Carl’s Cranefly Pattern on Display

If you haven’t read the First Half I suggest you do so as it will give this post better context. Sitting on the bank of the creek with a beer in one hand and watching Carl strip his crane fly across the surface I took note of the time, 3pm. The sun was as bright as it had been all day and although it wasn’t full sun it was much brighter than at 10:30am when I began casting at bubble trails. I casually mentioned the increase in sun to Carl and floated the impact that the sun might have on fishing for carp. Be water, be malleable. It wasn’t more than a few minutes later and we had agreed to fish up to a good stopping point then double back to the truck to see if the sun would give us a better approach for the carp. The goal was to be back on the stream by about 7pm at the latest so we didn’t miss time fishing for brookies. Carl’s cranefly pattern was producing multiple aggressive rises from browns and I managed a handful of nice fish myself with the first brookie of the day before we took off. We hiked out to the truck, drank water and ate a bit of food before heading to carp water.

Funny how sometimes you’re given one thing you want but are also given something maybe less desirable. The universe at work. Standing in the same spot as before under much sunnier skies I had even less visibility. How is that possible? Wind. The wind had picked up and now the water that was nearly glass before was anything but and not a single bubble could be discerned from wavy foam. We looked out across the water and noted one small section that appeared more calm. We chose to hike the entire body of water if anything just to explore the possibilities. About a mile hike later and we are standing opposite the wind struck section of water spying for the bubbles. The water is no less turbid, if anything it may be more so due to the wind and the water is deeper. I’m wading out as far as I can and I missed the first good opportunity I had. Carl seems more determined this time, he’s asking questions and I stop fishing to try and put him on the best spots I can find. As he’s working a section of water I hike out to a point to see if it’s shallow when I turn back to see him with a bent rod. He was stripping his fly back and one of those carp came out and smoked it! He’s stripping in line like it’s a trout and I’m telling him to get it on the drag. This carp is bigger than the two I caught and it’s taking line and refusing to come close. The saving grace here is that I brought the net this time. Several minutes and a sore forearm later and Carl is holding the first carp he’s ever landed on a fly rod, maybe ever?

Well at this point my day has been totally made, we hiked around a bit more and I spotted a few fish but didn’t get any better opportunities.  We decided to drive back to the stream which would put us on brookies at about 6pm. 6-10pm to fish for brookies with a little mousing after dark. 4hrs to go and we made the best of it. Carl put on his crane fly pattern again and managed multiple aggressive browns and brookies. I tried a Stimulator with no success but truth be told I was more interested in taking photos of Carl fishing with my new camera. It’s nice and I can’t really fish and use this camera at the same time so I opted to put a streamer on my rod and let Carl switch between the two while I took a few shots as the evening wore on. Carl’s skill with a dry fly was on display, at first the cranefly then around 7pm we started seeing droves of #18 Brown caddis. Almost no rising was observed but Carl forges ahead with an elk hair caddis pattern, the standard we all know and love. I’m upstream taking photos when I turn around to see him hooked up with a huge brown that rose for his dry fly. Heading downstream I see him running from the stream rod as high as he could get it and stripping line to boot. The fish charged straight at him downstream and he fell to his knees as it came off. I believe the words were “this one will haunt me.”

Carl is fishing the elk hair caddis and I’m switching between my camera and fishing a streamer. I got on a section of water thick with brookies who were just slamming my fly. I’d let it sink for a few seconds then strip it in as fast and hard as I could, short fast bursts turned fish after fish. Upstream and Carl is still pulling out trout with the elk hair caddis. I stop to take a few photos and he decides it’s time to swap to a generic Adams pattern which of course pulls out several more trout. At this point this stretch of water is putting my favorite creek to shame. We get upstream to the run we wanted to night fish and we sit. For almost an hour we sit until it becomes unbearable, the sky could not get dark fast enough. Finally Carl starts swinging his mouse, within minutes a nice brown comes out. Multiple others strike but few stick. We fish some of the spots we had already targeted on our way back out and I stared up at the sky enjoying the stars, the fireflies were out in droves and between the bugs and the stars the dark was twinkling. At 11pm we promptly hiked out, had we been allowed by law to fish past we probably would have. Not very often do I get 12hrs of solid consistent fishing in with as much variety as this day, one for the books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *