Thursday, 14 June 2018

A May Carp Session and the One That Got Away

The second weekend of the opening season found us on a marshy bank with water still too cold for the carp to think about spawning. They were on their way to the shallows putting on the feed bag as they often do this time of year and with a late spring in Manitoba, some great early season action can be had. Frodo had spent the previous evening making boilies and ground bait and with a bit of chumming while we rigged up, the action wouldn't take long to kick in.

Frodo hooked up with the first carp and each one that followed was a little bigger than the previous. His hair rig seemed to have equal success with corn or boilies and he was putting on a bit of a clinic while I was missing takes and dealing with a few drops. The reward of catching fish on bait he made himself was evident and the action only exemplified it. I finally had a solid take and hook up only to have the carp break me off when heading into some structure, it was a little heartbreaking to say the least.

The ground bait was doing its job and the carp were loving it with one of us getting a take at least every 10 minutes or so. I was eventually rewarded with a few to shore under 30 inches in length and finally mid morning, one over. It fought with the determination most carp have once hooked and it was a real thrill to be putting the gear through the gauntlet. Pulling drag with ease and plowing through the water with seemingly little resistance, this fish was exactly what I had been looking forward to throughout the work week!

The morning was a cool one and with wind from the north blowing across the lake steadily picking up speed, the action seemed to taper off towards noon. Our spot had produced well for hours but it was time to try another one, however our efforts proved futile. With little success and a hankering for new scenery, we decided to head off to a nearby river for some bottom fishing and sanctuary from the wind.

After a bit of a drive and a stop for a snack we began prospecting potential spots along a river and found one with a nice deep hole and back eddy. It was littered with fish, though most of them small and held a lot of potential for a range of species. Juvenile channel catfish and a few large stonecats were eager to seek out our baits in the deep pocket while goldeye and mooneye were plentiful in the current seem and slack water. We even pulled a few walleye and a freshwater drum out while bait fishing.

Now I am all for catching new species of fish and sometimes it is intentional and sometimes it just happens. Whenever it does happen, I gotta admit I get pretty excited. Now as is often the case this trip involved a bit of an early rise and a few hours driving and at this point in the day we had been fishing for over 10 hours. After a long work week and minimal nights sleep, my judgement and thought process might not have been 100% when I brought a new species to shore.

While unhooking this feisty little guy he fell on the shore and got a little dirty and in my haste and worry for the health and well being as well as the desire to document this new species for positive identification I needed to rinse the fish off in the water. Instead of using the net to cradle the fish in the water to clean off some mud I decided to just hold it in my hand and well, you can imagine what happened next. In the blink of an eye, my poor judgement was exposed and away swam this beautiful creature, the image forever burned in my mind. Depressed, flabbergasted, befuddled, shocked .... I couldn't believe what I had done and neither could Frodo.

I would return to the spot in the weeks that followed while coming home from other destinations in search of that elusive chub. I just wanted one picture, proof of the catch and after about 12 more hours of fishing over a few pit stops, I was lucky enough to make it happen.

Jubilation!!! The now properly identified flathead chub was landed and documented!