Discover shallow flats close to deep edges. Search rivers feeding Merrymeeting Bay, additionally the flats of the bay itself, as a result of that’s the one place carp stay right here in Maine, launched by Europeans as a meals supply within the late 1800s. Regardless that they’ve been right here for round 150 years, they’re invasive, like most of us, should you return far sufficient.
Do: watch them and be taught. Watch the floating carp sink and tip down, watch the mud cloud rise round it, the carp vanishing, disappearing one way or the other. Search for mud clouds. Not the quick-dissolving plumes of spooked fish (you’ll see these too) however the gradual, ash-cloud-rise that betrays the feeding carp, bulldozing for mollusks and worms.
Search for tails. Not the full-on define however the not-quite-right shade — bronze with pink hues, then the gradual, queen-wave movement of a feeding carp tail.
Don’t: solid at floating fish. Don’t even hassle. It’s tempting — their O-ring mouths simply beneath the floor, their porky, bowling-pin our bodies. They give the impression of being dopey, straightforward to idiot, however don’t child your self.
Don’t solid at fast-swimming fish both; they gained’t eat your fly. Don’t solid on the lead fish in a string; spook it, and the remainder will veer off too, like geese. Don’t take too many false casts (they’ll sense you), don’t rock the boat (they’ll sense it), don’t solid atop their heads or swim your fly towards them (prey swims away from predators, a sensible information as soon as instructed me).
Do: wade each time doable. You’ll make much less noise and spook much less fish. Put on waders (or get duck itch, as I did lately). Do: preserve carp spots shut. The place else are you able to sight-cast 15-pound tailing freshwater fish in 12 inches of water?
Do: solid at slow-sliding fish, those exiting mud plumes. Don’t: strip your fly too quick (or in any respect).
With rod excessive, drag your fly then drop it naturally close to the carp’s eyeball, fly going away from fish. Watch physique language. Fast flare or flip equals spooked fish. Sluggish flip plus tip-down means prepare.
And no matter you do, in any case these fishless days (there will probably be fishless days), all these refusals (embrace them), don’t wait to really feel a strike. You’ll really feel nothing.
Do: look ahead to the slightest quiver, the top buried atop your fly, the enthusiastic tail kick. This could’t be taught: it’s instinct, fishy-ness, a sixth sense. Really feel nothing. Strip lengthy and get tight.
Do: add backing to your fly line earlier than the journey. The large ones (over 10 kilos) will empty your fly line. Test your drag. Test your hook level. Allow them to run after hookset; they’ll bend the hook should you don’t (my pal Courtney can attest to this).
Struggle them rapidly. They’ll tire after a number of good runs. Anticipate the surge after they first see you, or after they first see the boat. Convey an enormous internet, or, should you neglect one, seize the thick meaty band close to the tail. Prepare for a thrashing.
Take away the fly gently from the rubbery golden mouth. Take a number of pictures. Admire its awkward magnificence: giant prismatic scales, drooping barbells, highly effective paddle tail. Revive the carp slowly, so it kicks off below its personal energy, again into the murk. Do inform your trusted buddies, however not those that will give away your spot.
Go dwelling and tie carp flies. Experiment with shade and form and sink fee. Go to sleep pondering of mud plumes and wagging tails, the strip-set and the whining drag. Get up and verify the tide charts; plan your subsequent day of carp searching.