Last Sunday Dan Fraiser of CarpPro Magazine made his way from his home turf in South Dakota to the Kansas City area with a free afternoon before his business meetings kicked off for the week. He rolled into town at around 12:30 after being booted off his 6 AM flight forcing him to make a surprise six hour drive. It was a sweltering day with high temps reaching well into the high 90's so I was hesitant to make a run to the flats, but with the realization that Dan only had one day to spare we piled our gear into the Shitmobile and headed to Hillsdale to attempt to chase some carp. As we drove over the dam we saw that the water was basically glass which would have been great if it weren't one in the afternoon. We arrived at one of my favorite flats, rigged up, and made our way to the water. Long story short, the water was super murky and seemingly warmer than the air. We walked a short distance and saw nothing but one mud plume so we decided to hit the spillway which was also low and hot. I did manage to get a decent bass and put Dan on a bunch of shots at Drum which he and his "Carp Zen" promptly screwed up.
I was pretty discouraged after 3 hours in the hellish heat with nothing to show Dan but a sunburn and a lousy bass. With one more trick up my sleeve we grabbed some gas station pizza and drove towards Paola in search of some public access areas on some of the local creeks. We pulled up on one that had been recommended to my by a group of locals to take a quick look before giving up. The second we laid eyes on the small pool under an old spillway we looked at each other with huge smiles on our faces. A huge school of well over 100 Carp sat with their heads facing towards the current. Most had their heads straight down in the rocky bottom. Upon further investigation we found literally thousands of ideally sized Crayfish scattered among the rocks.
We switched flies to smaller Headstand-esque patterns and made our way to the water. Within 3 minutes we were both hooked up with a double. Dan landed his second ever Mirror Carp which he was pretty stoked about to say the least. We both hammered fish until they started disappearing into deeper water. We saw some bigger fish in the group but all of the ones we landed were in the 8 pound range. They were super aggressive and very willing to chase down a stripped fly and really hot when you got them hooked up. I had one that more or less banked himself by running straight into shallow water!
All in all it was a great afternoon. I wish we would have started out with the moving water but I definitely think Dan got a good taste of the legendary KC Carpin' that I always refer to. Hopefully he'll come back in town soon!