Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yikes, Still Hitting on Dec. 28

I've been out carp fishing four times in the last week and a half, fishing both shallow water ponds and river currents. I caught fish every outing, getting a mix of mirrors and commons. Today I landed two seven pound commons (see pic). This is real late in the year for fish to be active in the ponds here in RI.  However, thanks to the warm weather, there is not a sliver of ice anywhere in all the places I have been.  In fact, I stuck a thermometer in the water today and it read 45 degrees.  Incredible for Dec. 28.  Note that last year at this time you could ice fish on some of the ponds, and a foot of snow covered the ground.  What a difference a year makes.
The fish have been hitting pineapple flavored sweet corn, my go to bait all fall.  I will admit that the fish are sluggish on the take and sluggish on the fight due to the cold.  But, hey, it's Dec. 28 and carp fishing is still going.  Can't beat that!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Will 2012 be Your Year of the Carp?

I came across this article: The guy who wrote this is a blogger for Field and Stream, about the most mainstream magazine you could find.  The writer, a fly fisherman, would like to make 2012 his Year of the Carp.  He talks in glowing praise about catching carp on the fly rod, a far greater challenge he claims  than catching trout or bass on the fly rod.  Carp fishing is a sport that many fishermen around the country are now discovering and embracing.  Many of the magazines are running features on fishing for carp.  I guess they are no longer considered an "invasive species" in most parts of the country. Gee, with all the carp here in RI, maybe many of the fly rodders who only target trout should give this a try after trout fishing dies out. Just think, you could catch carp just about all year long here in RI.  Think about the fight of a 20 lb. carp on a fly rod in a river current. Yikes! Realize, too, that we have about the best fishing for mirror carp in the entire USA right in our backyard (are you paying attention RI DEM) in the Blackstone River system. Many carp fishermen around the country are envious of what we have here in RI. So, my message here is that we have a fantastic underutilized resource right  here in RI that is waiting to be discovered.  Hopefully, 2012 be your Year of the Carp.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Switch to River Currents Pays Off

Unless we have a real warm spell, I am done for the year with fishing in  ponds and lakes.  I blanked my last two outings in ponds so it was time to look elsewhere.  In the past at this time, I have done much better at fishing oxygenated river currents where the fish are far more active.  These are spots that have deep but moving water.  Places below a waterfall are ideal places to try.  Of course, moving water does present some problems.  Foremost, you might have to increase you sinker size to hold bottom.  You might also encounter more snags since river currents are always moving around trees, branches and junk.

My move to river currents paid off today as I landed 6 mirrors  and 2 commons in an afternoon of fishing (see photos).  They were not large fish, but they were very active.  Hopefully, they will continue to cooperate since I plan to fish river currents all winter long.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Water Temps in the Upper 30's....End is Near

Things have suddenly slowed down on the carp front.  I've blanked two days in a row and have seen no activity.  Water temps are now in the upper 30's and skim ice is forming at night in close to shore and in puddles.  The end of pond and lake fishing is near here in RI. Credit the cool weather of the last few days and the cold nights in the 20's for the slowdown.  In the past I have not  been able to catch carp when the water temperatures in ponds and lakes drop below 38 degrees.  Rivers currents are a different story.  If you can find deep, moving, oxygenated water that holds fish, they will hit just about all winter long.  The challenge is finding these spots.  In most rivers, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack in 30 degree weather. So, I'm not quite ready to give up my pond and lake fishing, but I'm realizing that barring a heat wave, the end of the season is near.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hot December Fishing

This is the best first half of December I have ever fished for carp here in RI.  I have been mainly focusing on the northern part of the state and catching fish in multiple spots. Other members of the RI Carp Anglers Group are also reporting good carp fishing in the eastern part of the state and the central part of the state. To give you an idea of how good it is, consider in the last three days I have landed 16 carp from 5-14 lbs.  Those would be very good numbers in mid season, unheard of in December in RI.  The fish are active.  I have seen fish jumping and I have seen bubble trails in a number of locations.  I'm also catching in the morning, mid day and even after dark.  My biggest in the last few days came at 8 o'clock at night when temps were only in the thirties, but the fish were still hitting.  My hot bait continues to be pineapple flavored sweet corn, although I know others are catching them on unflavored sweet corn.  Enjoy this hot December fishing while you can because I assure you the end will be coming soon.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Terrific December Outing

At this time of year I am hoping to catch a fish or two.  A good outing would yield one carp, any size.  After all, this is December and many people say carp are not supposed to hit at all in cold water.  Well, I'm not sold on that thinking as I have taken decent numbers of them in December in years past.
On this day after the big storm, everything was wrong.....cold with wind chills in the low 30's, very high water, big winds and leaves and debris all over the water. However, the carp were on a rampage.  In a little over two hours, I landed 8 commons, my best December outing ever.  I had no big ones, but I did land all scrappy 4-6 lbers.  These fish were aggressive and from the screaming alarms, you'd think they were on an early fall feeding binge. All the fish were caught on pineapple flavored Pescaviva (sweet corn) fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

700th Carp of the Year

I hit a real milestone today as I landed my 700th carp for 2011.  It is the most carp I have ever caught in a single year, surpassing the 645 carp that I landed in 2009.  This has been a great fishing year for me with loads of very large fish, several record breaking fish and big numbers of them. 
I must say that getting that 700th fish was a chore.  It has been great carp weather in the last few days but the carp have generally been uncooperative.  In the last three days, I have been able to land only two fish, and that's about 15 hours of fishing. And, these were not headline fish with both commons going only 6-7 lbs.  Not great, but hey, it's December 7, and last year at this time, pond and lake fishing was over with ice forming on the ponds and snow on the ground.  With this year's warm weather, I predict I have at least a couple of more weeks of fishing.  It will probably be slow going, but there are still fish to be had.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Still Worthwhile if you can Stand the Cold

I got out yesterday morning.  The wind was howling from the north and the temperatures were in the high thirties and low forties.  It was cold.  However, the carp were still hitting as I managed to land three fish.  Realize that water temperatures are still quite warm for this time of year so the carp are still active. We have had no unusually cold weather at night so I suspect this fishing should continue to hold up until severe winter weather and the ice arrives.  If you are planning on fishing in December, keep in mind the tactics I outlined in the last post. That's what has been working for me.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pre Ice Tactics in Next Few Weeks

I take a different approach as the water cools and the carp's metabolism slows down.  With the water temps in the low forties right now, it is time to go to my cold water tactics.  Here are some suggestions that seem to work well at this time of year.
1.  Go with the smallest sinker possible that will hold bottom or get you out to where you want to cast.
2.  Go with a small hook.  I like the Umpua Tiemco 2457 #8.
3.  Go small with the bait.  I like either sweet corn (2 kernels on the hair rig) or small doughballs.
4.  If you use a method ball, make it a small one.
5.  Watch your rod tip.  Carp have a habit of banging the bait and not really going off on a screaming run in cold water.  If the rod keeps tapping, pick it up and pull and hope for the best.
6.  Go easy on the prebaiting.  Use a lot less.

I have found that carp keep hitting well in ponds and lakes until the water temps drop below 38 degrees.  However, in moving water, they will hit throughout the winter months regardless of the water temps if you can find the places where they bunch up.  So, there's lots of carp fishing ahead if you can stand the cold.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

As Good As It Gets in November

The weather turned warm and wet this week and the carp turned on. The last two days have featured the best carp fishing I have ever experienced in RI at this late time of year.  I got out yesterday on that warm and drizzly day.  I started catching one fish after another, landing a total of 14 carp in just a few hours of fishing!  They were a sizes with the biggest going a whopping 25 lbs., very large by RI standards (see photo, left).
Today I went back out with my friend Nick (photo, right)and together we landed another 11 fish.  Again, they were all sizes from a few pounds up to the low teens.  It was rare to go fifteen minutes without an alarm sounding or a fish on. It was terrific action for a time of year in which one or two fish would be an accomplishment in past years. 
The hot bait continues to be pineapple flavored Pescaviva (sold by fished ahead of an unflavored oatmeal based method ball.  Take a look at the picture below of this bait set up and how it is done on the hair rig.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Equipment Details.....Record Catch

A lot of people ask me what I use to catch many of the carp you see on this site.  The truth is that I use three different pairs of outfits...lightweight, medium, and heavy duty.  The record carp, my 36 pounder, was taken on my favorite outfit, my medium outfit.  This is the outfit I use to catch about 80 percent of the carp I catch in a year.
So, here are the equipment details of that record catch:
Rod- 9 foot Chub Stalker Rod (Euro carp rod)
Reel- Shimano 3500B baitrunner reel
Line- Berkeley Big Game monofilament, 15 lb. test, clear
Sinker- 1 oz pear shaped no roll egg type, homemade, brown color
Hook- Umpqua Tiemco 2457, size #8
Bait- Pescaviva sweet corn, pineapple flavored, hair rigged, two kernels
Method- yes, oatmeal based method ball made with oatmeal, corn meal, bread and corn, no flavor
Alarms- Delkim mounted on bankstick
Net- Fox

Thursday, November 10, 2011

RI Record Carp; Biggest Freshwater Fish Ever Landed in State

I landed today what was the biggest freshwater fish ever caught in RI.  It was a common carp that weighed 36 lbs. on the dot.  That fish beat the RI carp record by several pounds.  It also was a pound bigger than a 35 lb. record pike that was the biggest official fish every landed here in RI.
I landed the fish on a Chub Stalker carp rod with a Shimano 3500 Baitrunner reel that was spooled with 15 lb. test Berkley Big Game line.  For bait, I was using Pescaviva pineapple flavored sweet corn on a hair rig (just a tiny #8 hook) that was fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.
The fish will not go down as the official record because I released it.  You see, here in RI, you must have an official state record weighed by a tackle shop with a certified scale.  In order to do that, I would have had to have transported the fish many miles in a large cooler.  It is likely that the stress of the travel and length of time would have killed the fish.  So, I weighed it on my very accurate Berkeley digital scale, took some photos and released my prize to fight again. The fish should become the new CAG (Carp Angler Group) record for the state since that group only requires a weighing, a photo and a witness.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Real Good Day

It's November and carp fishing is supposed to be slowing down here in RI.  However, there was nothing slow about today.  My father and I got out this morning and the fishing was as hot as the weather.  We landed a total of 9 carp from 6 lbs. into the low twenties.  In fact, we had two fish over twenty pounds, terrific sized fish for this time of year.  As has been the case most of this fall, pineapple flavored Pescaviva that I purchase from Wacker Baits was the hot ticket. It was fished with an oatmeal based method ball.
If you can get out and fish on these warm days in November and December, the fishing for carp can be exceptionally good as it was today.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Check out this Rare Catch

No, this is not a computer generated paint job. One of our top carp fishermen from the RI CAG got out today and landed quite a surprise.  It was his first ever giant koi.  These fish do exist in many waters, but they are rare. They can be orange, white, red, black or a combination of colors. This one is particularly striking. Only a few have been caught by our members so this is indeed a rare prize.
Congrats to Jeff on an unusual and terrific catch. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Change in Wind, Warm Day, and Fishing Lights Up!

For a November day, the carp fishing was very good today.  I got out this morning and in a little over 2 hours, I landed 7 carp from 10-14 lbs.
Realize Novermber fishing is a roller coaster ride.  Up one day, down the next.   The fishing is greatly influenced by the weather in November.  Today offered a change to warmer conditions, just what you want.  Since that freak snowstorm a few days back, the wind had been blowing from the north or northeast and it has been cold.  But today, we had a switch to the southwest and far warmer conditions.  That was just enough to turn the carp on and get them hitting again.  Pineapple Pescaviva was the hot bait again today as it has been most of the fall.
By the way, the water temperature today was a cool 49 degrees, colder than I expected.  In the past, the fish have continued hitting in most places as long as the water temps stayed above 38 degrees.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

600th Carp of this Year Landed

I got number 600 for the year yesterday morning. This is a milestone for one year that I have reached only one other time in the past.  The fish was a good looking common of about 10-12 lbs.  While the carp fishing has slowed down considerably, I am still catching some fish.  I am getting one or two an outing with the hot bait being pineapple flavored Pescaviva fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.  I am still seeing carp rolling and jumping, though not as many as I saw a month ago.  So, fishing is still worthwhile.  If you can pick your days, fish the warm days of November and try to fish the warmest part of the day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In a Major Slowdown

Since that big rainstorm last week that dumped upwards of 3 inches of rain and the cold days that followed, we have been in a major slowdown.  I have been out in a number of places in the last few days and have only taken one mid sized mirror.  The water in most ponds is very high and in the woods in most places.  The Blackstone River has not been fishable for a week now due to high and fast moving water.  I also noticed that nothing is going on at night, probably due to the cold temperatures.  So, we are headed for November and the fishing is marginal at best.  Make no mistake about it. Carp fishing slows down greatly at this time of year.  The fish's activity levels and feeding levels slow in the cooling waters.  Peak time has passed and the fishing is nowhere near what it was one or two months ago.  However, there still are fish available, and that's what will keep me fishing till the ice comes and beyond.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

They Don't Always Hit

If you've tried carp fishing and blanked, rest assured you are not alone.  They are moody fish greatly influenced by weather changes.  They are difficult fish to catch on rod and reel at times as they don't always hit.
Yesterday the RI CAG held their annual fall fish-in at Scotts Pond in Lincoln, a place that has a lot of fish.  For two days I prebaited the area with about 5 gallons of maize.   There were 11 of us fishing, with many of the guys being highly experienced at this.  The result.....not one carp was caught in four hours of fishing.  The lone fish that was landed was a horned pout (see photo). This clearly proves that carp don't always hit.
Up until mid week, the October fishing in RI was red hot. On Wed., we had a big rainstorm that dumped over two inches of rain on the state and caused very high water everywhere.  I suspect that storm, along with some cooler weather that followed, shut things down.  I've tried several spots since Wed. and landed a grand total of one small mirror carp.  They are just not hitting right now.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I've met a lot of non carp fishermen in the last two months who see me catching fish.  Their first question is "what are you using for bait?"  What they should be asking is about my set up.  You see, without the proper set up, using the right bait is worthless.

You need the total package for this to work.  Here is a list of what needs to be put together if you expect to consistently catch fish.
1.  Do you have the right kind of sinker and size sinker (egg sinkers, 1/2 to 1 oz work well in ponds)?
2.  Is your leader or hooklink the right length (6-9 inches)?
3.  Do you have the right hook (size 6 or 8 generally does the trick and use a carp hook)?
4.  Is your hair rig set up right (right length for your bait)?
5.  Finally, are you using the right bait (type and flavor)?
Many wanna be carp  fishermen are using hooks that are too large (take a look at ridiculous photo of corn packed hook I found  at left), looped hook rigs that are geared to flounder or scup fishing, excessive hardware like wire leaders, and reels that have worthless drags.  Come on guys, the info is out there.  Get in the game.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

82 Year Old Nails RI PB

My 82 year old father, Ralph Pickering, landed a RI PB common today.  The fish weighed 21 lbs.  It was caught on pineapple flavored Pescaviva fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.  We had a great day of fishing today as we landed a total of 13 carp and this was the biggest. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another 20 lber. Visits the Shore

We carp fishermen never tire of catching 20 lb. carp, a fish considered "big" here in RI.  I've landed a good number of 20's this October with fishing in the daytime being particularly hot.  Today I landed this 21 lb. common.  This big fish hit pineapple Pescaviva fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball, a very hot combination all this month.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Terrific Week

It has been a terrific week of carp fishing for me here in RI, one of the very best weeks I have ever encountered in fall fishing.  In the last four days I have landed 40 carp (see pics of two of my fish).  Most have been good sized fish from 8-18 lbs.  What's amazing is that I have been catching in a variety of spots so that says that the fish are very active for this time of year.  I consider it a good day if I can get one or two of these hard to catch fish an outing, so averaging ten fish a day is phenomenal.  The hot bait this week has been pineapple flavored Pescaviva, a sweet corn sold by Wacker Baits ( .  When fished ahead of a method ball, it has far outfished everything else I have tried (and I tried a lot of different baits).  So, if you are looking for some hot action, get out and try because it is happening right now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Most Carp in One Day!

I landed the most carp I have ever caught in a day of carp fishing here in RI.  In just three hectic hours of non-stop action, I landed 20 carp from 5-16 lbs.  and had at least another five fish on! I suspect the cool and cloudy weather sent these fish on a feeding spree, and I was in the right spot at the right time.  The action for the last week has been the best I have ever seen in October as I have been getting lots of fish and some big ones too. Hot baits have been scopex pescaviva and pineapple flavored pop-up boilies fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball. The hot fishing should continue until the real cold weather sets in.  I suspect that will occur in mid November.  So, we have about one good month left of fishing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Real Big Mirrors This Week

It's definitely big fish time here in RI.  I have targeted large mirrors this week getting many in the teens upwards to over 20 lbs., very large mirrors by RI standards.The hot bait continues to be 10 mm pop up pineapple flavored boiles from World Classic Baits.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mystery Solved.....Official Word.......Not a Record Bullhead

Two posts ago I reported catching a large "catfish" that I thought at first could have been a RI record brown bullhead.  I sent a load of photos to the state DEM for positive identification.  I also sent the photos to the Carp Angler Group Forum where there are many catfish experts.  Word from the state biologist was that he thought it was a white catfish.  Word from the Forum was unanimous that it was a channel cat.  So, from these replies we can definitely conclude that the fish in question was NOT a brown bullhead.  The forked tail (see photo) was the clue that ruled out a bullhead and made this fish some type of catfish.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gardner Camera Angle......A Real Handy Device

Most of the pictures you see of me holding large carp on this site were taken by a self timer shot with my camera. I usually set the camera for a 20 second delay and set it to take 5 shots in succession. In order to do this right, the camera must be mounted on a device such as a tripod. I'm sick of lugging my tripod around so I bought a neat device called the Gardner Camera Angle. This small device is really a camera "holder" that screws into a bankstick. Since I always carry an extra bankstick for my throwing spoon, this was easy to set up on that stick. The device has a ball and socket with a handle that lets you rotate the camera and then lock it in place if you need to change the angle. It works terrific. They sell for about $18 at Wacker Baits ( ). They are also sold at Big Carp Tackle. Avoid the cheaper models since they are not good quality (sent one back). Take a look at the latest picture using the camera angle to snap a shot of a beautiful 20 lb. mirror that I caught today

Sunday, October 2, 2011

State Record Brown Bullhead or Big Channel Cat

I landed today what at first I thought to be the new state record for horned pout, or brown bullhead.  But, it could also be a channel cat. The fish weighed (officially on tackle shop certified scale) 6 lbs. 15 oz.,  and the tackle shop identified it as a brown bullhead. I filled out all the paper work, took a load of pictures, and will file it with the state. I am hoping the biologists will positively identify the fish by the pictures I took.  It looks like a bullhead as far as color, but has the tail of a cat.   I caught this fish while fishing for carp in the Blackstone River, a place I had never seen a channel cat.  The fish hit a pineapple flavored boilie intended for carp.  After catching, I kept the fish in a net then transferred it to a large cooler and brought the fish for offical weigh-in at Big Bear Tackle Shop in Harmony.  Later, the fish was brought back to the river in the cooler and released alive.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Get Together Leads to PB

Four members of the RI CAG got together in a new venue today to fish for carp.  It was myself, Jeff, Keith, and Nick.  We had some decent success in the short session we were there.  Keith landed a couple of decent commons of 10-12 lbs. (see photo at left) while Nick hit the jackpot with a smooth skinned  17 lb. mirror (see photo at right), his personal best (PB) for mirrors. Nick also landed a small common.  Members of the RI CAG frequently get together and fish in small groups.  I also try to get out with all our new members to show them the ropes and get them started.  The RI CAG also holds at least two fish-ins a year in which all members try to get out and fish together and share information.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

500th Carp of 2011

I landed my 500 th carp for the 2011 season today (see pic).  It was a beautiful common of about 12-13 lbs.  About 80 % of my fish this year have been mirrors so this guy came as a bit of a surprise. It is only the second time in my carp fishing career that I have been able to hit the 500 fish mark.
It continues to be a record breaking year for me with more large fish than I have ever landed in RI.  I've gotten some real quality with three fish in the thirties (two from RI and one from MA) and countless big mirrors in the high teens and twenties.  I am still looking for that super fish in the mid thirties to low forties that I do believe exists in RI, quite possibly at an unknown venue that I am searching for.


I took me twenty years to nail my first RI thirty pound carp.  It took me just one week to catch my second thirty!  One week ago I landed a 33 lb. 2 oz common carp, a fish that would have qualified as a new state record had I killed the fish and had it officially weighed.  Instead, I released it   Today I got another 30 lber. that just hit the 30 mark that I also released (sorry, no picture).  I got today's fish in a different location than last week's lunker.  Big fish are hitting right now in RI as they are feeding up for fall and the coming winter. It is prime time to catch the fish, or two, of a lifetime.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

50,000 HITS!

Wow, the blog hit a real milestone this week with 50,000 hits.  I started this blog two and a half years ago as an informational website for RI anglers interested in carp fishing.  Originally, it was meant to be a communication tool for our RI Carp Anglers Group (CAG) that I run here in RI.  Well, things have taken off and the blog has enjoyed national and international fame as it has been visited by carp fishermen from all over the US as well as in Europe.  I was surprised to see the site showing up in search engines in the UK as well as in other parts of Europe. It just goes to show the high interest in carp fishing.  I'm honored by the response that the blog has gotten and will continue to bring you the latest info on carp fishing. 
Enjoy and thanks for all your support,
Dave Pickering

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pop-Ups Hot Once Again

It has been a real big week for me here  in RI.  Yes, that 33 lber. was the highlight, but I have also been banging a lot of big mirrors while fishing in the morning in various spots along the Blackstone River.  Without question, the hottest bait of the week for me has been 10 mm pop-up boiles from World Classic Baits.  I am using these in a pineapple flavor.  These pop-ups move alluringly above the sinker when used in a river current.  I think that provides added attraction which the carp just love, especially when you pack your sinker with a method ball of bait (see photo).  This bait combination has outfished everything else I have tried in the Blackstone.  It has accounted for a number of large mirrors up to 22 lbs. for in the last week.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Potential State Record RELEASED.....33 lbs., 2 oz.

Well, I got the fish I have been trying to catch for a long time.  A RI thirty had eluded me until today.  In a little known carp venue that I had been trying on and off with marginal success, I hit the jackpot on this rainy and nasty day.  I landed the RI common of my dreams, a 33 lb. 2 oz. hog of a fish.  It was one of the fattest and widest fish I have ever landed.  It was caught on scopex flavored Pescaviva (imported sweet corn) fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.
The fish would have probably established a RI state record as the current record is 32 lbs. 8 oz.  landed by former RI CAG member Steve Wasliewski.  However, to qualify as an official state record, the fish must be brought to a tackle store and weighed on a certified scale.  With this late afternoon catch, it would have been impossible to get this fish weighed alive.  So, I let it go.  I got far more satisfaction watching it swim away than I would have gotten with my name in the record book. And, who knows we could meet up again when this big girl is a mid thirty!  I did get several pics and I had two witnesses that saw the whole thing.
I do plan to enter this fish in the CAG (Carp Angler Group) record catch list where you only need a weigh in and a witness.  It should establish a new RI CAG record for common carp.  I landed the new RI record for mirrors at 25 lbs. back in June.


I got the biggest carp I have ever landed in RI waters today. In fact, it was the potential state record, a fish in the thirties.  More info, pics and the full story are coming. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do You Need the Hair Rig?

This is a question asked so many times by beginning carp fishermen.  The answer is no. I know many fishermen want to try carp fishing but lack the knowledge to tie their own hair rigs, and they don't have stuff like bait needles and hair stops that go along with hair rigging.

When using a hair rig, you are putting the bait on a string that dangles off the bend of the hook.  You are fishing an exposed hook and this offers a very efficient way of hooking a carp that takes your bait. For most experienced carp fishermen who use a variety of baits, it is the preferred way to fish.  However, beginning carpers can put the bait directly on the hook provided the bait is soft. Packing bait on a hook (see pic of sweet corn on hook) works well if you are using soft baits such as sweet corn or dough.  Both of these baits are soft, and the hook will pull through the bait easily to hook a carp that hits.  Note that this works especially well only if you are using the right hooks.  You want to go small on the hook with sizes #6 or #8 being ideal.  Most beginner carp fishermen are using hooks that are way too big for carp which tend to have small round mouths (see photo). If you are a beginner or a fisherman who wants to try carp fishing, you don't need a hair rig to catch these fish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Acorns for Bait, Huh?

I got out today and fished with one of our experienced members named Tom.  We were sitting under an oak tree talking carp and hoping for a fish.  Not much was happening on our lines that were baited with sweet corn.  We started talking about acorns for bait, and I told Tom about one of our former members, John Joseph, who actually used to use shelled acorns and who actually caught fish on them.

So, Tom decided to shell a couple of small acorns and hair rigged them ahead of a method ball.  It took about three minutes for his alarm to scream and he was onto a mid sized common.  Yes, this fish hit an ACORN!  I decided to try one and within a short period of time, I was onto a fish and soon landed another common on an ACORN (see fish at left).  It was an eye opener.
If you are into trying this, try to fish a "greenish" acorn, crack it open and you will see a seed-like middle to it.  The baiting needle passes through this easily and you are ready to hair rig this bait (see photo at right).  Tom claims he is going to try flavoring some and try using some in a natural state. I believe him because as I left he was crawling along the ground gathering acorns like a busy squirrel.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Good Session

My friend Paul and I went out carp fishing this morning at one of our favorite spots.  It was a gorgeous late summer day with near perfect temperatures, and the carp were active.  We had a number of hits and runners and we landed four good looking commons that went 6-7 lbs.  In addition, we landed 4 snapping turtles (yes, they are still active).  The hot bait today was doughballs fished off the hair rig. Late summer and fall is a great time to get out carp fishing here in RI as the boating activity decreases, temperatures are just right and the fish are hitting.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Carpin

As many of you know, I love fishing in nasty weather.  I have made a career out of bad weather fishing in both saltwater and freshwater, and I’ve had some of my biggest and most memorable days of fishing in stormy weather.  Yes, I did fish on Sunday in Hurricane Irene.  I went down to my backyard swim (Scott’s Pond) in the afternoon after the storm started to calm down.  I was in a safe and protected spot with the wind at my back.  What a view of the lake with the rain coming down horizontally in sheets and the wind just whipping huge trees like they were bushes.  Like most fish, carp just love this weather.  It seems to charge them up, and they usually feed big time as all kinds of food is being blown into the water.  They didn’t disappoint as I landed three beautiful mirrors on scopex flavored Pescaviva corn.  Another bad weather day turns into a good fishing day. My kind of fishing weather!
Note: I wrote this article on Sunday, but with no electricity or Internet service for over 3 days, it has taken a while to post.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New CAG Member Scores

I went out this morning with one of our new CAG members named Mathew. I try to get out with all our new members to show them the ropes and get them going in the right direction. While Mathew was new to the RI CAG, he was not new to carp fishing since the guy was an experienced carp fisherman who used to fish for carp a lot in Poland.  Mathew had the whole hair rig/ method ball/rigging thing down real well.  He used boilies he made himself.  I quite surprised that he flavored them with garlic, a flavor he claims is real good.  Well, the two of us landed 5 carp and a massive snapping turtle that weighed about 70-80 lbs., one of the biggest I have ever seen. 
If you are into carp fishing, consider joining our group.  We are always looking for new members.  You automatically become a member of the RI CAG group when you join the national Carp Anglers Group ( Membership information is online.