An Unexpected Surprise!

Yesterday’s session ended up being quite the adventure, with glorious results. On the way to the Emma Long fish-in this past weekend, Mike and I spoke to a local angler who provided us with some helpful info about a local urban swim.  He told us while fly fishing this local pond he spotted a few common carp, and even a couple koi that were decent size. Instantly we were intrigued, and we vowed to fish this possible koi wonderland upon our return from the fish-in.  Neither Mike nor I have caught a koi yet, so you can imagine our excitement.  After the blank fest that was our Emma fish-in, we were even more motivated to make it up by attempting to land some koi on the bank.  Off we went, to recon this possible hole that neither one of us had ever heard about.

We arrived and found a reasonably sized pond (about 2 acres) that actually looked pretty promising.  We decided to leave the gear behind and walk the bank in search for a crash, or any sign of life for that matter.  We lurked along the bank like ninjas hoping not to spook any of the carp that were possibly

feeding in the margins. Just then I noticed a shot of color just off the bank to my right. Upon closer inspection I saw that it was a bright orange koi feeding about 10 feet off the bank.  I slapped Mike’s shoulder and pointed at the koi.  We attempted to contain our excitement, and ran back to the car to retrieve our gear. The game was afoot!

Mike suggested we free line some bread balls on top of the water, and since he has taught me everything I know about carp fishing, we proceeded to do exactly that.  While we tied our rigs, Mike asked Brook to throw some bread balls out in an attempt to draw them in.  We sat quietly on the bank and watched them roll in to feed on the bread.  Mike was the first to catch, and it was a koi! It was bright orange with black spots all over, a gorgeous fish.  We could hardly contain ourselves as we prepared our rigs for another attempt.

It was a slow start for me since I have never free lined before, and I was having some trouble getting it out there.  Before long I was getting the hang of it and my bread ball was landing about 20-25 feet off the bank. I was also getting the hang of tossing it accurately enough to land next to any fish I saw close enough to the bank.  Finally, the line tightened, and with a quick jerk, fish on!  It was another koi! This one was also bright orange with black spots. Overwhelmed with joy is the only way I could explain the feeling I had holding my first koi up for the camera.  I have been dying to catch a koi ever since I first started fishing carp.  I have also gotten used to the idea that I would probably have to wait a while before I would be fortunate and skilled enough to catch one.  He only weighed a few pounds, but I couldn’t be happier!


We decided to switch up our tackle a bit and see what we got.  Mike and I both added a split shot about a foot or so above the hook so we could get it out there a bit further.  We tried this setup for a while, and Mike caught a baby catfish, but no carp or koi.  I decided to go back to free lining bread balls on top of the water.  I threw a couple handfuls of sweet corn and bread balls out to draw them in, and I positioned myself on the bank where I could get my line right on top of them.  After a while I could see faint bright colors start to roll in closer to the bank.  I again started tossing my bait out, making every effort to toss it right in their mouth. After about two dozen tosses, the line tightened, and with a quick jerk, fish on! Another koi! I couldn’t believe it. This one was completely orange with white (even translucent towards the tips) accents on its fins. There wasn’t a spec of black anywhere on the fish, he was pristine bright orange.  It was an extremely bright and beautiful fish! Again, he was only a few pounds, but I couldn’t be happier.

Invigorated by our success, we pressed on.  I decided to stick with free lining bread balls since that seemed to be how the koi preferred to feed.  I crept along the bank tossing my line out when I saw something that could be a koi. They seemed to shy away from the bait this time; almost as if they knew I was there. After a while I found myself on the other side of the pond. I decided to make my way back to where we started to see if they had returned. No luck.  Just then I noticed a deep spot right off the bank next to some reeds.  I decided to forge a path and see if I couldn’t get my line right in that deep spot.  I got a few bites, but nothing would set.  I tied a fresh piece of bread on, and gave it another try.  I finally got a nibble, my line started to tighten, but I held off on setting the hook to avoid spooking whatever was interested in my bait. The fish ran with my bait, and it was clear he had set himself.  Right away I could tell this fish was substantially bigger than my last two.  When he got closer to the bank, we could see he was a nice sized koi.  I proceeded reeling him in with care, not wanting him to pull so close to the bank. He was beautiful! He was bright orange with big black splotches all over.  The pattern reminded me of woodland camouflage, except with koi colors of course.  It was 11lbs 4oz, a nice starter koi PB! I was elated.

We baited again, and went our separate ways down the bank.  Mike was in pursuit of a white koi he spotted in the margins.  During his attempts, Mike managed to land the same baby common carp twice. When I say baby, I mean he looked like a carp key chain. I also managed to catch the same carp during my previous attempts, or at least it seemed to be the same fish.  We had already spent more time there then planned since we just came to check everything out.  Mike wasn’t giving up without another catch, though. Finally I saw him making his way down the bank with a bend in his rod, fish on! This one was bright orange with big and small black splotches, and an almost completely black tail and dorsal fin. A beautiful fish! With that catch we were both more than satisfied, for today at least.

What a session. Information from local anglers for the win!  This just goes to show you, exploring new bodies of water can have outstanding results.  We encourage everyone to get out and explore your local lakes, rivers, and even ponds. You never know what lies beneath the surface.

Until next time, keep em’ in the net!

Ps. If your viewing this post on a computer, make sure to click the full screen button on the gallery to see these beautiful fish in all their glory!


  1. Ted says:

    Dude thats awesome! So……when we going? lol

  2. Neil Stern says:

    so???Now Austin in addition to being a premier Common and Buffalo venue, is also a KOI haven…..

    Time to move…

  3. sam says:

    Wow – just ran across your site. Good stuff. I’ll be down in Austin the first week of February escaping this cold Chicago winter. Maybe I’ll see ya on the bank!

  4. Kevin says:

    Were glad you like it, Sam! Be sure to contact us when your in town. That’s my birthday week, so I’ll definitely be fishing lol.

  5. Coco says:

    I’m desperate to find some bank fishing in the Austin area. Any chance you could tell me where this pond is located?

  6. Dave says:

    The “unexpected surprise” looks like a lot of fun. Any chance you would share the location with me. I’ve been trying to find some bank fishing spots.
    Thanks, great site