Thursday, April 25, 2013

"New" Guys Hit it Big!

I took two "new" guys fishing two days ago.  These two guys, Eric and Jack, were very experienced salt and freshwater fishermen, but they had never tangled with a carp.  I have known Jack for quite a while, and last year we had planned to carp fish. I had my doubts about how we'd do since the weather was not favorable.  To make a long story short, we hit it big, landed 7 good size mirror carp from ten pound up to the high teens using chick peas on the hair rig. We also had several more hits and fish on.
Jack Sprengel, one of the guys I took out, is a well known Charter Boat Captain (East Coast Charters) who has fished all over the world.  Below is a part of a blog entry he sent me describing a small part of our day.  It tells you a lot about carp fishing.
"Enthusiastic but skeptical, I was prepared for a long miserable soak in this fine example of New England Spring Cold front weather. So imagine my surprise a mere 10 minutes later when one of the rods started dumping as if it just got smashed by a Wahoo on the troll. To amplify the surge of adrenaline, the audible mayhem that the strike indicator emitted as the line peels off,  is enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. I sprinted to the rod while there was still line on the reel and came tight. All I can say is what a bad ass fish for freshwater: Deep sounding, riding the current, Grey hounding, Bulldogs and even Tail walks. As the fish (probably around 12lbs) began to tire and came into the shallows, we were treated to another fascinating aspect of this unique fishery. “Real Dealers” like Dave use massive nets for cradling these juggernauts in place then you use the mesh of the net itself to safely lift the fish from the water.  From there, the fish is placed onto its own special landing pad, specifically designed to support the fish’s weight out of the water and prevent it from damaging itself against the rocky shoreline when flipping around. Once on the pad, the hook is easily removed from the lip and then you can pick the fish up for a few snap shots before returning it to the water, and that we did.
Euphoric over the swift success, Erich and I shook Dave’s hand and began to admire the shots we just captured. Our celebration was cut short when yet another rod begins to dump with that spine tingling scream of the strike alarm. On again! I sprinted to the rod and again came tight, another great battle this time on a lighter rod, and we had another beautiful Mirror Carp in the net. This guy was a few pounds heavier. Snapped some shots and released the fish unharmed. We neatened everything up, re-rigged and had a sandwich. Just when it seemed like the day was about to slack up, B B B BBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR one of the rods strait DUMPED! With the line half way down river Erich ran over and came tight on a beauty in the high teens. This fish was really photogenic and had a cool more rounded shape to its head. As the fish came into the shallows I took the rod from E as he ran back to the pack and grabbed his cam for some sick in the water footage. I wrapped up the battle, Dave scooped up the fish, a few more shots and with that we decided to give this spot a rest. "
The photos in this post were provided by the other "new" guy, Eric Medenbach, a top notch and talented  photograher.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Conditions All Wrong BUT Fish Hitting Like Crazy

I almost didn't go fishing today thinking the conditions were all wrong and the fish would not be hitting.  All spring I had done poorly in the cold, nasty weather and I figured today would be no different.  However, I had made arrangements to show two saltwater friends how to fish for carp so I figured we would give it a try anyway (more on this later).  Boy, am I glad we did get out and fish.
Today was one of the best days of the spring for me.  I fished with these friends in a couple of different spots and we came away with 7 carp between 10-15 lbs.  They were all great looking mirrors.  We also had several more hits and fish on. All were taken on chick peas, my new favorite bait.
We quit in late afternoon and I came home for supper.  After supper I met up with fellow CAGer Nick.  We fished before dark, and we each landed one decent fish.  My fish is at the right, a mirror of close to 20 lbs.
So, in this unpredictable world of carp fishing, this is just another example of how you just can't predict what is going to happen.  It's a matter of getting out and fishing and hopefully having a little luck.  And, luck has certainly been blowing in my direction the last couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Another Brute Falls for a Chick Pea

I landed the second biggest carp I caught this year, a brute in the mid twenty pound range, that fell for a chick pea (see photos).  This fish was long and hulky with a large head though it was not overly fat.  It had fins under its head that were as big as my hand!
Whew, it has been a heck of a week for big fish for me.  In fact, this was the third good size one that I caught today with the other two being teen size mirrors. For the last week, I have been getting anywhere from 3-5 fish an outing, and they have generally all been big fish from the teens up to that 30 lber. I landed earlier in the week.
Chick peas have been the red hot bait of choice for me this week.  I started using these in sections of the Blackstone River where the use of corn is prohibited due to trout stocking.  I just continued to use them in other places and they have been scoring big time all over.


Friday, April 19, 2013

The Scoop on Chick Peas

This has been a hot week of carp fishing for me here in RI.  I landed several fish in the twenties and others in the high teens along with a "probable" 30 lber.  The common thread here is that all of these fish were taken on chick peas. Chick peas or garbanzo beans are terrific carp baits to use.  I especially like to use these in the Blackstone River where the use of corn is prohibited.
Here is all you need to know about preparing and using them:
1. Buying- You should buy these in a dried state.  They can be purchased in most supermarkets in the dried bean section.  A one pound bag is about three bucks.
2. Preparing-  Boil water in a pan first.  Once the water is boiling, add about a handful of chick peas.  Boil exactly 20 minutes and then take off the heat and cool.  Store in a container with water in it.
3.  Fishing them- I like to fish these on a hair rig, although I believe you can pass a hook through them.  I like to use one chick pea on a hair rig, but I have also fished two chick peas on a longer hair.  You can also chum these in places where chumming is legal.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Probably a 30 lber.!

Today I landed the biggest common carp I have ever caught in the Blackstone River in RI.  My guess is that it was 30 lbs. or more. However, I have no way of knowing for sure.
Here are the facts.  I was fishing a "difficult" new spot.  This place was down a steep bank where I barely had enough room to cast and stand.  I crawled down this bank with only my two rods and banksticks.  I did not have a net with me.  I also did not have a camera.  I wasn't planning on hooking a big fish  in this new location.  It was sort of an initial "try out" in this spot.  The bait was on the bottom no more than ten minutes when I got a slow taker.  I grabbed the rod and set the hook.  The fish fought like a large fish staying near the bottom  and steadily pulling drag.  There were no quick movements.  Once I got it close to shore I knew I had a giant.  "30" was my first thought after I saw the fish breach.  I have landed 10 fish over 30 lbs. in the last four years so I know what they look like. It was a back and forth tug of war to get this fish into the shallow, muddy water so I could grab it.  One I did, I got a good look at its massive size, typical of river fish in some sections of the river.  It had a beer barrel gut, was probably full of eggs and was very wide. A massive fish.  In my pocket I did have a measuring tape.  I will tell you the fish taped out at 35 inches.  That record size mirror that I caught last year was 33 inches and weighed 31 lbs., 8 oz., so I know this fish was in the 30 lb. ballpark.  I did have a scale in the rucksack but had no weigh sling or net, so that didn't help.  So, I unhooked the beast, pointed its head toward the deeper water and watched it slowly swim away.  Hopefully, we will meet up again some day.
And, one more was taken on a hair rigged chick pea, a bait that has been catching good numbers of large fish for me in the past week.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It didn't take long.....

Last week I was out scouting areas of the Blackstone River that were closed to fishing.  I am always looking for new spots to fish in this favorite river of mine.  I came upon a bluff and happened to look down in the water.   Right in front of me I saw a group of at least 25-30 carp just milling around a shallow area.  They were all big fish in the 15 to low 20 lb. range. Of course, this section of the river was closed to fishing!
So, I was itching to get back to that location to give it a try. The whole river opened up with Opening Day on Saturday so I was ready to fish. I did tonight, and it didn't take long to produce. After a short period of time the alarm suddenly screamed as an aggressive taker was off and running.  That fish proved to be a large common of about 20 lbs. (see pic at left).  Bait up and cast out again and within 15 minutes the alarm was screaming again.  This time it was an even larger mirror carp (see pic at right).
Both fish took chick peas fished on the hair rig.  In the past chick peas have proved to be a terrific bait in the Blackstone where the use of corn is prohibited.  I plan to fish chick peas a lot more this year in the Blackstone and in other places. Who knows.....might become my new favorite bait!

End of the Line for Pescaviva

I was running out of my favorite sweetcorn, Pescaviva, so I went to Wacker Baits to try to order more.  The pineapple flavor I really like using was not listed so I sent an e-mail to Paul Pezzula inquiring when he was getting more in.  He's not was the reply.  Apparently this bait, produced in Italy, has gotten too expensive to stock according to Paul.  I have taken a lot of real big carp on this bait and it was my go to bait in spring and fall. I guess I will just have to find myself a new favorite.  We carp fishermen often have to adjust our tactics and bait.  Just part of the game.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Opening Day Will Open Up a Lot of Carp Water

Opening Day of trout season is finally here.  I'm not celebrating the fact that you can fish for trout; rather, it will open up a lot of carp water that has been closed since March 1.  Here in RI  there are some prime carp waters that are stocked with trout.  Such places as the Blackstone River, Brickyard Pond in Barrington, Lake Tiogue in Coventry and Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods are all top notch carp waters that have been closed.  They'll open up tomorrow. 
If you're thinking about fishing tomorrow in any of the places mentioned above, forget it.  There will be an army of guys and a flotilla of boats and canoes fishing for the stocked trout.  I don't get it.  There's been no one fishing for the last month, and tomorrow there will be a mob scene.   I guess it's one of those RI traditions that once a year fishermen just love to do.  Most of these guys will fish for the first and last time tomorrow.  Hey, it's well known fact that Opening Day and stocked trout sell licenses and that keeps the money flowing into the Division of Fish and Game.  It also provides an economic boom to the bait and tackle shops. In addition, it also gets a lot of people involved, albeit for a short time, in fishing. So, I guess those are good things. 
Give it a few days and the carp spots that are stocked with trout should be devoid of most fishermen. That's when the carp fishing in these spots should perk up.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Multiple Baits Working

The warm weather has just lit up the fishing for me this week.  Daytime action has been very good.  I have been using a number of baits, favorites on my spring hit parade, that have been working well.  Just like in other types of fishing, there is not any one bait that works all the time.  You sometimes have to experiment to find the hot bait.  Here is what has been working well:
1. Doughballs- These are really breadballs made with the white part of a piece of bread.  You roll up a ball the size of a small marble and pack it around a hook or har rig it.  I landed decent numbers of carp one day just freelining doughballs, or using them without a sinker.  I caught some while sight fishing just casting the dougball ahead of cruising fish.
2. Sweetcorn-  This is one of the hottest baits of spring because the pests (turtles, horned pout, bluegills) are still not active enough to take it off.  I have done especially well in some spots using a kernel of regular sweet corn and a kernel of Pescaviva on a hair rig.
3.  Boilie/ Sweetcorn Combo-  This was hot for me last year and is working again this year. I am using a 6mm Mistral pop-up boilie ahead of a kernel of sweet corn on a hair rig.  The boilie adds attraction and provides some lift to the bait, something the carp find very attractive. One day this was the only thing the carp would hit in one spot. Check out the photo.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Steadily Improving

Slowly but steadily the carp fishing is improving.  My last post talked about how the fishing is picking up in multiple spots.  I can also report that I am catching more and more fish, a sign that the springtime feed is starting.  Earlier in the week I got out with fellow RI CAGer Nick.  We had an evening with six carp landed and missed a couple of others.  Not bad.  Today I got out in the afternoon and picked up 5 mirrors and lost another fish. Decent. Carp fishing is surely trending upward.
As for baits, Pescaviva (sold at Wacker Baits) is a hot number.  I am using one kernel of it in combination with something else.  Earlier in the week it worked well along with a kernel of regular sweet corn.  Today it worked well in combination with a 6 mm pop up Mistral boilie.  I also used Pescaviva with a plastic pop up (cut from a plastic worm) earlier in the week, but only seemed to attract suckers which are also becoming more active.
With a warming trend on the way, I suspect this will be a good week for carp fishing. It should continue to improve.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Multiple Waters Now Producing

For much of the early part of the season I was fishing one place and catching carp in that one spot.  However, in the last week or so, I have been roaming around sampling different waters around the northern part of the state and catching in multiple spots. The fact that I am finding fish in many different locations tells me that the fish are getting more and more active.
I noticed that in the last few days the fish are also more aggressively taking the bait.  Unlike the slow takes and taps back in early to mid March, the fish now are screaming off on the hit, a sure sign that their activity level is on the increase. So, April is here, the weather is warming and things are looking up.  It should continue to get better.
As for baits, I am having my best success using a kernel of unflavored sweet corn and a kernel of pineapple flavored Pescaviva on a #8 hair rigged hook. See the the good size common at the right that was taken on that bait combination today.  More and more I am also adding a method ball to my bait set up.