Written by: Robert Daniel
The 28-inch brown in the picture was actually caught when I was carp fishing! It was the last day of the week-long Sweetwater Guide School on the Bighorn River in Montana. I—as well as two other students and Ron Meek, who runs the guide school—had decided to fish for carp in the reservoir above the dam on the Bighorn. We were catching decent carp on cicada dry-fly patterns, and they would take you to your backing almost every time, sometimes running straight down into the extremely deep but clear water. We lost count of how many we caught.
After a stint at the oars, it was my turn to cast from the bow of the john boat. I saw a shadow, figured it was a carp, and put my fly at his nose. But it wasn’t the slurp of a carp that followed. Instead, the fish crashed my fly. And the best part was, when I set the hook, my rod broke in half. The fish ran, and I fought him with half a rod.
“It’s a trout!”, yelled Nate, a fellow classmate and Iraq War veteran, but I didn’t believe it. Then the fish jumped. Carp don’t jump. Eventually, I got him to the boat and in the net, but with one acrobatic motion, the fish was back in the water making another run and was somehow still on my line. We did finally get him in the boat. I still don’t quite believe it.