When Jim Dendy of Kosciusko caught a new state fly-fishing record for grass carp in October, he couldn’t help but laugh at the irony the 31-pound, 3-ounce fish created.
“I had just gotten back from a trout trip in Arkansas and Missouri,” Dendy said. “I had wanted to catch a big brown trout and I caught a 22-inch brown and missed a 15-pound rainbow. I thought, ‘I can catch a 31-pound carp and can’t catch a 15-pound trout. Great!’”
Of course, there’s the obvious reaction, too: “A giant grass carp? On a fly?”
“Oh yeah, they’ll hit a fly,” Dendy said. “I’ve caught several on the fly, but my biggest was a 43-11 I caught while bream fishing on a little spinning outfit.
“I caught this one on an 8-foot, 9-inch No. 4 5-weight fly rod, using a 6-pound tippet and a No. 16 gray scud,” Dendy said. “It was still rigged the same way I’d fished on my trout trip.”
On Oct. 19, late in the afternoon, Dendy said he and his wife were going to take a walk but that she had a few things to do first.
“So I told her I was going to take the fly rod and go to the Kosciusko Country Club Lake and try to catch some bluegill,” he said. “I had caught several small bream that afternoon and then I saw this big swirl.
“I was fishing on the bank and about 30 feet from me, I saw the carp pushing water and even though I never thought a carp big enough to make that kind of swirl would hit such a small bait, I threw it over there. I aimed right at the swirl, and I guess he had to have it because the strike indicator disappeared, and, buddy, let me tell you, it was on.”
It stayed on for 45 minutes, too.
“With that light a rig, I knew I couldn’t put much pressure on it so I just let him go,” Dendy said. “He made several runs, including one that had to be about 100 or 120 feet. I’d work him back in, and he’d make another run. This went on for a while and then I got lucky.
“This young guy I know, Ben, came by with his girlfriend and saw me and stopped. I told him I was glad to see him and that I had this huge carp on. I asked him if he had a net, and he said he had a pretty big one and he went home to get it.”
Upon his return, with the battle still raging, Dendy knew the net would never work.
“Wasn’t big enough,” he said. “Did I tell you the fish was 47 inches long? Well he was and no way was that net going to work. I told Ben that I still needed his help and that I was pretty much going to have to wear this fish completely down and then we might have a chance.”
Some more give and take followed, until after a total of 40 to 45 minutes, the fish was worn out.
“I pulled him into the shallows and I told Ben that if he could go around and get behind it, he might be able to push it up on the bank,” Dendy said. “Well, that’s what he did and he pushed it right up on the bank. We both jumped on top of it then.”
Officials from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have certified the record fish.
“Scott Kirk of Southeastern Pond Management works our lake for us, and I’m kind of in charge of overseeing the lake from a fishery standpoint,” Dendy said. “Scott came out this summer and shocked the lake and said we really needed to get rid of those big carp. He said anything over 15 pounds needed to go, and I’m trying my best.”