Thursday, December 31, 2015

Epic Year Ends with 1,313 Carp!

This year, 2015, will go down in my logbook as an epic year, one that I don't think I will ever surpass as far as numbers of fish. The total number of carp that I landed this year ended up being 1.313 fish.  It blew away my previous best year, 2014, in which I landed 750 carp. Along the way, I surpassed many of my previous personal records.  Here is a brief summary of the highlights:

My biggest mirror of the year was this 29 lb. 2 oz. hog.
Most carp in a year- 1,313 carp
Most mirrors in a year- 847 mirrors
Best month ever- December, 2015- 292 carp
Best day ever- December 8, 2015- 30 carp

In addition, here are a couple of other facts (not records):
Biggest common of the year- 30 lbs., 4 oz. on Aug. 11, 2015
Biggest mirror of the year- 29 lbs., 2 oz. on May 11, 2015

With 2015 in the books, I plan on starting my 2016 season tomorrow on New Year's Day. Who knows what's in store for this year? A long time goal of mine has been to land a 40 lb. carp in RI or a 45 lb. carp in MA. Now, that's shooting for the moon. Hey, you've got to think BIG in this game!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 NACA Magazine a Real Gem

My article is about
catching 1000 carp in a
2015 NACA magazine
Once a year CAG members get a mailed glossy copy of the North American Carp Angler (NACA) magazine. Three other times of the year this magazine comes out as a e-edition. This is the official magazine of the Carp Anglers Group.  It is a big perk for members.
This year's 64 page magazine is packed with informative carp fishing articles. As a few examples, there is Jerome Moisand's Discovery Month story, Dean Brookes article on fishing for big carp, an interview with UK legend Ian Russell and my article on catching 1000 carp in a year.  There are also many more informative articles.  In addition, RI CAG anglers (Todd Richer, Tom Perron and myself) are featured prominently in a big photo spread on winners in the fall CAG Big 4.
Membership in CAG offers many perks besides this magazine.  You also get a mailed newsletter four times a year, full access to the Forum, full access to state and national tournaments, participation in state fish-ins, limited discounts and a starter kit for joining.  The price.....$25 dollars a year.  If you like to fish for carp or are just a beginner carp fisherman, it is well worth it. You can join from the Carp Angler Group website

Photos featuring three RI CAGers as winners in the CAG fall Big 4 Tournament

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve, 2015

I knew it was warm when I was driving to my spot today and someone passed me in a convertible with the top down.  Yikes, the temperature reached 67 degrees where I was fishing, certainly the warmest Christmas Eve I have ever experienced. If you are a carp fisherman, you know the good times are rolling in this warm weather in recent weeks.
I don't care where you are fishing, the fish are hitting.  I went to a river spot first today and was greeted by fast, flooding water from last night's torrential rain.  Even though I tried for a period of time, my bait and line kept getting clogged with weed and debris.  So, cancel that spot and come up with a plan B in a hurry.  I headed to a pond that I don't normally fish at this time. That did the trick as I banked 8 fish in an hour and half and missed a bunch more (see photo at left of one of the fish). They were all caught on sweet corn on the hair with a small method ball fished ahead of it. The fish were enjoying this warm weather as much as I was!
If you have a chance to get out in the next couple of days, do it.  This fishing is unusually good for late December, a very rare treat at this time of year. You might never see this again.
I want to extend a "Happy Holidays" to all my local readers and carp fishing friends. Enjoy the holidays and I hope you find the time to land another carp or two before 2015 ends..

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Doughballs Scoring Bigger Fish

A fifteen pound mirror sits on the
mat.  Check out the doughball
used to catch the fish. Doughballs
are very effective winter baits
for big carp.
If you agree with the adage that bigger baits catch bigger fish, the winter doughball is for you. I have to agree with this statement after fishing today.  I was in experimentation mode today as I fished one outfit with doughballs and another with sweet corn.  Both caught with about the same consistency but the doughball delivered far larger fish for me today.  Ya, I know that was today and tomorrow could be altogether different.  But, this has happened to me on many occasions in the past.  This is the same thinking that leads many big carp hunters to use boilies over maize in the summertime.
Whether you are fishing for larger fish or any fish, one thing is for certain.  The doughball is a very effective winter bait.  My suggestion...don't leave home without a few and give 'em a try.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Doughballs Get the Job Done

Hair rigged doughballs
were the hot bait today.
This large mirror was one of
many that were landed on
doughballs.  They are an effective
winter bait.
I had a decent session today that did not start off all that well.  I began my day using sweet corn, a real hot bait in the last few weeks.  I had one outfit baited on a light mono rig with the corn right on the hook; the other was hair rigged.  But, the corn was just not working today.  There were a few picks and pecks and I landed one small fish, but that was it.  So, I made the change on one outfit to a hair rigged doughball.  That did it as I landed several good fish (up into the teens) before switching the other outfit to a hair rigged doughball also. Then, the fish were coming on both outfits.
I have to say that doughballs are generally my number two bait for winter fishing. Carp are naturally attracted to dough since they see it a lot in places where people feed ducks.  They also like that soft feel/taste of a doughball once it gets wet.
Novices are often confused about just what doughball is. It is the white part of a slice of bread that is kneaded into a small ball.  I like my winter doughballs to be very small, about the size of a small marble. Once I make them, I usually set them out in the sun or on the kitchen counter to harden. I'll make a couple of dozen of them for a short session.  My opinion is that they are just as good or better than an expensive boilie. Their one drawback is that pests will pick them to death in warm water, but in winter there are no pests to be found. I always hair rig by doughballs.
So, today's session proves there is no silver bullet when it comes to bait.  Yes, sweet corn is hot stuff in the winter, but at times it doesn't work. That's carp fishing and something you learn as you gain experience.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

An Unusual Double

It looks like a common
but has no barbels.
It is a wild hybrid
Today's unusual double amounted to a goldfish (top) and
a common (bottom),
If you are an experienced carper, you know about the "Double".  This is when both alarms sound at once, followed by chaos as the fisherman tries to reel ashore and battle two fish at the same time.  I've had some crazy doubles in the past.  There was the usual two mirrors or two commons.  Several times I have landed a common and a mirror.  And, one incredible double turned out to be two thirty pound carp.  But, today, I added another strange combination to my history of doubles.  I landed one giant hybrid goldfish along with one common. The goldfish went about 5-6 lbs., a rare large size for a goldfish while the common went about 8 lbs. Just another one for my "Doubles" memories.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Warm Weather Leading to Hot Fishing; Number 1200 Landed Today!

Fish number 1200 on the year turns out to be a gorgeous
low teen mirror.  It was caught on sweet corn on the hair rig.
The weather is warm and the fishing is hot. I've been to multiple spots in the last several days and ALL the places I fished produced. I think you could fish anywhere there are carp right now and you could catch.
Today was yet another great day in which I landed big numbers of fish.  I also got my 1,200 th carp of the year. It was a gorgeous mirror in the low teens.  The fish today were especially active.  I saw numerous fish jumping and a lot of bubble trails. Unlike last week when the fish were sluggish on the take, these fish had the alarms screaming away.  And, they were very perky on the fight, ripping drag off and zipping around like fish of mid spring.  Today was like fishing an early spring day after several days of warm weather which charges up the fish. With seemingly no end to this unseasonably warm weather, I'm beginning to think I could get another hundred fish before the end of the year. Unreal!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Scale Patterns


Some photographers/fishermen will take photos of scale patterns.  These form some interesting "artsy" pictures.  But, they can also be a thing of beauty that many of us don't even notice or take for granted.  Mirror carp, in particular, have some awesome scale patterns since all mirrors are different.  Their scale pattern is like a finger print.  Even some commons have interesting scale patterns because of the varying colors of their scales (some light, some dark).
I set my camera to a macro setting and isolated small sections of the carp's body to take these photos.  They are all taken from fish I have landed in the last week.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another Funky "Carp"

If it looks like a carp, hits like a carp and fights like a carp, then it has to be a carp, right? Not so. Take a look at the photo below of one of the fish I landed today.  At first glance, it looks like a common carp.
But, if you look more closely, you will notice it has NO BARBELS under the chin, a dead giveaway that it is not a common carp.  It also has small golden scales with orange spots here and there along its body, another dead giveaway that it is not a common carp.
So, what is it?  It is what they call a wild hybrid goldfish.  They are few and far between, but they do exist in the ponds and river systems around here.  I've landed less than 10 of these in my carp fishing career. So, next time you catch what you think is a common carp, take a closer look.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


This chunking common was
number 1,100 on the year.
The good times just keep rolling in this beautiful December weather.  It is only December 8th as I write this, and already I have caught more carp in December than any other December I have ever fished.  Yup, it is that good as the record numbers just continue for me.
This is the hot ticket
as far as bait.
Today I got number 1,100 on the year, a good looking 10 lb. common. It was a raw and chilly day, something I am not used to in this mild run of weather, but the fish were still hitting.
I have had all my luck in December using sweetcorn on a hair rig.  Keeping with a delicate winter approach I am generally using just two kernels on a short hair length.  I am also using the smallest method ball I can pack around my sinker.  At times I am also catching with no method, but in recent days, the method seems to lure more fish.
I am guessing that there will be no end to my hot fishing until the weather dramatically changes and from the looks of things, that won't happen for at least two weeks.  Let the good times roll!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Frustration with Winter Carp Fishing

This is one of dozens of carp
I have caught in the last few days.
They are hitting but you have to be
in the right spots and fishing the
right methods to score.
Ah, lots of frustration out there regarding winter carp fishing (what we are doing right now).  I will say that most of the frustrated ones who can't seem to catch a fish at this time of year are making rookie mistakes.  They are fishing the same spots that they fished back a month, two months ago.  They've probably discovered the carp are no longer in those spots, and these fishermen are stumped.
Carp tend to move in big groups in the winter to what would be called "winter locations". It's almost like a migration with saltwater fish.  So, where the carp were in the summer and early fall, they are no longer there and have moved.  Finding those spots, especially in big lakes and ponds is very difficult since the fish are also not voraciously feeding at this time.
Many years ago, friend and fellow RI CAGer Kev Wasliewski,  gave me a big tip on a winter spot.  This was a small pond, a place you could really cast across. The carp had no place to go in winter.  You just knew they were there.  It was a matter of finding a bait they would hit.  Sweet corn with no method was the catcher as it is for me today. I caught many from this place in the dead of winter.  So, small places might be a place for frustrated fishermen to start.
I also like moving water, especially "small" moving waters like brooks, streams and small rivers.  Look for a deep, slow moving water in these places. If it comes up to a shallow shelf, all the better.
Finally, go small with the bait for winter carp fishing.  I did a post on this a few posts back that might help you along.
I have about a dozen winter spots where I have caught fish over the years in the months of Dec., Jan., and Feb. I try to keep these secretive because it took a long time to find them, and they are generally small places that can't host a party. For all the frustrated rookies out there, it's time to put in some time and effort and start looking for your winter gems.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Winners in RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament

Brandon Dee...1st place
Jake Ayotte....2nd place
Our RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament has come to an end after three months of fishing.  This event was open to all CAG members. Here is how this state tournament worked.  You entered your biggest common and your biggest mirror carp by length for September through November.  The total length of those two fish were your points. The fish had to be caught in RI waters.  Many of our members entered fish in this popular fall tournament, and the contest was very close for the top three spots. Engraved medals provided by the national CAG group will be given to the top three finishers.
Here are the winners with the mirror carp length (in inches)  listed first followed by common length:
1st place- Brandon Dee- 31 + 37 = 68
Tom Perron...3rd place
2nd place- Jake Ayotte- 32 1/2 + 35 = 67 1/2
3rd place- Tom Perron- 34 1/2 + 30 = 64 1/2
Congrats to these three winners as well as all the members who took part in our tournament.  The RI CAG runs our own popular tournaments in the spring and fall for our members.  The national CAG group also runs multiple tournaments and contests throughout the year.  For info on joining CAG go to the Carp Anglers Group website.