After pictures of some enormous carp from a lake not too far from home peeked my interest I was soon loading my truck with all the essentials, X3 Predator Rods paired with Baitrunner Aero GT’s packed into a military barracks bag, purchased from a local surplus store. My tartiest bit of tackle is a Solar Sod Pod purchased from the late Jack Rowe with green Technipeche buzzer bars paired with a myriad of bite alarms on them with at least one of them not working. More likely two were not in working order, but that was fine because it made me appear as though I had alarms which are way tartier than quiver tip rests in the front. As for bait I had multiple 5 gallon buckets which I stole from my job at a deli years earlier loaded with maize and boilies; made from dog food base mix which I took from my parents dogs all flavored from the original Rod Hutchinson Scopex, which came in metal canister that almost too much resembled spray sunscreen. This was also going to be a long session so food wise I was well prepared with a baker’s dozen or so of hard boiled eggs wrapped in a grocery bag, a few bags of Combos Cheddar Cheese pizza bites, and for some reason multiple packs of Rolos and of course absolutely no water.
Lots of old gear in this photo from 2002!
After 3.5 hours of blasting Motorhead, Bad Brains, New Order and other loud, energetic and drive inducing music I arrived at the meeting destination; Walsh Boat Landing on Lake Austin. This was 15 years ago. While I had been carp fishing a couple years prior to this session this was real carp fishing and pure bliss.
I was met by David Moore, Brian Nordberg and Al St Cyr all of whom had the look of anticipation and frustration in their eyes as our game plans were ruined by a concoction of flowing Hershey’s chocolate milk mixed with Hydrilla water in front of us, rather than the calm clear waters I was told about by Brian. Many who are new to the sport of carp fishing or to those who simply do not care may not realize that carp exceeding 20lbs in Texas were pretty much unheard of in the late 1990’s and at the age of 18 I had reserved myself to the unfortunate fact that if I were to catch a 20lb+ fish it was going to have to be east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason Dixon Line. I envied the likes of anglers such as Nigel Griffin, Pat Kerwin, Scott Osmond and Quid Blankly whenever a copy paper 12 page issue of Carp Anglers Group arrived at my home. I was sure to see one of the above mentioned brandishing a 20-30lb fish until an issue arrived showing David Moore and Brian Nordberg with multiple high 20’s and fish to the mid 30’s from the now renowned Town Lake, Austin Texas. This rush is what had me packing a dozen hard boiled eggs into grocery bags and grabbing whatever I could eat from a gas station just to be there and possibly get my dream fish within the state of Texas.
A prior Common PB, and float caught common PB on the Mat from 2001.
Between that session and the current day I have had a few hiatus’s from the sport, mostly for self betterment (education, other hobbies) so I cannot really say I have always been as productive and dedicated as I was then, or as I am currently. In that span of time much has stayed the same such as you can still catch carp on Scopex flavored maize anywhere in this nation, but you are also able to get all the gear you desire without having to re-appropriate items intended for other types of fishing. Now rather than stuffing Cabelas Predators into a military barrack bag I now place my Century’s into a designated holdall actually intended for rod; amazing. There’s also never been more animosity between anglers as there is now. Feuding anglers fighting for clout via Instagram and Facebook is the new norm. ‘Likes’ and praise by others whom nobody has ever met takes precedence over the zeal for capturing fish. Upon those first Town Lake/Ladybird Lake sessions just to meet another carp angler was cause for celebration.
A Smallmouth Buffalo From the late 90’s
Two weeks ago I received a similar invite as I once had on my parents’ home phone 15 years ago. This time it was Ryan Daniel, Zach Testa (who I also remember from those copy paper CAG days), David Moore and myself at a new lake which was not too far from home and once again with a tip off on some large fish. This time around the music was the same, my haircut a bit more conservative, the food somewhat better and certainly a few upgrades to tackle. Our first night Ryan and I met David and Zach in the luxury carp van and shortly thereafter set up our bivvy to sleep, until a bow fishing boat in the distance pulled up on a nearby boat ramp. Ryan and I flew around the campground somewhere around 1am searching for the bow fishermen all knowing their kills would be morbid yet revealing of what this lake may produce. The disturbing results included a common carp we estimated to be in the mid 30lb range. It’s unfortunate to have to base potential on the site of enormous dead fish; however it gave me the confidence that this will be a water I’ll be having some nice fish from in the near future.
As a contributor to Big Carp News this is my introduction and while it might be a bit nostalgic I feel that there is some validation in all the reminiscing. As with most carp fishermen I am inundated with stories, but would rather keep things from here on out in the present unless asked otherwise.