Gone Gone Gone – Carp Vanishing Act

| October 9, 2023

One of many great scenes from the remake “True Grit.”

I repeated it a few times Sunday morning, as I poled the most famous carp flat in North Central Texas … searching in vain for more than a handful of carp who were only waiting for the signal from me – to be gone, gone gone.

Temperatures finally started heading down late last week, and took a real plunge here on Saturday night, a plunge that left fish with a clarity from the confusion of Friday’s temperature drop. Clarity that said, “It’s time to go.”

Before the sun rose Sunday, while waiting for the clear water of Lake Ray Roberts to light up, I did have the privilege of a brief nature show. A couple of doe with two fawns, walked out from the brush onshore, straight into the water and started swimming to the island in the cove, backs and heads above water, and as if it was an everyday walk to the bus stop. The fawns kept pace, back and heads above water and in very short order they were across and again on the hard land of the island shore. I still wonder about their first swimming lesson. How did that training look? I am constantly amazed at the moving of nature that happens just before many of us normally wake, and long before the flats light up for us.

While poling the flats on Saturday, it was obvious, despite the north wind and overcast on the backside of the font, that the carp count had turned toward subtraction not addition. As difficult as it was to see the fish, there were not that many to see. So it was no great surprise to me that Sunday (10/08)? there was virtually a December headcount on the flats.

Nevertheless, my friend and fellow competitor on the bow, was ready for the tasks of the day. He was the “team leader” for Team Dirty Water Fly Co. and I was drafted as the backup to Danny Saltou, who had to holddown the business at the Fly Shop. It was an unfamiliar feeling, competition on the water, and one that I had pretty much aged-out-of since my attitude had realigned substantially with illness a few years back.


Orvis Texas 25 On The Fly

While all new contest are always subject to opinions on how to make it better, about the only suggestion I have is to have it during the time of year when the fly fishing is actually good in Texas. I realized, at this late age in life, the vast majority of these (retail underwritten) fly fishing contests are created to generate retail traffic and business, not to generate fish success. If contests mattered enough to me, I would let Orvis know how unpredictable October Texas weather can be, much like events and contests scheduled in February and March in Texas … maybe that is what beat the competition out of me – my cold weather metabolism sucks now!

At least the weather change reached the coast, and potentially helped level that fly fishing field as well. I am guessing the salty guys will suggest a date change as well – probably to no avail. As long as retail business turns down in October, new retail sponsored contests will rise up.


If you were wondering, Team Dirty Water Fly Co. scored one fish species each on Sunday – a largemouth for me, and a redfish for my teammate. That alone, should clarify the scarcity of targets of opportunity, in MY range anyway. What I love? What I love is the young bucks reading this … who will show me their scores, and go out in a week to catch a SINGLE carp to prove me wrong, wrong wrong! Little did you know my little secret, I am rattling-up you young bucks to do exactly that – prove me wrong, and keep fly fishing!

Thanks for reading the ongoing Monday Morning Sidewalk! It is the longest running, regularly appearing, column on fly fishing in the United States. Rattle. Rattle!

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Fishing Reports, Fly Shops, Industry, Life Observed, North Texas, On The Water, Texas Gulf Coast, Tournaments and Contests

About the Author ()

https://www.shannondrawe.com is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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