The Biggest Grass Carp of My Life

by | Feb 24, 2021 | huge grass carp | 10 comments

fish-arizonaGetting my butt handed to me Monday by suckers is the kind of thing that makes me hungry for more.  Most fishing challenges I conquer easily and aren’t nearly as exhilarating.  So, if you figured I’d be headed back to the Salt to try for the Sonora sucker again, you were right.  But bad luck, the Salt jumped 380 CFS and the rise in water cluttered the river with mud and floating debris.


flyfishingWe battled, but it was hopeless.  We left around 2 PM wondering what we should do with our last couple hours.  That’s when Mike Faulkinbury suggested we go where he’d seen some huge grass carp recently.  The problem however, they were in a nearly impossible spot to fish too.  And if you got lucky to hook up, they were in a dreadful spot to land one.  But those are the challenges that get me fired up.


grass-carp-fliesWe drove about an hour then skirted down dirt roads to a weird industrial type canal then walked.  Sure enough, there were several ginormous white Amur feeding in vegetational scum.  The scum line was created by a back eddy formed behind a buoy.  And Mike was right, the feeding carp had their mouths against the buoy and it would take a miracle cast to get the fly there let alone get a grassie to find it and eat it.  I took on the casting dilemma.


It took only a few minutes to get my cast and accuracy just right to splat my Rainy’s Hopper against the buoy.  And I figured the angle so that after my fly landed, all I needed was a funny little reverse mend and my fly actually stayed in the zone for more than three seconds.  Once all sorted out, I recognized the only thing left was the “Currier persistence”.  I knew I was going to hook one of these huge grassies.



Steve, Mike and Granny weren’t so sure I’d connect.  Mike took off fishing down the canal.  He actually caught a small grass carp on a nymph.  Steve didn’t even bother to bring his rod.  And Granny kicked back and read a book.  But within 15 minutes I had a 40 inch-plus grassie screaming line off my Bauer!



I hadn’t given landing one of these bruiser-carp much thought.  Perhaps I should have.  There was the buoy itself and the ropes that secured it in the canal current.  There was a massive steel cable that went down into the water and disappeared.  Who knows where that went?  And below us (not in the photos) was a culvert where the canal literally disappeared under ground for about 100 feet.  The oversized Amur had plenty of opportunity to get away.


fishing-chaosI hung on tight and did the best I could. I was using my now trusty 5-weight Air 2 rod again.  For a fish like this, I was under gunned to say the least, and sure enough this big fish made his way up under the cable and along the buoys.  I reefed back as much as I dared with my 5-weight and cranked my drag a notch.  It was enough to slow down the carp but he still made his way deeper and deeper into the danger zone.


canal-fishingThe big fish made his way under the buoys and I hated the angle I was at.  My line was rubbing the underside of the buoys.  Luckily there was the usual safety ladder down into the canal.  I had no choice but to finagle my way down it during battle.  With the heavy current and culvert below me it was definitely the last move I wanted to make.


Jeff-CurrierOnce down the ladder with my feet in the water, I was comfortable.  And hands down, I gained and edge on this fish too.  I was eye level and able to put a lot of torque on him.  I was using the new Scientific Anglers Absolute Fluorocarbon 3X which I was already impressed with from permit fishing last month.  With a bent rod and a smooth drag, I wasn’t afraid of breaking him off.  My biggest challenge now was getting my hands on this fish.


flyfishingI got my hands on the fish a few times.  But he was simply too gigantic.  I put him in sort of a headlock the first time I got him close but he literally pulled me off the ladder.  Luckily I was able to hold myself from falling completely in by grabbing the buoys.


Jeff-Currier-flyfishingOur physical fight went on for at least five minutes.  I’d get a hold on him then with his strength he’d fight his way free again.  By now Granny was down the ladder with my phone taking photos.  Our thought was that if I could just hang on for a few seconds perhaps we’d get a good photo.  As you can see it wasn’t easy!


huge-carpcarp-fishingAt last, the fish was tired enough I could handle him.  As always, my main concern was not to hurt the magnificent creature.  With the water to help support him most of the time, I got my usual “hero shot” grip and raised him.  Click!  Click!  Click!









After a few pics, I started my usual admiring of this fish.  Every time I catch a fish of a lifetime I take a hard look.  Not only the fish and its size but I look into its eye.  I look at the fins.  The tail.  And in this case I was amazed at the tarpon sized scales.  This was truly a stunning fish all-round!


While I admired, the mighty Amur regained its strength.  I dislodged my fly and got ready for the release.  The fish was cooperative and allowed us to get a few more cool shots.  Then in one strong flip of its tail, it took off drenching every inch of me that wasn’t wet already.  What a fish!


Jeff-CurrierThat was it for my fishing day.  I walked down the canal to see what else I could find but I knew there’d be nothing in comparison to the trophy I caught.  It was more of a reminiscing trip – replaying what had just happened.  That was the biggest grass carp of my life.


flyfishingMeanwhile, Steve went to his truck and got his rod and got ready for action.  It took about 20 minutes, but the remaining grass carp started to feed again.  Steve would hook two of them in the next hour.  However, he didn’t have the same luck, both fish broke him off.  One on the take and the other got under the buoys and took off upstream.  We just might have to get Steve back here tomorrow!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Lance

    Great fish!!! Congrads!! PERSISTENCE pays off again.

  2. Brent

    Nice work! That’s a beauty! Congrats!

  3. Tad Einloth


    Nice Fish!


  4. Mike

    Jeff it was impressive to watch, not only the casting but the fish play. Great fish!

  5. Jack Meredith

    Jeff, I’m sitting here on the edge of my chair , breathing is shallow and I’m all smiles for you! What a beautiful carp and the size is most impressive. The big orange Goldfish Carp was the first fish I ever caught. On the South side of Chicago at Jackson Park Lagoon there was a Japanese garden prior to WW2 and you were allowed to fish in the Lagoon. The Goldfish were very large and always hungry for night-crawlers because at my age I only knew about “horse flies” and I didn’t know anything about fly-casting, but what fun it was catching them.

  6. Jeff

    Thanks everyone for following along! And Jack, if only you caught one of those big Goldfish on a fly back then. No doubt you would have been the first ever to do so! I hope everyone is well!

  7. Matthew C Norton

    Congrats Jeff! What an awesome fish and a superb story! Thanks for teaching me to take the time to safely admire each and every fish. It makes a difference. Super impressed with that catch.

  8. Jeff

    Thanks Howie. Let’s fish this year!

  9. Lane

    What a fish! Congrats, Jeff. Love the blog.

  10. Jeffrey Currier

    Thank you Lane!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!