Possibly the most hated gamefish in Oregon

Last weekend, I spent precious fishing time chasing the two most frustrating species in Oregon on the fly rod: Carp and surf perch. For whatever reason, I’m perfectly fine with a tough day on salmon or steelhead, but there’s something about these two that just drive me to drink.

Friday morning we woke before dawn to chase carp around Eugene’s finest slackwater. Mist on the water, carp on the move – big suckers, sticking their Wilfred Brimley-lookalike faces out of the water, launching themselves like humpback whales clear out of the pond, tailing in the shallows. Basically, there were carp everywhere and we couldn’t buy a bite.


We crept, we snuck, we crouched. Stripped slow. Tried San Juan worms, possie buggers, Jean-Paul’s specials.

It just galls me that these things are smarter than I am. And they’ll continue to be into the future. I’m never going to be John Montana, I’m too much of a hack. Give me dumb trout any day.

Then Saturday I fished from the beach for surf perch in Bandon – under what you could call ideal conditions. Small surf, manageable wind for the coast, 70 degrees. In fact, there were supposed to be so many perch in the surf, that there was a surf perch DERBY going on around town.

So there I am, wet-wading in the Pacific Ocean up to my waist, throwing my shoulder out casting a switch rod over the swells, using essentially a 9-weight rod for 2lb fish. I fished hard, with confidence (considering the derby and the fact that I thought my fly was pretty hot).

Surf Perch

But it doesn’t take long for that sinking feeling to creep in when you’re casting on the beach, and your arm gets tired. You look at all that beach, and realize that if there isn’t a goddamn perch within 20 feet of where you’re standing, you’re pissing up a rope because your line is landing in a pile in front of you.

I quit after a wind-blasted backcast buried a stainless steel hook in my eyebrow.

I’m not saying I’m done fishing for these species. Just that I’m not going to spend any more marital goodwill chasing them right now.


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8 Responses to Possibly the most hated gamefish in Oregon

  1. Simon Graham says:

    Had the same feeling when I visited South Africa in December. Spent the good part of a morning chucking large wads of fluff at Tailor/Elf/Shad in the surf, and all I got for my efforts were 2 stitches in the back of my neck where the hook had to be cut out of me….Know how you feel!

  2. Rob R says:

    Is there a fish that doesn’t drive you to drink?

  3. Brad Schneider says:

    I have had the same struggles when trying to reel in carp. I was sick and tired of having those biteless days when it came to carp so I did some research that really paid off. When I went out the next day I caught carp after carp using sweet corn and simple bread dough, basic and effective!

  4. Karl Mueller says:

    I have a trophy my grandfather won in 1964 for a 1st place carp in a fishing tournament. I love that thing–it reminds me of all the good times we had bassin’ together that were cut way too short. For that reason alone, I’ll never hate carp. Not that I ever fish for them anymore.

  5. I like that surf perch fly; looks like it would be deadly for carp.

    I think about the time you give up on carp, you’ll notice your reel screaming and your line down to the backing.

    And you’re right; I don’t think any of us could ever be in the same class as John Montana. The godfather.

  6. b-christ says:

    You might as well throw in day time striper fishing on the lower Umpqua. Then you can replace fly fishing with pulling your hair out.

  7. brian says:

    The wilford Brimley comment made me laugh my arse off– so I made this:

    moar funny pictures

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