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.