I’ve done nothing but catch up on a million things since returning from the incredible adventure in Sudan, UAE and Oman. Ten years ago not much went on when I traveled but these days – yikes! I had over 200 emails to tend to, blogs to catch up on, yard work and you name it. It’s been payback at its best. But the last four days I went camping and fishing with some of my best pals to Blackfoot Reservoir for the annual Carp Tournament (Fly Only).
Although the tourney is Friday and Saturday, I, Scott Smith and Ben Smith met at our usual camp spot on Blackfoot Reservoir Wednesday afternoon. I haven’t seen Ben in over a year and last time I fished with Scott was in Thermopolis last October. Although we had daylight to do some fishing, we didn’t even put on the waders and instead made a monster fire and caught up over beers and dinner till the wee hours of the morning.
None of us felt red hot in the morning (fishing boys will always be fishing boys), but we gathered ourselves, wadered up and walked a carp flat near camp. Night temperatures have been cold so not a carp stirred. We lasted a mere hour or so before heading back to camp and Scott treated us to a massive and delicious breakfast.
Around noon fellow Victor resident Boots Allen arrived. While Scott napped Boots and I walked the same flat that we were on in the morning. Despite a horrible change in weather where wind gusts approached the 30 MPH mark and the arrival of horizontal rain, I managed the only carp caught today. This beautiful fish of perhaps 12lbs had three huge scales on his side reminding me of the dots on the side of a peacock bass. If only today was as nice and warm as in the Amazon!
At 6 PM the weather changed back to partly sunny. More friends arrived and next thing we new the fire was blazing again. Beers flowed and Scott whipped up yet another amazing meal of stuffed duck breasts. While Ben unfortunately had to pull out because he got booked to guide the Henry’s Fork tomorrow, Scott and I hung around the fire till 11 PM when the big rains started up again. I crashed out in the back of my red Exploder and stayed happy and dry all night.
Daylight came early. Unlike yesterday, Scott and I were in good shape and it was the rest of the crew that was struggling. I brewed some top notch coffee while Scott fed us yet again then we registered for the carp tournament and headed out.
This was the eleventh year of the Blackfoot Carp Tournament. I missed last year because I was in Bhutan but I’ve been a regular since 2007 (See 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013). Evidently, last year at the award ceremony the organizers announced that they were no longer going to arrange the event. Rumors spread quickly that the tourney was over but this is completely untrue. I and my crew can’t live without the Blackfoot Carp Tourney and friend Tim Brune has already taken over organizing duties.
Naturally because of the rumors attendance was low. Furthermore, the weather was forecasted to be horrific (and it was) so half those who intended to show up didn’t. We had a small group of about twenty folks and a dog and we made the best of it.
Fishing was horrible. All of late April and May produced excellent carp fishing but when the bulk of the storm struck at about 10 AM on Friday, the carp bite shut off. Only two fish were landed both days. So we not only had the smallest attendance but also the worst fishing results ever. I don’t know the names of the winners but one angler was from Twin Falls and the other from Shelly.
The Blackfoot Carp Tournament will continue for years to come. Those who thought it was over – its not. Over the years the tourney has raised good money for those in need and that is reason enough to continue this great event. I hope to see everyone back next year for some great fishing and for what I think is one of the most fun get-togethers with friends of the year.