By Rene J. Hesse
The dog days of summer are sometimes best spent avoiding the heat of the day. Early morning or nighttime outings make the most sense when the sun is below the horizon. Trout fishing in the mountains of the Southern Appalachians is pretty much limited to the tail waters below hydro- electric dams and the extreme high country. Even then, an angler should check the water temperature with a thermometer looking for that magic 67 degrees or colder reading to avoid killing every trout you hook.
August is a good time to explore some possibilities for fishing for bass and bluegill or other warm water species. The lowly common carp is a good target too! Carp cruising across the mudflats of your local lake is about as close to fishing for bonefish in fresh water as you can get. The great Lefty Kreh once said, “Fly fishing for carp is like fishing for bonefish only harder”. Carp are very smart and difficult to catch most times. A careful approach is necessary, along with an accurate cast that doesn’t scare the fish into the next county. Carp eat a lot of different organisms including crayfish, minnows, nymphs, and the occasional dough ball.
When bass fishing, I keep a rod rigged and ready for the carp that shows up unexpectedly, the golden ghost is a magician and can put the strongest drag to a test! A seven or eight weight rod, paired with a reel with a smooth disc drag, is required and you expect to see your backing peel off too if it’s a nice one!
An Olive Rubber Legged Dragon is one of my favorite flies for carp. With its bead chain eyes, it sinks slowly and rides hook-up to prevent so many hang ups on the bottom. Dragon Fly or damsel fly nymphs are normally abundant in shallow areas of lakes in summer and that’s a great thing for the carp and the angler. Seeing the fish is aided by a good pair of amber polarized glasses and getting the sun at your back if possible. You can wade if careful or use a boat or kayak to get close enough for a shot; either way, the first fish’s blazing run will have you hooked. Summer may slow down our cold water-loving trout but the carp are very well equipped to handle the hot water in style. Try a shot or two at the golden ghost and give the trout a break this summer.