A Bigger Net
by Alan Luecke
(Kansas City, MO)
I finally landed a carp today. 26" from nose to the v of the tail. It took 20 minutes with the Kiyose 43MF and a home tied crayfish fly (no it wasn't blue, damn) on 5x tippet. I was at a small city lake with a mowed bank that let me move freely with the fish. The stamina of a big carp is amazing. It was almost at my feet six or eight times only to turn and make a deep run nearly as strong as its first.
The rod spent the entire time bent nearly double but never felt out of control. Even though it can't stop the fish it seems to make it want to keep turning. I've heard of 100 yard runs against a reel. This fish made a hundred thirty yard loops twelve feet from shore.
I did come prepared with the biggest, ugliest, most un-tamo net I could find in the back of the basement and it was barely enough. Big carp need big nets and assume you will be down in the mud with them. I was sitting at the water line in up to my knees in order to get the fish, net and line in the same place at the same time. A partner with a very long handled net seems like a really good idea.
Landing a fish like this on 5 lb. tippet is crazy stuff. It shouldn't be possible, and it frequently isn't. The secret is the rod. Trust the rod, use the rod and do not touch the line. Lay down with the rod out behind you, whatever it takes, but do not touch the line. With your body weight as an anchor the fish will break off in a second.
These fish will test every inch of your rig. I had an even bigger fish on for about 10 minutes earlier in the day. The rod performed fine, but I had not replaced the tippet from my last outing and I think it broke where an overhand knot may have formed after a tangle.
New tippet, new knots, big net, be ready.