Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Short Term Memory

I hear football announcers claim short term memory is an asset in pro quarterbacks. Your left tackle falls asleep for two seconds and you find yourself face down eating fake green grass with a 240-pound linebacker dry humping you in your own end zone...yeah, must be hard to forget. But a safety is only two points. The game is far from over...if, of course, you have short term memory and have the confidence to stand in the pocket the next go round and pick apart the corners. Maybe even win the game, despite the one embarrassing moment that will get replayed 28 times on ESPN Monday morning.

Thus it is with carp fishing. There are so many things stacked between the fly angler and reward. Granted, there are no linebackers looking to break your back...but carp are smart and carp are spooky. There are far more things to go wrong than set to go right. First there is the water temperature and weather. You want the water warm and the day hot. You want no clouds and very little wind...but just a touch. And you want the water levels to be low, but not too low. Now if you have all these cards in the right order, you still have to make the best cast and most tantalizing retrieve of your life. Then...maybe. Maybe.

Monday morning I watched from above (back up on the bank...I ain't dead yet, or that way bound) as Erin, my carpin' partner stalked a very large common carp in close on the mud flats. The fish was alone and feeding and she could not get too close...but made the first cast count and the carp turned and charged the fly. I watched the whole thing unfold in slow motion. Erin set into him and the fish exploded toward deep water. The reel shrieked and then the line came to an abrupt halt. I thought the jig was up, but her rod was still doubled over. The line's tangled on the reel! Erin shouted. And indeed it was. She yanked at the tangle with everything she had...but the big fish ran again and the 2x snapped. Game over. Her shoulders slumped and her rod tip hung motionless. I quietly prepared a pep talk as I made my way out onto the flat to join her. But, by the time I waded next to her she had shaken off the defeat and smiled. Let's find another! Short term memory. And she won the game that day. Within minutes she had an almost exact repeat...but an even larger fish. And everything went the way you would hope it would.

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