Monday, October 10, 2011

Ghosts of Colorado

There is something about the Golden Ghost. The name itself conjures images of a faintly discernible fish, acutely aware of its surroundings and ready to flee at the intimation of danger. One errant step, bad cast or misjudgment on the angler's part can abort the success of a ghost "stalk." Generally the only remnant of the carp's presence is the lingering mud cloud left in its fleeing path. For all the exciting moments we have when the Golden Ghost eats our flies, there are even a larger set of experiences where the Ghost gets the best of us. This is the stuff of hunting carp with the fly rod. And I damn well love it.

My introduction to Colorado carp came from pursuing the multitude videos on YouTube and chatting with friends on Twitter. Being from the Midwest, I cut my fly fishing teeth on warm water species and learned very quickly the challenges of taking carp on the fly. But there was something intangibly intriguing about these Ghosts of Colorado. Perhaps the habitat was a little better, the fish a little bigger, and, just maybe, the experience a little better.

I hooked up with my Twitter buddy, Dave Maynard, for an afternoon of stalking the Golden Ghost on Denver's mud flats. Armed with a 7 weight Sage, 2x leader tapered to 3x fluorocarbon tippet, and some Backstabbers, I set out to stalk and battle some of Colorado's finest.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at feeding carp, I found another fish "locked in" rooting. I made the cast well past my target and stripped line until the fly was in the carp's field of vision. A short twitch of the rod tip, marabou and hackle undulating, was too much for the Ghost to ignore. He charged my Backstabber and sucked in the fly. I strip struck and the rod bowed. The fight was on.

Palming the reel during runs and working the rod to subdue the fish, I eventually landed my first Colorado Golden Ghost. What a great feeling!

During the rest of the afternoon, Dave and I continued to work the mud flats, putting our flies in front of as many active carp as possible. Some spooked, some were ornery, but some just ate.

In my journey and development as a fly angler, I haven't fished the saltwater flats yet. After systematically working the mud for carp, though, I have a greater understanding and appreciation for this type of sight fishing. The flats engender a whole range of emotions -- frustration, accomplishment, irritation, joy, disappointment, satisfaction. But, quite frankly, it's becoming one of my favorite places to be.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Back in Ohio after an awesome week of fish bumming in Colorado. Much to share later.