ANN ARBOR -- I’d been standing in one place for at least 10 minutes, about 35 yards downstream from a mulberry tree, watching the carp mill around the overhanging branches on the Huron River. I noticed a fish come out from the bank and settle in slightly deeper water, so I shot a roll cast upstream from it a bit and when I saw the fish come up in the water column toward my slowly sinking purple fly, I set the hook.
It exploded out of the shallows like a nitro-burning dragster and shot all the way across the river to the other bank. I hollered to my partner, Dirk Fischbach, who was fishing maybe 75 yards downstream from me, that I’d hooked up.
The fish took me under a log and through a brush pile, but apparently I’d hooked it well as I was able to get my rod under the log and move up on the fish, which was still taking drag. Fischbach caught up with me and grabbed a branch from the brush pile, freeing my floating line, and the fish went back out into the river channel. From there, it was just a tug of war.
Twenty minutes after it started, Fischbach held my prize for photographs.
I’ve heard for years about fly fishing for carp feeding on mulberries. Apparently, it was all true.
Fischbach, co-owner of Colton Bay Outfitters in Ann Arbor and my sometimes fly fishing partner over the course of the last couple of decades, has been into the mulberry bite for a while. As he explains it, it starts in mid-June, when the fruit begins dropping, and lasts all summer long.
“Once they’re on the berries they will stay on them,” Fischbach said. “You can catch them into September.”