By Spencer Mortensen
There is something special about sharing fly fishing with someone, especially when its a close friend or family member. Over the last year I have had the awesome experience of watching my brother have some awesome experiences on the river. I got to see his first over 18-inch trout (caught in a tough spot on the Green river), watch him catch lots of high mountain rainbow and brook trout, figure out a section of blue ribbon trout river and catch lots of healthy brown trout. It was quite the year.
This spring I was fortunate to spend a morning fishing a pretty awesome midge hatch with my brother and father. When the hatch ended early afternoon my dad had to do some housework, so I nudged my brother and told him it was time for him to come chase carp with me for the first time! I was excited and surprised when he agreed.
We piled into the car, drove home, dropped my dad off, grabbed some hamburgers and fries and started driving to a local stretch of water where I was confident we could find some carp. After a short drive we got out of the car, rigged up the Redington Predator and walked to the water to start chasing some carp. At this point I realized that my brother had broken one of the most important carp fly fishing rules, he did not have on a pair of quality sunglasses. I would argue that there’s not a more valuable peice of fly fishing equipment for sight fisherman that a pair of high quality sunglasses. It was immediately evident that not having sunglasses was going to make it incredibly difficult to see any fish.
As we walked along the bank looking for willing participants, I would point out a fish, tell him to cast a few feet in front of it and he would do his best to cast to the spot I was targeting. It was very interesting for me to observe, and learn, how my communications and instructions were being recieved. The biggest lesson I learned about guiding someone who couldn’t see what I could see was how to set a point of reference that was changing with every step.
After walking around the body of water a few times we had a couple follows, one eat and a miss, and a bunch of casting practice. We were about to head back to the car and decided to walk one last time past a spot where we had seen a few willing players earlier in the afternoon.
As we crept up on the spot I saw two fish that looked like they were happy and willing to eat. In an urgent wisper I told my brother to cast about 15 feet out. As the carp skittle, one of my personal favorite flies, hit the water I told him to strip the fly a few times and then let the fly sink. As the fly slowly drifted down to the bottom, I could see the golden fins of a healthy carp slowly tracking the flies downward ascent. As the fly settled on the bottom, the carp’s mouth went down and its gill covers flared. I told my brother to strip set the hook, which he did a marvelous job of for a trout fisherman.
The fight was on!
It was a moment of pure joy watching my brother do a solid job of playing the biggest fish of his life! He was able to keep the fish from running into an underwater fallen tree and quickly tired the fish down and we got the fish landed in the net.
It was a glorious day of fishing and watching my brother catch his first carp.
Since that day he has asked many times to go chase carp. We have been able to make it out a few times, but not been able to make it out nearly enough. It’s going to be a great day when we get on the water again and he gets to pierce the rubbery lips of some more golden carp.