Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lots of Big Fish Being Caught

This 21 lb. common carp was landed right
at dark tonight.  It was caught on  hair rigged
maize fished ahead of a method ball.
Call it a preview of good things to come.  This has been a big week of fishing for large carp here in RI.  I know of at least SEVEN CARP OVER 20 LBS. that have been landed by RI CAG members.  In addition there have been lots of fish from 10-20 lbs. that have also bee caught.  Not too shabby for the end of August.  Most of these fish are being caught on maize, a hard type of corn.  In addition, some of these fish have been caught at night.  Large carp tend to be very active at night in the fall.
I credit the cool, cloudy and rainy weather for the uptick in action in the last week.  In the coming weeks, the action should continue to be good.  In the past some very large carp have been landed here in RI in the fall.  Two years ago, I landed my 36 lber. (largest freshwater fish ever landed in RI) along with a 30 and 33 lber. in the fall.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rainy Weather Lights It Up

Today's biggest carp was in the low twenties.  This was one
of seven fish landed.
Fishing had been poor for me lately, but today's rainy weather ended my poor streak.  The fishing just lit up with one of the best days of the summer for me.  As the rain was coming down this morning, there were fish jumping everywhere in the place I was fishing, and they were hitting.  I landed a total of 7 carp in about three hours of fishing with the biggest fish reaching into the low twenties. Most of the fish went 10-20 lbs., decent size for this time of year. All the fish were landed on unflavored maize fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball.
I've seen this pattern played out over and over again in recent years at this time.  Fishing is poor in the nice, sunny, bluebird weather.  Suddenly, a stormy day comes along and the carp go crazy.  It happened today, and I'm sure it will continue to happen again in the upcoming months.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Today's catch was one fish,  a six pound mirror.
My fishing over the last five days can only be described as uneventful.  I've been getting out for a few hours just about every day and hitting a number of spots, but it's fish here, a fish there, maybe two fish if I'm lucky, maybe a blank if I'm not so lucky. And, most of the fish I'm catching are on the small size, running under 10 lbs.
This is August fishing, and it's not going to change unless the weather changes to either much cooler or rainy.  As an example of how things are going, here's what happened today.  I got out this morning for about two hours.  In Spot #1 I had one fish on when I first go there that took me into a snag.  That was it so I moved to Spot #2.  I landed one mirror, about 6 lbs., in that spot and it was my only hit.  I got it on maize.  In both locations I was harassed by sun turtles and the bait had to be checked often. I went back out in the evening for a couple of hours in a different location.  I was blanked on carp but landed one dace and was harassed by other dace just banging the bait.
So, fishing continues to be only fair to poor.  It's uneventful, but so typical of August fishing at this time of year.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hey, It's August

This near 20 lber. was landed two
days ago on a sunny morning.
This mirror was one of three carp
landed this morning on maize.
We are in the doldrums of carp fishing.  Hey, it's August and this is without question the slowest month of the year for carp fishing here in RI, even slower than the cold months of December and March.  The water temperature is at its warmest point.  The pests are at their most active time.  And, the carp at their slowest activity level compared to other times of the year.  You see very few jumps, few fish moving around and few bubble trails.  However, realize you can still catch them, and that's what keeps me fishing.
There's been a bit of an uptick in fishing in the last week.  I have landed exactly 16 carp in that period of time.  Most of those fish have been decent, running 10-20 lbs. I spent a lot of time to get them, and they were taken from 5 different venues. So, I've been moving around a lot.  All these fish were landed on unflavored maize. Most have also been caught either in the morning or right before dark.
So, realize fishing is slow.  It's slow whatever you are fishing for right now in  fresh and saltwater.  However, improvement is right around the corner in September.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Okuma Avengers Getting Job Done

The Okuma Avenger ABF-50
goes well with an 8 or 9 foot rod.
It works well with 15 lb. test mono.
Recently I replaced my two Shimano 3500B baitrunner reels with Okuma Avenger ABF-50 baitrunners.  The Shimanos were real tanks for many years, and they have been real high quality reels.  However, after fifteen years of heavy use, they are breaking down.  And, I can tell you from experience that repairing a Shimano reel is a very costly affair, not worth it on an old reel that has been discontinued.  I thought about buying the newer model 6000D Shimano baitrunners, but that reel is very expensive, selling for about $170.  So, I've decided to go with the inexpensive, yet highly reliable Avengers on my every day 9 foot rods.  You can get the Okuma Avengers for about $40 on sale, a steal for a quality baitrunner reel. This reel is probably a "best buy" these days for a baitrunner reel.
This 18 lb. mirror was landed three nights ago
with the Okuma Avenger ABF-50.
I've been using an Okuma Avenger for about 10 years now on one of my 12 foot rods.  It has always performed flawlessly.  That reel has accounted for numerous 30 lb. fish and landed the biggest carp I have caught this year at 33 lbs. 
The Okuma Avenger ABF-50 is ideally suited to 7, 8, or 9 foot rods and works especially well with 15 lb. test monofilament line.  If you use a bigger carp rod like a 12 foot Euro rod, you might want to consider the larger ABF-65 reel which would take 20 lb. test line.
 Note that Okuma produces more baitrunner reels than any other company with no less than 5 different models.  Check out their reels at

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The DOUBLE: Ultimate Thrill Ride

What's more exciting that a screaming alarm and a blistering run?  How about two screaming alarms and blistering runs.  At the same time!  That's a double in carp fishing lingo, and it is the ultimate thrill ride.
It's happened many times to me in recent years, and the adrenalin is pumping every time I get a double take.  It happened again tonight.  I was fishing the Blackstone River in a new spot that had a steep bank leading to a rock along the water's edge.  There was brush on both sides of me.  It would have been a difficult spot to land one fish, let alone two.  I was there about fifteen minutes, and then I had a screeching run on one outfit.  As I went to lift up that rod, the other alarm goes off.  Pandemonium followed as I had two fish tearing down the fast river current.  I tried to hold one rod with my knees while pumping and reeling the other.  Gain a little line and switch rods and continue the Chinese Fire Drill. This went one for a period of time until I had both fish in front of me.  I now realized there was no place to beach one fish, and both would have to be netted.  So, I grabbed one fish with the net, put that rod between my knees and then grabbed the other with the net. It went a lot smoother than I expected. The two hefty mirrors in the net added up to thirty four pounds of carp. Both fish were nearly the same size. 
Another memorable double!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Once Again, Nasty Weather Lights Up Carp Fishing

Biggest fish of the day was a low
to mid twenty pound common.
The "ghost" carp swims away.
This is a whitish/grayish common.
I've seen this pattern happen so many times.  Fishing is generally dead and then a storm comes along and just lights up the fishing. It happened to me, once again, today.  Yes, I was out all morning into the afternoon in this torrential rain and strong wind, my kind of fishing day. Unlike the last week of fishing, the fish were active today.  I saw some jumping, and the big boys were hitting with aggression.  I landed three real decent fish that went from the mid teens into the low twenties.  They were all commons.  One fish, in particular, was unusual.  It was a ghost carp, a graying/whitish light colored common that looked like a ghost in the water (see pic of it swimming away). All of today's fish were taken on plain, unflavored maize fished ahead of a method ball.
The lesson from today, once again, is this.  If you are looking for hot fishing, get yourself some heavy duty rain gear and head out in a storm to fish for carp.  Some of my biggest fish through the years have fallen on days like today. It was two years ago that I landed the biggest freshwater fish ever caught (36 lbs.) in RI on a day similar to today!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I have been on a real poor streak.  I blanked four days in a row.  I'm talking nothing, not even a hit from a carp.  So, I've been moving around, fishing different spots, hoping to find some place that would break my poor streak.  Well, the persistence has finally paid off.  I thought I was going to blank again tonight when suddenly, the screeching alarm broke a silent and dead evening.  Turns out the runner was a good looking, 15 lb.,  fully scaled mirror (see pic).  The fish hit unflavored maize fished ahead of a method ball. It was the only hit of the evening, but no one's complaining!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

As Lousy as It Gets

Carp fishing in RI has hit the pits.  Yes, it's August, our toughest month to fish for carp, and it's as lousy as it gets.  I have been out both in the morning and evening in the last three days.  I have landed turtles, horned pout, dace, suckers and catfish, but NO carp.  Heck, I haven't even seen any.  There have been no fish jumping, no bubble trails and no fish hiding under debris.  It's like they have done a complete disappearing act. This does happen in August when water temperatures are at their peak and the carp seem to go into a funk with little activity and little feeding.  Rest assured that things will improve, but you will have to wait till late August or September before that happens.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Thank You Tom Meade

Tm Meade, longtime outdoor and fishing writer for the Providence Journal, recently retired.  I want to wish him a healthy and happy retirement, but most of all, I want to thank him for all he has done for carp fishing here in RI through his writing at the Journal.
Tom is one reason for the surge in carp fishing popularity here in RI.  Tom frequently added a sentence or two about carp fishing in his weekly reports.  In addition, he wrote many features about carp fishing here in RI which were quite educational for new carp fishermen.  He would frequently e-mail me with questions or clarifications about various subjects related to carp fishing.  The column I remember most was the one he did about the record 36 lb. carp that I caught and released here in RI.  That story was picked up by various news agencies and websites all over the country. Tom even came carp fishing once with fellow CAG member Paul and me just to find out what it was all about.
Getting the true story out about carp fishing can be difficult.  There are misconceptions about the fish and long held beliefs by some ill informed fishermen that this is a "trash"fish or an "invasive" species.  It's a writer like Tom that got the real message out there about this exciting and untapped fishery.  He contributed greatly to bringing carp fishing into the mainstream here in RI through his writing.
So, the RI CAG and carp fishermen all over the state thank you very much, Tom, for all you have done for us.  Enjoy your retirement!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summertime Prebaiting Dilemma

Use caution when dealing with snapping turtles.
Ever hear of finger foods...for this beast, it could be YOUR finger!
I am a big fan of prebaiting an area most of the time before I fish it.  However, in the dead of summer, sometimes it is not a good thing.  It seems that in the summertime, prebaiting can actually be an invitation to every pest around a spot to come on in and feast.  Take yesterday, for instance.  I had prebaited a good spot in early afternoon and went back in the evening to fish for carp.  Almost immediately, I hooked into a turtle the size of a manhole cover.  A half hour later, I landed another beast about the same size  I was also getting tapped constantly by dace as I caught some of them also.  No doubt these warm water pests were attracted to the easy pickings and took up residence in the spot.  There may have been some carp around but the more aggressive dace and turtles seemed get to my bait first.  Last week we had a fish-in and the same thing happened.  I prebaited the area.  It was an invitation to horned pout to come in and feast.  Once again, we landed horned pout but no carp.
So, I have come to believe that prebaiting seems to lose a lot of its advantages in the dead of summer, especially in the daytime hours. However, in areas where there are few pests (can't think of too many), prebating still offers a good shot at luring carp to your fishing spot. In areas where lots of pests exist, plan on catching a lot of things you don't want if you prebait.