Monday, October 17, 2011

An uncommon grassie

My day starts like this:

I’m motoring to the carp flats when I pass another boat that has apparently been in that area most of the morning. We wave and exchange pleasantries as we ease by each other.

“Any luck back there fellas?”

“Not a bite. Ain’t nothing back there but a bunch of %$%@* carp!!”

“Um, yeah, that’s, um, terrible. Well, gotta go! See you fellas later.”

Nearly fell out of the canoe trying to get it back up to speed.

Fish of the day was a grassie. Not especially big for a grass carp, 30+ inches or so. But he charged the fly, took aggressively, and then tail-walked like a tarpon across the flats when the hook sank home. He made several jumps and tore the flats to pieces, spooking so many carp that I could feel them banging against the bottom of my boat as they fled in panic. Apparently not satisfied with these efforts, he took off for open water with a series of long hard runs. It was nip and tuck all the way to the net. I tried to bring him aboard for photo, but he thrashed around so violently that I thought he might break everything in the boat and possibly the boat itself. He was pissed.

This was unusual for a couple of reasons. One, although I’ve seen grassies move to take a nymph, I’ve never seen one make an aggressive charge like this fish. I made a terrible cast and missed him by a good two feet. Didn’t matter. He turned hard and murdered the fly. I’ve read that grass carp are strict herbivores, but I know they’ll eat bugs if they’re in the mood. Not the kind of thing you want to make a living at – I’ve cast to a lot of grass carp this year and caught exactly three – but it does happen.

The other reason was the fight in this fish. A grass carp will typically give you a hard run or three, but then will often call it quits and let you drag him in like a wet log. Or at best he'll just start swimming, which, if it's a big one, can result in something like trying to land a steamroller in low gear. Not this dude. He had blood in his eye from get to go. He'll be the fish I remember from this year.

On a related note, the flats are absolutely loaded with carp. Hammered 'em pretty good yesterday. and will post some pics later.  If this sunny weather holds, I may have some good carping for the next few weeks.


John Montana said...

Awesome. It is illegal for us to target grassies out here. I think they are cool fish.

e.m.b. said...

Nice! I haven't caught a grassie yet...although there are some in a trout pond I frequent. I've hooked one by accident (he took a dry fly ant)...but on my 6x, he broke off. It is so funny that people leave...."ah, nothing but carp" and we run towards. Now that, sounds pretty 'back alley'... :)

Ty said...

There are a few lakes around here where it's illegal to go after grassies, but for the most part it's not a problem. And yeah, they are pretty cool fish.

Ha ha, Erin! Carp are nothing if not back alley. I like it.

McTage said...

That is so cool Ty. Tailwalks and everything. Not everyday you get a tailwalk from any kind of carp. You are lucky to have that bit of variety!

Ty said...

First time I've ever seen a carp do that McTage. It was crazy.

Matt said...

I am sooo jealous. Glad you're getting some!

Ty said...

Yeah man, gotta admit I have it pretty good carp-wise.

Gregg said...


I've caught exactly 2, they are hard to figure out for sure. Legal to fish in Idaho for them, but if you haven't heard it yet, you will now, those "sterile" fish here have been in one pond repeatedly washed into the nearby Snake River, which also refreshes this pond with common carp, and I predict wild self sustaining grass carp in thr Snake soon, if not already. But I digress. One Grass carp I did not land grey hounded 3X then pulled free. The others were disappointing. My middle boy has had them several times aggresively charge a white and a yellow bunny leech, he out fishes me always anyway. Now goldfish, in the same pond, are tough to fool but fight very hard. Again, not caught one but a pal did of about 15lb., tough long fight.


Ty said...

Gregg, I've wondered about that "sterile" thing with grassies. Like you, I have my doubts. I think they're reproducing in my carp water.

Those goldfish you're talking about - are those koi?

Gregg said...


Not that I know of, most of the very large ones are calico in complexion, bright orange and black. You can see them a long ways away, and always common carp are about or near them. There is a good population of LM bass, some big crappie and always an osprey or heron. It amazes me they reproduce so well. Also they are not stupid. I have a good picture of one, try to get it to you somehow. This is not the pond that consistently overflows to the Snake, though it does have grass carp in it.


Ty said...

Interesting. I bet those are koi. I think I've read that koi are actually common carp bred for those colors for ornamental reasons. I know that sounds kinda outrageous, so don't hold me to it, but I do think I saw that somewhere. Your comment that they're not stupid definitely makes me think they're either carp or close relatives.

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