Friday, December 25, 2009

Sleeper Spots and Big Carp

A sleeper spot is one of those places that gets very little attention and fishing pressure. Sometimes these places hold enormous fish that grow and grow and are never caught (like the thirty at right that was caught in a MA sleeper lake). Are there sleeper spots in RI that could hold a thirty pound carp? I think it is possible.

For a small state, we have a fair to good knowledge about where carp exist. Back in the 1980's and 1990's credit the Wasliewski brothers (Steve and Kevin) with doing a lot of exploring and discovering what we know about carp fishing today in RI. Those pioneers of carp fishing in RI did a fabulous job of finding out where the fish exist in at least the mid section of the state, and passing that info onto others. For their efforts they are the only two carp fishermen I know in RI who have landed fish over 30 lbs.

Could there be more spots that hold a thirty pounder....sleeper spots we know very little about? Here is my line-up of some places that could be sleeper spots:

1. Turner Reservoir, E.Providence- We know carp are in this spot, but how many and how big is the question. Boaters have told me they have seen enormous fish in the north end of the lake. I saw a small one caught in the south end. Other fish grow to big sizes here.

2. Waterman Lake, Glouster- Bass fishermen have told me they have seen huge ones in this massive lake. I know of no confirmed catches.

3. Georgiaville Pond, Smithfield- No confirmed catches that I know of but lots of rumors of big fish. This place has large bass and pike and is part of the Stillwater system that does support carp.

4. Stillwater/Stump Pond, Smithfield- One of our guys landed an 18 lber. from here at the south end of the pond. I keep hearing rumors about the north end. Can it be true?

5. Slatersville Reservoir, North Smithfield- This is a huge place with no confirmed catches, but people along the lake claim they have seen them there. It is also a place known for big fish.

6. Tidal Section of Blackstone River, Pawtucket- I saw large ones spawning here years ago and occasional ones have been caught, mostly by accident. Much of this area is unknown and unfished. It is loaded with debris and has a strong current, but access is good. Could this place have a thirty pound mirror? It certainly could support one with its abundant food supply.

Will one of these sleeper spots awaken in 2010? Keep all this in mind when planning for next season!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Hate to say it, but I believe the end has come in RI. In the last five days, I have been out fishing with other RI CAG members Jeff Allard and Nick Newton and we have all blanked. Right now, all the small ponds are ice covered and the big ponds have ice along the shores. Water temps. are in the mid thirties in the big ponds, and I have never caught a carp in water that was lower than 38 degrees. Without any warm water outflows in RI, carp fishing comes to a halt when the ice arrives. So, time to clean up the reels, restock some gear, buy some new stuff and wait until an extended warm spell or spring.
I will continue to post on this blog during the winter months. I will be focusing on equipment, reviewing products and sending along CAG information.
To all my supporters who visit this blog, I wish you all Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

RI CAG Members Catching

Several of us RI CAG members got together this week to take advantage of some beautiful December weather as we hit some hot ponds for carp fishing. On Friday afternoon, I fished with CAG members, Nick Newton and Paul Bazzoni and later got together after dark with John Joseph. At the end of the day, the total for the group was 8 commons, all decent fish of about 10 lbs., very good results for the first week of December. The hot baits were sweet corn as well as doughballs fished ahead of a small method ball.

RI CAG members frequently get together to fish in small and large groups as well as exchange information on a weekly basis. We share information about spots to fish, baits and techniques. If you are into carp fishing or would like to get into it, consider joining our group. If you join the national CAG at, you automatically become a RI CAG member.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Doughballs Very Effective Now

Doughballs are probably your most effective carp bait overall. Yet, you simply can't use them most of the year because everything else (bluegills, horned pout, perch, etc) loves them also. These fish will pick you clean in a matter of minutes in the warm months. With December here, these pests are dormant, but the carp are still on the hunt for food.

In the last two outings, doughballs have been my bait of choice and they are really producing right now. I've caught a good number of mirrors and commons up to 13 lbs. (pic on left of fish caught yesterday) in the last two days using these. A doughball is simply the white section of a slice of bread rolled up tightly and compressed into a ball about the size of a small marble. After forming with my fingers, I like to set it out into the sun to try a bit and harden, making it very durable. I use it on a hair rig up ahead of an oatmeal based method ball (see pic on right).

This bait has been very effective in the last month of the year and the first month of the year. Yes, at times it will outfish corn!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fishing Perks Up

We were in a lull for the past two weeks, but for whatever the reason, the fishing has picked up considerably in the last couple of days. I landed many decent commons this week from 10-18 lbs. (see pic of 18 lber. caught today). I also saw a lot of activity with fish jumping, moving around and bubble trails in multiple ponds. It all represents an upswing in activity. Water temperatures in several places I tried were right around 50 degrees, far warmer than most years for this time. Until we get an extended cold spell, the fishing should remain productive.

The hot bait continues to be unflavored sweet corn. I'm taking a finesse approach with small method balls, small sinkers and smaller hooks. This seems to be the ticket to success at this time of year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Same Fish, Another Record!

The CAG record for mirror carp has been broken again. This is the third time in half a year it has been broken, but it all involves the same fish, the same location, and two fishermen.

In the summer, Corey from MA caught a 22 lb., 6 oz. mirror carp to set a new RI CAG record for that species. Shortly after, Jeff Allard, RI CAG member, landed the exact same fish in the same spot, but this time it weighed 22 lbs. 10 oz., setting a new record. Finally, a week ago, Jeff landed the exact same fish in the exact same spot, but this time it weighed 23 lbs., 15 oz. I have my money on Jeff landing it again next year and the fish weighing 25 lbs.!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bad Weather, Good Fishing!

I took a break from my striper fishing and got out carp fishing today. The weather was lousy with high winds, cold and showers, my type of fishing weather. It didn't affect the fish as they were very active. I was quite surprised at the screaming runs I was getting. Maybe it was because the water was still 50 degrees.

In a session of three hours, I landed 6 carp, all small ones in the 5-6 lb. range and missed several other runners. I got three of them on unflavored sweet corn and three of them on small doughballs. Unflavored sweet corn and small doughballs made from rolling the white part of a slice of bread are about the best late fall baits to use. I also had a small, oatmeal based method ball up ahead of the bait. I used the finesse strategies described in my posts below. Yes, it is still happening. I plan to keep fishing until the ice comes in.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Putting it Into Practice

I decided to practice what I preach. Went out yesterday and fished the cold water strategies exactly like I described in my previous post. I was fishing a small pond. The result......7 carp in an hour and a half, by far my best day this month numbers wise.

I used small hooks, small method ball, and sweet corn. Here's something interesting. Flavored sweet corn was not working. I tried several kinds. I got all my fish on unflavored sweet corn. I tried the flavored stuff with no luck, proving my point (that I've said in the past) that sometimes the flavored stuff works well, but sometimes it is a major turn off. Regular maize was also not working. One more note. I had to use a small method ball. The corn alone would not do the trick!

If you are looking for some quality sweet corn to use, try Green Giant, Super Sweet Yellow and White sweet corn that can be purchased at Stop and Shop. It is durable and very effective. It is the only unflavored sweet corn I will use.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cold Water Strategies

We're in mid fall and heading toward cold weather. It's just about time to start developing a cold weather strategy for carp fishing here in RI. Time to THINK SMALLER!

I especially like to fish small ponds in the cold. Small ponds are far easier to find carp and offer more consistent fishing. In large ponds carp tend to congregate in certain spots in the cold and those spots are often difficult to find because of the size of these big waters.

It's also a time to go smaller at the terminal end of your line. November carp are not the voracious feeders that they were back in June and July. They will pick at your bait, bump it and move it around, tactics that will drive a sane fishermen nuts. Screaming runs are not the norm. I will go with smaller hooks at this time, replacing my #6's with #8's. Cut down on your hair length to accomodate smaller baits. I might go with one or two kernels of sweet corn on the hair rig or maybe a small doughball. Hooklinks should also be shorter. I also tend to use smaller egg sinkers in the quarter ounce range. Finally, cut down on the size of your method ball. Instead of that tennis ball size method that worked so well in the summer, cut it down to the size of a ping pong ball. Consider eliminating the method. Using two rods, I might use one with method, one without.

Timing is also important in cold weather. In late fall and winter, I tend to fish the warmest part of the day. That time period from early afternoon until dark has produced well in the past.

Until last year, I was on a 24 month roll, catching a carp every month of the year in open water for two years straight. Yes, carp will continue hitting in cold weather and water, but it is time to adjust your strategies to a cold water approach.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slowing Down???

We are in a lull right now. As I type this, the temperature outside is in the thirties. With the water cooling rapidly, the carp are not as active as they were a month ago.
All of our RI CAG members are asking why the fish are not hitting so well these days. Here's a few thoughts about late fall fishing. This is no longer July. You can expect to catch far less fish, but remember that there are still fish to be had. At this time of year, I like to start hitting small ponds where the fish are easier to find and easier to catch. It is also a time to go delicate. Kev Wasliewski, the former CAG state chair in RI, would always give late fall advice to go smaller with the bait, smaller with the sinker, smaller method balls, go with sweet corn rather than maize, etc. This is a guy who could really catch at this time. Expect a lot of "taps" rather than screaming runs at this time. The fish's metabolism is slowing with the cold water and the hits will be picky at best. I will also use doughballs a lot at this time. They seem to like this soft bait and the pesky fish like bluegills that often steal this bait are inactive in cold water. Finally, adjust the times you fish. Last year I did really well in late fall during the warmest part of the day....from early afternoon to sunset.
The end is not nearly in sight. I keep extensive records or logs on my carp fishing. Last year I caught my last carp in open water in RI on Dec. 29. I had several days in December with upwards of 8 fish in one outing. I also landed many fish from the teens to 20 lbs. in November and December. So, things are not over by a long shot. We are just in a lull right now.

More PB's to RI Carpers

It's fall and it's big carp time here in RI. Many PB's have been landed by RI carpers this fall. While we've seen the mirrors in the previous post, our guys are also landing some big commons also. Paul Bazzoni, one of our newest RI CAG anglers, landed a PB common of 18 lbs. (see pic at right) fishing on a cold day. Tom Maguire, one of our veteran anglers, landed a common of 23 lbs. recently also. These are some big fish by RI standards. Great job, guys and terrific fish for fishermen who have been carp fishing just a short amount of time. Those RI Carpers REALLY know how to fish!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mirror PB's landed by RI CAG Members

Mirror PB's (personal best) have been landed by RI CAG members lately. These are some big carp that are being caught in parts of the Blackstone River, the mirror epicenter of New England.

Jeff Allard, one of our experienced carpers, landed a 22 lb. mirror in late summer (see pic at left). It is the largest mirror ever recorded by a CAG member in RI and is listed under the CAG records for RI. Congratulations Jeff!

Dick Czarn, one of our new members, landed his PB, a nineteen pound beauty, recently while fishing with Jeff (see pic at right). Dick has been fishing only a few months but has really put in his time and effort and it is great to see that it is paying off with magnificent fish like this.

We have set up an informal network here in RI where our new members frequently fish with our experienced members, and it is really paying off! By the way, both these fish were released after the photos. The RI Carpers are committed to catch and release fishing and are very conservation minded!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Big Fish Landed at Get Together

Just as I have been saying all along, this is the time to fish in the evening and nighttime. Big carp are on the feed right now.

The RI CAG group held an informal get together this week at one of our hotpsots. It was an evening/nighttime event for members only. Our group frequently holds these events for members along with publicized fish-ins throughout the year that are open to the public. Anyone who joins the CAG ( ) automatically becomes a member of the RI Carpers. Membership does have its privileges!

On this evening our group landed two commons over twenty pounds along with several more big fish in the teens. The best action occurred after dark. One of our new members, Nick Newton, landed a PB (personal best) of 21 lbs. Nick is a beginner who joined our group earlier in the summer. He has fished very hard all summer, landed quite a few smaller fish, made contacts with some of our experienced members and finally got the fish he was looking for. A twenty pound carp is very large by RI standards. Congratulations Nick!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adjustments in Fall

Fall is barely two days old and already I see several changing patterns emerging with my carp fishing. In the last week, I have noticed production decrease big time in the morning fishing (especially on sunny mornings) while more fish are hitting in the evening/ nighttime hours. I have also been catching larger fish with several twenties landed in recent outings. See the photo of 21 lber. caught two days ago just at sunset. I suspect the big fish are going into a fall feeding pattern as they sense the coming of cold weather brought on by very cool nights in the forties and low fifties.

Even the prime baits are changing. Pineapple vodka maize was hot once again this week after not working for 2 months. Scopex, a good late summer/early fall flavor, was also working. Expect the fruity flavors to get hot again in the fall. I've gone back to adding molasses to my method mix as a flavoring, a tactic that worked out real well last fall.

For the next month fishing should be real good in evening/nighttime. Once the real cold weather arrives (November), the warmest part of the day, late afternoon, should be the best. Those have been my productive patterns in the last few years here in RI.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Flavored Corn.....A Changing Game

We all know the power of flavored corn. Find the right flavor and you are golden. Problem is that the flavors change as the year progresses. I suspect it has something to do with the temperature of the water that magnifies and enhances certain flavors.

Here is my line-up on what works based on years of using flavored maize. In cold water in early spring and late fall, go with fruity flavors. Flavors such as strawberry, Bait's Stop's Big Time Banana (very hot this spring), tuitti fruiti, and pineapple are all good flavors to use. In the summer time go with sweet flavors and alcohol based flavors. Sweet flavors such as scopex and Bait Stop's vanilla/butter/nut and anise work well in the summertime. Such alcohol based flavors such as Bait Stop's Wild whiskey and my homemade pineapple vodka worked well in the summer also.

None of this is set in stone and is a general guideline as to what I use when selecting flavored maize as well as sweet corn. I often carry lots of jars of flavored corn with me and keep changing if there are few hits.

One more note here. While flavored corn can often be the ticket to screaming alarms, it can also lead to dead fishing if you are using a flavor that is out of favor with the carp.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall Fish-in a Success

We held our fall fish-in for CAG members and friends yesterday evening at Scott's Pond in Lincoln. This was a day/night affair. We had fishermen attend from RI, MA, CT and even a special guest from Paris, France.

My spot started off hot as I picked up three mirrors right away on a combination of vanilla/butter/nut sweetcorn and Scopex maize on the hair rig. Dick, Czarn, fishing next to me picked up a couple of mirrors on corn also. As the evening went on the MA clan of Greg, Ioann (guy from France) and Chris began hitting fish at their spot. They hit 4 or 5 in a row as their alarms kept sounding. We landed all mirrors. Surprisingly, most of the action occured in the daylight with no fish landed in the pitch dark.

Thanks to all who attended....John, Charlie, Nick, Dick, Greg, Chris, Ioann, Jeff, and Paul. It was a wonderful evening of sharing stories, talking tecnique and catching fish.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Big Carp Alert

In the last week, I did something I hadn't done in the last month......caught a 20 pound carp. In fact, I nailed two big lumps of 20 and 22 lbs. (see photo of 22 at right). It's not surprising because the cool nights are signaling a change to fall and the fish sense it too, setting off a need to start feeding up before winter. In the past, the time period from mid September to mid October has been prime time to catch a big carp here in RI. Many of the biggest fish will be caught at night (especially on sunny days). Cloudy and rainy days can be very productive in the middle of the daytime. Beef up your gear, check your line (or better yet, change it), rig up with heavy duty hooks, and get ready for the big fish game. It is prime time to land a PB.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beating the Doldrums

We are into the dog days of summer and carp fishing is now very slow in the daytime. If you want to continue catching fish you'll have to adjust your times and places you fish.

If you are fishing ponds and lakes right now, work the shady areas under trees in the daylight. Early morning and evening will offer the best fishing in these spots. Rainy days can also be good. I often fish at night at this time of year when the carp are most active. That period from sunset to a couple of hours after dark is usually good. Bring along a good headlight and lots of mosquito repellent.

Be aware that big river fishing can be good in the daylight as carp remain active in the moving water. I've had very good daytime fishing in the last week in some of my big river spots in MA. Overall, we are in a slow period and you will catch nowhere near the numbers of fish at this time of year as you would in late spring or fall.

Sinker Sense

Most beginners I speak to have lots of questions regarding sinkers or leads as the Euro carpers call them. "What is the best size to use, what's the best type, etc.?"

Think about the purpose of your sinker. It is basically to get your bait out a certain distance and to hold that bait on the bottom. Additionally, it can be used in a third way as an aide to actually hooking a carp. Most fishermen who fish lakes and ponds use sliding egg sinkers in a half to one ounce range as their leads. I like to use the steel egg sinkers sold by Cabelas. These have an insert in the center which greatly reduces line wear that lead egg sinkers are known for. River currents dictate the use of heavier sinkers making weights up to three and four ounces standard in most big river flows. Fishermen who use heavier sinkers tend to use "semi-fixed" leads where the line does not move through freely the sinker. This is achieved through pulling the swivel that is on your hooklink into the plastic sleeve of these sinkers. I like Wacker Baits inline flat pear sinkers in a 3 oz. size with a #8 swivel on my hooklink.

There are a small group of sharpies now using heavy three ounce in-line leads to fish ponds and lakes. The theory here is that when a fish grabs their bait and runs, the sinker pulls the hook into its lip. Also, these heavy sinkers allow for a long cast, a real plus in some spots.

Remember, too, when choosing your sinker that the rod must be capable of casting that weight. Most "small" rods of 6-8 ft. are not able to handle the weight of 3 oz. sinkers packed with method mix. However, big Euro rods (2.50-3.00 test curves) of 12 ft. can easily handle the job.

500th Carp of the Year!

Before the season started, my goal was to catch 500 carp as well as get a new PB. I got the new PB back in May with a 36 lb. mirror. Yesterday I reached the 500 carp mark for the year as I netted a 17 lb. common in one of my favorite summer spots to fish. Interestingly, most of my fish this year have been mirrors with 4 out of every 5 carp a mirror!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Getting That First One

Many fishermen would like to try carp fishing, but they lack the Euro style equipment like baitrunner reels, long rods, hair rigs, bite alarms, etc. So, can it be done with that bass fishing outfit along with some hooks and sinkers? Absolutely, but you will have to modify your approach a bit. I watched the girl in the picture at the right catch her first carp on regular bass fishing gear.

If your spinning reels that were used for bass hold a good amount of 10 or 12 lb. test mono you are on your way. Your terminal rig should consist of an egg sinker held in place with a swivel. Onto the swivel attach an end leader that should be 6-8 inches long with a small, #6 hook tied onto the end. For baits, I suggest several kernels of sweet corn from the can threaded onto the hook or white bread dough that will make a small ball that you'll pack around the hook.

Cast out your bait and rest your rod on a "Y" stick. The key here is to either open your bail (see photo at left) and watch the line for movement or loosen your drag to its lowest setting with the bait closed. Both these actions are to prevent the rod from being pulled in on the screaming, initial run. If your drag is in the loose setting and a run occurs, give the rod a pull while holding the spool in place with your thumb. Once the fish is on, gradually tighten the drag.

The techniques used above are far from ideal, but that is the way most fishermen have come to tangle with their first carp. Once you get hooked, consider buying the Euro equipment that will be needed to consistently and effectively catch carp of all sizes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weighing Carp

There's a correct way and an incorrect way to do this. The incorrect way is to put the scale's hook under the gill and attempt to weigh the carp like you would a largemouth bass. That will almost surely cut a gill and kill the fish. NEVER stick a weighing hook into a carp's mouth or gill plate.

Here are a couple of ways to do this safely. Most of the serious guys use a weigh sling. This is basically a sack made of fish friendly material. The sack has handles. Weigh slings can be purchased at most online stores. Put the fish in the sack, and put the handle onto the scales's hook and weigh. Check out my friend Jerome at right properly weighing a carp. If you want to be precise, subtract the weight of the sling. Another way you can do it is to leave the fish in the net and hook the scale around the net and weigh. Once again, later weigh the net and subtract that weight to get an accurate weighing. One more thought...get a decent scale. Berkley makes some high quality digitals at reasonable prices. Rueben Heaton makes the top carp scales in the world (find them at Wacker Baits), but they are expensive.

Not a Light Tackle Game

Beginners are often confused about the equipment that carp fishermen use. First off, this is not a light tackle game. I cringe when I see beginners who are accustomed to reeling in 12 inch trout trying to use that same trout gear to catch carp. If you are using 4, 6 or even 8 lb. test line, it's too light. If you hook into a decent carp, expect there to not be a happy ending most of the time with the carp swimming off with a hook impaled in its lip and you cursing on the shore.

So, what constitutes ideal carp gear. Here is what I use:

Light outfits- 7 ft. St. Croix Triumph surf rods, 3500 Shimano Baitrunner reels, 12 lb. test Berkley Big Game line. Good for tight spots, freelining, canals, small ponds, small fish under 8 lbs.

Medium outfits- 8 ft. St. Croix Triumph surf rods, 3500 Shimano Baitrunner reels, 15 lb. test Berkley Big Game line. Good all around use for average fish 8-15 lbs. Will cast 3 oz sinkers needed to fish river currents.

Heavy outfit- 12 ft. DAM Crosspower carp rods, Shimano 4500 reel, 17 lb. test Berkley Big Game mono. Good for big fish, 15-30+lbs. Good for use on open banks, big river currents and places where long casts are needed.

If your wallet can only absorb only one outfit, go with the medium one. Less expensive rods in the 8-9 ft. range that will cast 3 oz. sinkers will do fine. Looking for a less expensive reel, go with Okuma Avenger 50 reels. Avoid cheap line.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

5000 HITS !

We reached a milestone on this blog today with 5000 hits.
I want to thank all who have visited my site. I will continue posting relevant carping articles with an emphasis on RI carp fishing and techniques. Many RI fishermen have tried carp fishing for the first time this year, some have landed their first carp, and still others have caught PB's (personal best). Interest in the sport has soared in this state. Thanks again for your interest in carp fishing.

Hot Baits

Last evening I fished a place in nearby MA, a place that has offered real good fishing in the last few days. Earlier in the week, I had been introduced to the location with MA CAG member Greg Budd. Greg was using purple mulberry boilies, a bait he had good success with in this spot. It gave me an idea to use my homemade mulberry flavored corn.

Yesterday I started off with two rods out on the bottom. One had my homemade pineapple vodka corn, a flavor that has been my go to bait for the last month. The other hair rig had a kernel of homemade whiskey corn and a kernel of homemade purple mulberry corn (see photo at right). The first 6 fish went for the whiskey/mulberry combo. That prompted me to get rid of the pineapple vodka and replace it with mulberry/whiskey. I proceeded to get hit after hit and when the evening was over, I had banked 13 carp up into the low teens and missed a bunch more. The whiskey/mulberry bait proved to be outstanding. In the past I had often mixed flavors and colors of corn and had very good success.

Here's how I made the mulberry flavored corn. Get a cup or two of mulberries, put them into a blender and liquefy them. Pour the mixture in a jar and add boiled field corn and let it sit for a few days. Keep the jar cover fairly loose since the mixture ferments and forms a gas that will build up pressure on the jar. It's easy to make and very effective. As for the whiskey, just pour a nip of cheap whiskey into a jar of corn.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flavoring Your Own Corn

Some carp fishermen prefer to flavor their own corn rather than purchase it that way. If you have read the article below, you know how to prepare field corn. When the corn is hot and finished boiling, that is when I will add my flavoring. Take the hot corn with a spoon and put it in a jar (plastic or glass with a cover). Once in the jar, pour the flavoring in, filling the jar with liquid flavoring. Then, close the cover.

One of the hottest flavors I have used in the last month is pineapple Skyy vodka. Just buy a nip and add it to your jar of boiled field corn and let it sit for a day or two. I have also had good luck in the past flavoring with ginger brandy, molasses, pineapple juice, vanilla extract, banana extract, and liquefied mulberries (done in blender). The possibilities here are endless. Of course, if you don't want to bother with creating your own flavored corn, you can always buy from The Bait Stop, a company that specializes in flavored corn and other baits.

One note of caution here about flavoring. Sometimes flavoring can make a difference (especially in spring and fall) and can really turn on the carp. However, flavored corn can also have the opposite effect, turning them off. This is why many fishermen prefer using unflavored corn, a good choice that always seems to catch. But many, like myself, are always experimenting, looking for that special flavor that carp just can't resist!

Preparing Corn

Most carp sharpies who use and chum corn don't buy it in a supermarket. They buy it in a feed store like Agways in a 50 lb. bag (see photo at right) which will cost you 8-10 dollars. It is by far, the cheapest and most effective way to use corn. This type of corn is called "whole kernel feed corn". It comes is a dry state and must be prepared before using. Once prepared, you can use this to prebait, use it as a hook bait or even flavor it with your own secret flavoring.

Here's how I prepare it. I fill a large pot about halfway with dried corn and then fill the rest of the pot with water. Let it sit overnight or for about 6 hours. Then boil it. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low to keep the boil going and set the timer for 35-40 minutes. Once finished and off the burner, let it sit for an hour or two as the corn tends to soak in more moisture after it is finished. I then put the corn in plastic containers and refrigerate for later use.

Field corn is tough and durable as a summer hook bait and the carp love it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In a Slowdown

Well, you know summer is here when carp fishing slows in the daytime. And, it has slowed big time. We're past the post spawn feed, past the mulberry binge, and entering a period of slow fishing.
However, there are strategies one can use to increase your catches during this time. Fish moving waters in rivers. Pond fish tend to sulk and expend little energy at this time, but river fish are constantly fighting currents and far more active in the dead of summer. If you fish ponds and lakes, focus on the best times. Right now the fish are hitting best in early morning and late evening. Even after dark is very good. Cloudy and rainy days are also good. Prebait if you can, since that will also get the fish in the area you are fishing.
Last summer I caught the majority of my fish in two locations.....the Blackstone River and the Merrimack River. That should tell you just how effective rivers are at this time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Freelining and Sight Fishing

In this video we are sight fishing along a shallow shoreline where carp are feeding on mulberries. Very simple concept.....see a fish, toss the mulberry a foot or two in front of it and hopefully it takes. You must be very quiet and stealthy for this to work. You use no weight when freelining, just the hook and the bait. Watch for the line to start moving and pull. I'm using standard, heavy duty spinning equipment here. I've had success in the past doing this with mulberries and doughballs. Note the start of the video in which I am pointing to a fish I've targeted that is moving along the shoreline.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Beginner's Clinic Scheduled

I will be holding a beginner's clinic at Lake Mashapaug in Cranston on Thurs. evening, July 9 from 6:00 until dark. This will be a good opportunity to fish for carp, ask questions, see the rigging that is used and see the Euro and non Euro techniques that can be used. I'll also bring a variety of baits to use. Corn as well as doughballs work real well here.

Lake Mashapaug is located off Niantic Ave. in Cranston. From the north, take Rt. 146 south to Rt. 10 south to the Cranston St. exit. At the exit, take a right to the light, and then another right. Go past the bridge and take a right onto Niantic Ave. Proceed to where you find a baseball field (opposite Enterprise Rent a Car). Take a left at the ball field and go to the end. Take a right at the gate and park on the grass along the shore. From the south, take Rt. 10 to the Niantic Ave exit. Take a right onto Niatic Ave. and follow the directions above.

RI Carp Fishing Hot Right Now

I've landed the most carp I have caught this year in a five day period......70 fish. I don't know if the heavy rains of last week got them going or if it a post spawn feed. Whatever, they are very active right now and hitting a variety of baits such as doughballs, corn and mulberries.

Even those who are new at the game are catching. My son, Jon, has been taking his buddies fishing in a pond down the road from our house. A whole bunch of kids who have never caught carp are catching with regularity. They are mostly freelining mulberries, an easy and quick way to catch carp at this time of year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Carp Gone Wild

It was a wild weather day here in RI with thunderstorms, wind and heavy rain. It was my kind of carp fishing weather, the type of conditions in which I have scored big all year. Today was another one of those banner days.

I began the day searching under mulberry trees along the Blackstone River, the canal and a few ponds. The rain was knocking berries all over the place and the carp were going nuts for them. I landed 6 carp up to the low teens on berries and lost several more. Later, I hit one of my favorite ponds and fished my pineapple vodka flavored corn and vodka flavored sweet corn. I landed 9 more fish up to fifteen pounds and lost several more. In ever spot I fished, the carp were charged up like the weather, breaking and rolling and moving around in groups in low water.

My total for the day was 15 carp with a mix of commons and mirrors. It was my type of fishing weather day, and I would guess the carp found it favorable too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In-line Leads

The key to fishing fast water in a river is using large sinkers or leads that are needed to hold bottom in a fast current. Three ounces seems to be the choice among most fishermen since that weight will hold bottom as well as hook a fish on the bolt. There are two rigging choices that employ semi fixed set-ups. These include in-line leads or the use of lead clips. Semi-fixed rigs ensure that if the fish breaks the line on the fight, the lead will eventually fall from the rig, freeing the fish from the weight.
I like to use in-line leads in which the line passes through the lead. In the video below, I am rigging a Wacker Bait Quick Change In-line Flat Pear. The first step is to pass your line through the tail rubber that is up front. Continue to pass the line through the sinker, and then tie off a premade hook link leader that is set up with the hook. The key here is that the swivel should just fit into the rubber sleeve that is in the lead. Generally, a size #8 swivel (bought at Wacker) is the standard size. Pull the swivel into the lead for a semi-tight fit, and you are ready to hit the river!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Battle from the Kayak

I frequently paddle around carp ponds in my kayak just looking for mulberry trees at this time of year. That's where you are sure to find carp feeding. They are easy marks when feeding on mulberries. Well, I found some today and fished a berry under several trees. The first fish I hooked tore off along the shore and took me under a tree and escaped. I got smarter with the second fish. Right after hooking, the fish headed for a snag, but I immediately stuck the rod under my knee and paddled like crazy into deeper water. Once in deeper, snag free water, the fish pulled me around a bit, but I was able to get the fish along side the kayak and netted a nice 10 lb. common. If you are looking for a challenge and own a kayak, give this a try!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mulberry Alert

Within the next week, the mulberries will be out and ripe all over the state. They are just about there. If you know of a mulberry tree along the the shore of a carp pond or river, you are golden. These berries can be red, purple, white and even pink. Whatever the color, carp go crazy over mulberries, like kids eating candy.

Technique here is simple. Pick a berry off the tree, and impale a size 6 or 8 hook into it (see picture) and freeline the berry in the area where they are falling. Sometimes the carp will pluck it right off the surface. At other times they will hit it on the drop or on the bottom. One other suggestion here. Sometimes the berry will not sink. If that happens, squeeze it gently and then it should then sink.

The biggest mirror carp I have ever caught in RI was caught on a freelined mulberry. That should tell you just how effective this bait is.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

River Fishing Hot Right Now

My focus has really shifted from ponds and lakes to rivers. All the rivers offer hot fishing right now. So long as the flow remains slow and the water remains cool, this hot fishing should continue. Last week I was at the Ct. River for three days and landed over 20 common carp into the mid twenties. This week I am focusing close to home and catching big numbers of mirror carp up to 18 lbs. The hot producer in both spots has been homemade pineapple vodka flavored maize along with a couple of kernels of flavored sweet corn from The Bait Stop.
Check out my father fighting a tough fish from the CT River. Not bad for an 78 year old fisherman!

Successful Fish-in

Many thanks to the CAG members along with the general public who came to our fish-in along the Lower Blackstone Canal on Saturday. We had 40-50 anglers attend. Some fished, others just came along to observe and ask questions.The purpose of a fish-in is to showcase carp fishing and share information. And, yes, we did catch some fish. The group ended up with 10 mirror carp up to 12 lbs. Young Johnny Joseph (picture at right) landed the biggest one at 12 1/2 lbs.

For those new to carp fishing, the RI Carp Association is a part of the national group, the Carp Anglers Group. If you are from RI and join the Carp Anglers Group, you are automatically part of the RI Carpers. You can join the Carp Anglers Group by signing up on their website at Membership benefits include 4 magazines (NACA) a year, discounts on some online carp stores, tournaments, and a great network of fishermen as a resource. The RI Carpers frequently hold informal get togethers, send out periodic newsletters and e-mail updates of carp fishing information.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Change of Plans for Fish-in

Unfortunately, we have to change the venue for our RI Fish-in. It will be held at the same time, June 6 from 9:00 am until late afternoon/evening. However, we can't hold it at the Rivers Edge Recreational Complex due to the Riverfest canoe race that day.
So, here's the new spot. It is in the Blackstone River State park off Rt. 123 in Lincoln, RI. This is a unique spot in that you can fish the Blackstone River, the Lower Canal as well as a place we call Secret Pond. To get to this location, take Rt. 146 north or south and proceed to the Rt. 123 exit. Follow Rt. 123 east or "down the hill" for a mile or so (this is Breakneck Hill Rd. which becomes Front St.). Take a left at a sign that says "Blackstone River State Park" just after the Lincoln Plaza. There is a large parking area here. From here, it is a 6-7 minute walk to the place where we will be fishing. Walk to the bike path and cross the large bridge spanning the river. At the east end of the bridge, there is a gate. Go through the gate and walk the path toward the river. It will bring you to the canal which will be where we will start. There is a high bank here, so if you have a bridge net, take it along. This is a very scenic area and a place that has lots of mirrors. Let's hope they are hitting!
Hope to see you there. If you get lost, call me at 401-648-1970.

Friday, May 29, 2009

River Carp in On the Water Magazine

The latest issue of On the Water magazine has my article on river carp fishing. It is a tell all story about how to fish big and small rivers for carp here in NE. The story outlines equipment, rigging, and baits and has some stories about my experiences of learning how to fish big rivers at CAG fish-ins along the banks of the Merrimack River.

Taking on the CT River

I have always wanted to fish the CT River in MA for carp, and today I finally got there. Thanks to friend, Khrys, for showing me some spots that were very productive.

The river itself is MASSIVE with a fast flow. I was fishing my usual hot set up which is two kernels of flavored sweet corn (testing for The Bait Stop) along with a kernel of Wild Whiskey maize on a hair rigged hook. Up ahead was an oatmeal based method ball. A three ounce inline lead was needed to just barely hold bottom.

Well, the alarms were buzzing for Khrys and me as we landed about 17 carp with at least a half dozen in the twenties (see pic at left). It was hot fishing for decent fish and fulfilled my goal of getting to and fishing the CT River for carp.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

RI Fish-in on June 6

The RI CAG annual fish-in will be held at the Blackstone River this year on Sarturday, June 6. It will start at 9:00 AM and will run till the afternoon or evening. It will take place at Rivers Edge Recreation Complex off Davison Ave. in Woonsocket. This is a brand new park located at the end of the access road off the west end of Davison Ave. which is located off Rt. 126. There is rougly a half mile of cleared bank along this park, so there is lots of room to fish. Note that this is a sunny place with no shade. Bring your umbrellas or sun screen. We will be prebaiting the spot so it should be productive. The river is nationally known for its big numbers of mirror carp. Baits such as corn and doughbaits work well here.

A fish-in is basically a non competitive event in which experienced carp fishermen explain and demonstrate how to fish for carp. These events are often attended by newcomers who come to learn about carp fishing and to fish along side experienced fishermen.

June 6 is a free fishing day in RI. Out of state fishermen do not need a RI license for this event.

Should the river be high and fast due to rain swelled waters, the event will be cancelled.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wild Whiskey and Sweet Corn

It has been a heck of a week for me. I'm in a zone where I simply can't do anything wrong (fishing wise that is), and every place I seem to go offers hot fishing for big fish as well as lots of them. I'm catching big time in RI and MA.

I have to think it goes beyond luck. The common thread is that I am using the same bait in all the places I am fishing. I'm using a kernel of Wild Whiskey maize from The Bait Stop along with two kernels of Green Giant Super Sweet Corn. It is dangling off a hair rig (see photo at left). I'm using this with an oatmeal based method ball that is spiced with birdseed and hemp seed and chili powder that is packed around my 3 oz. in-line lead.

That set-up has accounted for 7 twenties and 4 thirties along with dozens of fish in the teens in the last 5 days of fishing!