Blanking Carp on Beaver Island


An un-interested and well educated carp on the flats of Beaver Island.

Our first day on Beaver Island I walked out to the beach and spotted the carp. Main Island, wadable. Tight to a rock. Knee deep water. A pod of them. Probably 8-10 in all. All of them over ten pounds, the biggest of them pushing 30.

Last year I didn’t see one carp on the flats of Big Sand Bay. You don’t see fish down there too often. We didn’t know that when we booked that place. But this year we stayed closer to town near a point where Dave Hossler caught a nice one last year. So I thought the fish might be there, but now I had a bead on them.

I tormented them for hours. They tolerated me but for the most part ignored my offerings. A good couple follows, a turn, a few refusals, one good solid take, one head shake and the fish was off. Nothing. After that, they moved into deep water. I toyed with them the next day too, and the following day, but to no avail.

Later, Kevin told told me that those fish had been played with so much that they simply won’t eat a fly anymore. They’re just too well educated in the way of the fly. Alas.

I had two days booked with Steve the first member of the SmithFly Stream Team.

It was the day after JP‘s Carp Trip, and the weather was much better than when Cameron’s Trip was there. However, the Mayfly carp funk was still in effect. Even the uneducated fish weren’t eating like they normally would because they were so stuffed with mayflys. Again, alas.

The wind was blowing a bit the morning we went out. It was choppy with 2 footers projected for the main lake area. We headed a spot called Indian Bay where there’s a dock that leads to a trail into an ancient Indian Burial ground.

We found a decent number of fish, and the mouth flaring meant that they were eating.

After about 6 casts I layed one out to a large carp headed straight towards the boat. One long strip, and pause, the fish chased. I bumped it  a few times, and let it settle. He charged it, flared his lips, and ATE the fly in eight inches of gin clear water, 10 feet from the bow of the boat. When the fish came tight, my leader was almost in the tip top. He rolled up on the surface and his big wide flank of gold shined in the morning sun. Steve let out an affirmative but understated, “NICE DUDE!”. I thought that fish would be in the net in a second. But as soon as the fish laid eyes on the boat, he turned tail and screamed away from us in a panic. He pulled the drag out smoking fast right to the backing, and then, NOTHING.

The line was dead. Fish off.

That was a good sign. Maybe the mayfly carp funk was over? Maybe the day would be better.

But it really wasn’t.

We fished the rest of the day, and found quite a few more fish on the various flats around garden and hog island. We found lots of lookers and one other hook up with accompanied LDR, but that was it. Maybe it was me? I dunno.

To save the day, and avoid being totally skunked, Steve took us to a known smallmouth hang out and we landed and dandy smallie. But it’s NOT why we go to Beaver Island. I love smallies but Beaver is about giant CARP — on the flats.

In Beaver’s defense, my skills just aren’t where they need to be, yet. You have to be able to know EXACTLY where the fly is, many times in choppy, wind-driven, water by watching where the end of your fly line is. You have to be able to move the fly the right way — one big strip, and then little bumps. You have to be able to put the fly in front of the fish in the right way, at the right depth, at the right time. And I’m just not there yet, it also helps to be a MONSTER caster, which I’m not. So really, it was probably , for the most, what I like to call operator error — me.

The fishing really compares to what I’ve read about Permit fishing, and no I’ve never landed a Permit, or even seen one in the wild.

It’s difficult and that’s what keeps us going back. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Kevin suggested maybe I should take up Steelheading in Washington State, it might be easier  🙂


I’ll be posting a series of posts about other aspects our trip to “the rock” as the locals call it, here in the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled.

Scatter, spook, split, see ya later.

Scatter, Spook, Split, See ya latter.

Step lightly, move slightly,
Still scatter.

Wade Carefully, trod softly,
Still Spook.

Cast quietly, haul carefully,
Still split.

Place rightly, twitch gently,
See ya later.

I have repellent on my legs.
A force field.

Drop the fly, strip the fly,
Bring it so close.

Not close enough, closer,
Too far.

It’s going that way,
Now it’s going that way.


2 O’clock, left to right
strip strip strip, pause.

Turned, heading away from us
turned again, pause.

Re-cast, farther next time
Too far.

Headed right.
Still headed right, spooked.

Right there, eat.
Eat, EAT!

Missed him.

Barry, the Biggest Carp in class, found in the road?

Its not very often that I get to report local news especially local news that is pertinent to all this stuff I ramble on about over here. So it is with great pleasure that I post this totally interesting story of a giant carp found in the middle of a road not to far form Fiddle and Creel World Headquarters.

This carp must have gotten lost looking for a bigger mulberry bush.

The factual account can be found overe here at the Dayton Daily News site, boring!

A fictional account of what actually happened from eye witness reports obtained from exclusive interviews by Fiddle and Creel staff follows.

It was a warm muggy night and Barry, the biggest carp in class, was looking for an extra snack. His recess time spent playing finball with the crayfish had rendered his damsel fly nymph breakfast a long distant memory and he needed something to quell his hunger pangs. Mrs. Largemouth wouldn’t notice if he slipped out of the stream for just a moment to look for that big mulberry bush he heard lived on the other side of the road. He swam as fast as he could across the pool and launched himself sky ward. While in the air he saw the glistening berries of the legendary bush shining in the moonlight.

But the pull of earth’s gravity out of the water was too much. It was too far across the road, the gravity too much, his speed not enough. He fell to the pavement with a thud. He gasped for water, flipped and flopped and tried to get back to the stream.  He gasped, wheezed, fought for his breath. He  flipped, and flopped, and gasped some more. Mrs. Largemouth was going to be so disappointed in him.

Sgt. Mulcahey found him when the sun came up in the morning, lying in the intersection of Mullberry and Brook Street.