Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's All About the PB

PB.  In the world of carp fishing it's called Personal Best. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced carper, you are always looking for the PB, a fish bigger than your previous biggest.  And, it means different thing to different fishermen.  Many newbies are looking for their first twenty pounder, certainly an accomplishment here in RI where there are not that many 20's overall.  Still, many of our experienced guys are looking for a 30 here in RI, a rare catch with very few fishermen having caught a carp that large in RI waters.  And, for those shooting for the moon, that 40 lber. is a rare possibility, though possible in big MA waters.  There are very few NE carp fishermen who can claim membership in that 40 lb. club.
I want to congratulate one of our RI CAG members named Ben who landed a PB of over twenty pounds this past week while fishing in the CT River (see photo). Ben joined our group last year, learned to ropes by working at carp fishing, asking a lot of questions and fishing with many of our experienced guys, and he has been steadily upping his PB. Congrats on a great fish.  Now, hopefully you'll  get that thirty some day!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Numbers Way Off in May

January, February, March and April were all record months for me personally as I landed more carp those months than ever before.  However, May, 2012, has been one of the worst Mays (numbers wise) that I have ever experienced. I usually can land close to a hundred fish in May.  But, I will be lucky to get 40 fish this month. On the flip side, I did land a PB 40 lber. this month so I can't really complain.
Blame the crazy weather in May on the lower numbers.  All the patterns go out the window this year because we had a record warm winter and early spring.  I saw a lot of fish spawning in April.   Some, however, spawned in May.  May's weather has also been inconsistent with a lot of rain.  Many of the ponds are extremely high right now with water (and I believe carp) in the woods in many places. It's also been cold and rainy one day, in the eighties the next. 
So, for whatever the reason, this has been a slow May thus far.  Let's hope the numbers improve in June.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Okuma Avenger 50 On Sale at Dick's

I notice the Okuma Avenger 50 is on sale at Dick's Sporting Goods this week for $39.  That is a fantastic price for this reel.  I consider this reel to be a "Best Buy" in baitrunner reels.  I have a couple of these and have taken many big carp with them.  They have been reliable, hold a good amount of line (I use 15 or 20 lb. test mono), and they have smooth drags.  A baitrunner reel is THE most important piece of equipment a carp fisherman can purchase.  If you are in the market for one of these reels, check out the Okuma Avenger.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The CAG Big 4

I am currently competing in the Carp Anglers Group annual Big 4 contest.  This is a national contest in which some of the top CAG carp fishermen from all over North America (Canada, Mexico and US) fish for the whole month of May and enter their 4 biggest fish.  The poundage is the point total.  There are prizes for the top three finishers as well as the biggest common and the biggest mirror.
My goal has always been a top ten finish since I figure I have very little chance to finish in the top three since there are many other big fish venues in other parts of the US.  However, this year I am currently in second place with 116 pounds. Today I really upped the point total with a near 30 lber. (29 lbs. 8 oz., see photo).  My 40 lb. mirror that I caught last week is leading the big mirror category.  Last year I won the Big Mirror category with a 32 lb. fish. Who knows, if I could land an additional thirty this month, I might just sneak into the top 3.  In the last two years, I have finished in 6th and 7th place.  I figure not bad for a RI carp fisherman!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Carp Fishing Show.....Sat., May 19

Next weekend I'll be doing a carp fishing show called "Carp Fishing 101".  The show is being sponsored by the Blackstone Valley Watershed Council and will be held at their new building at Sycamore Landing at 100 New River Rd. in Lincoln, RI.  The show will take place on May 19 at 9:30 AM.  This Power Point show tells you all you need to know about carp fishing from rigs to baits to equipment.  It is particularly geared to fishing RI and nearby MA waters and would be especially helpful to beginning carp fishermen. The show lasts about an hour and there will be time for questions.  Admission is free. For more information, see

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

40 lber. SAME Fish I Caught 3 Years Ago!

Take a look at my signature photo at the top on the right on this page.  That was my first massive mirror.  I caught that fish three years ago and it weighed 36 lbs. 8 oz.  Now, take a good look at my 40  below and the scale pattern.  It is the exact same fish and was landed at a location close to where I caught the other one.  The huge mirror has gained 4 lbs. in the last 3 years.  This time it had a much bigger gut than I remembered, making for more weight.  The camera angles are different (top right I am holding the fish outward.  This time I am holding the fish close to my body), but clearly it is the exact same fish! Isn't catch and release a beautiful thing!

First FORTY!

Today I got the fish I have been chasing for a long time in my dreams. MY FIRST FORTY POUND CARP!  I have come close in the last three years, landing nine fish in the thirties so I knew this beast was just a matter of time with a little luck mixed in. I knew I had a forty as the fish came into sight close to the net after a tug of war battle in which the monster stayed right along the bottom the whole time.  Once on shore, the huge mirror pulled my Rueben Heaton scale to 40 lbs. 8 oz., making this a PB mirror for me and the largest carp I have ever caught.  The fish measured 40 inches long and had a gut that looked like it swallowed a beer barrel.  I suspect it was also full of eggs.  It was landed in MA waters so it will not qualify as a RI CAG record.
The fish was taken on my 12 ft. D.A.M. CrossPower 12 ft. carp rod (2.75 test curve) along with a Shimano 4000 baitrunner that was spooled with 20 lb. test Berkley Big Game mono.  It was hooked on a hair rigged #6 Kamassan Carp Maxx hook.  The bait was two kernels of sweet corn along with a kernel of pineapple Pescaviva sweet corn.  It was fished ahead of a method ball.
Prior to catching this huge one I landed a 25 lb. carp about an hour before.  The 25 lber. looked like a baby compared to this monster.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sinker Thoughts

When choosing a sinker you want to think about two things.  How far do I want to cast? And, How heavy does my sinker need to be to hold bottom?
In most lakes and ponds where the water does not move, you can use a sinker of any size. The sinker size you are using in ponds usually depends on how far you want to cast.  In general, most of the time I am using a homemade one ounce no roll sinker.  That seems to cover all bases in pond fishing.  It can cast far or in close, fits in well with many outfits and method packs well around a sinker this size.

Moving water is a completely different story.  I have sinkers I use from 1-4 ounces when fishing river currents.  It has to hold the bottom and sometimes a large sinker is needed to do that.  Realize that large sinkers can also put a strain on your equipment.  When fishing river currents with a three ounce homemade in-line lead, I am generally using my big twelve foot rod that can handle the weight of the sinker along with a couple of ounces of method mix packed around it.
I make all my own sinkers these days with molds I bought from the UK and here in the US.  The two kinds I make are no roll sinkers in a mold produced by the Do-it Company and a three ounce in-line lead from a mold from a company in the UK.  I like to paint my sinkers (using powder paint) to blend in with the bottom, a sort of camouflage.  Most serious carp fishermen in the UK use camouflaged sinkers, and I do think it give me a slight edge.  I usually paint mine either a weedy green or a sandy brown (see photo at right).