Saturday, July 30, 2011

Keeping Bait Choices Simple

Anyone new to carp fishing is faced with far too many bait choices. I've seen fishermen show up with upwards of dozens of types of baits and scents loaded into a suitcase. It's far too much for fishermen that can only put out two rods. My suggestion is to keep the summer bait choices simple.

Three types of bait work well in the summertime:

1. Doughballs- These are actually breadballs made from the white part of a slice of bread. You can either pack this on a hook and freeline or roll some marble sized balls, let them harden in the sun and use them on the hair rig. This bait works real well where do gooders feed bread to ducks.

2. Maize or Sweet Corn- Corn always works, especially in places where you can prebait or chum ahead of time. I especially like sweet corn on the hair rig, though it can really attract turtles. In that situation, you may have to use maize. If you are into flavoring, try pineapple or another fruit flavor. However, remember that unflavored bait is often more effective than using the wrong flavor.

3. Small boilies- I have written before about the effectiveness of 10 mm pop up boilies. You can add a kernel of sweet corn to this offering or use the boilie alone. I especially like Scopex or pineapple flavor from World Classic Baits.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Carp vs. Turtles....Race to the Bait

We are in the hottest time of the year, and that means that turtles are real active. In the last two weeks of fishing it has been a race as to which species, carp or turtle, can get to the bait first. In that period of time I have landed about 12 carp and exactly 7 snapping turtles. And, I'm not even counting the numerous times that sun turtles have chewed the bait, cut the hair and even eaten the hair stop. Here's a few tips on dealing with turtles.
1. Limit the prebaiting. Turtles will come to baited areas like bees to honey.
2. Move after the first turtle. You'd be surprised...moving to a new spot just 20 yards away may get you away from the turtles.
3. Forget method mix. Method is just a pile of bait that will greatly attract turtles.
4. Some places have big populations of turtles, some places don't. Stay away from "turtle spots" on hot days when they are most active.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Small but Active and Feisty

A small carp here in RI is about 5 lbs., give or take a couple of pounds. In the dead of summer when everything slows down, the bigger carp are hard to find and hard to catch. However, the small ones remain active and plentiful in spots. I have been out in the last two mornings and have found good numbers of smaller ones that are actively feeding and hitting freelined doughballs. I see fish breaking here and there, and they seem to hit well up until noontime. These small ones are real feisty once hooked. They will cartwheel around, rip drag and continue the fight until they are in the net. I'm guessing they could win a tug-of-war against a fat and lazy 20 lber.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hot Fishing with Mulberries

In the last two days I have abandoned sweet corn and boilies on the hair rig in favor of freelined mulberries. The mulberries are dropping big time right now throughout New England. If you know of a tree along a shoreline or riverbank, the carp should be below the tree big time scooping up every berry they can find. They are like ravenous eaters at a Chinese buffet on half price Wednesdays.

If you plan on fishing with mulberries, you need to find a tree along the water's edge. This does not work if you pick berries miles from the pond and transport them there to fish. The fish must be conditioned to eat them. Freelining is the best way to fish these. I use a #8 Tiemco hook that is tied directly to the end of my line (see photo). The berry is impaled and cast. If you want the berry to sink just squeeze it a bit. The fish will usually hit as soon as the berry hits the water. These mulberries are so good that in the last two mornings I have landed 10 large mirrors (see photo of one of them) while freelining mulberries in some of my secret spots.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Best Sweet Corn

I had been pushing Green Giant Super Sweet Corn as the best stuff to use when using sweet corn for carp. Now, I have found something even better. Great Value Sweet Corn, the brand sold by Walmart, is better and cheaper. The kernels are larger and they seem to be more durable. There was a thread about this on the CAG Forum and it appears that many carp fishermen around the country who use sweet corn for bait prefer this brand. My friend and fellow RI CAGer, Jeff, uses this stuff and soaks it in alum overnight before flavoring it, and he claims it hardens the skin on the corn. Might be worth trying.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Slowdown Arrives

The postspawn feed is over and the summer slowdown has begun just like it always does around July 1. The fish are still around, but you will have to adjust your times to maximize your fishing opportunities. With warming temperatures and water, the fish have become less active in the warmest times of the day. So, if you are looking for the best action, fish the best times. Those times are early morning, evening and nighttime. Cool, rainy days can also be productive. I am getting reports from all the RI CAG guys from around the state and just about all report slowing action compared to a few weeks ago. I have been catching fewer fish and smaller fish in the last week and have seen less activity all around RI. What can I say, summer is here.