Friday, June 28, 2013

Just Too Easy

Here's a 10 lb. mirror carp landed today on
a freelined mulberry.
My score for the last two days is 18 carp landed and an additional 8 fish on and lost.  Those are terrific numbers for this time of year. I also had some quality fish in the mix with several fish between 10 and 20 lbs.  The bait that's been scoring is mulberries which I am freelining.
Carp go nuts when feeding on mulberries.  Most of these fish are coming off the spawn, and they are hungry and on a feeding binge.  This morning I found about a dozen fish feeding under a mulberry tree.  These fish were competing for any berry hitting the water.  For the carp fisherman,  it takes just a simple flip of a freelined mulberry.  And, as soon as the bait hits the water the nearest carp hones in on it like a heat seeking missile rushing to grab the offering before any other fish can get to it.  It's just too easy.  Think about go to an online bait store and have pages and pages of various prepared baits, flavored corn, artificial baits, method mixes, etc., and here I am just plucking a berry off a tree for bait and the carp are fighting for it.  Wow, really too easy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fabulous Day of Berry Fishing

I hadn't been doing very well fishing mulberries this year.  But, that all changed today.  I decided to hit a number of places today and make a big commitment to fishing berries. Mulberries are at their peak right now and are falling from the trees big time.  I had the right day today with it being cloudy and lousy so I set off to sample at least 8 spots in fairly close proximity that I knew had berries.  While I fished these spots a lot in the past week with marginal success, today was a day that the fish were active and feeding just about everywhere I went. In one location I must have seen at least 15 fish feeding actively under a tree competing to scoop up every berry that was falling.
Using freelined mulberries (no sinker and just a #6 hook), I landed a total of 10 carp and had another 6 on that I lost.  Those are big numbers using any type of bait. Most of these fish were mirrors that went 5-12 lbs., but I had one real big one from the river that was just shy of 20 lbs. In some places they wanted the bait on top.  In other places they wanted a sinking berry (just squeeze the berry slightly to make it sink). Take a look at the pic one of the fish I landed. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera when I landed the big river fish.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Setting up a Carp Outfit

The Okuma Avenger ABF-50  Baitrunner is a "best buy".
I meet a lot of fishermen who are new to carp fishing. Nearly all are using outfits that are way too light for carp fishing.  Many tell me that they would have no problem landing a good size carp on their bass or trout fishing gear. Huh?  Most would struggle with a 5 lber. let alone a fish over 20 lbs.  They have no idea what they are up against.  What I see would be comparable to trying to hunt elephants with a BB gun.
So, what makes a good carp outfit without breaking the bank.  Here are the parts that you need in the order you need them:
1. Reel- A baitrunner reel is a MUST. The best buy on the market is the Okuma Avenger ABF 50.  I've got a couple I use on occasion and I've had them a while with no problems.  One of these reels landed a 31 lb. carp for me this spring. The reel can hold a good amount of line and has a good drag.  They can be bought online or at Dick's Sporting Goods for $39-$49. A comparable Shimano top of the line reel would cost you four times as much.
2. Line- Yes, line comes in #2.  You need quality line that will take a beating as it gets rubbed along rocks and trees as a large carp goes off on a run.  I especially like Berkeley Big Game monofilament in 15 lb. test.  That size line fits well on the Okuma reel described above. Any line testing less than 10 lb. test is too light and unacceptable in carp fishing.  I'm not high on braid since it lacks stretch (important to have soft touch on the fight) and it has poor abrasion resistance. Note that carp fishermen are divided on what type of line is best.
3.  Rods- Longer and heavy duty rods tend to be better because they offer leverage and casting ability. While I use long and thin 2.75 test curve Euro carp rods, a lot of fishermen use inexpensive
 US stuff like Shakespeare Ugly Sticks in an 8 or 9 foot length. Still, others like catfish rods.  Saltwater rods around 8 feet also work well.  You want a rod that has a "soft" touch with a medium action.  Avoid real stiff rods. Ugly Sticks sell for about $39-$50.
Note that what I have described above is simply a starter outfit, but will get the job done with most carp here in southern New England.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


The last two weeks have been disappointing in many ways.  The fishing at this time of year should be very good.  IT"S NOT.  In my last six outings I've either gotten one fish, two fish, three fish or blanked.  And, there have been no carp of bragging size.  Biggest has maybe hit 12 lbs., not exactly big in the carp world. Even  the mulberry drop has only been marginal with a few spooky carp feeding under the trees I normally fish.
I'm beginning to think all this very high water (in northern RI especially) is having a big negative affect on the fishing. I'm not even seeing many fish because quite possibly they are in the flooded woods under bushes and trees.  So, I've been moving around in the last  few days, trying spots I don't normally fish in the east and central parts of the state.  The results were marginal.  Yesterday I blanked with only one run that I missed and today I landed two fish of 8 and 10 lbs. (see photo at right).  Those were my only hits.
It is interesting to note that I am not the only one experiencing marginal fishing.  One of RI's most accomplished carp anglers, Kev Wasliewski, reports similar marginal fishing on his blog, Dark Carping.  When he's not catching you just know the fish are not hitting.
So, it can only improve.  I suspect that once water levels return to normal along the Blackstone River fishing will improve in the places I fish. Until then, it will be slugging it out for a fish or two here and there.  That's the way it goes sometimes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mulberries Dropping/Carp Feeding

Freeline mulberries.  Use a #6 hook.
Mulberries come in white,
pink and purple colors.
Do you know where there's a mulberry tree  along a carp pond? That's a prime place to fish right now.  Mulberries are ripe and dropping and carp are slurping up all they can get.  I checked out several trees today and found some carp feeding under them.
I landed one mid size mirror carp today while fishing after a thunderstorm.  The wind and rain from the storm knocked a load of berries in the water.  I scooped up one of these berries and impaled it with a #6 hook.  Then, I freelined my offering right under the mulberry tree while leaving the bail on my reel open.  Suddenly, the line shot out, I closed the bail, set the hook and I was onto a carp that was ripping line.  A short time later, a scrappy 8 pounder was on the shore.
Freelining mulberries is one of the easiest, yet one of the most effective techniques to catch carp at this time of year.  The berry fishing should continue for the next three weeks.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chalk Up Another Double

Today's outing started off with a bang.  I was fishing a spot this morning that I had prebaited with maize last evening.  Within a few minutes of casting both rods out, the alarm goes off on one rod.  While I am playing that fish the second alarm goes off and now it becomes a Chinese Fire Drill trying to get both fish ashore.  Luckily, I landed both since I had been fishing in a place that was full of debris and obstacles. Both fish were mirrors in the 6-8 lb. range. Both were caught on flavored maize.
Fishing has been difficult and limiting in the last week or so.  The extremely high and flooded waters have forced me to fish spots I normally don't fish at this time of year.  In these spots I must wear waders to walk the shore. Most of the places where I normally catch my big fish are not fishable at this time.  So, I continue to hit these smaller spots that are somewhat difficult with all kinds of bushes and trees in the water, but still fishable.  These small places have been producing a steady 2-4 carp per outing  that weight 5-10 lbs. So, I'm not complaining.  But, do hope the water levels drop soon so I can once again start targeting bigger fish.. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Strategy....Playing the Flooded Waters

If you haven't noticed it has been raining A LOT in the last week.  In fact, this is some of the worst flooding I have seen for an extended period of time along the Blackstone River and any body of water that runs off it.  And, more rain is coming tonight and tomorrow. I was out the last three mornings in some very tough conditions.  In places where I would normally be on a  dry shoreline I was up to my waist in water while wearing my waders. However, I was still catching fish.
So, what's the strategy for fishing flooded places.  First off, you need boots.  In a lot of places you have to walk into the water just to cast or move around.  When pinpointing spots to fish, think close to shore.  In many cases the carp are actually under the bushes and branches that are in the flooded water. An accurate cast right near a bush in the water can bring good results.  Beef up your equipment.  I had a hard time landing a couple of mid size mirrors today, and I was using 15 lb. test line and 9 foot rods.  Any hooked fish will immediately head for structure and bushes and you need to stop it.  Finally, think small ponds.  Fishing the raging Blackstone River is out.  You have no chance at finding them or landing one if you were lucky enough to hook up. Besides, swift river waters can be very dangerous.  Small ponds, even when flooded, are still manageable and productive.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June....CAG Take A Kid Carp Fishing Month

The national Carp Anglers Group (CAG) has designated June as "Take a Kid Carp Fishing" (TAKC) month.  For our part here in RI, I am hoping that members of the RI CAG will be taking kids they know out carp fishing.  It's a way to get kids involved in the outdoors and involved in fishing.  Many kids who fish find carp fishing fascinating and exciting, and they are amazed at the size of the fish they can catch.
Today I took out a high school kid that I know.  Nick has started fishing this year.  I met him a couple of weeks ago while riding my bike, and at the time he told me he had been trying for carp for a couple of days but could not catch one.  Today we went out to a small pond locally.  It was tough conditions with flooding water that was way into the bushes.  But, Nick did manage to catch one of the most beautiful little mirrors, about 4 lbs., that I have ever seen. He got it on sweet corn fished off a hair rig.  And, this fish put up one heck of a fight coming to shore. Even I was fooled into thinking it was much bigger.  After a couple of pictures, the fish was released.
Congrats Nick and hopefully you will get many more.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fish the Shady Spots

Toss your offering under the shade of a tree.
Yesterday I landed my 200th carp of the 2013 season.  It was caught in the shade under an overhanging tree.  These are the types of spots I have been targeting in recent weeks, and I have been steadily catching good numbers of fish.  You see, carp have moved into a summer pattern.  With the warming waters they seek the coolness of the shade on a warm and sunny day. They are creatures of comfort.  In the cold spring, they love to sit and sun themselves in a sunny spot, but as soon as the water and weather  turn warm, they are heading for the shade.
So, if you are looking for the best locations to catch them, think shady spots or low light.  These places include under a shady tree, along a bank shaded by a hill in back of the shore or even under a bridge.  Rainy days have also been very good.  And, certainly low light times such as evening, early mornings and even nighttime produces well at this time of year.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Interested in Bite Alarms? Check this Out!

If you are interested in bite alarms to fish for carp, check out my latest feature article that appears in The Fisherman magazine website at
All sharpies who fish for carp regularly use bite alarms.  These are electronic sensors that mount onto a bankstick or rod pod.  The line rests  on a sensor and an alarm goes off when a fish hits or pulls the line. Most beginners who see these devices in action want to get one. The article outlines everything you need to know about them.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

May, 2013....One of the BEST Months Ever

For me, May of 2013 will go down as one of the very best months of carp fishing ever.  It was fantastic because it delivered a lot of big fish as well as big numbers of fish, an unusual combination for carp fishing.  Most carp sharpies will tell  you that if you are going after big ones, don't expect big numbers.  There are just not that many big fish to be had.  But this past May delivered both in a big way.  As far as big fish, I landed two carp in the thirties and 15 carp in the twenties with at least 5 of those fish being high twenties.  I probably had another 50 fish in the teens and the rest of the fish were under 10 lbs.  In all my logs indicate I landed 95 carp in May, big numbers for any month. I landed more carp in May than in March and April combined.
One unusual aspect to this year's fishing in May is that the fishing was phenomenal in the daytime.  In fact, most of those big fish I landed were caught in mid day from 11 AM to 2 PM.  In the past I have done real well near dark, but this year's daytime action was a lot better than evening fishing.  Another key to catching these big fish was that the best days by far were rainy, cool, stormy days.
While many people think I fish the same locations, the truth is that I caught May's fish from at least 9 different venues in both RI and MA.  I also got many of these fish in new locations where I did not fish in past years.
As for bait, the usual stuff worked well.  I landed fish on chick peas, flavored maize, sweet corn and doughbballs.  I was often fishing 2 different combinations of bait, something the big fish seemed to be drawn to. For the most part, I was using a method ball ahead of the baits named above.