Posts Tagged ‘goldenoldies’

Ooh, Trashy Lady

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Keith pulls a poor man’s tarpon out of the first gut.  This weekend was a ladyfish-killer weekend with the Austin Fly Fishers down on Padre Island National Seashore.  No ladyfish were actually harmed in the making of this trash.  Presumably because they are rumored to taste bad, oily– hmm… smoked fish spread anyone?


The Young Jedi

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Got a call from The Young Jedi; man has been bustin a cap on some carp on the flats lately.  One day in 2006 we bolted out of work early and went straight to the lake and I showed him the joys of lead core on a running line and he got his rod bent alright:


The sunglasses were my spare for people that didn’t have the right sight fishin glasses, but I’m not claiming that straw hat. 


The Young Jedi got the last laugh, though, when I landed my fish we discovered why it had been helicoptering through the water towards the boat.

And you thought you missed this week’s episode of Pimp My Gar.

High Stickin, Ditch Fishin

Thursday, October 8th, 2009


Same guy, different ditch— Steve and I decided to ply the small waters this Sunday afternoon. 


I think the two may be related.

Gar are so 2003

Monday, July 6th, 2009

All the chatter on the net lately about gar on fly makes me wonder if I should post a bunch of old gar pics.  Or new gar pics… ironically it was gar that really got me motivated on trash fishin.  Early on, I went on a lot of wild goose chases and had a lot of disappointing moments with gar.  Oh to be sure there were a few fish landed here and there, but when I realized I could catch carp more or less “on demand” the fickle gar fell out of favor for quite a while. 

I suppose if I dedicated as much time to trying to learn gar as I did carp I might get them down a little better.  In the mean time, I guess I’ll just settle for the fleeting moments of 10-30 pound longnose gar in the spring, spring time flats full of laid up spotted gar, and the night time sight fishing for them in the summer.  In other words, fish them opportunistically instead of systematically.

I keep saying that I’m going to make this the year of the longnose but I’ve just been so busy and it’s so tempting to carp fish instead.  Recent forum posts and blog reports have brought back a flood of memories.  Here is a little thing I wrote up for an internet newsgroup back in 2003.  I had entirely forgotten about it until I was cleaning out my man room a few weeks ago and came across the Dallas Fly Fishers newsletter it was reprinted in:


Gar on the Fly

*   *   *

The call came early this morning.

“I’m not going to let That Water beat me… I’ll be back there just as soon as I can get the kids out the door.”

“Okay, ” I said, “I have a few things to do first.  I’ll be there later, just leave me a radio.”

*   *   *

Drink coffee.  Spend money on the phone/internet.  Pet dog.  Kiss girlfriend goodbye, et cetera.

*   *   *

Okay, yesterday a little flash worked: cone-head no-hackle crystal bugger.  But it didn’t work so well, and even drew a few refusals.  Also, it sank too fast. So today I will try something different– a poly-yarn clouser.  Green poly/black flash/white poly and small black bead chain eyes.  It’ll sink, but slowly.

I tie up a couple of the poly clousers in the baby bass colors.  The black flash makes a very nice lateral line, and I picked up a couple of bucket-boys out of That Water yesterday, so I know there is fry from time to time.

*   *   *

I set off my friend’s car alarm retrieving the radio, but I’m glad I got the radio anyway.

Before I’d been on the water 2 minutes he yelled into the mic:

“Woo-hoo! I’ve got a carp!”

It’s not a bad carp, either.  A little smaller than the one I pulled out yesterday but not so small, either; the rod is bent hard and the water is boiling.  Thanks to the radios I paddle up in time to snap a couple of pictures of

a) his largest fly-rod fish to date;
b) his largest fish to date;
c) his first carp, by any method.

Two casts later and he catches another carp, 50% larger and a very nice fish by any means.

Congrats, mental high fives, and I’m on the hunt.

*   *   *

Drifting slowly through the water, not paddling.  Quiet, invisible, fly in one hand, rod in the other.  Suspended just 20 feet from me are living, swimming spotted sticks.


More false casts than I thought prudent later, the fly landed just beside the gar.  I was thinking about how badly I needed to clean my line (recent incident with wet clay– casting/shooting line is a complete joke at this point) when I twitched the fly and the gar came alive and turned, hit, shook, and was gone.

The hit and miss was with incomprehensible speed.  I didn’t realize what was happening until it was already long over.

*   *   *

I didn’t get another chance for almost an hour.  I finally found myself in a back cove shaped more like a feeder creek, and there were gar literally everywhere.  Gar on the left, gar on the right, cast to the middle gar, fight, fight, fight.

For a brief moment I thought I would land one that had around an inch of poly yarn firmly embedded in the mouth… then it yawned and swam off slightly irritated.

Finally, it happened.  The gar was no more than 15 feet away.  I cast, the fly dropped like a feather next to the beast’s eye.  It turned, hit, and I hit back, 3 times, fast, hard, with the rod, the line, and my upper body for good measure.

The water EXPLODED. Then the fish just laid there, motionless, looking at me, thinking:

“I am the top of the food chain in This Water.”

“Go away.”

Slight upward pressure with the rod to swing the fish toward the boat and it came STRAIGHT OUT OF THE WATER!  Then it hit the water and laid still again.


Upward pressure, the fish jumps again. Seems to be a pattern.

I debate about whether to touch the fish or just attempt to release it with the hemostats and a slow, steady hand.  Then I realize, hemostats in hand that the fish is *not hooked*.  Rather, the hook shank is laying perpendicular to the snout, upside down on the roof of the mouth, so that the hook bends outside of and on top of the snout, the hook point resting on top of the gar’s head/nose/paddle/handle/snout.

And then it decides it is done playing, twists, and the hook falls to the side. The fish disappears into the murky edges.

Half of the battle was trout/tarpon/sailfish/smallmouth bass, leap straight out of the water.  The other half was drum/am I hooked here?  What is going on?  Did that fish bite back?  Honey, where is the remote?

*   *   *

All in all, I ended up getting maybe 20 shots at gar today.  I had about 4 or five hookups but just the one fish landed.

Everything came together, I was living between the pages of a magazine:

saw the challenge
gained some experience
thought it through
tied some flies
found the fish
made the presentation
hosed the presentation
tried again
hosed it up again
(and again, and again)

and then just one beautiful moment when a fish probably best described as “you rat bastard” ate the fly, looked tough, lept, and hunkered down.  No, not hunkered down, exactly.  Just “hunkered.”

Oh, I could say he ran off 15 million feet of backing in the blink of an eye, or came to the top and did three of those triple-axle ice skating moves everyone was talking about after Nancy, Tonya and the Trailer Trash Gang Incident.  But in all reality the gar was good for a couple of jumps and then it was mostly dead weight.  A stick with kick, I guess.

*   *   *

I found my fishing partner into another carp.  They just kept getting bigger.  I sort of wanted to be jealous but couldn’t bring myself to it.  I did what I set out to do, which, in fishing, is kind of like jumping over the moon.  It doesn’t work out often.

I’ll go after more gar, but not for the fight.  I will chase the gar for the strike– which will most likely be referred to as “sight fishing for heart-attacks.”

The Mayors

Thursday, June 25th, 2009


Roy and Molly were a fun couple.  We fished together exactly four years ago today.  The two were avid anglers who had just decided to try fly fishing.  Usually, they spent their time night fishing for bass, taking advantage of the cooler night time temperatures and lack of crowds on the water.  Neither of them had ever caught a fish with a fly rod.

Anyway, Roy bought a raffle ticket at Fly Fish Texas in March at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.  He wanted to win an Orvis 5 weight that was up for grabs.  I had offered a guided carp trip for the raffle.  Roy told Molly: “If I win anything, it’ll probably be that guided carp trip (snort).” 

When the phone rang at their house that evening, Molly answered, and called Roy over her laughter:  “You’ll never guess who it is!”

The two were extremely good sports and they took me up on the trip.  We chatted in advance and I gave them some advice to go catch some panfish to get used to the fly rods and then we’d give it a shot when the weather warmed up and the sun stayed high in the sky.

Although neither of them landed a carp that day, they both got the experience of stalking and spotting, and they both got to see a fish eat their fly.  Molly got an eat from a carp, and in Roy’s case, a drum picked up his fly– and dropped it again– four times while he was trying to untangle the fly line from his feet.

I ran into Roy and Molly at Fly Fish Texas again in 2008, and Roy handed me a business card.  It turns out, he had become the Mayor of the town he lived in.  I instantly knew he’d make a great Mayor, because he was a genuinely friendly and upstanding man.  I had to point out, though, that I’d never heard of the town on his business card.

“That’s OK,” he said, “that’s not even the town I’m mayor of, that’s just the town with the nearest post office!”

Lane’s Big-Ass Carp

Monday, June 8th, 2009

History Lesson:

Texas Fly Report was shut down this week.  The proprietor, Alex, (see: Redemption) created the site in 2002 as a programming hobby, and most of the initial members came to the site from a now defunct Yahoo Group called Texas Warm Water Fly Fishers.

I knew Lane from the Yahoo Group and some of the outings we had, so he was a familiar name at TFR along with about 20-30 others.  I believe that Lane and I met around April of 2000 at an outing on the Brazos river near Glen Rose, TX.

This picture of Lane hooked up with his first carp is in direct result of those online communities and their friendships:


If you’d ever been to trashonthefly before I turned it into a blog, it’s a familiar picture.  Just looking at it makes me smile.  Lane was my test client– my first attempt to show someone else how to stalk and catch a carp.  It was May 24, 2004, and a lot has changed since then, but the memories remain the same.

When I got home from that trip, and while Lane was back on the road towards home, I posted the following message on Texas Fly Report–

Went fishing today with Lane (No-Tye-Much) and I don’t know if he’ll say anything so I’m spilling the beans, today he caught his first fly rod carp while targeting carp specifically. No bait, chum, or scent, just good old-fashioned sight fishing for spooky critters.

He said he hardly remembers the first few seconds but let me tell you the man can put some heat on a fish. When it ate the fly and promptly bolted for the log 4 feet away he whisked it– no I should say pounded it– out of danger immediately to where he had some fighting room.

The fish went 3 pounds which in a lot of ways is the perfect sized carp, the smaller ones fight fast and dirty. (Not to be misunderstood, a 6 pound carp fights like a train and bigger carp are real bulldogs– they do not “slow down” with old age)

We got a couple of beautiful pics which I’m sure Lane will be sharing with us later. Lane also took a rare pic of me with a carp as well, usually I’m solo because most people think I’m crazy for beating my head over the fish and walking banks for hours, straining my eyes and drinking hot water, walking through fire ant mounds and thistles:

What’d I forget, Lane? I won’t mention that one embarrassing moment involving you, the snake, the girl on the jetski and cowpoop.

I still distinctly remember Lane casting to that fish.  He was absolutely predatory with that fly rod, something I often wish other anglers could get a whiff of.  There was no hesitation after I pointed the carp– the fly was in front of that fish and now.

Big-Ass might have been a little tongue in cheek, but the fish gave him a great fight and it was mission accomplished.  Thanks for the memory, Lane.


Friends & Boo

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Steve and I were ditch fishin this day and I somehow pushed the “Soft Focus 70s” button on the camera for an accidental effect.


Anyway, we got kind of intense about the whole sight fishing thing and I think he was too busy down the bank to come and take a snapshot so I had to do the familiar “grass portrait” of the fish. 


Nothing like friends, nothing like bamboo.


Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

My friends Alex and Mark were the creators of Laughing Bass– an internet fishing show.  The show and the Laughing Bass site have long since been abandoned, although some videos still exist on YouTube.

Alex and Mark came to Big D to film a carp episode for Laughing Bass in late July 2005, which spawned the following two pictures that have been on various versions of this site since.

“Butterhands” Mark dropped his first carp before we could get a snapshot.  The whole thing was on video, of course, but we failed to get what could have been his proud portrait to hang over his bed… or something.




Now Alex’s fish, on the other hand, was very easy going when it came to the photoshoot.  In fact, his fish was the first carp I’d ever seen that didn’t fight.  It was actually quite pathetic.  On the video you could hear me say something along the lines of “any minute now…”  In fact, I was sure that when I took a swipe at it with the net that the fish would explode.  Maybe even break the tippet.  But it was not to be.  Alex’s first carp would not fight.  Not one bit.




So when Alex told me he’d be back in Big D in late June 2008 and needed a fishing fix, I thought I’d try to fix him up with a real carp- a normal carp.  I don’t remember what this fish weighed, but, the rod was bent double for quite a while and I distinctly remember the surprised look on his face.




 Sorry your first carp was such a wet rag, Alex.

Not Your Daddy’s Backups

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Lucky for the internet (</sarcasm>), when I failed to stay current on my web hosting bill I was forced this week to create a new edition of the infamous– or is it the UNfamous–

Lucky for me, being a packrat has paid off and I have plenty of old versions of the site languishing in the dark recesses of my hard drive.  You’d think that a folder called .carp_guidewwwroot would hold the backups, but this kind of digital poop needs to be carefully hidden in much more obscure locations.

Lucky for you, I have come across two old images that I had forgotten about that need to be shared with the world.

This first was a forum avatar used to pimp my site, kind of a cheap and sleazy free advertising scheme:



And this was the first thing you saw when you visited my site in 2004:


splash screen


 My only excuse for this behavior is that I have never used the phrase “web design” or “graphic design” on a resume.