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copied from http://www.freep.com/sports/outdoors/eric7...c7_20030807.htm

 

BY ERIC SHARP

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

 

TRAVERSE CITY -- Some people should learn when to keep their mouths shut, especially me.

 

I arrived at one of my favorite spots to fly-fish for carp, only to find three other anglers wading knee-deep on the flats and waving long rods. One of them was into a fish, a 20-pounder by the look of the way his fly rod bent, and the angler yelled as it took off 75 yards of line on a powerful run.

 

As I watched, I heard "Fish on!" from one of the others 100 yards up the beach and turned in time to see an explosion of white water as another big carp blasted out of the foot-deep shallows and headed at flank speed for the mouth of East Grand Traverse Bay.

 

About 10 years ago. a wonderful guy named George Von Schrader introduced me to fly-fishing for carp in the clear waters of the northern Great Lakes. He told me that it was just like bonefishing, but he was wrong. It's better than bonefishing, because the fish are much, much bigger.

 

I wrote about it a couple of times a year and became George's apostle, introducing other people to the sport after he died far before his time.

 

For years, George and I had the fish largely to ourselves. But then things changed. I'd be wading a flat somewhere and see another angler get into the water down the beach from me. A couple of TV shows and magazines began doing stories about "The Golden Bones of the Great Lakes," and pretty soon it actually became respectable.

 

During this summer's annual Trout Bum Barbecue -- hosted by Steve Southard at the Fly Factory in Grayling -- a bunch of the out-of-staters passed on a couple of days of trout fishing to try their hand at carp. They went to several flats where they saw lots of big carp but came away humbled by their inability to hook one.

 

Some of them came to my house after that experience, looking for guidance. They were stunned when I told them that I usually use 6-pound leader tippet and even 4-pound if I get a lot of refusals. They had been using 10- and 12-pound tippets; no wonder they didn't get a take from the smartest fish in fresh water.

 

On this trip, I left Traverse City on a whim and drove to another Lake Michigan bay where I had seen cruising carp but had never stopped to fish. The sun was high when I arrived, excellent for spotting fish 100 yards away in the clear water. In 10 seconds, I saw two pods of the long, black shapes that mark cruising carp and was delighted to see one of the pods slow down. The fish began to mill about with their tails and backs occasionally breaking water.

 

Feeders! I ran back to the truck and pulled out a rigged, 9-foot, three-piece Temple Fork Outfitters 7-weight that has been a great steelhead, salmon and carp rod. I hurried back up the beach without even taking time to put on waders.

 

I shuffled out into the unseasonably cold water until the bottom of my shorts got wet and I could reach the fish with a long cast using a No. 6 olive woolly worm. The fly dropped five feet from a tailing fish, which ignored it, but when I started to strip it back, another carp from the pack spotted it and came at it slowly.

 

I let the fly sink for about three seconds, like an insect larva dropping toward the bottom, then moved it forward with three or four quick strips on the line. The carp darted forward. There was a slight tug, and then a solid weight as I raised the rod tip to set the hook.

 

For a second, nothing happened. Then line began melting off the reel and the drag buzzed as the hooked fish and the rest of the herd headed for the horizon. It was what George and I used to call a stampede. I smiled, remembering a time when George hooked a huge carp out of a big herd in a little bay and was almost knocked down by fish bouncing off him as they stampeded out to sea.

 

I took four runs and 10 minutes to bring the fish to hand, remove the hook and release it. It was a 15-pounder, modest by Great Lakes standards, and even as I held it in my hands, I spotted another bunch of big, dark shadows cruising my way.

 

Great fish. Marvelous place. Wonderful memories. You know what, George? I don't mind sharing after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interestingly, in the July/October edition of Fly Rod&Reel, there is an article, entitled "Carp Across the Country: A Tale in Two Parts; Golden Bonefish of the Third Coast," written by Bob Butz.

 

This article highlights the fly fishery for Golden Carp in Lake Michigan; then goes on to describe a Columbia River, OR, trip, written by Ed Lawrence.

 

I've taken several carp on the fly here in MA; they can be tenacious battlers in the brush-choked sections of local rivers.

 

The July/October issue of FR&R is good reading throughout. NBC's Tom Brokaw on the cover.

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D,

 

 

 

One of my fav. mags......great articles on the carp, i must agree. have landed a few carp and huge suckers on fly rod....biggest wasn't but about 9lbs, but he felt like a freight train, even on an 8 wt......

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