Monday, July 17, 2017

Paddle Board Carp: Plan B

During the hot summer months, if I could be anywhere in the area fishing, it would be a small stream fly fishing for either smallmouth or spotted bass.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not been allowing that to happen.  Typically July and August are very hot and dry months in SE Ohio, but we have been hit with lots of heavy rain in the past 10 days or so.  As a result, the local flows I would usually be hitting are all muddy and blown out.

Plan B is shallow water carp from the paddle board.  The two local lakes I fish most for them both handle rain pretty well, and I knew there should be fish there to target.  I arrived at the lake to find what looked like perfect conditions.  

There was just one small problem...some fish were spawning.  I've honestly never seen carp spawning this late in the summer.  I got on the water and focused on ignoring the spawners and trying to locate some feeding fish, which proved difficult.  I was paddling along a weed edge and spotted a fish feeding close by, quickly got a fly in front of it and was hooked up.  It happened extremely fast.  In short order, I had a solid fish in the net and a surprisingly good start to the morning.

The next two hours were very uneventful.  It was looking like finding another feeding fish was going to be next to impossible, especially as the wind kicked up slightly.  When there is even a slight chop on the water, these fish get incredibly difficult to spot.  I spooked several fish that I simply couldn't see.  This fish I actually bumped with the paddle board, resulting in this.

Frustrated by the wind and spawning activity, I had paddled near the take out point when it was like the wind was just turned off.  Completely off.  The water returned to a calm, slick surface, and I spotted a set of heavy bubbles not far away.  That is the tell-tale sign of an actively feeding fish.  I paddled into position and spotted the carp slowly moving from it's mud cloud.  I put the fly in it path, let it drop, and a split second after the fly hit bottom my indicator ticked.  Game on.

I knew when I got the fish close that this was the biggest fish I had hooked this year.  The fight was typical for a big carp: no big runs.  The big ones seem to "bulldog" more on the bottom, refusing to come up but not stripping a lot of line.  On the second attempt, I got the fish in the net and got into shallow enough water to hop off the board.

A few quick photos, hook removal, some reviving in shallow water, and this piggie was ready to go back on her way.  This fish had one serious paddle.

I'm hopeful that this rainy spell is past and we'll have some more typical dry summer weather now.  I'd like to think that a week of dryness might have the flows fishable, but given their condition, even that might not be enough.  Until they clean up, carp will be on the menu!


  1. I really need to give a SUP a try, I find that my back doesn't let me sit in a kayak as long as I used to be able to. Much better fish spotting too I suppose.

    1. The SUP gives a little more freedom as far as your position. You can stand, obviously. You can sit on the board. I, personally, sit on a cooler because it puts me up a little higher and gives me a little more storage. When it's time to net a fish I usually get down on the board on my knees. Freedom to move around, and one of the best parts so far: not one thing that fly line has gotten tangled on! The flat, open deck is awesome for fly fishing.