Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: Year of the Mirror Carp

I hit a number of milestones in 2012 in my carp fishing exploits.  They all all center around mirror carp.  I got my first 40 lber. in the spring, a beast of a fish that was the largest mirror caught in in the CAG national Big 4 contest and one of the biggest mirrors landed in the US this year.  That fish weighed 40 lbs., 8 oz. and was a recapture of a fish I had caught four years ago in MA waters when it weighed over 36 lbs. I also landed the first and only 30 lb. mirror carp ever officially recorded in RI.  That beast tipped the scales at 31 lbs., 8 oz. It is the currect CAG state record for mirror carp.  In addition, the numbers were there for me.  It is the only year in which I have been able to land well over 500 mirror carp. Compare that figure with only about 200 common carp that I landed in 2012.
For those who don't know what a mirror carp is, let me explain.  When most people think of carp, they think of common carp, those fish that have small scales in a predictable pattern and look like a large goldfish. Most of these commons look the same.  Mirror carp are really the same fish biologically (Cyprinus Carpio), however they are different both genetically and visually.  The name originates from their large shiny scales on smooth bodies that have some resemblance to a mirror although some mirrors are fully scaled with random scaling.  Many mirrors have irregular and patchy scaling making them unique in their looks and easy to identify leading many fishermen, especially in the UK, to give large specimens nicknames.  I know of some fishermen in New England who take side photos of their mirror carp and keep these pictures in photo books hoping to use these photos to identify recaptures.
Here in RI we have a unique mirror carp fishery and quite possibly the very best mirror fishery in the entire USA.  Way back at the turn of the century the Blackstone River system that runs from Worcester, MA to Pawtucket, RI was stocked heavily with mirror carp.  To this day they have thrived and populated the Blackstone as well as any body of water that runs off it.  They have also turned up in just about every pond and lake that has carp in RI, though they are rare in many places other than the Blackstone River system.
I've caught some big ones this year and big numbers of mirrors mainly because I target them.  In my mind they are the most unique fish in RI's freshwater, and that's why I pursue them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Icing Means End of Pond Fishing

I got out on my bike this morning checking out a few places in northern RI.  There was ice all over, especially in the small ponds. This means the end of pond fishing for carp. Hey, it's late December and you just knew it was coming.  With the weather forecast calling for cold weather for the next week as well as snow, it appears the ice will stay, at least for a little while. While icing has knocked out the ponds, carp fishing is still available in moving water in the rivers of southern New England.  You'll have to do a lot of looking to find the spots where they are holding, but they will hit if you can find them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Still Biting

Yes, I am still catching! I got out this afternoon in this 50 degree weather for a couple of hours and landed 4 carp.  They were three mirrors and one common.  I've said many times that the winter weather greatly affects carp fishing.  A warm-up comes along and they hit; a downturn in temperature follows and they develop lockjaw.  Just a week ago skim ice was forming on many of the ponds around the northern part of the state.  That shut down the carp fishing for several days.  However, in the last few days we have seen a rise in temperature with some rainy weather and warm nights above freezing.  That has lit up the carp fishing once again.
In addition to the weather, you need to find the places where the carp 'bunch up" in the wintertime.  That takes a great deal of time, effort and blanking to find those places.  I will tell you that those productive winter spots are easier to find in small bodies of water.  Once found, sweet corn is the ticket as far as bait.  Chum a bit and put a couple of kernels on the hair rig and you are ready for winter action.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fly Fishermen....Free Carp Magazine Will Astonish You

If you are a fly fisherman, any type of fly fisherman, you have to check out the latest issue of US CARP PRO magazine, a free online publication at The entire magazine is devoted to fly fishing and it will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about fly fishing for carp from techniques to equipment to flies. 
Here's a shocker for all you Trout Unlimited types out there who think that trout are the only fish to pursue with the fly rod.  According to fly fishing industry experts, "Carp are the fastest growing segment in the (fly fishing) industry. "
Here's another shocking quote from Tom Rosenbauer, director of marketing for Orvis.  "Most of us (at Orvis) prefer carp fishing over trout fishing." WOW!
The whole country is jumping on the carp fishing bandwagon, whether it's bait fishing or fly fishing.  Unfortunately, it isn't happening that way in RI though we have had a slow but steady growth here.  Of course, when you have a DEM that labels carp as an invasive species and you have officials from the DEM saying they'd like to kill every one of them, you get a pretty good idea of the attitudes around here.  And, this comes from a state where we have arguably the best mirror carp fishing in the ENTIRE country.
I was fishing a section of the Blackstone River last week.  As I was walking to my spot, I passed two fly fishermen who were trying for trout.  I'm guessing the best they could hope for would be maybe a 12-14 inch trout.  But, they hadn't caught anything that day.  I walked about half a mile up the river and fished there for carp.  My score for the day was nine carp up to 10 lbs., and these would be considered small for RI.  Get these fly rod guys to catch a ten pound carp and they would be hooked for life. No one is fly fishing for them here in RI.  It is virgin territory waiting to be explored.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On a December Roll

Credit this beautiful weather with lighting up the December carp fishing here in RI. In the last week I have experienced some of the best December fishing that I have ever seen.  Yesterday I was out in the warm, rainy weather and landed 9 nice fish (combination of mirrors and commons) that went up to 13 lbs.  Today I blanked in the morning but landed four mirrors in the afternoon (see photos of today's fish).  All the fish have been taken on Stop and Shop Value corn fished on the hair rig. I'm still having my best luck without method.  How long this December roll will last is anyone's guess.  However, as long as the ponds and rivers remain ice free I will continue fishing.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sweet Corn/No Method Way to Go in Winter

I had yet another real good day of carp fishing today.  The weather was on my side with warm temperatures last night and above average warmth today.  It was the ticket to getting the carp in a feeding mood.  It worked as I landed 6 carp in just a few hours.  I had three mirrors and three commons that ranged from 5-13 lbs. (see pic of one of them at right).
A bait pattern is emerging from my last two good outings that yielded a total of 11 fish.  Nearly all the fish were taken on sweet corn on the hair rig with no method.  As many of you know, I am a big fan of using method mix, and I use it just about all the time during spring, summer and fall.  But, once winter comes along that big offering of bait does not seem to turn them on.  In the last two outings, I tried to bait up one outfit with just sweet corn on the hair rig.  The other outfit had the sweet corn plus the oatmeal based method packed around the sinker.  Of those 11 fish I caught, 9 of them went for the offering with no method.  I have seen this same thing happen in past winters where the method seems to be a turn off.  Maybe the carp are just looking for a smaller offering as their feeding activity decreases greatly in the cold water.
One more note here....the inexpensive Stop and Shop Value sweet corn continues to score just as well as the expensive pineapple flavored Pescaviva.  Because of that, I will probably be fishing the rest of the winter with the Value sweet corn.  Maybe the Pescaviva  makes a difference in the spring, but right now it doesn't seem to matter which sweet corn you are using.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

700th Carp for 2012

When I logged in my fish last night in my logbook I realized I had landed my 700th carp of 2012. It was a good looking 13 lb. common.  That fish was landed on Dec. 5.  Last year I landed my 700th carp of the year on Dec.7 so the years seem to be running very similar.  Last year was my best year ever in terms of numbers as I ended the year with exactly 738 carp according to my logs.  With a little luck and a hot streak, I might just reach that number again this year.  However, for that to happen, the weather will have to remain warm and the ponds ice free.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hot Fishing Today

In the previous post I said that a big opportunity to catch December carp was coming here in RI.  Well, it got here today.  After three frustrating days of getting blanked at various spots, I hit it big today as I landed 5 decent size carp from 10-15 lbs. in a place I hadn't fished in a long time. Today's fish were a combination of commons and mirrors.  Of course, the key to my success was the warm weather of the last few days and more importantly the fact that the temperature only dropped to 50 degrees last night.  That spurt of warm weather got the carp in high gear and feeding on this December day.  They were active as each fish went on a screaming run on the take, grabbing my sweet corn offering as if it were the only meal they've seen in weeks.  They were also good fighters, ripping out drag as if these fish were being caught on a warm May day. So,  this roller coaster weather  is supposed to be cold tomorrow which will certainly cool off the fishing, but after that it looks like another window of opportunity will occur early next week as we are heading for temperatures in the 50's once again. If you want to catch carp in the winter, jump on those windows of opportunity when the weather warms. It really worked for me today!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Opportunity Coming Next Week

I can look at the weather report and tell you that opportunity will come knocking next week.  After today's snow and cold weather departs, the warm-up will begin tomorrow.  We are looking at a string of four days of temperatures over 50 degrees.  More importantly, nighttime lows are supposed to remain way above freezing.  Carp will use these warm-ups as an opportunity to feed in the wintertime.  I've seen this all play out many times in past years.  It can be cold with no activity and a big warm-up suddenly gets the fish in gear and feeding as if it were a spring day.  So, next week could possibly be your last good shot to catch a carp in 2012 here in RI.  Get out fishing if you can.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Carp Fishing Comes to a Grinding Halt

I've been out in the cold in the last four days trying for late season carp in many different locations.  I have not had a beep on the alarms, haven't seen any signs of fish, and have not seen another person out fishing.  Carp fishing  has come to a grinding halt here in RI.  So, what gives?  You may remember that last winter I was having decent luck, catching fish in areas that were partially iced over in January and February. Certainly the water was colder back then than it is now.
Here's the key. I believe it all has to do with whether water temperatures are rising or falling.  In recent days, the air  temperatures have been falling like a lead balloon.  That has led to rapidly falling water temperatures, a turn off to carp feeding and activity. The sudden cold is like a shock to their system.  Last winter, I had my best luck  on warm, sunny days.  Even though ice covered parts of the waters I was fishing, the shallow open areas heated up.  So, water temperatures were on the rise, causing the carp to become active enough to feed. I just hope we have a few more of those warm sunny days in the next few weeks or it will be an early end to the season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tie Game in Sweet Corn Shootout

In the last couple of days I did an experiment to see which kind of sweet corn was more effective at catching carp.  On one outfit, I went with the very inexpensive Stop and Shop Value sweet corn.  You can get a big can of this stuff for $1.29.  On the other outfit, I went with my favorite, pineapple flavored Pescaviva. You can get this from Wacker Baits at about $5.00 for a small can.  Clearly the Pescaviva is far more expensive. Both kinds of corn were hair rigged with two kernels on the hair. I used the same sinker, same hooklinks, same line.
Well, here are the results.  I landed 10 carp.  Five of the fish were caught on Value Sweet Corn and five fell for the Pescaviva.  Hmm, I'm quite surprised since I always have favored the Pescaviva in the past.  Remember, though, this is a small sampling and it is what happened on a couple of outings  in November.  I know carp can change their preferences in bait almost daily, and at different times of the year, they will prefer different baits or flavors of baits.  However, it was an eye opener for me that the inexpensive corn fared so well.  I plan to continue testing out both in the coming cold months.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This Time of Year.....A Bonus in Many Ways

I actually enjoy fishing in late fall and winter.  Yes, it's cold, but there are so many bonuses to going fishing at this time.  For one, the crowds are gone and you pretty much own the spots.  There are no more boats, canoes and kayaks to contend with.  The pests like turltes, bluegills  and horned pout are all dormant.  When the rod bounces you know it's a carp.  And, it's peaceful and serene sitting outside on the bank tending your rods on a late fall day.
And, let's not forget that the fish are a real bonus too.  They usually don't hit as well in the cold as they do in the warmer months, but they still DO hit.  I got out today late in the afternoon for a couple of hours.  It was cold, but a real nice day.  I landed 5 beautiful mirrors (see pic)  up to ten pounds, very good numbers for this time.  They were all caught on pineapple flavored Pescaviva with no method ball.  I was fishing my winter tactics as described a couple of posts back. From now until the ice comes, I will continue fishing just about every day. In my mind, all the fish I can catch will certainly be a bonus to a year that has been very good for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beer Barrels

I had the right conditions today for a late fall day of carp fishing.  It's been warm for three days in a row, and it was rainy with temperatures dropping today.  That is the perfect set up for a big day in late fall. I was fishing winter tactics as described in my previous post.  My bait was pineapple flavored Pescaviva with a small method ball ahead of it.  I landed what could only be described as carp that looked like beer barrels. I got three of them.  These fish were so fat they could barely swim, and quite honestly, they were sluggish on the fight..  And, they had size to them as the three were in the 15-20 lb. range (see pic of 20 lber.) but measured  less than thirty inches. Yes, they are feeding up big time for winter.  Now, if I could only get one of these beer barrels that measures about 40 inches, I would have a monster of a fish.  Can you say 40 lbs.? Yikes, I do think it's out there in RI. Gotta think BIG!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Time for Winter Tactics

I'm now using my winter tactics on most outings even though the temperature today was a beautiful 65 degrees.  The water is definitely cooling and the nights are much longer signaling a change in tactics.  It has been working since I am picking up a few fish here and there like the mirror I landed today (see photo).
Here are some ideas on a winter approach:
1.  Go small....small hooks (I am using a Tiemco 2457 #8), small bait ( I am using only two kernels of corn on the hair, see photo), small hooklinks and the smallest sinker you can use to get the bait out to where you want to cast.  Carp tend to get lethargic in the wintertime and smaller is often better.
2.  If you use a method ball, go smaller.  Sometimes I don't even use it and make out just as well.
3.  Two baits that are very effective in the late fall and winter are small doughballs and sweet corn.  No need to worry about pests since they are pretty much dormant right now.
4.  On cold days I like to fish the warmest part of the day, say noon to three.  However, realize that carp will still hit on warm nights (check out Kevin Wasliewski's Dark Carping blog at ).
5.  I like to continue to prebait, but not at the same level as in the earlier months.
 6.  Focus on small spots like small ponds, canals and small rivers.  Carp tend to bunch up in the winter and small places are far easier to find them and far more manageable than big spots.
7.  Keep fishing until the ice comes.  It remains productive, but realize you will not catch the same numbers you were getting in the warmer months.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Carp Fishing Cools with the Weather

As I write this it is snowing outside and the temperature is in the thirties.  The last few days have only been in the low forties with nighttime temperatures dipping down in the twenties.  This sudden drop in temperatures and cold spell have really affected the carp fishing as it has slowed to a crawl.  I've gotten only 1 fish in the last two outings with no other hits.  There has also been no activity with no fish jumping and no bubble trails.  Rest assured, though, the season is far from over.  The weather forecast calls for temperatures to rebound next week into the fifties and sixties by day.  That should perk up the fishing.  At this time of year, a warm spell following cold weather usually lights up the fishing.  Hopefully, it will happen that way next week and I can get back on track.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November....Last Real Good Month

The season is winding down with about a month and a half of good carp fishing left here in RI.  November traditionally offers the last real good full month of carp fishing here in RI.  December is always a crap shoot.  Sometimes the snow and ice arrive early, shutting down carp fishing in most spots.  Sometimes the fishing lasts almost until Christmas like last year. Wintertime fishing can be somewhat productive, but the carp are bunched up and their metabolism slows at that time, making fishing difficult.
With so many saltwater fishermen staying home and idle due to Hurricane Sandy, why not head for freshwater and try carp fishing.  They are still hitting real well and they are in just about every body of water in RI.  I got out today and tried this morning for a couple of hours.  I was rewarded with a near 20 lb. common carp that fell for pineapple Pescaviva (sweet corn) fished on a hair rig ahead of an oatmeal method ball.  In the last week I have landed a good number of fish in the 15-21 lb. range, real decent for here in RI.  So, our good carp fishing continues and offers one of the best alternatives right now for catching large fish here in this state.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Catching During Hurricane Sandy

Yes, I was out fishing today.  As most of you know, I have made a career out of fishing in nasty weather in both saltwater and freshwater.  So, when I knew we were in for a real bad day with hurricane winds and driving rain, I just had to get out carp fishing.  The three largest carp I have ever caught (36 lbs., 36 lbs. 8 oz and 40 lbs. 8 oz) were all taken on stormy and nasty days.  I will tell you that carp just love this weather and usually go on a feeding binge during these events.
Today I was in a very safe spot to fish as safety is always a concern on these types of days.  In fact, the wind was at my back and I had a great view of the storm while watching my rods.  The rain was coming down horizontally in sheets and the wind was blowing the trees in the distance sideways as branches were coming down.
And, yes, the carp were hitting as I expected they would. The first fish I landed was a 12 lb. common.  Next, was a 20 lb. common (see pic at top right).  Next fish was the surprise of the fall for me.  It was a large mirror koi (see pic) that was a bright red with black spots all over it.  It was gorgeous, and this fish is only the second koi I have ever landed!  Finally, the day ended with a 21 lb. common (see pic at lower right).  All the fish fell for pineapple flavored Pescaviva fished on a hair rigged hook and fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.
Once again, I had yet another memorable day in some nasty weather.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mid Day Fishing Productive

It happens every year about this time.  As the nights get colder, the fish become far more active in the warmer daytime hours.  I noticed a real uptick in activity in the daytime this week with mid day producing the best.  In the last three days I have landed 10 carp up into the twenties with the best action occuring from 11 AM until 1 PM.  That is the warmest part of the day.  In addition, I tried one evening right before dark, a good time to fish in the warmer months, and I blanked.  This is not to say that the fish will not hit late in the day or even after dark.  Last November, I fished some of the warm nights after dark and caught fish, so it can happen especially if the night is warm.  However, we are moving into a colder time period from now until winter in which daytime will be the best time to catch carp because it is the warmest time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pescaviva Catching Once Again

I've landed quite a few fish in the last two days with several fish running over 15 lbs.  The biggest was a 24 lb. common (see pic), a large fish by RI standards, that I landed this morning.  These larger fish as well as several more smaller ones have all been caught on the same bait....pineapple flavored Pescaviva sweet corn. Back in the spring I was using this on a regular basis to score some big catches. This is a prepared bait sold in cans by Wacker Baits ( ).  Pescaviva is a firm sweet corn that holds real well on the hair.  It has a subtle sweet corn flavor that lures carp in early spring, late fall and winter.  The problem with this bait in the warm months is that pests such as turtles, bluegills and horned pout will pick it apart.  Since those cold nights of last week, most of the pests have disappeared.  So, I'm back to using and catching with Pescaviva.  Note that I use this bait on a hair rigged hook with two or three kernels threaded onto the hair.  It is fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.  Very effective stuff and my go to bait at this time of year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It took a couple of real cold nights to get the carp feeding again.  For the fish, I'm sure it's a reminder that winter is right around the corner.  Things have improved greatly in the last few days after that cold night we had on Saturday.  I landed 8 fish in the last three days (see pic of chunky mirror  I caught today).  Prior to that I had been on a blanking spree.  Now, 8 fish is not exactly killing them, but I am also seeing activity. I'm seeing fish moving around in the shallows, bubble trails and fish jumping here and there. And, they are back to hitting.
Last year I noticed a similar pattern.  Whenever we would get a real cold spell followed by warming weather, they would start hitting once the warm days hit.  Makes sense.....they slow down in the cold and perk up again when it warms up.  With warming weather on tap for the next couple of days and a warm and rainy day predicted for Friday, things are looking up. I know what I will be doing for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Check Out This New RI Carp Fishing Blog

There is a new blog in town called Dark Carping.  It is a diary type of blog written by Kev Wasliewski, one of the premier carp anglers in RI and  a member of the the RI Carp Anglers Group.  Kevin is a big proponent of nighttime fishing for carp, and his numbers and sizes of fish that he catches proves just how effective nighttime fishing can be for carp here in RI.  I've fished with Kevin quite a bit and I can tell you that he is an innovator and a student of the game, and he has a lot to offer to both beginner and experienced carp anglers.  I seem to learn something new every time I fish with him!  Check out his blog at if you want to get into the mind of the truly obsessed (his words, not mine!).  Good stuff.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sweet Corn Delivers

The drought is over for me.  I had blanked five times in a row before today.  Well, today I went out and landed 4 mirror carp (see pic of one of them at right) in a few hours of fishing this morning.  Whether it was the weather (ideal...warm and cloudy after a cold spell) or whether it was the bait, the carp were in a hitting mood.  I am back to using sweet corn.  The pests that were taking the sweet corn off a month ago are now few and far between.  The turtles appear to be gone and bait stealing pests like bluegills and horned pout seem to have disappeared after these cold nights.  So, sweet corn is now back to being my prime bait.  I was using Pescaviva (pineapple flavor) today that I buy from Wacker Baits.  If you don't have this stuff, I think the Value sweet corn from Stop and Shop is also a very good bet and easy to get (see post,  From now till the time the ice arrives, sweet corn should be one of your best baits to lure late fall carp into hitting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October a BUST So Far

I haven't been posting much this month because I haven't been catching much.  For the most part, the alarms have been silent in the beginning of October.  I've been out at least 7 or 8 times this month and have a grand total of 5 carp (although one fish was a large 22 lb. common).  Other RI CAG members have been reporting the same poor fishing.  This is not unusual for fall carp fishing here in RI.  I attribute this to the changeable weather patterns. Plus, it has not gotten really cold yet.  I suspect when nights start to dip into the thirties, the carp will suddenly get into a panic about feeding up for winter. I also suspect the rest of the fall will be streaky with good spurts of fishing here and there but for the most part, inconsistent.
I was spoiled last fall as I found some fantastic fishing that lasted throughout the fall.  Last year I was able to catch about 100 carp a month in September, October and November for a total of 300 fish.  Those are phenomenal numbers.  However, when I looked back over my logs of past years, I find that I averaged about 100 fish in total during those three fall months. That's the reality.  It's just not that good in the fall.  However, I also know that fall is a great time to land the fish of a lifetime, and that keeps me trying.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Fishing.....So Inconsistent

If you asked me which season was the toughest to fish as far as consistency, I would have to tell you  it's the fall.  At the end of September I was on a hot streak for big fish as I landed quite a few big mirrors over 20 lbs.  I was getting 2 or 3 fish every outing.  In the last week, things have gone downhill.  In the last three outings, I fished some high percentage spots,  but only came away with one small mirror.  Welcome to fall fishing.
Carp fishing in the fall runs similar to the weather.  It's changing all the time, hot one day, cold the next.  It's hard to get in a groove when fishing is so inconsistent.  To combat this, I try to stay on the move, looking at different places, hoping to find some spot that's hot.  When I do, it is usually a streak of good fishing for three or four days. And, I usually try different bait and scents, but once again. the carp will go on and off baits. Still other fishermen swear that this is a great time to fish at night.  One of our CAG guys has  landed quite a few hefty fish to 27 lbs. while fishing late at night in the last couple of weeks.
While this is not a good time of the year to bank a lot of fish, it is a great time of the year to catch a real big one.  Carp are fattening up for winter and if you can find them in a feeding mood, you have a shot at your biggest fish of the year.  It was last year in November that I landed that 36 lb. common, the biggest freshwater fish ever taken in RI.  I am looking for a forty this fall.  Hey, I've learned you have to think big in this sport!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big Mirrors on the Feed

This has been a real good week for me with big mirrors.  As many of you know, the Blackstone River is one of the premier places in the entire US to catch mirror carp.  Many fishermen around the country marvel at what we've got here in RI.  I have been fishing exclusively in the Blackstone in the last week and making some big scores. 
Here in RI, a big mirror is about 20 lbs.  A huge one would be 25 lbs.  There has only been one documented  thirty pounder ever landed and I got her this past spring (31 lbs., 8 oz.).  I've landed 15 good size mirror carp in the last five outings.  All of these fish have been over 10 lbs.  However, of that bunch four of them were over 20 lbs. as I had fish of 20, 22, 23 and 25 lbs. (see pic of 23 lber. landed yesterday).
The big fish, commons as well as mirrors, are on the feed right now as they fatten up for winter.  It is prime time to catch a trophy.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Big Carp Being Caught by RI CAG Members

It's big fish time here in RI.  With the cool nights dropping water temperatures, large carp are on the feed packing up in anticipation of winter.  It happens every year in mid to late September as our RI CAG members start reporting big catches.  In the last three days, I have gotten news about some outstanding catches. RI CAG member Nick landed a hefty common of 24 lbs. in one venue while fishing in the daytime.  On the same day, CAG member Kev landed another 24 lb . common from a different venue while fishing at night.  Finally, a day later, I got out and landed a 20 and 25 lb. mirror from yet another venue.  Today I followed that up with a 22 lb. mirror.  A 20 lb. carp from RI waters is  considered a "big" carp.  So, these reports of mid 20 lb. fish would be considered outstanding catches. The big fish should continue hitting for the next month, maybe two months as October and November are prime times to score a big fish, maybe even a record.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pop-Up Boilies.....What Color?

I have been on a pop-up kick these days and catching fair to good numbers of fish while using it.  This morning I went out and landed several decent size mirrors in the 10-13 lb. range (see photo of carp landed this morning).   I was using a small, pop-up boilie along with a kernel of flavored maize on the hair.  The pop-ups I was using were Mistral 6 mm boilies that my friend Paul brought me back from France.  They come in a container that has a load of them in all different colors (see photo).  So, which color is best to use?  I would have guessed white or yellow. However, truth is that all the colors seem to work with equal effectiveness....the greens, reds, purples, etc.  I would have never guessed it.  I suspect that it is more the action since a pop-up gives the bait a buoyant quality rather than the color that is the turn on here.  And, remember, too, there is a kernel of maize along with the colored pop-up so maybe that is what the carp are keying on.  For whatever the reason, this is hot right now and color doesn't matter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nasty Weather Lights up Fishing....Again

It is no secret that I love to fish for carp in nasty weather.  Some of my record fish were taken on some of the lousiest days imaginable.  In addition, I have concluded from past logs that September is an especially good time to fish nasty weather. So, today's weather offered the perfect opportunity to get out and fish and break a bad streak I was on.  It worked.
I landed several decent commons (see photo at left)  and a white cat  in a short period of time in some very windy and showery conditions.  Today's hot bait was a combination of flavored maize and pineapple Pescaviva sweet corn.  I put one kernel of each on the hair. Check out the bait in the fish's lip at top right. It was fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball. This is a bait set up I have been using in the last two weeks and has proven very successful. 
There are two prime times to fish in the month of September if you can.  Nighttime is especially good for big fish, and rainy and stormy conditions will produce well in the daytime.  Sunny, warm days are usually the least effective conditions to fish.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Let the Fall Games Begin!

There are two major times of the year in which I catch a lot of huge carp.  Prespawn in the spring, that time from mid April to mid May, is one prime time. Earlier this year I landed the RI CAG Mirror record of 31 lbs. along with the CAG Big 4 Tournament "Biggest Mirror" of 40 lbs.  Both fish, along with a bunch of other 20-30 lb. carp, fell in that time period.
The other big fish time period goes from Sept. until the cold weather arrives.  Last year I landed two common carp of 33 and 36 lbs. in the fall  that would have set the official state record here in RI, but I chose to release them rather than kill those fish to have them officially weighed.  I also landed a load of other big fish last fall.
Well, that big fish in the fall event is starting.  It didn't take long...a few cool nights and some rainy weather and we are in business.  I've gotten a couple of good fish in the twenties this week as I have been fishing hard in nearby MA and RI.  Large carp feed heavily in the fall in anticipation of winter.  The next two months is prime time to catch a monster. The pic at the right is a very big mirror in the low twenties that I landed today on a kernel of flavored maize along with a pop-up boilie fished on a hair rig.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Power of Pop-Ups

I landed a couple of good fish up near 20 lbs. in the last two days.  The key to success was using a pop-up.  I've written before about pop-ups.  These are buoyant baits (sometimes plastic, sometimes boilies) that are hair rigged with regular baits such as corn.  The buoyant pop-up lifts the bait slightly or gives the offering a neutral buoyancy that carp seem to love.  You see, carp have a tendency to bang your bait with their head or swish it with their tail before taking.  When carp do this, neutral buoyant baits tend to lift up and settle down in a natural look that the carp find very appealing.  You may remember back in the spring when I landed those record size mirrors using a pop-up that I made from a white plastic worm
I'm getting more sophisticated.  My friend and fellow RI  CAGer Paul brought me back from France some very interesting 6 mm Mistral pop-up boilies.  I used one of these along with a kernel of maize (pineapple/whiskey flavored) to score my big fish of the last few days (see photo at right). Just corn on the hair got nothing. The one place in the US you can buy these small boilies is Big Carp Tackle ( ).  Note that most bait makers in the US sell 10 mm pop-ups which work well with big fish.  Another friend and fellow RI CAGer  Kev Wasliewski, known for his creative baiting techniques and catching unusually large numbers of big carp here in RI, swears by plastic pop-ups.  These are sold in every online store that deals in bait.  They are plastic imitators of maize, tiger nuts, and boilies.  They can be placed in flavoring to spice them up. They, too, can  be used with real bait (corn, chick peas, nuts, boilies, etc) the same way I am using my pop-up boilies.  If you want to use pop-ups, you almost have to be fishing with a hair rigged hook.  It just wouldn't work putting the pop-up directly on the hook.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bad Start Ends With a Wild Day

I set out this morning with two spots in mind.  According to my logs, both places had fished well in the past in the beginning of September and both places had a history of producing in the rain.  I met my friend and fellow CAGer Paul at the first spot.  We fished here in the rain for over an hour.  We didn't get a hit or even see a fish jump the whole time I was there.  So, it was on to Plan 2.
I went to one pond; Paul went to another.  When I got to spot 2 I knew right away I was in for some action.  Fish were rolling and jumping out of the water like missiles being launched.  I casted two rods out and set them on the alarms.  Just as I was about to sit down, both alarms  went off at the same time.  Yup, a double header to start the outing (see pic).  From there the fishing progressed at a fast rate as I landed 12 decent sized commons up to 10 lbs. and had another two fish on. I also had another double later in the day.  This was all happening in a backdrop of torrential rain and gusty winds. To give you an idea how hard it rained, while I was at the pond, the water level rose at least three inches in just a few hours.  I credit the wild weather for the hot action.  This is a pattern I have seen played out over and over again with carp fishing. They go nuts in bad weather.
Once again, the hot bait was a combo of one kernel of sweet corn along with one kernel of pineapple/whiskey flavored maize on the hair rig all fished ahead of a method ball.  But, I will tell you that I ran out of method and still caught fish with just the bait.
This is the start of the fall feed.  Carp fishing should continue to be good in the coming weeks and months as we enter one of the best times of the year to fish for them here in RI.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Active in the Rain

Today was a day that I was looking forward to for a long time.  It's been months since we had an all day rain with stormy weather, probably the best conditions to catch carp in the daytime at this time of year.  The fish did not disappoint me. They were active and lots were jumping even in the heavy downpours.   I got out this morning and landed 6 commons in a few hours of fishing.  I had another two fish on that I lost.  This has been my best day in weeks as the fishing had been poor.  My bait of choice today was a kernel of maize (experimental flavor, pineapple/whiskey, that I am testing for a bait company) along with a kernel of unflavored sweet corn on the hair.  I like that combo because the pests will sometimes take the sweet corn off the hair, but they have a hard time stealing the more durable maize.  So, you still have one bait to attract a hungry carp. Once the water cools and the pests disappear, I will go back to using just sweet corn.  This was all fished ahead of a method ball. I suspect we are in the start of fall fishing for carp, a real good, though sometimes inconsistent time of year.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Better Days Are Coming

I believe we have hit bottom as far as carp fishing goes here in RI.  This is the slowest time of the year to fish, and my lack of success while fishing in the daytime every year in late August seems to prove me right.  Daytime fishing, the time I go most often, is poor right now. It has been poor for the last two weeks.  The water is the warmest it will get, and the fish are lethargic.  Weed growth is at its maximum.  Many ponds are experiencing a green algae growth. The pests are many and they include turtles, horned pout, bluegills, and dace, and they are most active at this time playing havoc with my bait.
But, September is here and that means turning the corner with improving fishing.  I suspect there will be a dramatic uptick in carp fishing as the fish will begin to feel a need to feed as a sense of fall arrives with cooling days and colder nights leading to cooling water.  In the past, some real big carp have been taken by RI CAG members in mid to late September. The good fishing should extend into October and November.  Last year I landed three thirty pounders here in RI in the fall while fishing in the daytime. So, I am really looking forward to fall fishing again.  Hey, who knows, maybe a RI 40 lber. (YIKES!) might just make it to my net this fall.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

DISCOVERY in Unknown Venue

I've been on a kick on the last two weeks searching RI waters for unknown venues that could have carp.  These are places with NO previous catches and unknown venues to carp fishermen.  I fished a place this evening where no carp have ever been caught by carp fishermen to my knowledge.  I discovered this place though my son, Jon, who was bass fishing in this pond.  To his surprise, he foul hooked about an eight pound carp using a plastic worm several days ago.  That was enough to perk my interest.  I prebaited the spot in the morning and returned to fish in the evening,  Results were astounding for a new location.  Using banana flavored maize, I landed three large commons of 15, 20 and 21 lbs. (see photo).  I also lost another fish that seemed larger than any I landed.  While most "new" spots turn out to be duds, sometimes a new location can really produce.  In this case it did.  I feel this new found spot could hold a very large fish. I plan to find out.
Note that my two RI record fish, a 36 lb. common and a 31 lb. mirror, were taken from venues where very few, if any, carp were ever caught. No one had a clue that fish that large could exist in these spots.  There are more unknown gems out there in RI just waiting to be discovered. It just takes a little exploring and a lot of effort.  And, sometimes it pays off.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Check Out This E-Magazine

Check out this free online carp fishing magazine produced by Korda, one of the big tackle companies in Europe and the UK.  Here is the link:
The magazine is real slick and interactive with numerous photos and video clips to accompany the articles.  And, the fish will knock your socks off also.  Great to dream!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Small Ones Better than None

I have this dilemma every year in August.  I can't seem to find many big carp that are willing to hit in the daylight hours, but I know where there are good numbers of fish in the 5-10 lb. range (see pic of recent catch) that are more than willing to do battle.  These are small fish in the carp world, but fish in this size range can be terrific fighters.  So, rather than  blanking while trying for the big ones, I usually opt for the action of smaller fish.
I was out trying the last two evenings.  These were short sessions of a couple of hours an outing.  Last night I landed 6 carp and the night before I landed 4.  That's 10 carp in the last two outings, a total of 4 hours of fishing.  Not bad for August.  The hot bait has been sweet corn, although it keeps getting picked off by turtles and horned pout. If I could keep bait on the bottom, I had a good shot at catching a carp. So, I've learned to pull in my lines and check the bait every 20 minutes. All the fish in the last two outings were mirrors in the 5-8 lb. range.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August, a Tough Month

We are in the beginning of what I consider the toughest month of fishing for carp here in RI.  The water is warm, the pests are many and the carp are lethargic. You could make the case that all types of fishing in both saltwater and freshwater are difficult right now, but that still doesn't keep most of us from trying.  Here are a few August tips that just might get you a carp or two on just about any outing.
1.  Fish Low Light Hours-  Best times to fish in August are dusk, after dark, dawn and rainy, lousy days.
2.  Moving Water is Best-  I especially target river waters that move in August.  If you fish the Blackstone River, you want to get into slowly moving deep water.
3.  Experiment with Baits other than Corn-  Sweet corn that is so effective in cooler times of the year is often picked apart by pests such as sun turtles, horned pout and dace.  A better bet would be larger and more durable baits such as chick peas, hard doughballs and boilies.  Not much can be done when snapping turtles are around.
4.  Prebait-  Yes, you have to get them feeding and interested if you expect to catch them and prebaiting is always a key to success.
5.  Expect the Fishing to Improve-  The end of the month will fish far better than the beginning of the month as the nights get longer and cooler and the water cools.  Rainy days at the end of August can really light up the fishing.
So, good luck this month and realize that the fishing will be slower but good fish are still out there waiting to  be caught.

Friday, August 3, 2012

500th Carp of the Year Landed

Yesterday evening I landed my 500th carp for 2012.  It was a common carp in the 8-10 lb. range (didn't weigh).  The fish hit a doughball fished on a hair rig.  There have only been three years in which I have landed over 500 carp.  However, this is by far the earliest I have hit this mark.  Last year I had only 370 carp at this point, and I ended up with 750 fish on the year, making 2011 my best carp fishing year.  This year's high numbers are a reflection of the warm weather in the wintertime.  During the winter I was able to fish many times a week in open water and caught good numbers of carp in Jan., Feb. and March.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yes, They do Hit After Dark

The summertime is one of the best times of the year to catch carp after dark. Yes, they do hit after dark and they hit well.  Take a look at the mirror at right that I landed a couple of nights ago.  In the summer and early fall carp have a tendency to leave deep water daytime lairs and move closer to shore to roam around and feed under cover of darkness.  I can't tell you how many times I am sitting in a chair tending my rods after dark and when I go to get up I suddenly startle a large carp that is sitting in just inches of water right in front of me. Another plus (or minus as some see it) is that you have a shot at catching horned pout or large catfish (channels and whites) after dark.  They hit the same baits as carp do.
If you do try nighttime carp fishing, I would strongly advise that you try to pick an area that is safe and secure. And, bring along lights and lots of bug spray.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What is a Spomb?

A spomb is one of the latest devices for long distance prebaiting.  It actually looks like a small bomb that has fins and all.  This plastic device actually opens with a push of a button at the bottom.  Once open, the spomb can be packed with bait (any particle like corn, chick peas, etc. or even boilies).  The spomb is then closed with bait inside.  The spomb is then attached to the end of a line and the rod casts it outward.  When the spomb hits the water, the button on the bottom opens the spring loaded device and all the bait empties into the water.  The open spomb is then reeled in and ready to be filled and cast again. I will warn you that you need a heavy duty outfit to cast this device since the weight of the spomb along with the bait is at least 5-6 ounces.  But, with a heavy duty outfit, you will cast chum out much further than you can with traditional devices such as a baiting spoon or catapult (sling shot). Spombs are sold in most online carp stores.