My third day on the island dawned. It was foggy but a little fog would not keep me down! I had high spirits after boating 16 smallies the day before and coming in second for the daily big fish contest. I was determined to win. Determined!
With breakfast out of the way, we all picked guides, divided up and headed out to chase those monster fish. I was lucky enough to be fishing with Cameron this fine day. We decided to ride out with Austin as our guide. Austin can be a quiet dude at times. He, however, knows fishing and knows where to locate the fish. Austin and I seemed to be a lot alike. Quiet, reserved, but good natured. Perfect! Carp fishing requires bright sunlight and blue skies in order to be able to see the fish clearly. We had neither. We awoke to a dense fog bank that had rolled in overnight thus creating less than ideal conditions to chase carp in. However, we were still going to try. Austin took us out to a place called bird island, which was aptly named as you will see in the pictures below. Despite the gray skies and dense fog, the water was crystal clear and it was a neat place to fish. Stunk to high heaven though! Cameron was first up in the boat.
Over the course of the next several hours, we moved around looking for carp and taking turns in the front of the boat. I have to say that my mojo was most certainly off this day. I had trouble in my lower intestines which was causing trouble with my casting. I will say that Austin was kind enough to work with me and put up with it. For that matter, Cameron as well. I simply could not hook up. I cast to fish after fish, and either spooked fish after fish or missed strikes. I did a complete 180 from the day before. I also started trout setting. I know, I know, you are sitting there reading this and wondering what the hell was I thinking. Well dear reader I really have no idea or excuse. I more or less just fell apart. You ever have one of those days? I'm talking one of those days when you continuously make mistakes and no matter what you do, you can't fix it? In fact the more you try the worse it becomes? If you have, then you know what I am speaking of. I slung bugs at some pike, carp and smallmouth. I just could not connect for a while.
Finally Austin put us in a beautiful flat area that was loaded with black objects. I have heard the carp at Beaver Island referred to as tanks and submarines. They seem that big! To see them cruising with their enormous size is stunning. However, if the carp are the submarines, then the smallies are the torpedoes. Fat, black torpedoes. These photo are of carp so you can see what I mean.
As we pulled into this flat, we saw them...everywhere. It was like being a kid in a candy store and not knowing where to look or what to buy. It was overwhelming but in a most fantastic way! So we started casting and Cameron struck first with a 5 pound smallie. It was a beautiful fish. Next up...me. It took a bit, but I eventually landed one. I had finally gotten that stink off of me and redeemed a little of my manhood, self esteem and awesome fishing abilities. Over the next hour and a half we chased the smallies all over the flat. I managed to land 3 fish of which the biggest went 17.5 inches and 3.5 pounds. I probably hooked and lost a dozen fish overall in that area. The fish could be spooky at times, quick to investigate at times, and enticed to eat at times simply because another smallie was also looking at the fly. There really was no rhyme or reason to their madness. I did take some shots at carp but nothing to write home about. The day ended for me with only those 3 smallies boated.
This was to be the last day of fishing for us on the island. It dawned with eight foot waves and 20 mile per hour wind. I have never seen white caps on a lake before. The wind was howling.
Crap no carp! Again! There was no way we could even think about taking the boat out that day. The five of us, coupled with the guides, had a meeting of the minds over breakfast. It was decided by all that we still wanted to attempt to catch some fish (carp) and that we would walk the shoreline a bit in hopes of finding them in a generous mood. We all piled in vehicles and headed off.
Kevin Morlock, the third guide in the trio, took us to another part of the island. A few words about Kevin before we go on. Kevin is a carp fisherman through and through. He knows carp. I had the pleasure to have Kevin guide me on my very first carp stalk so to speak. If you want to learn about carp and how to fish for carp, Kevin is your man. That is not to say that Steve and Austin don't know a thing or two about carp either. All the guides were very knowledgeable, outgoing, friendly and professional on my trip. I really enjoyed working with each and everyone of them.
So, we arrived at our destination and started walking. We walked, and we walked, and we walked. I believe we covered around 5 miles that day as we patrolled the shoreline looking for those submarines who we all hoped secretly would be in an eating mood.
Toward the end of our walk down the shoreline, Kevin spotted six carp working an area. Kevin took me under his wing since I have never caught nor fished for carp before. Kevin was kind enough to be patient with me and explain carp and carp fishing to me as we ever so slowing inched our way forward. Eventually, like a mother bird nudging her babies out of the nest, Kevin slowly backed away as I attempted to move forward in a stealthy manner. I don't think I went 6 steps before those carp got the hell out of dodge. Bastards! We worked our way back up the shoreline toward the vehicles with negative results. We saw carp, we chased carp, and I chased away some carp but no one landed a thing. It was a very tough day with some tough fishing conditions. I did manage to almost step on 5 different snakes throughout the day. I hate snakes. Hate them. So my last full day on the island and the last full day of fishing ended without a single fish landed by anyone in the group. I started wondering how I was going to go home and face Melissa. I knew she would mock me for taking a carp trip and not catching any carp. I spent my last night on the island having a cigar, drinking some beer and laughing with new friends.
* score may be slightly exaggerated