I spot one fish at the edge of the pool right at my feet. But he sees me first and bolts off just as my fly lands beside him.
Another fish is tailing just beyond the cattails. I stay put and cast just to the right of where I saw his tail break the surface. The glare makes seeing the take impossible, but I see the red indicator section of my leader straighten and set the hook.
I'm not great at fighting fish. After watching Lance fight the 24 inch rainbow in a tiny creek without losing the fish. Seeing him zig zag and pounce over boulders and logs to stay hooked up was inspiring. I figured I need a good coach. The best coach would probably be a steelhead or bonefish. Since neither are natives to Utah, I have to settle for the "golden bonefish" we have locally.
The only way to learn how to fight fish is to fight a big fish and get beat up...
The ensuing fight is insane! This fish is soooo strong.
I made the mistake of hooking into one on my 5wt Helios when I scouted the stream earlier in the year. I couldn't turn the fish and just had to break him off.
This time I was prepared with a cheap 7 wt from Cabela's. It's such a stiff rod, I never use it. But today it bends deep into the butt. I have to navigate over snags like willows and cattails and around submerged logs. My wrist and elbows ache under the strain.
Netting a huge carp by yourself is a comedy of errors. As soon as he sees the net he tears off like a bullet and nearly rips the rod out of my hand.
He weighs in at 8.9lbs and is 24 inches long.
Since all the trout streams in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming are unfishable due to run-off it's nice to have new waters to explore.
Big Huge Fish
Learn to fight fish that just don't give up
Hone accurate casting at short range
Fish absurdly bright and heavy flies
Sight Fishing - before the rains the water was crystal clear, but feeding fish tail and kick up a plume of mud. Some fish even rise, taking food off the surface.
Trash - there tends to be more human junk around in places where you find carp in Utah. I like this spot because there is a lot of vegetation but litter can blow onto the banks from the nearby highway.
Mud - when I scouted the stream the banks were high and dry, but run off has flooded a few feet of the banks making it more of the typical marshy carp hole. I think I will have to return February or August to get a dry bank and clear water.