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Day 2: The Big C. Started at 7am, wake, dress, brush teeth and head for coffee and a quick breakfast. Long hours were about to be logged in search of puffy lipped prey. Down a backroad and parked at a spot with a sign full of bullet holes we geared up for the day. This meant waders, boots, rod, reel, long sleeves, plenty of flies and the buff. I was advised to purchase one before this trip and damn am I glad I did. Saved me from being one fried carp angler. Concerned about the potential for rain I went for my raincoat which incidentally contained both my camera and fly box only to find that I had left it at the freakin’ coffee shop. Rather than let this rookie mistake ruin my mood for the day I made a quick phone call to ensure the return of my gear by the days end then turned to Montana and Wendy B. for a handful of flies. With that said all the photos from day 2 come from Wendy B. and Montana.
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A short hike and we were slowly stepping foot in a flooded portion of the Columbia river backwaters. The three of us came upon carp almost instantly. The Big C was up and what would have been dry land was close to thigh deep but the carp were here, pock marks were felt through boots, wader and sock. Within minutes dark shapes could be made out searching the sand and rocks for food. The depth charge would be critical here, with the combination of high turbid water and the unfortunate lack of sun for the morning we moved slowly again attempting to spot a carp, determine which end to put the flies on and wait for any sign to set the hook. As we moved into the flooded bay we split up each slowly moving off in a different direction. Again Wendy B. was the first one to have the smell of carp on his hands and it didn’t take long. With the morning progressing the sun eventually made it to the party and helped make the day a bit more angler friendly the wind, however was hanging out with us as well making things tricky at times.
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My two fly rig consisting of the Worm and “Black Softhackle” fly required that one have a tungsten bead attached to it to make the count to the bottom less than a three. We fished turbid water with a bit of cloud cover early and wind to boot. Basically we were attempting to spot a dark shape a couple feet down (before it spotted you and spooked off), gauge it’s direction and speed then plant the flies in a spot you felt would get them to the bottom right about the time the prey was passing over. This was no easy task but when it came together it was glorious. We fished a couple bays and a long stretch of big boulder shoreline that if taken slowly enough one could spot some big fish feeding between [singlepic id=2663 w=320 h=240 float=right]the rocks. Got some good opportunities and some good takes despite the difficulty of searching turbid water for feeding carp. A double was seen and Montana scored a beast that was feeding with it’s ass in the air with a long armed bomb drop, the fish moves in and a short moment later backing was clearly visable. He made it look damn easy too.
One aspect of this trip was making good choices regarding which fish to present flies to. Often pods of 2-5 or more carp would be moving close togather, these are the spawners that are interested in perhaps something other than eating a big ole fly. The temptation to put flies on these groups was great but often futile. I learned to look for the single fish, the tailing carp and concentrate on those fish. We each landed a handful on the Big C. then pulled out to check another location, this resulted in perhaps the most hilarious moment in the trip. As the three of us search flooded backwaters we spot a handful of carp closer to the surface. One was sent in, Wendy B., as the other two watch from a distance. Wendy creeps in, he is maybe thigh deep when he spots the fish he wants. Just out of reach he takes a single step forward and demostrates why one should be wary when you can’t see the bottom. With no bottom Wendy went swimming in his waders and John and I tried not to bust up laughing on the bank. It was close to the end of the day and probably felt pretty good but an unfortunate event none the less. Smiles were shared all around, thanks for that one Wendy.
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