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OH MAN, what have I been missing! Lake Champlain Carp, AKA Yankee Bonefish, are pure fun to fly fish for from a kayak. I’d read a few articles on how fly fisherman were beginning to target these guys, and now I can see why. Challenging, powerful, BIG, skittish, and local, fishing for them is very similar to stalking Bonefish in tropical flats.

While checking out a new area for Bowfin in Lake Champlain in my Jackson Kayak Day Tripper Elite, I stumbled across some Carp feeding in the tall grasses, just like Redfish. Fishing kayaks are great tools for hunting these guys, let you sneak up quietly in the shallows and get where other anglers can’t. Weather wasn’t really good that day — a little breezy and cloudy, so I went back the next day in bright sun and calm winds — just what you need to spot fish from a distance.

The first one was a loner, just cruising the sand flats. After a couple 50 ft casts, I saw the subtle take, strip set and hung on. I laughed as I watched my backing peel off the reel. About a half hour later, I was stepping out of the kayak onto the sand flats and landing my first Carp on a fly rod.

A little while later, I found a group of a half dozen or so feeding near a weed bed. I picked out the largest one, dropped a fly over its nose, watched it rise up and saw the take again. This one was even bigger, just massive. It headed off into the weeds, and I think it took a while for it to realize it was even hooked. It had so much power, all I could do was let it pull me around in the kayak to tire itself out. About an hour later I was able to get it to the boat, and it was all I could do to drag it into my lap. What a fish.

I probably won’t be able to chase Bonefish in Belize again for a while, but these guys will sure help me practice.


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