While enjoying the Fourth of July barbeque Jen and Cody provided, I visited with a good friend, Ron. The mornings fishing had been good and I commented that I’d enjoyed a couple of fishing firsts. To which he commented that’s great, at our age firsts are rare.
That morning Bill and I had fished Lonetree and enjoyed one of those rare days there when fish, in this case, walleye, were biting consistently all morning long. Yes, we were throwing flies, clousers and woolly buggers on sinking lines. No surprise there. And as many of you know, I love to throw my legal limit of flies whenever I can. Three are allowed on most waters in Colorado.
Over the years while fishing multiple flies I’ve managed to catch two and even three fish on a single cast with some degree of regularity. Some species are more conducive to doubles and triples. Trout, crappie, bass, white bass, yellow perch, and bluegill are the most common. I’ve even have three species mixes over the years, typically some mix of the aforementioned fish. A couple of the stranger doubles were a carp and bullhead, crappie and bullhead, and green sunfish and bullhead. I’ve even managed a double wiper, once. Typically, double wiper means a loss of your flies and no fish.
There are a few species that just don’t come in doubles, carp, northern pike, channel catfish (all catfish for that matter), muskie (still looking for a single), suckers, and walleye, at least not for me. That is until the fourth when I had my first double and triple walleye. To my surprise the walleye were thick enough, granted not big (12-14 inches), that multiples occurred, a rare first.
The weekend’s first that was the most fun occurred on Saturday at Jackson Lake and it wasn’t mine. It was Tom McInerney’s aka opencage, our very own News and Lake Editor. Jackson has a healthy carp population, to say the least, and consistently produces them on the fly. Truth be told, I’d rather catch wiper and walleye, but when we found carp rolling (spawning) around shallow weeds we decided to give them a try.
I anchored up in a couple feet of water just off the weeds and proceeded to pitch flies while Tom tried small jigs. It didn’t take long before I tied into my first fish of the day, a big sow (she left a lot of roe on the bottom of my boat), just under 30 inches. That peaked Tom’s interest and he quickly rigged his fly rod. Noting he didn’t have any backing, not good with fish the size he was likely to encounter, I suggested he fish one of my rods.
Given I fish mostly shooting heads, after a bit of coaching Tom was able to handle the rod like a, er, pro. Smile Tom, you’re free to defend yourself! Before too long a cooperative carp picked up one of Tom’s flies and the fight was on. A most interesting fight as Tom allowed slack into the line several times and struggled getting the fish onto the reel. Being the “nice” fellow angler that I am, I yelled instructions at him, while thoroughly enjoying the show.
In the end Tom won and a nice 28.5 inch carp came to net. It was then I learned that was not only Tom’s first carp on a fly, but his first carp ever and one of the largest freshwater fish, by weight, he’d ever landed. And, of course, it was also the largest fish he’d landed to date on the fly.
Being able to share in Tom’s first, was by far the most pleasurable part of last weekend. My hope is that in the years to come I’ll be able to share many such firsts with others.
Oh, and to his wife, Lindsey, I apologize for the expenses you and Tom are about to incur as the result of Tom’s new addiction to another aspect of fishing.