The First Fishing Folly is sponsored each year by the Carp Anglers Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of carp fishing throughout North America. It is a one day event designed, in part, to allow hardy carp anglers the opportunity to put their skills to the ultimate test and experience the birth of a new year all at the same time. Many across our land battle extreme conditions just to be an active part of this prestigious annual event.
This year, the Georgia crew and I decided we would participate as well. Several in our band of rambunctious rogues had experienced great success in 2010 while fishing the Apalachicola River just south of the Georgia line. Based on the climate there and the success that our friends had experienced during the warmer months, our group decided to drift down into Sunshine State to participate in the 2011 First Fishing Folly. The area here is unique. All around you see signs of being in another place and another time—the old Victory Bridge (1920), the sand, the trees and the shells all remind you that you are in a very special location.
Though we were in the Sunshine State, I knew in my heart what it would take to make our First Fishing Folly a success. To maximize our New Year’s experience, we would need to add another “F” to the FFF. Our four F’s to success would simply have to be Friends, Food, Fire and Fish.
Six very colorful carpers made up our happy band this year. While four of us are card-carrying Georgia crackers, it needs to be noted that Rachel traveled from Enterprise Alabama to join us and Iain Murray came all the way down from Salem, Massachusetts, to participate in the fun! We had other friends join us as well including Bigbird’s wife Cindy and two dear friends, Derrick and Amy Cox.
The second “F” follows us wherever we go. Our group loves to eat, so in order to succeed, we knew we had to have food. For some reason, Bigbird didn’t think 50 would be enough so he proceeded to order 100 Wings for 6-7 people. Derrick and Amy brought us a large pot of homemade potato soup, so our second “F” was covered in fine fashion.
Our third ingredient was fire, as no campout is complete without the warmth of a riverbank campfire. A campfire is the focal point for what we have come to call “bank talk”. The fire is where you toast the New Year, share sordid secrets and confess sins of the past. However, there is one cardinal rule about bank talk (thank goodness). What is said on the bank, STAYS on the bank!
Our final “F” for success would have to be fish. Several had been fishing for 48 hours. Most of us had been there for 24-30 hours. As the New Year strolled in, there had been no proper pull downs experienced at all. Six carpers fishing 13 total rods and still no fish by 1 a.m., 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. I took a restroom stroll at 4 a.m. and returned to my quilt. A few minutes later an alarm made a slow series of beeps, and I got up to see whose it was. Chakram was looking at my poles. She was at an angle where she could see the line. Being old and of poor sight, I asked Rachel, “What should I do?” She replied something like “Pick up the rod, the fish is on!”
Within a few minutes, we had my 12-pound, 5-ounce fish netted, weighed, photographed and in the record books.
There was one other run, but there was only one fish brought to hand. I take no credit for the victory. Part of the success is due to Rachel’s coaching. The other part of the glory goes to Rod “Rodman” Mills. Uncle Rod made a few suggestions on baiting and terminal tackle, and it looks like the advice and coaching really paid off.
Watch live coverage of the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HmOXziW2Vw