I've lived on the Delmarva peninsula for ten years now and have been carping most of that time. For the most part, my carping experiences have been in still water ponds and lakes and more recently creeks and rivers. In my experiences driving up and down the coast, I've always known that carp existed in the brackish waters of the many tidal creeks and rivers. Unfortunately, I believed that sight fishing in such turbid water would be nearly impossible. I was wrong…
When I purchased my Diablo Paddlesports Chupacabra SUP Yak four years ago, it opened up a tremendous amount of new water to to fish. However, it took me those years until I finally paddled up and down a tidal creek. On a kayaking cruise with some friends I packed a 6 weight, some streamers, and my carp flies incase I saw something worthy. As high tide began giving way to low, I spotted the shadow cruising along the vegetation line and a smile spread across my lips. It was a good sized carp. I rigged up with a carp fly and began exploring the shallows where the turbidity could not fully hide the carp. With less than a foot of visibility, it was incredibly difficult to spot fish, until one starts to feed.
You can often tell a big carp is on the feed from simply looking at a mud plume or a bubble trail. The large ones make a scene, which helps you get pretty close to them. My first tidal carp was feeding so aggressively the water looked like it was boiling. I meandered to within 20 ft. when the common stopped feeding and ascended in the water column. I tried to stay calm as I casted a sucker spawn a few feet in his feeding zone, but my knees began to shake. As the carp lurched forward and took my fly, I didn't let out a yell of adrenaline, I kept it in, knowing full well I'd have to stay focused on the task at hand.
After landing my first tidal carp, I realized that there was plenty of potential to be had. However, I know I have my work cut out for me. After a few more outings, I've discovered tidal carping to not only be the most variable carping experience I've ever had, but also the most challenging. However, with challenges come great rewards and with each slab of carp I land and admire, the more confident I get at the new scenarios. Summer is almost over and carping will soon grind to a halt, but I can't wait to put more time on some new haunts. There are quite a few giants out there calling my name.