Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chick Peas

Chick peas are a great corn substitute. We all know the ridiculous “Corn prohibited in trout waters” rule in effect here in RI. Note that we are the only state in the union that bans corn in trout waters. Since the state stocks trout in many of our prime carp waters, you will need to use a substitute bait. Try chick peas or garbanzo beans (same thing). I’ve taken many carp this year over 20 lbs. while using this effective bait. See photo.

You should purchase them dry in a supermarket like Stop and Shop. You can purchase them in cans, but canned peas tend to be too soft to use. You can prepare dry chick peas for fishing in two ways. First, put them in a pan of water overnight. They will swell and are ready to use the next morning. Here is another way to do it. Boil water in a pan. Then, I dump in dry chick peas. Let them boil for 20 minutes, and they are done and ready to be used.

I like to put two of them on a hair rigged hook (see photo). Note that the hair on the hook may have to extend a bit longer than you would have it with corn. I have a few extra long haired rigged hooks just to use with chick peas.

Carp Care

The most serious carp fishermen go to great lengths and expense to protect their fish. Here are a few ideas that carp fishermen use to ensure the safe release and health of the fish.
Treble hooks are out! Trebles can be very damaging to the fish. In addition, if a fish breaks off, it is possible that a treble could impale the fish’s upper and lower lip, thus locking its jaw shut. This would cause the fish to slowly starve to death. Sharp hair rigged hooks are just as effective as trebles and far less damaging to the carp.
Many fishermen use special carp nets with a fine mesh. Large Euro-style nets are sold at many online carp stores (suggest Wacker Baits). These expensive nets have a fine and soft netting that protects the fish’s scales. Normal bass nets have a harsh nylon netting which can cause damage to scales though those nets are a inexpensive and better than no net at all.
Many serious carp fishermen use unhooking mats. These are soft mats that have a nylon-type slippery surface. Once the fish is brought ashore, it is placed on this mat to be unhooked. I have one and find that they are especially useful to use on hard banks and surfaces with rocks and gravel. In many cases, I usually just keep the carp in the net and unhook it in the water, avoiding contact with the bank and making the unhooking mat unnecessary.
Never stick a weighing hook from a digital scale in the gill plate of a carp like you would with a largemouth bass. Carp gills are super sensitive and tear easily (which will cause death). If you want to weigh a big fish, you can do it safely in one of two ways. Keep it in the net and hook the net, lifting both the net and the fish with the scale. Another way to do it is to use a weigh sling. These inexpensive slings look like a sack with handles. The fish is placed in the sack and the scale hook is placed around the handle for weighing (see photo). Wacker sells these also.
The CAG is serious about promoting carp safety. The above procedures ensure a healthy release meaning the fish lives to fight again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Big Week for RI Carpers

Just as I have predicted in the past this has been a big week for members of the RI Carp Anglers Group. There have been some very large fish taken and the good sized carp have been numerous. They are hitting in various parts of the state with the fall action peaking in many locations. The recent rains and cool nights have set off a feeding spree with these carp as they sense the approach of winter.

I fished the last three nights after dark at Lake Tiogue in Coventry. In that time period, I landed 9 big commons from 14-18 lbs., very good sized carp in RI waters. Jeff Allard, our newest CAG member, accompanied me a few nights ago and he landed his first RI 20 lb. carp, a big achievement for a first year carp fisherman here in RI. Last week, I also hit the Blackstone River (prior to the flooding rains) and I was able to catch several mirrors in the mid teens, very good sized fish for this species. In addition, Steve Mc Kenna, another new CAG member has been fishing Twin Rivers in North Providence in the daytime. Steve landed a bunch of fish in the past week that went from low teens to 20 lbs. In fact, he landed a pb (personal best) 20 lber. from this spot. This is another big accomplishment for a first year carp fisherman.

Judging from past years, this type of action should continue for the next couple of weeks in the above locations. But, it will not end. As fall moves on, the fish will seek the shallows on warm days and continue feeding right until the ice arrives. Last year I caught my last 20 lb. fish on Dec. 1. The next day I went back to the same spot and it was covered in ice! In past years, I have caught carp in open water every single month of the year.