Craig Hoffman was visiting his daughter Julia and her husband Nate at their home in a western suburb of Phoenix. There is a system of aquifer recharge ponds configured to provide quasi-lakefront neighborhoods. The ponds are stocked with common and grass carp, japanese koi, white amur, catfish, and tilapia to keep the water clean and mosquito-free. Fishing is allowed, but is catch and release with barbless hooks only.
The water level had not yet been raised to summer levels, so the fish were very spooky. Craig did not bring a rod or reel - he used his son-in-law's old whippy Browning 5-wt with an old Martin stamped reel (no drag...). He caught a few koi and common carp (on #6 Backstabber carp flies) but was unable to catch a white amur. He stalked a few amur in the 30-40lb class. Probably a good thing he didn't hook one, considering his equipment! As it was, the 4-6lb fish were a real battle. He had to provide drag with his fingers, and was forced to walk the fish along the adjacent bike path until they tired enough to be handled and released. He hopes to return to Arizona this fall or next spring for more warmwater action!
Thanks for the story, Craig! Hope you don't mind the change of POV!