Check it off the Bucket List

This year I have made it a point to carry a fly rod on every kayak fishing trip. I am no elitist when it comes to fly fishing. The fly rod is not and never will be my only means of fishing. The fly rod as I see it, is another tool to maximize my efforts on the water. On a recent trip the fly rod proved invaluable as it helped to mark off a species from my bucket list.

My friend, Matt, and I were fishing for smallmouth on a small flow deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The smallmouth fishing was hot. Even in 55 degree water, the smallies were annihilating the whopper plopper. There were literally wolf packs of smallmouth competing for the bait – with a double hook-up on one bait happening on multiple occasions. Side note: make sure to change out the factory split rings on your whopper plopper 90s. On a couple hook ups I lost good fish and reeled in the plug only to find no hooks as well.

While the topwater bite was amazing, it was not the highlight of the trip. Between Matt and I, we caught multiple smallmouth on the fly which was cool – still not the highlight though. As we floated down we noticed a large group of carp feeding aggressively on a flat. I had a Murdich Minnow tied on my 6 wt but quickly decided I needed to change out to something way more buggy looking. The only fly I had in the box was a fly I had tied during a cold day in January. I call it a Hellgra-bugger, and it did the trick.IMG_3012

After a couple unsuccessful presentations, I placed the fly right in the middle of the group of carp. Within a couple seconds the mend in my line straitened and my first carp on the fly shot off. I quickly realized the drag I had set for smallmouth was not adequate for this prehistoric beast. After tightening down, the carp finally stopped 50 yards downstream and settled into the current for an exhausting tug of war – exhausting for me at least. A few minutes later ol’ rubber lips was to hand. I was excited. Matt snapped a couple shots and then exclaimed, “my turn”!!!1stCarpOTF

Matt and I passed the rod back and forth for another hour. Matt marked the carp off of his bucket list and 6 fish later we decided to let it rest and get back on the whopper plopper bite. This proved to be the most memorable day that Matt and I have shared on the water. I can’t wait to do it again!

Side Note: The Jackson Kayak Cruise 10 is my go to small water kayak. The minimalist lay out is perfect for fly-fishing. The rods stow easily with the fly reels resting neatly beside the seat and rods extending out the back, kept in place beneath the bungee in the tankwell.

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