August 12, 2013
Carp Camp 2013 Beaver Island, MI: The Results
I'm not gonna lie, the fishing during Carp Camp was tough. Extremely tough. Like dragging a fly across a carp's nose without a reaction tough. Make no mistake, we had plenty of shots at fish, and as far as numbers go, I was happy with the amount of fish we saw for the time of year. But the fish were off and not interested in taking flies. Frustrating.
We all managed to catch some fish, and most importantly carp. Unlike the TFM trip, there were more than two carp caught total. Everyone at Carp Camp tallied at least two carp a piece, with a couple fish breaking twenty pounds. I was lucky enough to capture the big fish of the trip with a twenty-three pound post-spawn carp. If that fish had been holding eggs it definitely would have broken the thirty pound mark.
I was sweating bullets most of the trip. I was lucky to brush off the carp skunk on Day Two, but I was haunted by the lack of takes. I'm not gonna sit here and bullshit you into thinking that I was Mr. Perfect out on the flats. I'm not. I'm an average angler from my perception and feel that my only advantage is from intuitiveness and adaptation rather than pure skill and raw talent. But I was throwing down some pretty solid casts and had flawless presentations on a few. There was something more to it than just being at the right place at the right time. These fish were off, and after four solid days of fishing (and two weeks of guiding by Indigo) it was apparent that these fish were just plain stuffed. They couldn't fit another bite into their corpulent little mouths after gorging on hex and drake mayflies. It was like the equivalent of going to a Vegas all you can eat buffet after staying up all night eating cheesy poofs and bonbons, swilling them down with coke and mountain dew. These fish were full. They were in a food coma. Some of them were seemingly punch drunk, not even flinching as we're bouncing lead eyed flies right off their mustached mouths. It wasn't until I lobbed a heavy sculpin pattern out in front of a pod of carp where I saw a healthy sized fish take the leap of faith and lunge forward a couple feet to swoop down and suck in that fly. Not only did I get the approach, the presentation, and the visual of the hook up, but it was a plus twenty fish. I got the fish. Just as I was about ready to write off Beaver Island, this carp comes in and saves the trip on the last full day at Carp Camp.