Monday, November 20, 2017

Two RI CAGers Place in National Big 4 Tournament

Todd Richer....5th place.
Dave Pickering....7th place.
The National CAG has completed the Big 4 Tournament as two RI anglers placed in top ten. This tournament ran for six weeks.  You entered your four biggest fish and the combined weight was your point total.  This is a tough one to place in the top ten since some very good carp anglers from all over the US compete in this event.
Todd Richer, on of our most experienced and committed carp anglers here in RI, placed 5th in the event.  Todd had a total of 101 lbs, 3 oz. At an average of over 25 lbs. a fish, that was a big accomplishment.  Congrats to Todd!
I had the other top ten finish with 87 lbs., 12 oz.  That was good enough for 7th place. My goal every year in this event is to finish in the top 10. So, I'm pleased with the results.
In the past RI has had many top ten finishers in the spring and fall Big 4 Tournaments.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Carp Fishing Turns Ice Cold

I landed this common this morning.  It was
my only fish in the last three outings.
Too cold. Too fast. The sudden and dramatic drop in water temperatures has the carp in a funk. I've mentioned many times in the past that the carp don't react well to those sudden and fast drops in water temperature, and this is a prime example.
In the last three outings I've gotten exactly one carp which I caught this morning.  Another tell tale sign of the cold is that the fish I caught this morning was very sluggish on the take and very sluggish on the fight.  This happens when the water temps are way down.  Here's yet another sign that winter is quickly approaching.  I was driving up to skiing today (yes, I am now skiing) and I drove by a number of small ponds north of the RI border.  Nearly all of them had a thin coating of ice. I've never seen that this early in November.
We've been spoiled in the last couple of years with very warm weather in November and December, and very good carp fishing that held up till late December.  I think this year is a different animal.  Unless things warm up mighty fast, I hate to say this, but we are approaching the end of productive carp fishing in the ponds and lakes around here. It will end with the ice arrives. The way the weather is shaping up, we are not far away from that happening in RI.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November off to a SLOW start

I landed two mirrors after dark tonight. It
wasn't great but better than the daytime action.
I have been spoiled.  Last year and the year before November carp fishing was fantastic. That's because the weather stayed consistently mild all fall those years.  The water was also low.  Combine that low water and mild weather and you have the formula for great late fall carping here in southern New England.
This year the temperature is all over the place and the water is high from that big storm we had two weeks ago that dumped four inches of rain on the area. It's all affected the carp fishing making for slow going thus far in November. I'm averaging less than two fish an outing so far in November and that is way off compared to the last two years.
I got out today from morning till night and tried a whole lot of spots that usually produce at this time of year. Daytime fishing was poor. The water was high and the temperature was cold.  I  only banked one small common, and I lost another fish. Nighttime was a bit better.  I landed 2 decent mirrors of about 10 lbs. apiece. Compared to last year, this was a slow day for me.
I don't think this frigid weather we will get in the next two days will  help the situation.  I see the fishing as maybe picking up next week after the weather moderates a bit, but I don't expect anything great. It's looking like a slow fall. I hope I am wrong.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Fall Nights

Here's a chunky 23 lb. common that was recently
landed while fishing on a warm night.
This is the time of year that I spend the most time fishing after dark. Yes, that time change to standard time is a killer.  So, with it getting dark real early I will get out more and more after dark in the coming days and weeks.
I have already been fishing after dark a many  times already in the last month, and it has been productive in terms of bigger fish. I've banked  a good number of high teen and twenty pound plus fish. Carp do hit after dark as they will come close to shore in the dark of night to forage. My best luck at night has been to fish on those warm nights in the 50's and even 60's.  That works especially well if the warm night comes after a cold spell. Warm, rainy nights are also great.
I fish it the same way at night as I fish the daytime.  Prebait if I can about 4 hours before fishing. I like to use a combo bait of maize and artificial corn on the hair rig with a method ball packed around the sinker.  I have been having very good luck with white artificials in the last month or so.
I am now fishing in the CAG Big 4 fall tournament.  Of the four biggest fish I have entered (all fish in the twenties), three have come after dark.  That should be proof enough that the after dark fishing is productive for large carp.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Not a Fan of High Water

The Blacktone River was a raging torrent of
water today and was unfishable in every place
I looked at. It was also dirty and loaded
with debris.
Sunday's storm with drenching rain has really caused the water to rise in the rivers, ponds and lakes.  It has made for difficult fishing in the last couple of days.
I'm not a fan of high water. High water will send the rivers up to unfishable levels.  The Blackstone River right now is a raging torrent of fast currents and high, high water.  In many places I scouted today, the water was in the woods and you couldn't even get near the water. The water was also dirty and carried with it loads of debris.
The ponds and lakes are not much better. They are also very high too.  In one place I fish, the water came up over a foot overnight. In places I scouted today, the water was in the woods and under bushes. Leaves and other floating debris were all over the place. While those places are still fishable, finding fish that want to feed can be a challenge.  Many fish will tend to feed along the shore in the woods and under bushes since there might be a foot or two of water where there was dry land a week ago.
So, hopefully the water will recede in the coming days and we can get back to catching carp again.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Crappy Weather Lights It Up

A chunky 17 lb. common sits in the net in
shallow water.  It is one of 17 carp landed in
the last two days of lousy weather.
This may sound like a broken record, but here we go again.  The lousy. rainy, windy weather of the last couple of days has just lit up the fishing for me once again.  Up until yesterday, it had been a struggle to put one or two fish on the bank.  All that changed in this crappy weather.  In the last two days I have landed 17 carp up to 23 lbs.  Most of the fish were over 10 lbs. It's like this weather kicked them into a fall feeding mode.
The bait that has been working for me has been a combo of maize and a white artificial corn fished on the hair rig.  I'm fishing that with a method ball packed around my one ounce sinker. I've used that combo bait in multiple venues, and it seems to be working all over the place.
Daytime as well as after dark fishing has produced in this lousy weather.  Of those 17 fish I landed in the last two days, 7 have been caught after dark and 10 were caught in the daytime.  Nighttime fishing can be very productive at this time of year.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Curse of the 18's

A beautiful 18 lb. common sits in the water in the weigh sling.
The fish had me fooled into thinking it was much bigger.
I am now fishing in the annual CAG Fall Big 4 Tournament.  My four biggest fish so far run from 18 to 21 lbs.  Not bad, but it could be better.  So, in the last week I was on a quest to catch some bigger fish to add to my total.  Fishing multiple big fish venues I managed to get three decent fish.  All weighed exactly 18 lbs.  Hmm, decent fish for RI but not exactly what I was hoping for.
Funny how a fish can fool you even though you have landed thousands of them.  I had a screaming run yesterday, and when I picked up the rod the fish bolted on a drag screaming run in which it ran off about thirty yards of line.  I thought I had a real big fish.  It also did all the normal big fish tricks. I would gain some line and then it would take more out as I slowly gained on it. It also stayed near the bottom on the entire fight, and I did not see it until it was right at the net.  What a surprise. While I was near certain I was fighting a mid twenty, it turned out to be one heck of a strong and smart 18 lb. common.
Back in the Spring Big 4 I had the same curse of the 18's.  I must have landed about a dozen 18 lbers. However, persistence paid off, and I did manage to get several good fish in the mid to upper 20's. Hopefully, the same thing will happen this fall.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Champion of the Queen Award

I am proud to announce that the Carp Anglers Group has selected me for the Champion of the Queen Award for 2017.
Carp, the number one gamefish worldwide, is considered the "Queen of the Rivers" around the world. So, this award is given to the CAG angler who champions carp fishing causes here in the US. It is the highest award given by the Carp Anglers Group, the largest and most influential carp fishing group in the US.
When presenting this award at the annual meeting, Jerome Moisand, CAG Treasurer and Iain Sorrell, CAG VP cited my witing and seminar work on carp fishing, this website, my work as the CAG State Chair (RI one of the most active carp fishing states in the country), my serving on the CAG Board of Directors (CAG Secretary) as well as my passion and devotion to the sport.
If you look at past winners, the list reads like a who's who of carp fishing in the US and features some of the best promoters and carp fishermen in the world.  Some names include Nigel Harrison, David Moore, Andy Sprinkle, Jerome Moisand and many more.  I am honored to be listed with this group.
I received a beautiful glass engraved trophy and this award carries with it a CAG membership for life!

Sunday, October 8, 2017


This common that is splashing around in the
net is number 1,000 on the year.
I hit a major milestone today with my 1,000th carp of the year.  The fish was a common that weighed about 10 lbs. It hit a combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn fished on a hair rig.
Already this is my second best year numbers-wise.  Back a couple of years ago I had over 1,300 carp and that was the only year I was able to get above 1,000.  Beating my own record is still a possibility as I have a solid two and a half months left of fishing and if the weather stays warm, especially in December, anything can happen.
While numbers don't tell the whole story, this has also been a great year of bigger fish for me.  I have three thirties so far and a good number of 25-29 lb. fish.  It's also been a year of surprises as I have landed a big fan tailed common, a sturgeon, a pike and many good size catfish, all while carp fishing!
So, if my year ended today I would have to say it was a big success.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Photo of the Day- Cats on the Prowl Today

The channel cats were on the prowl today, with some big boys hitting. Wish I
could say the same about the carp.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Photo of the Day....Fall is in the Air

The leaves are falling, and there has been an uptick in
the fishing this week.  Expect the cooler weather to bring
improved fishing.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Slow Going

This common, landed this moring, sits in the net. Carp
fishing has been on the slow side so far in September.
September is turning out to be the slowest month of the year for me in terms of numbers of carp  landed. The water is warm, the pests are abundant and the carp are not in any fall feeding mood. And, for the past couple of days the wind has been horrendous, sometimes pulling the line right off the spool. However, I'm steadily getting one or two fish an outing. Slow but I guess you could say steady.
With September carp fishing on the slow side, I have been fishing far more in saltwater than freshwater these days.  Prior to this big blow the saltwater fishing for false albacore and stripers has been some of the best I have ever seen in September along the oceanfront.
My strategy in fishing has always been to go for the best bets.  So far this September that has been saltwater fishing and not carp fishing. I'm hoping things improve as the weather cools.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament Underway

Todd Richer with an entry
of a good size mirror carp.
We'll be going by length in
this tournament. 
Our RI CAG Fall Combo tournament is underway with many entries on the board already.  The idea in this catch and release tournament is to catch your biggest mirror carp, your biggest common carp and your biggest catfish (bonus fish).  You measure your catches by inches and then enter them.  Your total points is the number of inches added together of your three biggest fish of all three species. The tournament runs from Sept. to the end of November.  All fish must be taken in RI waters.We have already had some impressive entries of carp over 30 inches landed, real good size for RI fish.
At the end of the tournament, medals purchased by the national CAG group will be awarded to the top three finishers.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Carp 'n' Cats Active Right Now

Catfish have been active
in the daytime this week
taking the same baits as
the carp.
Carp have been active too.
Maybe it's the cooler nights
that have gotten the action
in high gear.
It's a fact of carp fishing.  If you fish for carp, you are going to catch catfish, and here in RI that includes brown bullhead, yellow bullhead and white catfish.  Catfish, like carp, are bottom feeders and will hit the exact same baits as carp.  However, catfish tend to feed at night, but this week I have been catching good numbers of them in the daytime.
This past week I have caught equal numbers of catfish and carp.  The cats are on the feed, and they have been aggressive. They have even been taking those plastics.  I don't mind as I do like catching them, especially the larger ones.  Biggest cat of the week for me was 18 inches, a good size one here in RI.
The carp have  been equally active this week in the daytime.  I suspect the cooler nights have gotten a fall feed going here in RI.  I've gotten them all sizes with the biggest going a respectable 24 lbs. The hot baits continue to be white plastic corn in combo with real maize fished on the hair rig.
Fishing is good right now.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Plastics Continue to Score

This mirror took two small
plastic corns. Small stuff
tends to work well for
fussy fish.
This common took a
combo bait of one kernel
of white plastic corn
and two kernels of real maize.
With this shot of cooler weather, there has been an uptick in the carp fishing for me in the last week or so. I've landed a decent number of fish, and they have all been caught on some combination of plastic, artificial, pop-up corn. This bait has worked fairly well at keeping the turtles from hitting (though some will take it) while at the same time catching carp.
The hottest colors in plastic corn in the last few weeks have been white and yellow. Funny thing about plastics is that the best colors can change from spot to spot as well as season to season. Experience often dictates what to use. At times I just use the plastic corn with either one large kernel or two smaller kernels on the hair rig. The small kernels have worked well for fussy fish.  At other times (places with less turtles) I might combine real maize and plastic maize setting up a combo bait on the hair. Sometimes I also use a method ball (place with few turtles) and sometimes I don't.
In addition, I've landed a few horned pout and catfish in the last couple of weeks.  They will take the plastic stuff with no problem.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Photo of the Day- "Pike on Plastics!"

I was out carp fishing this morning and got quite a surprise as a pike
took my two plastic corns.  The fish was about 2 1/2 feet long. This is a year
of unusual fish for me....first a fan tailed common, then a sturgeon and now
a pike. What will be next?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

In a Summer Slowdown; 900th Carp of the Year Landed

This good looking common is my 900th carp of the year.
It looks like a thousand fish season will be a sure bet in 2017.
This past week has probably been the slowest week of the summer for me.  The only highlight was that I landed my 900th carp of the year today, setting up what is a sure bet to reach 1,000 fish this year.
I have been out every day in the last week, fishing mostly in the mornings.  I had one blank and got 2 to 6 fish all the other days. Today I was looking at a blank and was about to pack up and leave when I suddenly landed 3 carp in 15 minutes, but that was it.  This is all way off compared to what I had been doing. Yes, I'm in a summer slowdown.
There's a lot of reasons why we hit this slowdown every year about this time.  The water is at its warmest point of the year, the water is low and river flows are slow, pests are at a peak, and the weed is awful this year.  I have really been bothered by pests this week.  I've landed many brown and yellow bullhead (horned pout) and snapping turtles continue to grab my plastics.  I've abandoned all the real bait in favor of plastics to try and cut down on pests. Many of my favorite spots to fish are also unfishable due to low water and weed growth, a bad combination.  All that rain and spring run-off has caused big time weed to form in some places.
So, I'm looking forward to cooler weather, cooler nights in the fifties and some rain.  Whenever all that happens will determine when the carp fishing picks up.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Self Photos with Your Smartphone

Here is everything you need
to take great cell phone photos.
Gardner Camera Angle
Most carp fishermen have to learn the art of taking a self photo.  You’re alone the bank alone and you catch a good size fish, and you want to get a photo of you holding the fish.  How do you do it? The “old” way I used to do it was with a camera.  I had a Canon compact camera and I set the timer for the shutter and the number of shots. Then I pressed the shutter button and ran into the camera’s view with the fish while the self timer clicked away.
Vastar Tripod Adapter
Cell Phone Mount
Phone set up and ready
for me to say "cheese".
I now generally have a better and more convenient way to get the photo with my smartphone.  I should mention that I do not have an expensive smartphone.  It is a recently purchased LG Aristo phone that I bought for $100 on sale.  But, it has some phenomenal features when it comes to taking pictures. It also takes 13 megapixel photos. The most important feature is something called voice shutter.  It’s in the settings and I keep it turned on.  This eliminates any self timer.  You get into the picture and simply say “smile” or “cheese” and it snaps the picture when you say so.  I will hold the fish at different angles and direct the phone when to take the photos.  In addition, my phone has photo editing capabilities.  I can rotate the photo, crop it, enhance it, etc. right in the phone.  It’s a photo editing program built into the phone. Amazing!
Here’s what else you need for those self photos with the phone.  You will need some type of holder.  You could use a tripod, but I prefer to use a bankstick with a mount called a Gardner camera angle (screws into the bankstick). The cell phone will not screw into my camera mount as a camera does so I purchased an adapter called a Vastar Universal Tripod Adapter Cell Phone Holder. This ingenious little tool is a cell phone holder that screws into the Gardner camera angle, and it is adjustable for your size cell phone.  I got it at Amazon for about 8 bucks.  A real buy!

So that’s it.  Take a look at the photo I have for an example.  All done very easily and conveniently with my smartphone!

This beautiful shot of a mirror landed yesterday was taken
and later edited with my smartphone.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Catching on the Green Seed Once Again

The green seed is in the pod
of this tuber that comes
off Arrowhead plants.
Multiple seeds can be
found in these pods.
I ran a post last year on this green seed  that was catching carp for me.  The green seed is now out again this year, and today I caught again on it.  I put two rods out.  One rod had plastic corn.  The other had hair rigged green seed.  The score for the morning was 6 fish on the plastic and 4 on the seed. Pretty even.
This green seed comes from a water plant that I believe is called Arrowhead.  The seeds are in pods in  the tubers that come off the plant. I hair rigged either one or two seeds, and that that seemed to do the trick. These seeds seem to be an August/early September thing so now is the time to fish with them.
These seeds can be hair
rigged.  Use one of two
This mirror was one of
four fish taken on the
green seeds this morning.
Carp tend to eat all kinds of seeds and berries and I would guess that this is one more example of natural food that they eat when available.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Photo of the Day.....Yes, they will eat plastics!

Did I say in my last post that turtles would not hit plastics?
Well, I was wrong. This big snapper grabbed my plastic
artificial corn today. I happen to think these guys will
eat ANYTHING.  They are super active right now.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Avoiding Turtles by Using Plastics

This large mirror took two small. artificial.
pop-up, plastic corns fished on the hair
with no method ball.  It was a great way
to avoid the pesty turtles and catch the carp.
In this case I am using
just one piece of artificial
corn on a short hair. That
also worked well today.
The good news of the day is that I landed 12 carp this morning.  The bad news is that I also landed 3 large snapping turtles. Turtles are a fact of life if you fish for carp in the warm summer months around here,  but there is a way to avoid them while still catching carp. Plastics.  The turtles (for the most part) will not grab your plastics, although I have gotten a few in the past with plastics, but not at the rate that you will lure them with regular bait.
Today I did an experiment.  I fished one today with regular maize and a method ball.  I fished the other outfit with just a plastic piece of corn or two and no method ball. I landed 6 carp on the real stuff and landed 6 carp on the plastic corn.  But, all the turtles went for the real stuff. So, my little sample from today shows that the plastic artificial corn is just as effective on the carp as the real stuff while not luring the turtles. It's a great way to beat the turtles at their own game.
This is no new revelation.  RI's Dark Carper, Kev Wasliewski, has been touting plastics for years on his blog as a bait that turtles will avoid but carp will hit.  You can read some of his stuff on his blog here.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Photo of the Day....A Big Summer Common

I landed this terrific 28 + lb. common today.  It hit a combo bait of maize and
an orange artificial pop-up corn. Big August fish have been rare for me
in the past so this big boy was a big surprise!

Monday, July 31, 2017

800th Carp Landed; On a Record Pace

This rugged common is number 800 on the year. Numbers-wise,
its been a record pace for me so far.
I landed my 800th carp of the year today.  It was a short, but rugged common that was caught on on single kernel of maize fished on the hair.
I have never caught this many carp at this point of the year.  By far, this is the most.  In fact, we are only about half way through the carp fishing year (March through Dec. for me), and already this is the third best year numbers-wise that I have ever had.  There has been only one year in which I was able to reach a thousand fish and that was two years ago when I caught over 1300. This could be a better year with some favorable weather and a little luck.
I try to best the previous year every year.  I keep extensive logs of my catches and go back over the years to see what was producing and where I was catching at certain times of the year.  That has helped to increase my knowledge of waters as well as my catches every year.
This year has been unique in that I have had few, if any, dry spells. I have been on a roll since ice out in the spring and good fishing has continued non-stop for me.  I also think this cooler weather with few heat waves has helped the fishing this summer, a time when the fish can go into a funk in real warm weather.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cool Weather Lights Up Fishing

This good looking mirror was one of 21 carp
landed today in three hours of fishing.
The cool weather had the carp charged up
and feeding.
It's a pattern I  have seen many times in the dead of summer.  The weather is warm and suddenly we get a cold spell that usually comes with a northeast wind and rain.  Today's fall chill came without the rain, but temperatures stayed mostly in the cool sixties, and that was enough to just light up the fishing.
For the first time in months I was able to land over 20 carp in today's fabulous short session of a few hours. That drop in temperature got the fish super active.  I saw a lot of carp cruising around, some jumping and bubble trails all over the water's surface.  The fish were super aggressive on the take and were quick to hit right after the bait hit the water, a sure sign of active fish.  The hot baits today were maize on the hair rig and artificials fished alone on the hair. Both caught good numbers of fish and were equally effective.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Photo of the Day....A Morning Mirror

A gorgeous mirror comes ashore this morning. Morning fishing has been
very productive in the last week.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Photo of the Day....Catching in 90 Degree Heat

This chunky mirror is one of four carp landed in today's oppressive heat.
Yes, they still hit in hot weather!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Orange Pop-up Rules This Day

The orange pop-up artifical corn is circled
in red.  Orange was a hot color yesterday
and caught most of my fish. The pop-up
was used on the hair rig along with 2 kernels
of maize.
I have a fascination with color, and I am always experimenting with colored pop-ups. I'm talking about colored artificial corn that is used in combination with regular maize on the hair rig.  Research tells us that carp are attracted to warm colors like orange, pink, yellow and red. So, many of us add a colored artificial corn or two to our hair rigged offering to further enhance our chances of getting fussy carp to hit.
Most of the time I tend to use a white or a pink artificial corn simply because that has been what has worked consistently for me in the past. But, yesterday I experimented with adding an orange pop-up, and it worked great.  Of the five carp I caught, four of them went for the offering that had the orange artificial corn, and only one fish went for the rig that had the pink.
I realize you can't draw a lot of conclusions from one day's experience. But, here's the things I have concluded from using pop-ups for several years. The most effective colors can change through the seasons, and the most effective colors to use can also change in different waters.
So, finding that best color to use is often an adventure and an experiment. In my mind that best color to use is limited to three.... white, pink or orange. So, my advice is to try changing colors to find which one is the best on any given day.
Yesterday it was orange.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tips for Beating Summer's Slowdown

This fully scaled mirror is number 700 on the
year for me.  I landed 7 fish this morning using
some of the tips in this post.
Carp fishing has slowed for me as the heat has increased although I did land my 700th carp of the year this morning. However, in the last ten days, the numbers and sizes have decreased, but I am still catching them.  This is all quite normal with summer fishing around here.
Here are a few tips that might lead to some better and bigger catches in the coming month:
1. Fish moving water- I try to fish rivers at this time of year because those fish in moving water are far more active than the ones in still water ponds and lakes.  The MA CAG guys had a fish-in in the Merrimack River this weekend and did quite well. Big rivers like the Merrimack and CT River and to a lesser degree the Blackstone are all good bets.
2. Fish the right times- Think cooler hours.  Mornings are good as are evenings.  Nighttime also produces well at this time of year.
3. Nasty days can be a turn on- After a warm spell, there is nothing like a cool, rainy day that turns the carp right on. A couple of years back I landed a 30 lber. in early August on a rainy day after some real hot weather.
4. Get away from turtles and pests- Yes, they are super active in summer.  Some places have a lot of turtles, some have few.  Avoid the spots with a lot of them as they are relentless in stealing bait.
5.  Experiment with baits- In some places that one kernel of maize works well, in other places combo baits with pop-ups might work.  Still, in other places boilies might work.  In bigger waters, bigger baits tend to work better.
6. Try freelining- In small places you might be able to lure carp in front of you by tossing in bread or sweet corn.  If they show close enough to shore, freelining can be super effective. Just put the bait on a hair rig, no sinker.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Going Small for Fussy Fish

Just one kernel of corn
on the hair has been hot
for small, fussy fish.
This is one of ten small fiesty ones that I landed one morning
by going "small".
We are in a summer pattern.  The water warms, the fish get a big fussy and they become hard to catch.  You may recall that last year I did a post about how I was using just one kernel of maize to fish at this time of year and I was having a lot of success with it.  Well, I'm at it again trying to perfect this "small" technique.
I am still sticking with one kernel of maize on my hair rig.  The hair I tie is considerably smaller to accommodate that one kernel.  I am also using "small" hooklink.  I usually go with 50 lb. test Power Pro braid for my hooklinks but in this case I am going with 30 lb. test.  The hook is smaller too.  I am using a #10 Umpua Tiemco 2457 hook. Most of the time I am also fishing a small method ball that I pack around the sinker.  It is about the size of ping pong ball.
This set up has landed good numbers of carp for me in the last week.  Though they have generally been on the small side (less than 8 lbs.) they have been scrappy. At this time of year I am looking for anything that will hit and I am not necessarily fussy about the size.
If you are looking for something different to try and looking for some dead of summer success, try going small. It works!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Carp Turn On in Today's Nasty Weather

This is one of 14 carp landed today as the fish
were super active in this rainy weather. A
variety of methods worked today.
It was my kind of weather today.  And, it was the carp's kind of weather too.  They just love these nasty rainy cool days after days of summer heat.  They were in high gear today.  I tried several spots in the rain today and found active fish everywhere I went.  I saw fish jumping, digging in the mud and moving in small groups in shallow areas. That activity translated into hitting.  I landed 14 carp today, a combination of mirrors and commons.  While I didn't get anything large, I did get a couple of low doubles.
To catch these fish I used a variety of methods.  In one spot where the fish were way out I was fishing hair rigged maize with a small method ball packed around the sinker.  In another spot where I could see a lot of fish moving around  in close, I freelined doughballs and maize after tossing in some freebies to lure the fish to my location.  In still another spot under a mulberry tree, I freelined mulberries.
All the methods were working today because the fish were super active in this bad weather. Over the years I have discovered that the nastier the conditions the better the carp fishing usually is. Of course, most fishermen will not go out in this weather as I never saw another fisherman today.  They don't know what they are missing.
It is now July 7 and I have landed a whopping 80 carp in this seven day period. At a time of year in which I am usually experiencing the summer doldrums of slow fishing, July has been red hot for me.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hot July Fishing Follows Record June

Those who fish for carp know that this sport often delivers its highs and lows. Well, right now, as well as for the last month, I have been on a high as I am having one of the best starts to summer I have ever experienced.
This hefty mirror carp is one of 15 fish landed this morning
in three hours of fishing.  July fishing has been hot so far.
June was a month that delivered both numbers and sizes for me. That's a rare combination in carp fishing.  It also delivered some unusual variety.  As for numbers, I landed 151 carp in the month of June  (a record number for me), and that brought my total for the year to over 600 fish (the most I have ever caught at this point). Prior to this June I had never landed a thirty pounder in June.  This June I had three of them which weighed 30, 32 and 34 lbs.  In addition, I had loads of fish from the high teens to the high twenties. Included in the June haul were some rare species.  I landed my first sturgeon, my first fantail common and good numbers of channel catfish. I got all these fish fishing a tri-state area of CT, MA and RI.
July has just continued where June left off. I've already gotten over 30 carp in July up into the high teens, and it is only July 4. In my desire to get away from the holiday crowds and fish off the beaten path, I tried an unlikely spot yesterday and today for this time of year. And, I hit it big in this location.  In the last two days I landed 24 carp, real good numbers for July. I have been fishing just short sessions of 2-3 hours each day.  All the action has been on hair rigged maize.
The water has been higher than normal and cooler than normal this summer, and I am guessing that has kept the fish more active, although the high water has been difficult to deal with at times.
All in all, this is shaping up to be an epic year for me, maybe the best of all time.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

RI CAG Big 3 Tournament Winners

Tom Perron,
gold medal
Josh Sanville, silver medal.
Our RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament has been running for the last three months. Our guys and gals have been catching and releasing some big carp here in RI.  The idea was to enter your biggest carp by weight for April, May and June.  Add up all the weights and that becomes your point total. The fish had to be caught and released in RI waters. The national CAG group has provided engraved medals for the top three finishers.
Here are the three winners along with their point totals (weights of fish landed):

1st- Tom Perron- 21/8. 30/8, 22/4 = 74 lbs., 4 oz
2nd- Josh Sanville- 23/2, 25/2, 18/5 = 66 lbs., 9 oz.
3rd- Ryan Bunker- 19/11, 22/10, 22/2 = 64 lbs., 7 oz.

Ryan Bunker,
bronze medal
Tom Perron, who came in first last year, has won it again, taking another gold medal. Tom is one of  our best big fish hunters here in RI and posted the only 30 lb. fish landed this year in the tournament. That 30 lb. 8 oz. carp was a PB for Tom.  He also beat his last year's total by about 5 lbs. To average almost 25 lbs. a fish as Tom did is quite a feat here in RI.
Josh Sanville, the silver medal winner, is one of our new guys here in RI, but he sure knows how to fish.  He was the early leader in the tournament as he had the biggest April fish. He averaged over 22 lbs. a fish, real good results here in RI.  He will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Ryan Bunker, who won the bronze medal, came on strong in June with a 22 lb. fish that moved him from 5th to 3rd place.  Ryan is a long time CAG member and one of the most experienced carp fishermen in this state. Ryan averaged over 21 lbs. a fish in the tournament.
Congrats to these three guys and all who entered the tournament this year.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Can You Freakin Believe This

It is the rarest of the rare fish here in New England.  In fact, it is so rare that the species is endangered.  I have seen sturgeon caught on tv shows in the northwest and Alaska, but I have never seen one or even know of anyone who has landed one in New England.  Well, the one in a million shot hit me today as I landed one of these prehistoric looking beauties at the CT River while fishing for carp.
I was fishing bottom using a hair rigged combo bait of maize and artificial corn. All of a sudden one rod started banging, and then the fish started running.  I grabbed the rod and as soon as the fish was hooked it came up from the bottom and shot out of the water like a missile in a spectacular leaping jump.  At that point, I knew I had a sturgeon.
I was off a high wall and got the fish close, and used a bridge net to lift the fish onto the shore.  I quickly popped out the #6 hook that was just barely in the fish's lip, had someone snap a few photos and within seconds, the fish was ready for release.  I didn't get a weight or measurement since I wanted to get the fish back into the water as soon as possible. I leaned way over and down the wall to drop the fish as close to the water as possible. I am happy to report this endangered fish was released in good shape and swam away to the delight of a growing crowd that was watching me.
Note that there is no open season for sturgeon in New England and it is against the law to possess one of these.  If one is caught by accident such as I did today, it should be released as soon as possible.
Luck plays a big role in fishing and this was one of the luckiest and rarest catches I have ever made.
I landed this rare sturgeon while fishing for carp today at the CT River.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Photo of the Day...."Biggest Carp of the Year, 34 lbs."

I landed my biggest carp of the year today.  The fish weighed 34 lbs. It hit a
combo bait of maize and a pink artificial corn.  This is my 20th carp over thirty
pounds that I've landed through the years.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

RI CAGers Finish 1st, 3rd and 6th in National Big 4 Tournament

Brandon Dee....3rd place 
The results for the CAG National Big 4 Tournament are now official, and once again, RI CAG members scored impressive results. Jake Ayotte, winner of the fall Big 4, came in first place, Brandon Dee came in third place and I placed sixth.  The whole idea with the Big 4 is to log in your 4 biggest carp in a six week period.  The total score becomes your points.  This year there were over 50 carp fishermen around the country who signed up for this event and the competition was very tough.
Dave Pickering......6th place
Jake's first place total was 162 lbs., 9 oz. He also had the biggest mirror at 48 lbs., 4 oz. For his first place finish Jake won $225 in gift certificates and prizes.
Brandon's total was 129 lbs., 3 oz.  For his third place finish he wins $100 in gift certificates.
Jake Ayotte....1st place
My total was 108 lbs., 4 oz.  I won $40 in gift certificates.
Before this tournament began my goal was to get to 100 points and finish in the top 10.  Both those goals were reached. I will say this was a tough event this year.  The competition was stiff, and you needed well over 90 points just to make it in the top 10.  The weather was also not cooperative as a lot of the waters were high and unfishable due to rain.  Still, there were some impressive catches made as evidenced by Jake and Brandon's success.
To see all the results and photos, go to the Forum on