Recently RAD had an opportunity to interview Horatio Irving Windknot, the founder of Carp Unlimited. Mr. Windknot is the inventor of the quadruple haul fly cast and the creator of the Horatio Crazy Hornberg, without a doubt one of the deadliest flies ever for carp, snakefish and Asian walking catfish.
RAD: So, Mr. Windknot…
CU: Please, feel free to call me Horatio.
RAD: Horatio, could you tell us about how and why you formed Carp Unlimited?
CU: Well CU was actually the brainchild of a member of another group that I belong to. I’m the President Emeritus of the Manamooskegin Fly Tiers, and at one of our meetings fellow Manamooskegin, Bubba Garibaldi, suggested that we give up on trout and salmon fisheries and embrace the inevitable future by starting Carp Unlimited. After a few more shots of Chivas, we all agreed that it was a good idea and Carp Unlimited was born.
RAD: With all due respect, it seems like a pretty stupid idea to me. I mean, carp are an invasive species that threaten native fisheries and thrive in polluted waters.
CU: I admit that it sometimes takes awhile for the brilliance of Bubba’s reasoning to become manifest to people of average cognitive capacity. One of the achievements of the Manamooskegin Fly Tiers has been to introduce Nihilism to the art and practice of fly fishing and fly tying. Our motto is: “We Tie One On” and we prefer to think that the fly doesn’t really matter. It’s all about the “process.” As our revered Founder used to say, “It’s all in the presentation.”
None of this makes much sense to the average fly fisherman, because it is really on the bleeding edge of the sport. These are insights from some of the loftiest minds in the world of fly fishing. Bubba Garibaldi, for example, is a nuclear engineer who enjoys deliberately challenging his nuclear design capabilities by starting his day with a two martini breakfast.
RAD: All of the brilliance aside, I’m still trying to understand why, as fly fishermen, you’ve given up on salmonids while embracing carp?
CU: All right, I’ll try to bring it down to your level. Carp are the choice of the practical fly fisher. By becoming carp fishers we avoid all of those conflicts that inevitably confront trout and salmon fishers. And carp are the HOT fish with the up and coming young fly fishers. Carp fishing has been written about in all of the fly fishing magazines. The Drake, Fly Rod and Reel, and even TROUT have featured articles on carp. Carp have been described as freshwater bonefish that can grow to forty pounds. And carp have created a terrific new market for fly fishing tackle manufacturers and fly shops. Let’s face it, acidification and overfishing are killing ocean fisheries, and global warming and renewed interest in hydro-power have doomed the coldwater species. Meanwhile, you can fish for carp anywhere and everywhere. They thrive in inner city rivers where they are available for the high tech urbanite with plenty of cash to burn on the latest carp fly lines and the hottest new carp tapers for fly rods. And the really good news is that soon carp will be taking over the Great Lakes! Who needs steelheads when you’ve got a pollution loving forty pound fish that can race across a stinking mudflat like a bonefish on steroids?
RAD: So far, and correct me if I’m wrong, your reasons for forming Carp Unlimited are all about the fishing and the fishing industry, and there is no concern about the environment.
CU: Well yes, that’s the whole point in creating CU. Organizations like TU, FFF, SRBTC, DSF, PRIBT spend all of their time and money trying to restore and save rivers, streams and lakes so that future generations can enjoy clean water and healthy, wild coldwater fisheries, and there is no guarantee that they can succeed. In the meantime they are pissing off the really big money, the fossil fuel guys, the water managers and the big hydro-power dam owners. They even piss off Congress and the President, and you know that is just asking for trouble.
These “conservation” groups that I’ve listed all have one thing in common, they were started by fishermen, and now they’re so caught up in trying to remove dams and restore streams that they don’t have much time to fish. And after spending all of their money on conservation, they don’t have much money left for fishing tackle or guided trips. It’s bad for the economy and, worse yet, all of the really big money people hate them.
Carp Unlimited is all about the fishing. We’ll happily fish for trout and salmon until they are gone, all of the while knowing that we can always fish for carp. Carp aren’t bothered much by oil spills or fracking chemicals, and they even tolerate mine drainage pretty well. Carp don’t care what color the water is or whether it’s hot or cold. In many ways carp are like us, content to live in a steadily degrading habitat.
RAD: Well Horatio, thanks for taking the time to talk with me about Carp Unlimited.
CU: My pleasure Warren. And I’d like to leave you with some parting advice; lose the dam angst and embrace your inner carp fisherman. As we say in Carp Unlimited, “What, me worry?”