July 19, 2001
by Chris Feeney
My visions of making the jump into the professional fishing world took yet another hit this weekend. I'd pretty much given up the idea of joining the B.A.S.S. tournament circuit, but I still felt I might have a leg up on some of the competition in the new CARP Masters group, since I have had so much luck landing those old nasty bottom feeders on our regular trips up to the river in Ottumwa, IA.
Hey, they've got professional fishing circuits for bass, walleye and crappie so why not have a carp league? We have it all figured out. Our fishing guide "Stanley" says he'll sponsor the organization using the proceeds from his carp bate sales. I'd tell you about all the secret ingredients but I'm afraid he would use me for bait then. For some reason I just don't think we would attract too many more high dollar advertisers. You don't hear of too many carp boats and not many taxidermists have ever mounted a trophy carp to put on the wall. Oh well, we can still dream can't we?
All those hopes and aspirations took a big hit last year when I made just one of the infamous carp trips. We were skunked by, what up until that point, I had considered the easiest fish in the world to catch. What other fish can you catch in the middle of the summer, on a 90-degree day right during the middle of the afternoon? Almost all the other gamefish are smart enough to feed in the early morning hours or after dark (which makes you think we fishermen would be smart enough to stay out of the sun as well), but not the old carp. That single poor outing was enough to discourage us from returning the rest of the year.
Well we blamed the fishless summer of 2000 on the low water level of the river. That was not the problem this weekend. As a matter of fact the river was nearly bank high, leaving us just enough room to set up carp camp on the shore.
Like I mentioned, there were some problems early on as we again were skunked in our first stop near the dam. After our regularly scheduled lunch at McDonalds we set out to our carp honey hole (it's a secret location hidden well away from the beaten path). After 90 minutes without a fish, there were some rumblings and whispering among the fishermen that we had maybe lost our touch.
Finally we broke through and the first carp of the day was landed. Evidently we just were a bit early as around 3:00 p.m. they really started biting. It was so good at one point we had the rare triple. Now if that wouldn't have been a wonderful photograph. Not because we actually all three had fish on at once, but because we were all sitting so close together that our lines had all got crossed. It looked like a bad excuse for a tick-tack-toe game as we had three lines across each other as we all tried to reel in the fish and dance around and under the other lines and poles to get untangled. Miraculously we landed two fish and a big tree limb. Yeah after all that work we realized the third fish actually was just a snag, but it still made for an exciting moment.
Fortunately for all involved, one member of the carp party had to be back in Memphis for a family dinner. We cut it a little close on the allotted time but still made it out of there just before curfew. Chalk up another successful trip to the carp waters. We all returned home with sunburns, bug bites and smelling like fish. What a way to spend your Sunday.