Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wild Horses

They idle up behind us, their two-hundred horsepower Merc loping like a Don Garlits dragster priming for its holeshot. Nitro heat pushing a low-slung, red metal flaked, NASCAR grade, ass haulin’, pile-carpeted rocket ship on water. Ready to rip some lips.

Hey guys. There’s a bunch of spotted bass over by those docks. They’d probably jump all over them flies.

Thanks. But we’re good here.

What ya fishin’ for?


Thirty seconds pass, awkward silence but for the potato-potato-potato of a couple-hundred fiery steeds straining at the reins. Begging to be cut loose. Finally…

You catch carp with those fly rods?

If we do it right.

The Merc skips a beat, shudders, but then gathers itself and resumes its steady, impatient thunder.

We’ve seen some awful big ones.

Yeah. That’s what we’re after.

With fly rods?

Yep. With fly rods.

A light breeze rises and the gas-guzzling growl seems to pause as if the ponies are suddenly unsure of their footing. Their world has tilted. But only for a moment. The rumble resumes.

Well, y’all have a good one.

Good luck to you too.

And in a blink they're up on plane and they're gone, like an odd thought, leaving only a stampede-driven wake and some perforated eardrums. They’re off like scalded cats. Off like wild horses.

Off like carp having taken a fly.

Not so long ago, most fly fishermen were as clueless about fishing for carp as those bassmasters were. But in the Charlotte area, Captain Paul Rose of Carolina Bonefishing has been chasing them for decades. Tales of his escapades were my first inkling of the golden bones and I was thrilled to finally spend a day on his home waters. And to sweeten the deal, I got to share it with my buddy Cameron Mortenson, a bit of a carp connoisseur himself, and watch him bend a few of those fiberglass candy sticks that he likes so much.

Many thanks to each of them for a day very well spent.

And I'd have paid good money to listen in on them Rapala jockeys when they found their point, stabled the horses, and switched over to their trolling motor.

Carp? On fly rods?!?! Those guys are nuts!

If they only knew.