Thursday, April 30, 2015

100th Carp of the Year Landed

It's been a tough start of the year for carp fishing, but I did manage to catch my 100th carp for 2015. It was a good looking 16 lb. common that was caught on a boilie/artificial corn combo. It is the latest date I've reached the century mark in the last five years.
Fishing has been less than stellar in 2015. As you know, the winter was brutal, and I was not able to fish through most of it.  March was a bust here in RI as ice covered most of the carp venues till the end of the month.  And, April fishing has been off compared to other Aprils due to cold weather. I am expecting some great fishing in May since the carp have got to go on the feed eventually.  With next week's temperatures expected to average in the 70's, watch for a big upswing in fishing.
This 16 lb. common that sits on the mat is my 100th carp for 2015.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cold Weather Turns it Off

Here are some of the RI CAG members that took part
in today's fish-in. Unfortunately, no fish were caught.
The last few days of fishing have not been good.  That cold front that came through earlier in the week followed by the unusually cool weather and cold nights that followed have shut the fishing right down.
Today we held our annual spring fish-in at a very good location. Fish-ins are simply get- togethers where members of our group fish as  well as exchange ideas.  Nine of us from the CAG  fished a total of 16 rods. We used different baits, fished different locations, but it did not matter.  The result: a big blank. I'm not too surprised because in the last three days I have caught exactly 2 fish and both were caught yesterday.
The surprising thing about today is that we did see a lot of carp swimming around, but they were not interested in hitting. That happens sometimes, particularly following a big cool down in the weather in springtime. Carp in general can be moody fish, and they can turn on as well as turn off.  Today they were turned off.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hot Stuff

One pink ESP artificial corn along
with two or three kernels of sweet
corn has accounted for numerous
20 lb. carp in the last week.
Here's a 25 lb. mirror on the mat about to be
released.  It fell for the bait at the left.
Prior to this cold front that moved in yesterday, I had been on a big fish roll, knocking off quite a few twenties in a row. My biggest one for the week was a 25 + pound mirror.  I wasn't getting big numbers of fish, but it seemed to be a twenty pound fish just about every day with a sprinkling of teen fish mixed in.  They were all taken with the same bait....a combo bait of artificial corn as well as sweet corn on the hair rig.
This was the same bait combo I wrote about a lot last year, and the same stuff that landed most of my big fish (up to 40 lbs.) last year.  The hot artificial in the past week has been a pink ESP artificial corn.  This plastic corn has buoyancy to it and that tends to lift the bait when a carp nudges it, something they like to do before taking it.  Whether it is the color or the buoyancy, this artificial stuff is hot for fooling the big ones.
Artificial baits must be used on the hair rig since they are too hard to thread onto a hook. Last year the hot colors of artificial corn for me were pink, orange and red.  Artificial corn can be purchased in many of the online tackle stores such as Big Carp Tackle.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chances of Catching a RI 30 lber. .......Extremely Slim

We are in the midst of our RI CAG Big 3 Tournament. Everyone seems to be asking me the same question.  "Where can I catch a 30 lber.?"
Let's be realistic here.  Your chances of catching a 30 lb. carp in RI are near zero.  Consider that over the last 15 years there have been 14 thirty pounders caught to my knowledge, and I know just about all the good fishermen in RI capable of catching such a fish.  Of those 14 that were caught I am almost sure that four of them were the same fish taken at the same venue.  I also know of another one that was a repeat capture.  So, that makes exactly nine thirty pounders that could be still alive in our state. That's not a high percentage of big fish out there considering all our waters that hold carp.
Consider also that all of those thirty pounders came from only 5 different venues.  Once again, not a high percentage. You see, to grow to thirty pounds, the fish must have the genetics and the food supply. Fishermen think these fish keep growing, but they do have a top off point that they reach. Only 5 venues (that we know of) have what it takes to produce such a fish.
Consider also that nearly all the thirty pounders landed in this state, except for one fish, have been low thirties, mostly 30-33 lb, commons. The one exception was that 36 lb. common (RI CAG Record) that I landed three years ago. Only a few have been mirrors with the largest mirror, the RI CAG official record, coming in at 31 lbs., 8 oz.
And, here is one more fact to consider.  Of those 14  thirty pound carp that were landed in the last 15 years, most of them, 11 or 12 of them were caught by 2 fishermen. Only three other fishermen that I know of have landed a fish of this size.
So, if your are looking for a 30 lb. fish this spring, good luck. There is, on average, about one caught a year. Some years see no thirties from RI. They are not easy to catch and your chances of hooking into one of them are slim at best.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Big Carp on the Feed

Good size carp like this 21 lb. mirror have been on the feed
in this warm weather.  There have been numerous 20's and
even a 30 lb. carp landed this week.
The recent warm weather has perked up the carp fishing here in RI.  And, there have been some hefty fish landed by RI CAG members in the last few days.  The leaders in our RI CAG Big 3 contest have been almost changing daily as bigger and bigger fish are added to the board.  In the last few days our members have logged in a 22 1/2 lb. mirror, a 25+ lb. common and an enormous 31 lb. common.
I have also been into some decent fish as I have landed good numbers of teen to over twenty pound carp. Most of my fish have been taken on sweet corn, but I am also beginning to catch fish on artificial pop-corn.  The colors pink and orange are working well.  I am fishing combo baits, a combination of artificial corn and sweet corn on the hair rig.
With warm weather in the forecast, this hot fishing for big fish should continue.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Breaking Out the Heavy Artillery

I used my "heavy" gear today to land four commons that all
weighed in the teens.
For the first time this year, I used my "heavy" outfits.  Until now, I had been using my lighter outfits.  My light outfit consists of a pair of Chub Stalker rods (9 ft.), Okuma Avenger ABF 50 baitrunner reels and 15 lb. test Berkeley Big Game line. This is a good outfit to use for carp under 20 lbs., the size fish I had been targeting up until now.  However, when targeting hogs over 20 lbs., which I am now doing, the heavier outfits are far more efficient weapons.
My heavy outfits include a pair of Fox Warrior rods (12 ft., 3.0 test curve), larger Shimano baitrunner reels and 20 lb. test Berkeley Big Game Line. I love the feel of this outfit.  The rods are 12 feet long, yet have an even bend throughout.  The rod fights a large fish as it should.  In addition, these outfits have the beef to cast sinkers up to three and four ounces that are packed with method mix.  And, the rods give me some control over a large fish that is impossible to achieve with lighter outfits. On the negative side, these 12 foot rods are cumbersome to carry around and you need a lot of room to cast them.
Finally, consider this fact.  In the last six years I have landed 13 carp over 30 lbs. and two carp over 40 lbs.  All those fish were landed with my "heavy" outfits. These outfits are almost a must when going after real large fish this size.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Daytime Jinx is Over

That daytime jinx I wrote about in the last post is over.  It ended for me today as I put two commons in the teens on the bank in the middle of the daytime (see photos). Both fish were taken on hair rigged sweet corn fished ahead of a method ball. No doubt about it....the carp are getting more and more active.  And, I'm not the only one finding success. Today I got word of two more impressive fish entered in our RI CAG Big 3 Tournament.  One was a 21 pound common and the other was a 23 pound common, really good size fish for this time of year.  The carp are on the prowl, and the fishing should get even better with the warm-up that is forecast for the weekend and early next week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Being at the Right Place at the Right Time

So much about carp fishing is timing and being at the right place at the right time.
This good looking common was landed right before dark.  That
has been the hottest and most consistent time to fish in the
last week.
I've been fishing a good amount of time in RI since ice out.  Daytime fishing has been outright poor except for that warm day last Friday.  Other than that it has been one big blank for me in the daytime.  Yet, the evenings have been consistently good.  In that last hour of light, from 6:30 until 7:30, I have gotten anywhere from one to four carp a night and have not blanked once. That seems to be the hot period when the fish have been the most active.  Of course, all of this will change once the weather warms up and then daytime fishing should improve.
 While on the subject of timing, one of our CAG members, Daphne Forster, just logged in the first twenty pound carp in our RI CAG Big 3 contest. It is also the first 20 I have heard about that has been landed in this state in 2015.  She landed the  brute this evening right before dark. I'm not surprised as that has been the hot time to fish.  Nice catch!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Keep it Simple in the Early Going

I landed this decent mirror today using
sweet corn on the hair rig (at right).
The simple approach is the best approach in the early season for carp.  Sweet corn, whether you put it directly on the hook or on the hair rig, is your best bait. A 50 cent can of corn from Walmart might last you a few outings.  It's best to chum with it a bit before fishing. In addition, keep the leaders short and use small sinkers that are big enough to hold bottom. Method mix can be used or you can go without it.
A key early success is to find fish that are willing to hit. At this time of year, the carp tend to be bunched up.  Find one and you tend to find many. As a rule, shallow ponds that warm quickly tend to fish better than deeper ponds.
I have been having decent success in the last couple of days while using a simple approach.  Things will get more complicated as the weather warms in May, but for right now, keep it simple.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Things have taken a turn for the better in the last few days.  A number of the RI CAG members have been out trying, in some cases in water that is partially frozen, but still open enough to fish.  And, they are getting some fish.  The biggest I have heard about is a very respectable 18 lb. common.
I got my first carp of 2015 here in RI.  While I've taken dozens of carp so far in this new year, those all came from MA waters.  This evening I got two mirror carp while fishing sweet corn on the hair rig (see photos on right and left). Sweet corn is your best bet in baits at this time of year. The place I was fishing tonight was still partially covered in ice, but today's warm weather got the fish feeding.  It will only get better in the coming days.