To do otherwise is to muck it up. Blow your shots. Fail.
Yesterday I did otherwise.
Summer has shriveled the flats, but the fish remain plentiful. However the mood has changed. The carp are, if possible, even more neurotic than usual. I suppose they sense that their world, for reasons beyond their understanding, is shrinking. Maybe they get from this a general feeling of unease even though several hundred acres of reservoir remains at their backs. Maybe things have simply become unfamiliar.
|Mud flats in July|
|Mud flats in September|
In any case, they spook at the slightest provocation. I observed peacefully feeding carp erupt suddenly in fear for no discernible reason. They simply bolted, tearing muddy trails through the shallows. I saw this scenario play out several times in the two hours I was there.
A day then, that required a light touch. And I went in swinging a hammer.
I'll spare you the details and just say that I did not fish well. Finally, because I didn't know what else to do, I knelt in the mud and waited. More than one car on the road behind me slowed briefly. After a while, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes, there was a tail at twenty feet, twelve o' clock. Then ten feet, a gold shiny back now breaching with the tail. Then six feet. I dapped the fly and the fish wiggled noisily forward, his belly undoubtedly pressed hard to the mud in those few inches of water.
I didn't bother with a photo. I measured and scaled him and dropped him back. Eighteen and a half inches, 3.2 lbs. - the sweet spot in this particular water. The thirty or so carp that I have recorded here over the past two months have averaged right at 18 inches and 3 lbs. A diminutive bunch in carp terms, but no less demanding.