Lady and the Carp


-by Kandace Alfano

It was our first fishing trip together with just each another. Yep, just us girls, our fly rods, and the Pedernales River. Neither of us had caught a carp and we were both hungry for the strike. Our hike started at 11am. We creeped along the side the bank like predators with each step softer than the one before. “You see that?” Cameihl wispered as she pointed at a cloud of drifting dirt floating in the water. We looked at each other with regretful incompetence. We had just spoked a carp. Luckily for us this section of the river had plenty of prey for us to peep and seek upon. Carp casually crawled across in a blissful slither. 


“Pendulum it across.” I told Cameihl. With trees breathing down our necks we found ourself’s flicking, dabbing, roll casting, and occasionally turning our fly into an acrobat in the art of the pendulum swinging. “God DAMNNIT!” we’d shout and the trees laughed at our impatience. As we continued on sweat became more acquainted with our skin. It was 2:00pm and our flies still had not invited a carp to join us. We crossed the river to gain casting space. I started casting from a small rocky inlet to two carp. My cast was nearly presentable, placed in front, and inched slowly, but too far from that cheerio shaped mouth. Cameihl was maybe 20yds up stream. I considered yelling “Carp coming your way!” but I figured she’d see ‘em. And then it happen. “KANDACE, I’m hooked up!” Cameihl shrieked.  I yelled back, “I’m coming!”, as my legs hammered through the tall grass. Cameihl’s eyes we’re wide and a greasy grin of excitement vibrated across her face. As I nervously laid my rod down my mind flipped flopped back and fourth between untangling my line from my trembling hands to attending the beating break of the water. We were excited, but scared. 


This wasn’t the first time either of us had hooked up with a carp, but neither of us had ever landed such a fish; the clumsy mistakes of amateurs I guess. We were so excited that we may have gotten a little too complacent. At one point during the fight Cameihl ended up on top of my rod. Her ankles were trapped in a matted mess of liter and tippet. “Man, my arms are really starting to hurt” Cameihl shouted as I told her to carefully lift up her right foot and then her left and place them softly inches away from my trampled but somehow not yet broken 5wt. We didn’t have a net and thought it'd be best to reel the carp onto the muddy bank. As the carp came closer to the insanity that was us, I crouched down into the shallow bank and formed a shooing motion. The carp began to tire. It was so close that our hearts began to feel like they were about to explode. Once the carp peered partially onto the mud Cameihl and I pounced. Knees and elbows dug deep into the earth. We both knew what the other was thinking and it was that this carp was not going to get away from us this time! The moment froze. The carp was caught and our hearts did in fact explode. Our arms swung forcefully towards one another’s backs. I’ve never endured such an emotional hug. We exploded backwards  and laid contently covered in mud laughing. “Are you crying?!” I asked. “YES!” Cameihl exclaimed. Tears raced down my face for a fish that wasn’t mine, for a friend’s first carp of the fly, and for a fierce fight that we’ll never forget. “It’s dying!” I thought as we selfishly soaked in the silly sacred experience of carp on the fly.