trash fish" than a big, fat brown trout on a dry.

I know... priorities.

Oh, I love me some trout. Trout fishing is my passion--it started it all for me. Cold, clean water meandering through a backcountry meadow in the middle of nowhere ... that's Heaven's doorstep in my book. But carp ... well... carp pull hard.

I've given this a lot of thought. And I think it boils down to that. I've never had a trout take me to my backing. Carp expose my backing regularly.

Better test your backing knot
I've also come to appreciate the non-native, exotic invader for what it offers the angler who can get past the bucket mouth and the sometimes-soupy water in which they swim. Carp, simply put, offer opportunity. Here where I live, the backcountry trout water is generally unfishable--if not completely inaccessible--until June most years. Last year, with so much water, our rivers were raging with runoff until August. Once summer finally arrived, it was almost over.

But carp water... most years around here, the persistent fly fisher can get on carp as early as mid-April, if we can get a couple of warm days in a row.

In addition to opportunity, carp in this corner of the world are truly unique. In a landlocked state with no salty shores to readily visit, carp offer fresh water's best answer to saltwater fly fishing. I've done my share of salty casting lately--I'm basically addicted to it, largely because of the challenge and the fact that I have so much room for improvement. Carp offer a salty fix without ever leaving Idaho. Or having to mess with sharks.

Salty ... without the salt
How do they stack up? I'd put them above your average redfish, if that helps. Bonefish? I, uh ... wouldn't know.

So, continue to discount carp at your own fishing peril. No, they're not much to look at, and the grip-and-grin at the end of a battle is a little underwhelming. But the take, the fight and the experience of it all--especially when the backcountry is still cold and foreboding--make the carp a worthy fish to pursue.

-Chris Hunt


  1. Welcome to the Trash Fish club. Your club handle is, "Mullet Snatcher".

  2. Right on. And once you start, it is so very hard to stop!

  3. It is a drug, isn't it? I just realized that I caught my first carp on the fly 10 years ago... I'm *gulp* a brownliner...

  4. Admit it, Chris. You'll fish for anything with fins. And Mullet Snatcher... HA!

  5. The first step toward solving a problem is admitting you have one. So... I admit it... I'm a fish-a-holic.

    -Mullet Snatcher

  6. Chris, great story. Love that second photo.

    We need to go carpin'.

  7. What's wrong with sharks?! Now THERE'S a fish that'll expose some backing! Haha.