What if I told you that all it took was a medium sized crowd in a vacant lot to ruin your cast? This is the story of the 2017 Cottonwood Camp carp team.
If you are not an avid fly fisherman, Fort Smith Montana probably isn’t the place for you. This is certainly not the case for both Ian Peppel and Tyler Thompson, Cottonwood Camp staff. Not only are both respected fly fishermen, but guides as well. If they are not guiding or working the fly shop, the crew is out fishing. I believe it’s safe to say these are two fishy guys.
If you haven’t heard, The Bighorn River Alliance hosts an annual carp tournament on Yellowtail Reservoir. It is a great success season after season, drawing crowds and fishermen to the Valley. The goal of this tournament is getting your name on the prestigious “Big Lips” trophy along with the rest of the local legends.
To make a long story a little less long, Ian and Tyler enter the carp tournament to represent Cottonwood Camp . Despite countless botched STRIP sets and a brief moment in which Tyler decided to go for a swim (fell out of the boat), the guys have a great day and wind up tying for the win with Adipose Boatworks. They tied on number of fish landed, which lead to the winner being decided by whoever had the biggest fish. This also lead to a tie. This could only be settled by a cast off, where a crowd supporting the tournament and Bighorn River Alliance has gathered to take in the action. After exchanging blows with the Adipose crew, it came down to one final round. As the pressure mounted, the CWC team buckled and ultimately lost to Mike and Justin from Adipose Boatworks.
We don’t want to undersell exactly how many opportunities the Cottonwood team had to put this thing away. Between the countless trout-sets and missed fished, along with a couple of wildly wide-right casts in the cast off, the crew had every opportunity to bring hardware back to CWC. It was a classic case of self-sabotage.
Leading up to the 2018 tournament, we will chronicle how the Cottonwood team is preparing and trying to learn from the self-inflicted wounds of 2017. Whether it’s a rise back to the top or a complete dumpster fire, time will tell. We will be here every step of the way to share the rise or fall in 2018.