El Guapo Strikes Again

Golden Ghost on a fly rod is truly a challenging task for a fly fisherman

I had the pleasure last week of going fishing with a new friend of mine, Chase. Like me, he’s an Alabamian transplanted in Tennessee. We had decided to go fishing together, and agreed on going out to Percy Priest to see what we could coax into biting.

The weather ended up being much better than originally anticipated, and we didn’t waste any time hooking up with small bluegills. Chase tied on a clouser minnow and danced it around the structure at Hamilton Creek Park on Percy Preist, and the hits started coming (A clouser minnow worked? Of course it did.) It didn’t take much longer before a nice largemouth bit into Chase’s fly.

I still can’t get a gauge on the bass patterns in Tennessee, but my guess is some are still in spawning patterns, while some of starting to come off. I haven’t seen many holding up in the shallows like I would’ve expected, but just by feeling the water, if they aren’t spawning then they’re already done. Water temps are really warm.

I was really hoping we’d be able to find yellow bass and crappie on this trip, but they proved to be fairly elusive. I’m almost positive had we fished later that evening then we would’ve had more luck hooking up with crappie.

As we were perusing the banks of Hamilton Creek park I noticed mud clouds towards the back of the cove. I know there were ghosts (carp) holding up in that cove, and the mud clouds were evidence that they were rooting. It was an excellent opportunity to go after them.

Time to tie on a fly I’ve been experimenting with recently with a fair amount of success. Enter:

My variant of a San Juan Worm. El Guapo...

I was able to talk what looked like a 16″ carp up to the bank a few times. On one cast he even took the fly, but I missed the hook set. One thing is for sure about sight casting for ghosts; casting for ghosts is either extremely rewarding, or extremely frustrating.

This guy turned out to be about 24.5"

I continued to scout the banks looking for him, and every now and then would see his shadow darting back and forth. Finally, I cast past a dark silhouette, and stripped a fast guapo through what I assumed was where he was feeding, and this time the hook up was perfect, except this wasn’t the same fish.

I fought him for a good 15-20 minutes before he tired out. Ghosts take you for nice long runs, and they’ll certainly take you into your backing several times before they’re too exhausted to fight anymore.

He certainly wasn’t the biggest ghost I’ve taken on a fly rod before (I’ve hooked some well in the +30″ range on the Chattahoochee backwaters), but he was definitely the first I’ve been able to have pictures of.

I can’t tell you how fortunate I was to have Chase’s help landing the fish, and to take pictures. I’m very glad to have a fellow fly angler come with me that enjoys it as much as I do. Being able to chat gear, tactics, and fishing ambitions was a great change of pace from my normal night outings on Percy Priest, or the Stones River. Catching a ghost is always exciting, but the most exciting aspect of the trip was certainly being on the water with good company.

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