Dog Days of Summer…. Hidden Gems…. and Hanging with Good Friends

The dog days of summer are here.  For those of you that are die hard trout bums this is a tough time of year as even our spring creeks and tail waters are getting warmer than our trout would prefer.  I actually love this time of year for many reasons.  It is our final push of really warm weather before we start really thinking about our salmonids and all of the other great things that come with the onset of fall.  Due to family vacations, many of our waterways are not super crowded and if you can beat the heat there is some really good fishing to be had.

This past week, my good buddy CW turned me on to a driving range out by his dad that has an enormous population of largemouth bass (gotta love the greenies) and a resident family of 35lb plus grass carp.  As luck would have it we got the green light to fish it as long as there was no one hitting balls at the time.  Despite my passion for all things carp, catching a grass carp on the fly is still on my bucket list.  Not only was this a sweet little pond to throw flies to but it had the best porta potty I have ever seen!

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I met CW after work and we started throwing buggers for bass and were lighting it up one after the next.  CW managed to pound some platter sized blue gills as well.  I was totally focused in bassdom when I hear a whistle and a wave.  I made my way over to CW and he points to a disturbance about 50′ out.  My heart just about stopped.  This was easily the biggest grass carp I had ever seen.  It was like a torpedo.  I quickly switched up to a dry fly and made my first cast.  It was at that moment that light dawned on marble skull.  These fish were nose down rather than nose up.  I quickly  made another change to a small carp nymph and proceeded to line the fish and sent it twitching for deeper water…. buck fever to say the least.

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Before I could feel sorry for myself another one cruised into the shallows almost as big as the first.  This time I took a deep breath and waited… watched… and waited some more.  The behemoths tail was literally completely out of the water and it looked like a mermaid.  I cast my nymph and it landed 2 feet to its left.  It didn’t make a move.  Twitch… twitch… twitch…. Before I could even figure out where his head was my line came tight and it was on!  And then it was over.  After a violent tail thrash and a dart for deeper water, we were unbuttoned.  Both of us gasped in disbelief and  I was on the ground looking to the heavens for answers.  Upon closer examination, it was a clean break on my 3x…. the same 3x that I failed to replace prior to rigging up and i have no clue how long it had been on my reel.  I cursed my lack of good preparation and looked at CW with a smile… She ate :).  He smiled back and we both shook our heads.

After a few dozen more bass and a few more shots at unwilling grass carp we decided to grab a beer and do what we always do… End a great evening with great friends with a smile, a warm embrace, and a promise to do it again sooner rather than later.

So what does all this mean?  Probably nothing, but don’t ditch the dog days, don’t forget your best fishing buddies, and always always change your frigging tippet before presenting a fly to a 40lb grass carp…. shoot me now.

Tight Lines and Loose Pants,

Lee