Photos and Story of An Amazing Catch: Sturgeon on the Fly

Carp are certainly cool, but a sturgeon on a fly is downright amazing.
photo by Mark Vandehey



[Editor’s Note: Oregon angler “John Montana,” who runs the Carp on the Fly blog sent me these amazing photos and the story behind them today. All I can say is “Wow.”]

On Sunday, I was on the flats chasing carp with my buddies David Nakamoto and Mark Vandehey (the man behind the camera), when a good day quickly turned into an incredible day. As we walked along looking for carp, I spotted a big tail breaking the surface and a cloud of dark big, black fish. I pointed the spectacle out to Mark and David, and then like a complete idiot, I cast at a roughly 15-pound carp. With me hooked up for the next few minutes, David and Mark stalked the bigger fish.



The author waits, with his undersize net, for the moment of truth.
photo by Mark Vandehey



As they got closer, they saw that it was a group of four sturgeon, feeding and basically tailing on a thigh-deep gravel bar. David slipped into position and cast a size 8 Hybrid Carp Fly to the lead sturgeon. Unbelievably…the fish ate it.



It’s incredible that David was able to feed this fish, given the basic biology of its mouth.
photo by Mark Vandehey



By this time, I had joined them (silently cursing the carp I had just released), and the three of us sort of stood there stunned while the fish headed for deep water. We knew that we were not even going to think about keeping the fish, so David absolutely put the wood to it. Rod straining and 10-pound fluoro tippet creaking, he pushed his gear to the limit trying to bring the fish to the shallows. I took off my camera and got ready to wrestle with this fish, if necessary.

On its second trip into shallow water, I managed to stick my woefully small carp net over the head of the sturgeon, and then quickly jumped onto my knees and got hold of the tail. We got the fish under control, snapped a few pictures, and smiled as she darted back out into the river.



David releases his trophy to fight another day.
photo by Mark Vandehey



What a moment…a feeding sturgeon eating a size 8 carp fly in the shallows. It was an unbelievable catch by my friend, and something I won’t forget.

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