It was one of those days that would have been better spent resting on the couch drinking a cold beverage. August in Arkansas means temperatures over 100f and glass out conditions. Basically, the most miserable conditions imaginable. But I have an addiction and it makes me do questionable things. Instead of hanging out in the comfort of an air-conditioned house, I was loading my 8 wt and heading to the flats to hunt grass carp for the third day in a row.
There hadn’t been much success during the previous outings, which isn’t new. Grass carp aren’t synonymous with success. But those who have experienced the joys of an eat will tell you, there’s not much like it. The rewards are few and far between but that’s what makes them so damn awesome. I would punish myself regularly for the occasional moment of success but I’m unbalanced.
Day 1: When I arrived, it was just as expected, not another soul on the water. After a short paddle, I was poling the flats looking for the large grass carp I had blown out on day one. When grass carp get to a certain size their backs turn especially dark and they stand out from the group. I returned to the same flat I had seen it on the day before. I began to scan the water closely, looking for that dark shadow.
Day 2: I had seen several grass carp on this section of the flat. The giant from day one was on my mind but I was in a rush and moved quickly. Without knowing, I poled too closely to a small island that masked a huge school of small carp. They exploded across the flat and killed the area, game over! But frustration was quickly replaced with optimism. A large dark shadow moved into deeper water just off the back side of the flat. I’ll be back tomorrow.
Day 3: As I moved slowly onto the flat I noticed several smaller targets. On any other occasion, I would have taken a shot at one or two of these but not today. I was hunting that one eat. The clouds were thick, which was a real concern so I backed off the flat and wait for them to pass. Then a large tail caught my attention. It had to be the grassy I was here to find.
The excitement started to build, for the first time in three days I had a realistic opportunity. However, the clouds made it impossible to see into the water so I had to wait or risk killing the flat again. The next few minutes were as painful as watching someone else’s kids perform in a school talent show.
The sun began piercing through the water, signaling it was time to move into casting range. The kayak slid across the flat without making a sound. It came to rest leaving enough distance to cast. As the fly landed softly, I found myself trapped in that moment of time where cause and effect are perfectly balanced. It’s in these moments where success and failure parallel each other. While we fumble to find our relevance in the equation, the eat happens. Everything came together and the balance was found. Success!!
Content courtesy of Drew Ross check him on his Instagram at @looknfishy for some killer kayak fly fishing content in the great state of Arkansas.
Check out his recent YouTube video about Three Tips for Catching a Grass Carp.