Monday, January 24, 2022

Ice Fishing Heats Up

 

Action with yellow perch
was hot and heavy today.

I got out fishing today, ice fishing that is! It's something I used to do almost daily when
the kids were young, and the winters were colder. We used to get home from school, put on the heavy winter clothes, head to a local pond and jig until dark. With our recent warm winters, ice fishing has been very limited in recent years.

When I say ice fishing I really mean jigging.  I spent the afternoon today in a productive pond that had between 5 and 6 inches of hard, clear ice.  As luck would have it, I think someone was there before me, and drilled about 20 holes in just the area I intended to fish. I never had to chop a single hole.

I was jigging a small gold Kastmaster spoon.  On the hook I had a meal worm.  These can be purchased in pet stores.  Meal worms are a must if you are looking for serious action.   Almost immediately, I started catching yellow perch.  Most ice fishermen know these fish run in schools, and I caught most of my perch in holes that were about 20 yards apart.  While I landed a lot of perch, I also landed some hefty bluegills and a foot long largemouth which was the surprise of the afternoon.

It was a productive day and it felt great to get back on the ice today. 

This largemouth bass was the surprise of the 
afternoon. 


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Carp Fishing Seminar at New England Fishing Expo, Boxboro, MA

 The big fishing and outdoor shows are open for business again this year.  As many of you know, I have done fishing seminars at these big shows in the past and I will be at it again this year.

My first show will be my new carp fishing seminar titled "Strategies to Catch Big Carp".  I'll be doing that seminar at the New England Fishing Expo in Boxboro, MA on Sunday, January 30th at 11:00 AM.  I've done this show in the past, and it is one of the best pure fishing shows in New England. You'll find a lot of stuff on freshwater as well as saltwater, and they have an all star line-up of seminar speakers.

So, if you've got cabin fever and are looking for something fishing related to do next weekend, consider attending the show.  Info and website is at https://nefishingexpo.com/  

Hope to see you there!




Thursday, January 13, 2022

On the Board for 2022

This is one of two commons that I
landed on this beautiful January day.

 I got out fishing on this beautiful January afternoon. With all the still water (ponds and lakes) in the state locked in a thin covering of ice, I fished moving water which was ice-free. I landed my first two carp of the year, a couple of 6 lb. commons. They hit a combo bait of sweet corn and a white artificial pop-up.

Realize catching carp in the middle of January is no easy task.  I remember many years ago when I first began fishing for carp in the dead of winter.  I was fishing a small, shallow river that had clear water.  In front of me was a "deep spot" of several feet. I could clearly see the bottom.  I baited up some maize and sweet corn and then tossed my bait right in the middle of the freebies.  Within a short period of time, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of five carp moving up the river and right toward my bait and chum. The group hovered right over the bait and simply kept on moving, completely ignoring the food. It was a lesson that taught me that at times carp are just not feeding in very cold water.

So, this winter fishing is often a crap shoot.  Sometimes they hit, sometimes they don't.  Today, at least two carp hit my bait. It's unknown whether these were the only two fish in the area. Were there others there but not interested in hitting?

Friday, January 7, 2022

Recap of 2021

 Here is the recap of 2021 for me.  It was one of those rare years in which I caught a lot of carp AND a lot of big ones. Because of Covid, I spent a lot of time fishing in RI, more than any other year, and it paid off.  Instead of spending a lot of time traveling, it seemed I was spending more time on the bank. I also discovered some new spots to fish that really paid off.  Carp fishing involves a lot of looking and a lot of experimenting.  Sometimes these things pay off, sometimes they don't.  Last year it did. I also committed to fishing boilies in the spring and fall and it really paid off with many twenties and three thirties.  Yes, boilies are a big fish bait.

This huge, beautiful wild koi was
one of my most memorable fish
of 2021! 
Here is a brief summary of my numbers and highlights for 2021:

*Total carp landed- 740

*354 mirrors, 386 commons 

*Best month, numbers-wise- July- 110 carp

*Slowest month, numbers-wise- December- 11 carp

*Biggest carp of the year- 38 lb. common

*Number of carp over 30 lbs. landed- 7 from 30 to 38 lbs.

*Best big fish month- June- 19 carp over 20 lbs. and up to 34 lbs.

*First fish of the year- Jan. 2- common, 19 lbs.

*Last carp of the year- Dec. 31, common- 20 lbs.

*Best big carp (fish over 20 lbs.) bait- Carp Maxx 20 mm coconut boilie/maize combo bait

*Best bait overall- maize/artificial corn pop-up

*Best artificial bait- Enterprise Popup sweetcorn in white or washed out pink

*Most memorable carp- a white wild koi that had every color imaginable on its body- see photo!

Monday, January 3, 2022

A Must Have Piece of Equipment


 I had an old Chub Rigger pouch that recently bit the dust after 20 years of hard use. It was a great organizer for all my hair rigs.  Last week I ordered a new "rig box", a Korda Mini Rigsafe plastic box. 

Lots of people ask how I keep my rigs organized.  This is the type of box you need to do it.  I tie up all my rigs and then add them to the box.  I store about 30 rigs that are ready to go.  The hooks are placed on a rail at the top of the box and the swivel is pinned at the other end (see photo at bottom). The box fits nicely into my rucksack.

The Korda Rigsafe looks super durable, and looks like it will last a long time.  I bought mine at Big Carp Tackle (www.bigcarptackle.com). It sells for a little over $30.  



Friday, December 31, 2021

Ending the Year with a Quality Fish

 

Here is my last carp of 2021 that is coming to the
net.  The fish was a whopping 20 lbs., big for a 
winter carp.

I'm not surprised that the last fish of the year, caught today on Dec. 31, was a twenty pounder.  This has been the year of the BIG carp for me in RI waters.  I can't tell you how many fish over 20 lbs. that I have taken this year.  It is the most I have ever caught in RI waters (more coming on this in a later post). Today's carp fell for a combo bait of sweet corn and a white artificial pop-up corn fished on the hair rig.

 It's tough to catch a carp over 20 lbs. around here in the wintertime. Smaller fish are more prevalent and active. Still, they can be had. A couple of years back I landed a "20"on New Year's Day in the FFF (First Fishing Folly) Tournament sponsored by the Carp Anglers Group.  That fish won the prize for the biggest carp in the northern part of the US.

With a big warm-up coming in the next two days, this will be a big opportunity to catch a carp in  January for those who go out and try.  They will be hitting.  Smaller and shallow ponds,  small rivers and streams that heat up quickly will be your best bets.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Back to Sweet Corn

 

This is one of a couple of carp I landed on this
cold afternoon.  It hit a combo bait of sweet corn
and a white artificial corn on the hair rig.

In the last week I have made the move back to sweet corn.  Sweet corn from the can that you buy in a supermarket is one of the most effective carp baits you can use.  Big problem with sweet corn during most of the year is that many species of fish and turtles can easily take it off the hook or hair because it is so delicate. However, at this time of the year, the pests are gone due to the cold water so sweet corn is the way to go.

You can use sweet corn in a number of ways.  You can put it on the hair rig using a couple of pieces.  If you are not into hair rigging, you can just put a couple of kernels on a small #8 or #10 hook.  I like to put one kernel of sweet corn on the hair rig along with a plastic artificial corn.  That is what I have been using this week to catch my December carp.

With a cold spell coming and nights dropping way down below freezing, this could be it for awhile for carp fishing from ponds and lakes. Once the ice arrives, it is over.  You can still fish for them in moving water, but I have had very little luck this December in river currents. Small ponds have been far more effective.