L'enfant Terrible of American fly fishing has struck again, and this time it's with a potential line-class world record carp. 18 year-old Kurt Gutormson, who established an overall world record with fly tackle for the species last year, has just made another jaw-dropping catch with a 31lb, 11oz specimen taken on 5.5lb tippet from South Dakota's Lake Poinsett. The fish measured 37" long with a girth of 26", and was weighed on certified scales at the marina on the lake after being transported in an oversize cooler with a bubbler -- and then released alive.
Gutormson has been in contact with Jack Vitek of the IGFA regarding the specimen, who is quoted as saying that once the necessary review process is cleared, Kurt's fish would establish a line-class world record for the species for the 6lb category. Given the power and stamina of carp, this is extremely impressive and an indication of the angler's skill, who said that he broke off three other fish of similar size before finally landing one.
Gutormson, who is a licensed bow hunting guide and has interned as an aquaculture technician with the State Fish and Wildlife service, stalks the fish from shore soon after ice-out. Spring comes late in the Dakotas, and the giant fish of Lake Poinsett are up in the shallows after the water opens up, hunting crustaceans and hatching insects near shore to help feed the caloric demands of their massive bodies. Both the new fish and last years overall record specimen took the same fly, a purple tube flash fly of Gutormson's own design.
The demands of pursuing world class fish is taking it's toll on the young angler's gear. Counter-intuitively, for the lighter weight line category, Gutormson upscaled his rod from a 5wt to an 8wt to have a reel with more backing capacity for the expected long runs of the fish. Even with lighter weight tippet, however, his gear has been suffering a beating -- Kurt reports his 8wt has had two line guides ripped off, the reel seat is bent out and the tip-top has been so stressed that it no longer can be glued on. That the young world record holder is completely self-funded and has not pursued a manufacturing sponsorship to date is testament to the purity of his motivations.
Gutormson reports the following gear choices for his record pursuits:
Rod: Orvis Clear Water 10', 8wt.
Reel: Orvis Clear Water 8wt
Line and Backing: Scientific Anglers
Leader and tippet: Scientific Anglers 30, 13.2, and 5.5lb, respectively
Fly: Tube flash fly (purple)
Hook: Gamakatsu #2
Wading Shoes: Blown out Vans
Despite increasing interest, Carp remain a new frontier for the sport of fly fishing. While the species has a long-standing and enthusiastic following in the UK and Europe, fish there are typically taken on bait, with recipes for dough balls and "Boilies" being closely guarded secrets. Fisherman on the continent are generally incredulous that carp can be taken on flies of any kind, as angling pressure in Europe is so intense that all species of game fish are extremely selective and are probably more difficult to take than their North American counterparts. While it is doubtful that pressure in South Dakota will catch up to this anytime soon, leading edge anglers like Kurt Gutormson's activities are sure to spark interest on both sides of the pond.