Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Doldrums

The summer slowdown has arrived.  The water is unusually low in most places due to lack of rain.  Weed growth is awful because of the low water and sunny weather.  In addition, pests are in peak form with snapping and sun turtles aggressively chasing down any bait that hits the water.  And, the carp are in a lazy summer feeding mode.  Welcome to summer carp fishing here in RI.
I have been out a good amount of time in the last three weeks. In that time,  I have been getting some smaller fish that I have to really work for.  I've gotten only one decent fish, a near 20 lb. mirror that I landed on a freelined mulberry. So, it's been a bit of a struggle, but expected at this time. I can also tell you that our CAG members who have been fishing our RI Spring Big 3 tournament are also struggling to find large fish.
I'm back to fishing hair rigs with sweet corn or maize on the bottom.  Realize that when fishing any bait on the bottom at this time of year, you will have to reel in often (suggest every 15-20 min.) just to check the bait to make sure it is still there. Yup, turtles, dace and horned pout are super aggressive in this heat.
So, the way I approach this time of year is I will take whatever I can get.  If it's small ones that are hitting, ok.  If I can find bigger ones, all the better. This morning I went out, sat under a shady tree and landed 4 fish (see photos of two of them at right and left).  Not one was even close to approaching 10 lbs. but they provided some decent summer action, and that's what I was looking for.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Second Place in National CAG Big 4 Tournament

25 lbs.
25 lbs.
For the last month and a half I have been fishing in the CAG Spring Big 4 national tournament.  This pits carp fishermen from all over North America in a Big 4 shoot out.  The idea is to enter your 4 biggest fish and your poundage total becomes your score.
I have entered this tournament nearly every year in the past ten years, and the best I could ever come up with was 5th place.  Well, this year topped all those other years as I came in 2nd place with a score of 106 lbs., 4 ounces. I had fish of 24/0, 25/0, 25/0 and 32/4. While I have had many years with bigger totals, it all comes down to what the competition scores, and the scores seemed to be low this year compared to past years.  For my second place win, I got a $100 gift certificate to PB Products.
32 lbs. 4 oz.
24 lbs.
I want to also congratulate two of my friends who fished in this contest and who scored in the top 10. Jerome Moisand of MA, a guy I fished with many times in this contest, ended up the overall winner with a whopping score of 120 lbs., 12 oz. Todd Richer of RI fished very hard in the contest and he ended up in 8th place with a score of 73 lbs., 10 oz.  I also fished many times with Todd in the last month.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Change in Strategy.....Playing "Small Ball"

This 15 lb. mirror that sits in the
water was taken by freelining
yesterday.  It was one of 4 fish
landed in 4 different spots.
I coached baseball for many years.  When we were in a tight, low scoring game, we often turned to what was called "small ball". For those not familiar with this term, it means trying to do little things to push a run across.  It might be bunting or stealing or working the count for a walk or settling for singles rather than home runs.
I changed my strategy for carp fishing in the last week, turning to a game of "small ball" with my fishing. I have abandoned the hair rigs, the big sinkers, the 2 rods, the 12 foot rods and the bite alarms.  For the last week I have basically been freelining using one small rod which I am holding.  My strategy has been to hit a number of shallow spots in the morning in the hopes of finding some feeding fish.  Once I find them, I will toss in some bait hoping to get some of them to feed right in front of me.  Then, while taking a stealthy approach, I will very quietly toss in my bait which is just on the hook.  I have been freelining a number of baits in the last week.  They include bread crust, doughballs, sweet corn, maize and mulberries, and I have caught on all of them.
In the last week I have taken exactly 27 carp, and most have fallen to freelining.  These fish have ranged from small ones of a few pounds to fish in the teens. To get an idea just how this "small ball" works, I hit four different spots yesterday morning and came away with four fish.  One spot did not produce while one spot gave up two. The biggest fish was 15 lbs.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Carp Fishing Seminar.....Mon., June 27, West Valley Inn

I will be doing my carp fishing seminar called "Discovering Carp Fishing" on Monday, June 27 at the monthly RISAA (RI Saltwater Anglers Association) meeting. It will be held at the West Valley Inn, 4 Blossom St., West Warwick, RI.  The start time is 7:00.
Though this is a meeting for RISAA members, the public is invited to attend.  A donation of $10 is suggested for non members. Information about RISAA, the seminar and directions are located on the RISAA website.
This popular seminar that I did at many of the big outdoor shows this winter will focus on getting into carp fishing.  I'll deal with equipment, baits, rigging, places to fish, etc in a Power Point presentation. It should appeal to beginners as well as experienced carpers.
Hope to see some of my fans at the show.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sometimes Simpler is Better

This good looking mirror was caught on freelined bread,
and effective and simple way to fish for carp.
I spent several hours yesterday morning carp fishing.  I was using maize and artificials on the hair rig with a method ball. It was all set up on my alarms. To non carp guys this would be complicated stuff.
I got nothing.
A bit later I was scouting anther spot and I noticed a couple of carp grubbing along the bottom stirring up some mud clouds in some shallow water. I had some bread in my bag and decided to toss in a bunch of pieces.  As it floated on the surface the carp took notice.  They cautiously began coming up for the floating pieces.  At that point I cut off my fancy hair rigs and tied on a #8  hook.  On the hook, I impaled a folded, small section of the crust of the bread and tossed it out a short distance.  Well, you can probably guess what happened.  Within seconds a fish came up for the floating offering, inhaled the bait and I was soon fighting a good size mirror.
Carp do love bread and freelining bread is a proven way to catch carp. Yes, sometimes simpler can be better.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Chasing Big Stuff

My biggest mirror for the week went
24 lbs.
At this time of year I am targeting large carp.  May into early June is prime time to catch a big one, and if I am going to seriously chase down carp, it is going to be a big one I am going after.
My biggest common for the week went
25 lbs.
This week I got the urge to go out and explore some big carp venues I have not fished in the past.  So, I picked the greatest big carp venue in New England....the Connecticut River. Most experienced carp fishermen know that the CT River gives up more thirty and forty pound carp every year than any other body of water in New England.  It is known nationally as one of the best carp spots around.
The CT River is a big moving flow of water.  It is the type of water I love to fish.  Everything is big about this place...the size of it, the fish, and the current.  You need to use oversized tackle to deal with this spot.  Three ounce sinkers were needed to hold bottom and my 12 foot rods came in mighty handy to cast heavy weights as well as control the large fish that screamed down current. I hadn't fished along here in years, and it was great to get back in this venue for a couple of days.
The big fish are around and hitting. Fishing the CT River as well as other big carp venues this week, I landed a good number of fish from the mid teens to the mid twenties.  My biggest common for the week was 25 lbs. and my biggest mirror was 24 lbs. I had a huge fish on, but unfortunately, it cut my hooklink along the bottom and I lost the fish.  It was like fighting a runaway freight train and I lost this battle.
So, if you are looking for a big fish, now is the time to get out and try. Large fish over 20 and even over 30 lbs. are not in just any waters.  You'll have to find a venue that holds big ones in order to catch one. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Results....Second Leg of RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament

Todd Richer...19 lbs., 14 oz.
Jake Ayotte...20 lbs., 8 oz.
We have completed yet another month in our 3 month Spring Big 3 Tournament for CAG members. Our guys and gals entered their biggest fish for April and now the biggest carp for May.  I total up the weights and that is their score.  In the total, the first number is the total pounds and the second number is the ounces.
This is the closest contest we have ever run. There have been some real good fish entered so far and it is anyone's tournament to win. The tournament ends at the end of June and medals will be awarded to the winners.
Below are the results so far.

Standings for 2016 RI CAG Big Three for April/May
Angel  Medrano- 25 + 21/8= 46/8
Jake Ayotte- 24/15 + 20/8= 45/7
Tom Perron- 23/ 9 + 21/3 = 44/12
Keri Doire- 23/9 + 20/2 = 43/11
Todd Richer- 20/ 2 + 19/14 = 40
Mike Mercer- 22 + 10/7 = 32/7
Brian Savage- 17/4 + 14/3 = 31/7
Tom Ricci- 13 + 17/8 = 30/8
Tony Carvalho- 4/8 + 21/7 = 25/15
Manny Dias- 22/4
Brandon Dee- 21/7