Call me Ishmael.....I've won the battle with the white whale of the Santa Ynez River. The radio alarm sounded at 5:30 this morning. Still in half dream state, I heard the weather forecasting rain any minute. Time was limited and the fish were calling my name. Within 15 minutes, I was eastbound, sipping hot tea, with my 6wt in the back of the old Bronco. I made the first crossing at daybreak and found a closed gate. The river flow had increased to a point where vehicle fording was risky. I walked the river edge looking for signs of active fish and found none. Somewhat discourage, I headed back down the mountain. I made a quick stop at the ranger station crossing and found that gate closed as well. A flash of fish tail in the pool caught my eye. I walked back to ole' blue and stepped into my waders. I tied on a #14 Quigley deer hair dry and made a few drifts over the pool, no action. I switched to a SHWAP fished wet and sent the fly on its way, still nothing. The grass is always greener on the other side, so I opted to ford the river for the wider pool on the opposite side of the crossing. Several more cast with the wet fly went unanswered. I could see fish deep, but could not tell what they were. I switched to a rust colored WB with a marabou tail and rolled a cast into the swift water. A light rain started to fall. As the fly drifted into the calm of the pool, I felt the take and set the hook. The fish bolted and headed downstream like a rocket. The line at my feet instantly disappeared and took me strait into the reel. The drag was screaming as the sky turned black and the light rain transformed into a drenching squall in the same instant. The battle raged on for twenty two minutes with the unknown beast from the abyss. As the fish reached color, I found that it was a Carp of about 7 to 8 lbs. One last run and the fish tired. I brought her alongside and tailed her, leaving her head in the current. I plucked the fly and cradled the fish for close to five minutes before she flicked her tail and headed back into the pool. Already soaked to the bone with the sky growing darker, I thanked the river, shot a salute to Mother Nature and the fish gods and headed for home. Memorable morning and I'll never think of the Carp as I did before this trip. Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and Tommy cods. This Carp, swallow you whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin' and down you go. Thank you for the advice Zen…..it paid off today.