Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beating the Doldrums

We are into the dog days of summer and carp fishing is now very slow in the daytime. If you want to continue catching fish you'll have to adjust your times and places you fish.

If you are fishing ponds and lakes right now, work the shady areas under trees in the daylight. Early morning and evening will offer the best fishing in these spots. Rainy days can also be good. I often fish at night at this time of year when the carp are most active. That period from sunset to a couple of hours after dark is usually good. Bring along a good headlight and lots of mosquito repellent.

Be aware that big river fishing can be good in the daylight as carp remain active in the moving water. I've had very good daytime fishing in the last week in some of my big river spots in MA. Overall, we are in a slow period and you will catch nowhere near the numbers of fish at this time of year as you would in late spring or fall.

Sinker Sense

Most beginners I speak to have lots of questions regarding sinkers or leads as the Euro carpers call them. "What is the best size to use, what's the best type, etc.?"

Think about the purpose of your sinker. It is basically to get your bait out a certain distance and to hold that bait on the bottom. Additionally, it can be used in a third way as an aide to actually hooking a carp. Most fishermen who fish lakes and ponds use sliding egg sinkers in a half to one ounce range as their leads. I like to use the steel egg sinkers sold by Cabelas. These have an insert in the center which greatly reduces line wear that lead egg sinkers are known for. River currents dictate the use of heavier sinkers making weights up to three and four ounces standard in most big river flows. Fishermen who use heavier sinkers tend to use "semi-fixed" leads where the line does not move through freely the sinker. This is achieved through pulling the swivel that is on your hooklink into the plastic sleeve of these sinkers. I like Wacker Baits inline flat pear sinkers in a 3 oz. size with a #8 swivel on my hooklink.

There are a small group of sharpies now using heavy three ounce in-line leads to fish ponds and lakes. The theory here is that when a fish grabs their bait and runs, the sinker pulls the hook into its lip. Also, these heavy sinkers allow for a long cast, a real plus in some spots.

Remember, too, when choosing your sinker that the rod must be capable of casting that weight. Most "small" rods of 6-8 ft. are not able to handle the weight of 3 oz. sinkers packed with method mix. However, big Euro rods (2.50-3.00 test curves) of 12 ft. can easily handle the job.

500th Carp of the Year!

Before the season started, my goal was to catch 500 carp as well as get a new PB. I got the new PB back in May with a 36 lb. mirror. Yesterday I reached the 500 carp mark for the year as I netted a 17 lb. common in one of my favorite summer spots to fish. Interestingly, most of my fish this year have been mirrors with 4 out of every 5 carp a mirror!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Getting That First One

Many fishermen would like to try carp fishing, but they lack the Euro style equipment like baitrunner reels, long rods, hair rigs, bite alarms, etc. So, can it be done with that bass fishing outfit along with some hooks and sinkers? Absolutely, but you will have to modify your approach a bit. I watched the girl in the picture at the right catch her first carp on regular bass fishing gear.

If your spinning reels that were used for bass hold a good amount of 10 or 12 lb. test mono you are on your way. Your terminal rig should consist of an egg sinker held in place with a swivel. Onto the swivel attach an end leader that should be 6-8 inches long with a small, #6 hook tied onto the end. For baits, I suggest several kernels of sweet corn from the can threaded onto the hook or white bread dough that will make a small ball that you'll pack around the hook.

Cast out your bait and rest your rod on a "Y" stick. The key here is to either open your bail (see photo at left) and watch the line for movement or loosen your drag to its lowest setting with the bait closed. Both these actions are to prevent the rod from being pulled in on the screaming, initial run. If your drag is in the loose setting and a run occurs, give the rod a pull while holding the spool in place with your thumb. Once the fish is on, gradually tighten the drag.

The techniques used above are far from ideal, but that is the way most fishermen have come to tangle with their first carp. Once you get hooked, consider buying the Euro equipment that will be needed to consistently and effectively catch carp of all sizes.