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  • Matt Reilly


We've been quiet on the social fronts lately, but we've had a lot going on. Excellent fishing, life-changing moments, and incredible memories have characterized the last few months, and now it's time to look back on it all.

As spring peaked, the air and ground warmed, and the leaves reached maturation on the trees, a novel event began to take form. Billions of periodical cicadas of Brood X began to emerge for the first time in 17 years, climbing up tree trunks under the cover of darkness to molt into adults that would sing and buzz in the trees looking for a mate for weeks on end. For residents living within the emergence zone, it was sensory overload and a mind-boggling invasion of everyday life. For anglers who were lucky enough to be present on the water in the presence of these cicadas, the invasion was all of that, as well as some of the most unforgettable fishing they'll likely ever experience.

I finished up my last few smallmouth trips in May before heading down the road to the land of Magicicada. I was anxious. I had taken a weekend to scout water that I was nearly certain would be covered up in bugs when the ground temperature got warm enough for them to emerge, and had left a week and a half of my spring calendar un-booked. On that scouting trip, I found bugs--some--and laid eyes on some great looking water. The finned quarry in mind were carp, a species not unconventional for fly anglers to target. However, their bottom-feeding nature and highly developed vibration-sensing Weberian apparatus make them an incredibly challenging target to fly rodders, who often measure a successful day by hooking or landing a few fish. I didn't see any carp on my initial scouting mission, but I knew they were there, and was anxious to revisit the scene with bugs present.

When I arrived in June, the scene was as I had hoped. The air was alive, practically throbbing with the sound of buzzing cicadas. They splatted on my windshield and covered the ground. On the water, the scene was equally promising, large schools of common carp were laid up on the surface, daisy chaining around overhanging trees, sipping misfortunate cicadas that had found themselves trapped in the surface film.

The first day, we did some running and gunning and fished several pieces of water, getting the lay of the land. The next day, we went to work, clients were called, and we started making memories. Over the course of a week, we boated grass carp up to 50 pounds--several between 35 and 45 pounds--and a few hundred common carp up to 25 pounds. Every day on the water we tangled with dozens of strong, line-peeling fish.

Long casts sight fishing to large, surface-feeding fish. It doesn't get much better, and I'm incredibly happy that I was able to share some of it with clients.

Thanks to everyone that came out! Here's to the next emergence!

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