Saturday, March 30, 2013

Anatomy of a Spring Spot

In the early spring certain spots or venues produce.  These all share about the same characteristics.  Here are a few things to look for in a good spring spot:
*Shallow water- I like to fish spots that are 2-6 feet deep.
*Places with a dark bottom-  These places heat up a lot faster on a sunny day and carp will seek that warmer water.
*Structure-  Places that have downed trees or rocks where carp can hide are also attractive.
*Places like shallow ponds, shallow coves in a deep pond, canals, sandbars in a river, or shallow coves off a main river channel are all good locations.
*Try to fish these spots in the late afternoon and/or evening when the water has warmed up.

I fished a place tonight that had all the characteristics described above.  I landed three nice mirror carp on hair rigged sweet corn. Prior to fishing I did prebait with boiled field corn about three hours before I fished.  Prebaiting is yet another important key in the early season.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

March Fishing...... a Dud

If you are a skier, this has been a great month; if you are a carp fisherman, it was a month to forget.  It has been one of the slowest Marches I have ever experienced.  I have gone out just about every day and I've fished multiple venues, and I have landed a grand total of 20 fish, and not one of them could be considered a bragging size.  Other RI CAG members and experienced carp fishermen are reporting similar slow fishing with the exception of one of our members who has landed some decent size fish over 20 lbs. Hmm, seems like he's discovered a March Honey Hole!
Blame it on this cold wintry weather that refuses to let up. Just north of the RI border where I also fish a lot for carp, many of the ponds are still locked in ice.  Snow on the ground north of Worcester makes it look like the North Pole up there.  Around here it is not that bad, but it is just cold enough at night to slow the fishing.  Realize last year I was catching lots of nice fish in 60 and 70 degree weather at this time.  A shot of warmer weather would really perk things up. Here's looking forward to April and warmer days.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

100,000 HITS!

To my readers,
Yikes, we hit a milestone on the blog today with 100,000 pageviews or hits.
The blog was started in May, 2008, as a local information site.  It was going to be a means to promote our small but active RI Carp Anglers Group (CAG)  club of local carp fishermen.  The blog has gone from a local RI website with local readers to a national and international audience. I get e-mails on the CAG website from carp fishermen all over the US who read the blog.  These are fishermen from New York, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, and Georgia to name a few states.  I have some interesting stats that come from my private homepage. Internationally, here are the top countries where the hits on the blog are coming from....#1 the US (no surprise), #2 the UK, #3 Russia, #4 Canada and #5 Germany. The blog has reached all over Europe, Asia and Africa with hits coming from other places like China, South Africa, the Ukraine and Latvia to name just a few countries.
And , the interest in carp fishing is soaring.  In the last month alone the blog recorded 4,112 pageviews.
Finally, my most popular post was back on Nov. 10, 2011.  The story was about the record carp that I caught here in RI (36 lbs.) which recorded 1,000 hits alone.
I hope everyone has enjoyed what I have written, and I hope I passed on some knowledge of this interesting fishery.
Thanks for your support and good luck carp fishing,

Friday, March 22, 2013

Slow in the Snow

The carp fishing is off, way off for this time of year.  Blame it on this cold March weather. Tuesday's weather brought 2-5 inches of snow to northern RI and it is still on the ground in most of the places I fish.  In addition, it brought very cold nights sending our springtime weather in reverse.  In fact, I went to fish on Wednesday morning, and the place I tried to fish was completely locked in ice.
The carp are still around, but they, too,have been slowed by the cold and are not feeding as they usually do at this time of year.  I have spent a lot of time in the last three days trying a number of places.  I landed five carp (see pic of one of them) in that time period, and I would not want to say how many hours I fished for those five fish.  So, not much we can do about it but get out and hope that the fish hit.  It will warm up eventually!

Monday, March 18, 2013


This has been a poor last few days of carp fishing for me with the cold weather really cooling off the fishing.  So, I wasn't expecting much last evening as I headed out for a couple of hours of fishing with temperatures hovering around freezing.  In fact, I didn't even take my net along since I didn't think I'd get any fish.  Well, I have to tell you that I was quite surprised at the results.  They were hitting!
In  the last hour I fished I landed 3 mirrors and 2 commons.  These fish were all taken on hair rigged sweet corn.  My best producing bait combo was a kernel of regular sweet corn along with a kernel of pineapple flavored Pescaviva fished off a hair rig with no method. In the past I have had good success in the early part of the season with that bait combo.
From experience I will tell you that you just never know how fishing will turn out at this time of year.  Yes, it's a crap shoot.  Sometimes they hit in the cold, and sometimes they don't.  Tonight they were.  The last three evenings they weren't.  So, I guess the message here is that you just have to get out and fish and hope for the best.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Questions About Line?

What line am I using?
For the most part I am using 15 lb. test monofilament  Berkley Big Game in a clear color.  It is strong and has good abrasion resistance since it is really made for saltwater. For my heavy duty outfits that I use to target big fish, I am using 20 lb. test Big Game.
What about braided line?
About half the sharpie carp fishermen use braid, half use mono. Personally,  I don't like braid for carp fishing.  Although it casts farther because of its thinness, it has little stretch and has a herky jerky feel on the fight.  Also, be careful since a violent hit can pull the outfit into the water because there is no stretch to the line. And, it also also quite expensive. It can also develop wind knots on the cast. However, braid users will point out that the 30 or even 50 lb. test braid that they use can pull a sinker or even a fish out of snags, and they have a lot more beef in the line to land that fish of a lifetime. They also like the distance they get when casting braid.
How often do I change lines?
I change my Big Game line at the start of every season.  I also might change it 2 or 3 times during the year depending on how much line I have lost or how worn the line has gotten.  I buy my line in large half pound or pound spools so I have a lot of it on hand.
How do I know what pound test line is ideal for my reel?
It is a balancing act.  You can't put 20 lb. test mono on a small spinning reel.  I'm using the 20 lb. test on a large 4500 Shimano Baitrunner.  My Shimano 3500's work well with the 15 lb. test line. Your spool should be marked with ideal line choices as well as the yardage it will take.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Springing to Life

It just took a couple of sunny days with temperatures in the forties and low fifties, and the carp fishing season is off and running.  I fished yesterday evening and this afternoon and landed a good number of mirror carp (see photos of a couple of fish from today).  I got them on hair rigged sweet corn (see previous post).  You just know spring is here when you see carp moving around the shallows, bluegills moving near shore  and bugs flying in the air.  The new season has finally arrived! 
Just a reminder about the fishing rules at this time of year.  Fishing is permitted in non-trout stocked waters.  Any places where trout are stocked are off limits.  Trout stocked waters are usually posted or you can find a listing on the DEM website.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Keep Things Simple in Early Season

Here's my advice in the early part of the season.  Keep things simple. Carp tend to be sluggish at this time and a finesse approach works best when trying to coax them into hitting. Two baits are all you need in the beginning of the year.  Small doughballs and sweet corn should do it.  I like to use a hair rig for these baits, but because they are soft, you can put them directly on the hook if you are not into hair rigging.  I like two kernels of sweet corn on the hair (see photo).  My hook is an Umpqua Tiemco 2457 size #8.  Yes, I also like small hooks at this time of year. For sinkers I also go small with a half ounce steel sinker.  The hooklink (leader) is also short, about 6 inches in length,  and I usually go with 14 or 15 lb. test mono, though I know a lot of guys who prefer  40 or 50 lb. test Power Pro braid.  As far as method mix, I don't usually use it at this time, but if I decide to use it, I will go with a small ball of it.  So, if you are looking for early season success (and things should be hopping as soon as this nasty weather departs) keep things simple for the best shot at catching carp in March.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Tough Start

No hits today along this half frozen, half melted shoreline

I thought this would be the week that things break open here in RI.  I'm beginning to change my mind as I went fishless in a number of locations today.  Most places from the middle of the state to northern RI still have ice.  In some places, there is so much ice that fishing is impossible.  In other places, ice covers half the pond or lake.  Still, other places are ice free but the water is very cold. Moving river waters are very high due to recent rains and snow melt.
What we really need to get things started is a warm up.  If we could get a couple of sunny days in the fifties with nights above freezing, you would see a big upswing in the carp fishing.  With temperatures predicted to be in the forties and even thirties in the next week with a lot of cloudy weather and some snow, it is not looking like fishing is going to improve anytime soon.
I've been out about 5 times now in the last week and a half.  I landed one 13 lber. in that time period.  It's not good, but hey, it's the only fish I have heard about taken in RI waters since the new year.  Yes, we are off to a very slow start.