Catching Holy Carp at Sunday School

Since my first carp flyfishing experience last summer in the Rockies, I have been a closet carp junky. Problem was, getting my fix close to home in the East hasn't been easy. Sure, there are lots of carp around, but I learned quickly on the lower Missouri River that unless there is a great concentration of fish in fairly shallow water, chasing them on the fly is almost not worth the effort. They are, I'd argue, one of the hardest fish to hook on a fly. But this weekend I finally found a place where I can satiate my carp jones close to home, and I chalk a lot of it up to divine intervention.

My wife and I recently moved to a new town, so this Sunday afternoon I decided to scour Google Maps of the area and hunt down those ponds and lakes hidden in neighborhoods or behind the super market. My goal was to seek out a few new largemouth haunts in the suburbs. One of the ponds I jotted down happened to be on the property of a local Biblical university, and that's the first place I went.

When I got there, I had a chat with a man and his nephew catching sunnies. "Any largemouth in here?," I asked. "Not that I've seen," he said. "But there's lots of carp." Sure enough, dozens of sucker-mouths were cruising the shallow shoreline like red drum in a marsh. Every once in a while, one would nip at a leaf or twig on the surface, so I knew they were looking up. I drove home as fast as I could, ditched the bass rods, grabbed a 7-weight fly outfit and gunned it back. In true carp fashion, they were not easy, but eventually I got the fish above to sip a caddis fly.

Sunday. Pond at the Bible school. Carp willing to eat on the surface. If that's not a gift from above, I don't know what is. It also just goes to show you that you might be surprised by what kind of fishing exists within a few miles of home if you just take the time to look. Without Google Maps, I would have never known my new carp honey hole was there.