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.


CathyB said...

Congrats on finding your writing groove again. My ears are still ringing from your description of that engine. :)

Guy Franzen said...

Writers write. Fantastic. Love it!

Mike Sepelak said...

Cathy and Guy, I thank you both for calling bullshit on my last post. It was whiny and self-serving balderdash; so much so that I've removed it. I equally thank you for your unflinching support. It's truly appreciated.

Ken G said...

I quit intentionally fishing for carp about 15 years ago, but one thing you should consider the next time you come to Chicago is to wander along the lakefront in any of the harbors and try sight fishing for carp.

No joke, I have seen them cruising the harbor walls and they can be well over 3 feet long. They look like mini subs.
Problem is, you'll be standing about 5 feet above the water at that point.
But then, I'm just suggesting you try fishing for them. I have no clue how you would actually land them.

Somewhere in my collection is a picture of a friend holding up a grass carp over 4 feet long. It was caught out of one of the many Park District lagoons...

Mike Sepelak said...

Getting them to eat is the real test, Ken.After that it's just gravy. Thanks for the pointer!

Tbone said...

Sep...loved this one as I have had two similar experiences. FYI, broke off my biggest carp to date...easily 20 pounds and a goo 30" long...wrapped me into some spatterdock and broke off the fly, but man...what a rush!

Mike Sepelak said...

They're a trip, T. No doubt.