Monday, February 28, 2011

A Good Hook

Most beginners often ask my opinion about hooks. Here goes.
If you are looking for the best buy in hooks and a quality hook, go with the Umpqua Tiemco, no. 2457 hooks. These are really heavy duty fly tying nymph hooks but work well for carp. They sell for $5.95 a package at Fishwest with free shipping. Here is the link:
I like this hook in a size #6 or #8. I generally use the #8 for small carp under 10 lbs. and the #6 works well for fish from 10 lbs. to 20 lbs. Their hooking power and reliability is far better than an Eagle Claw 84 or 184 hook. For your money this is the best buy in carp hooks and will handle just about anything RI has to offer.
On a negative note, I will tell you that these hooks will bend if you target giant fish over 25 lbs. When I am looking for 30 lbers. in big MA waters, I generally use a Kamassan Carp Max hook that is sold at Wacker Baits. It is very heavy duty and sharp and will handle anything the carp world has to offer. It is also three times the price of the Tiemco.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Doughballs When Sweet Corn Fails

I'm on a roll this week landing good numbers of carp in open water. My best bait (as it always seems to be) had been pineapple flavored sweet corn. But, not today!

I started off with sweet corn. I had just a few taps here and there and got one fish after an hour of fishing. I brought some bread with me because in previous years when the corn failed the bread often produced in the early going. They really jumped on the doughballs as I landed one fish after another. Twice I even had double headers with two fish on at the same time. Talk about a Chinese fire drill!

Carp fishermen are often confused by the word "doughball". It is actually a bread ball. Today I was using sliced Italian bread. Take the white part and roll it into a marble sized ball really compacting it as you go. Then, let it sit in the sun for some time until the outer skin is hard. Roll the leftovers and toss in as chum. One your dougball is hard, it is ready to fish on the hair rig. These doughballs are especially effective at this time of year when pests such as bluegills, horned pout and turtles are dormant. Use the same doughball in warm weather and these pests will pick you apart.

Lesson from today. When the best winter bait, sweetcorn, fails, go to the number two bait of winter, doughballs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Taste of Spring

The temperature flirted with 50 degrees today and I went carp fishing. It was a preview of what's to come. If I ignored the two to three feet of snow on the ground and the ice along the shore where I was fishing, I could imagine this was late March. I also had to ignore the fact that my bank sticks went so far in the snow that the alarms themselves were barely sticking out of the snow (see photo)!

I've got to say it fished like March. The carp were active in the partial open water that I fished. Oh, I landed no magazine cover monsters, but I did manage to land several feisty small ones, and it felt good just to soak in the warmth and get back in the game of carp fishing. The hot ticket as it always seems to be in cold water was pineapple flavored sweet corn on the hair rig off a small, #8 hook.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Field Corn and Chick Peas....Prep Times

The two most popular particles that I use and chum for carp are field corn and chick peas. Whole field corn or deer corn is bought in 50 lb. bag from a feed store like Agways (feed store off Cranston St. near new police station) and can be purchased for $10. They even sell it at Bass Pro. Chick peas or garbanzo beans should be bought in a dried state and can be purchased at Stop and Shop. Here's a summary of how to prepare them.

Field Corn: I like to use a huge pot and fill it about halfway up with corn. Add water to the top of the pot and let it soak for a least 6 hours or overnight. Next day, boil it. Once the water is boiling, set the timer for 35 minutes. Once finished remove from the heat and let it sit there to cool. Once cool, I will put it into plastic containers and place those containers in the refrigerator where it will keep for weeks. One more tip here is that you might want to put some corn in small jars and flavor it yourself. I love the flavors from K-1 baits, especially their pineapple. Place the corn and add the liquid flavoring. Other household flavors that will work are molasses, vanilla, whiskey, cool aid mix or flavored vodka.

Chick Peas: These work well here in RI where the use of corn is prohibited (trout stocked waters). In this case, boil the water first. Then add the dried chick peas. Boil for exactly 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let them cool, and place in containers. Another option is to just put them in water and let them sit overnight. That also works. Avoid canned ones since they are too soft to use. Flavoring can also be done as described above.