Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Rare Double

This double was a first.  The catch was a 10 lb. common
along with a 13 lb. mirror.
This has been a big year for doubles for me.  But, today's double, my seventh of the year, came with a big surprise.  It was the first time I have ever landed a common and a mirror on at the same time. The first alarm went off and I fought the fish and got it just about to the net when the second alarm went off.  So, while fighting two fish at once, I rushed the first fish to the net and fought the other.  Once in close, I grabbed the other with the net that held the first fish.  Now, I have two hooked fish in the net at the same time.  When I finally got a good look at them, I realized I had one common (about 10 lbs.) and a mirror (about 13 lbs.).  That was a first for me.
Today's catch were those two carp along with three more decent fish.  The hot bait today was a maize/doughball combo (see photo at left) fished on a hair rig and fished ahead of an oatmeal based method ball. This has been a hot bait combo in the last month.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Best Two Day Haul in Months

The carp are on the fall feed, especially in the places I have been fishing in the last two days. Maybe it's this cool weather and cold nights that have set the feeding in motion.  I landed a total of exactly 26 carp in the last two days. I haven't landed numbers like this since the spring.  These fish have ranged from small ones of a couple of pounds to fish in the upper teens (see photos of two of them at right and left).  They have all come from two different venues that I have been baiting and fishing.  The hot bait continues to be unflavored maize fished on a hair rig with a method ball packed around the 1 oz. sinker.  Note that at least a quarter of these fish have been taken after dark.  I have already mentioned in previous posts that carp do feed well after dark at this time of year.  The carp are on the fall feed right now!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sometimes Night Time is the Right Time

In the next couple of months I will do more night fishing for carp than any other time of year.  Most fishermen don't realize that carp do feed well at night, especially in the fall when they are really on the feed fattening up for winter. In addition, it gets dark real early in the fall so you have a lot of time to fish in the darkness. 
I know nighttime fishing is not for everyone. Sitting in a chair at night in total darkness and eerie quiet waiting for a hit seems crazy to a lot of non fishermen.  However, there is an excitement to nighttime fishing.  There is nothing like a screeching alarm and its light excitedly flashing to get the adrenalin pumping.  I will also tell you that over the years I have landed some very large carp at night and that keeps me coming back for more. I fish for stripers all the time at night so carp fishing at night is no big deal for me.
Tonight I fished the Blackstone River in the evening into the night.  I wasn't getting anything fishing way out in deeper water.  But, I noticed a fish grubbing at night right in front of me in about a foot of water.  From experience I know that carp will come in very close to feed under cover of darkness.  So, I put out a flip cast of about 10-15 feet with both outfits.  That did is as the alarm went off about 10 minutes later.  A good fight ensued in total darkness and soon I flipped on my headlight to see a big mirror carp at my feet (check out photo of fish at left).  Yes, they do hit at night.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Stealthy Approach Works

This is one of several carp landed today while using
a stealthy approach in a "small", shallow location.
I had an interesting day of fishing today.  I fished in a spot today in which I suddenly came upon a group of carp feeding in close  to shore. As soon as I spotted them, they spotted me, and sped off all at once leaving mud trails in their wake.  So, I knew the fish were in my area.  I prebaited the area and put my lines out.  I sat on the bank by my rods. Nothing happened for a while so I got up to recast my outfits.  As I stood up, swoosh, a bunch of fish right in front of me took off again. 
Time to go with a stealthy approach.  I casted my rods out again, and then put them on my alarms, but this time I sat about ten feet away hidden behind a bush. I couldn't see the fish, but they couldn't see me.  That did it.  About fifteen minutes later one alarm sounded and I landed a decent size mirror. I even landed a couple of more fish later on taking this stealthy approach.
Carp can be very touchy and skittish, especially on these bluebird sunny days. Sometimes it takes a stealthy approach to score on these days.  This is especially true when fishing "small" spots with shallow water where fish tend to hang out close to shore where you might be fishing.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Charged Up

The weather is turning cooler and the water temps are dropping.  Every year about this time I notice the carp reach their peak strength.  Maybe it's the cooler water, maybe it's because they are on the feed.  For whatever reason, they seem to be stronger right now than any other time.
Here's the proof:
*I got out with my friend Nick a couple of days ago.  Nick had a screamer of a hit.  His line took off as if it was tied to a rocket.  The fish just continued ripping line after it was hooked.  I would have bet Nick had a fish in the mid twenties.  It turned out to be a 17 lber., a fish that seemed to be on steroids.
* I fished in a small spot this morning.  I hooked a fish that was about 6 or 7 lbs. It started ripping line (15 lb. test) and pulling drag, heading for a bush.  I pushed my  palm against the spool to add pressure to the drag.  It didn't help as the bulldog of a fish pulled me into the bush.
*Tonight I fished the Blackstone River.  I hooked a fish that tore down the river. I was using my 12 foot rod, an Okuma Avenger reel and 20 lb. test line.  Even with the heavy artillery in use, the fish continued ripping drag.  I figured I had a fish at least 20 lbs.  It turned out to be a 12 lb. mirror (see picture), one of the strongest 12 lb. I have ever caught in either fresh or saltwater.
In my mind, carp are some of the best fighting fish in freshwater, but at this time of year they are simply extraordinary

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Double Mania

Today's double turned out to be two decent size commons.
These fish hit hair rigged maize fished ahead of a method ball.
This will not be a record year for me in terms of numbers of fish, however I have landed more doubles this year than I ever caught.  Today I landed my sixth double of the year.  A double is two fish on at the same time while fishing with two rods.  It usually happens to me a couple of times a year, but for some reason it has happened with more frequency this year.  Just luck I suppose.
This has been a very good last couple of days of carp fishing for me.  Yesterday it was 5 fish; today it was 9 fish.  These are very good numbers of carp at this time of year.  They seem to be hitting at all times with some fish coming in the morning, some falling in the evening and some even coming after dark.  The common thread here is that all the fish are falling for hair rigged maize.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Prebaiting with American Chop Suey....Huh?

This 12 lb. common was caught in a spot
that was prebaited with American chop suey.
We had some leftover American chop suey in the fridge that my wife wanted to feed to the garbage disposal.  I said, "Hold on, I can use it for chumming." I know from past experience that some of the guys at the Merrimack River have chummed pasta, so why not this which is basically made with elbow macaroni and tomato sauce, two things carp do like. I'm not sure whether they go for the hamburg.
Well, it has worked.  A couple of days ago I landed a nice size common in a spot prebaited with the American chop suey. Today I landed 5 mirrors in a place that was prebaited with the chop suey.
Carp like any product made from wheat.  Stuff like bread and pasta fit the bill.  They also like such table fare as rice, potatoes, peas, crackers, nuts and any kind of cake-like dessert.  Add to the list dry dog food, dry cat food and bird seed. All of these things can be prebaited to lure carp to a swim.
While I prebaited American chop suey, I did catch the fish on maize.  I haven't quite figured out how to hair rig a piece of elbow macaroni. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Change in Venue Produces

I never stay anchored to one spot, especially when that spot is not producing.  This happened this past week.  I was catching carp in one location for about a week, but then that spot died with the change in weather.  Two blanks and I was out of there.
So, I have been moving around and I found a decent spot from my list of places I fish.  Tonight I landed two good size mirrors from this location (see photos).
Most experienced carp fishermen have a number of "good spots" that they fish regularly.  I actually have about 10 spots or venues that I fish a lot.  They all are unique in some way. Some of these are good spring spots, some good fall spots, some produce on rainy days, some are good on sunny days, some are good in high water and some are good in low water. I've come to these conclusions from a lot of hours fishing in these locations over the years.  Most are within five miles of where I live.  So, if one place is not producing, I get out of there and try another.  That thinking has worked for me in the last few days and led to some decent catches.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Anatomy of a Hair Rig

On the last post a reader asked about rigs.  I use only one type of rig, what most would call a standard hair rig.  The only thing I vary about this rig is the sinker.  I generally use a one ounce "no roll" sinker that I make myself when fishing ponds or rivers with a slow current.  In river with a fast current I might use sinkers of 2 or 3 oz.
The hair rig I use is made with 50 lb. test Power Pro braided line.  I like red line, but others use the green color with equal success.  Here is the video link on how to make the hair rig by tying a knotless knot:
One key here is to make the hooklink or leader short from 3-5 inches in length. The other key is to make the loop (called the hair) in the hair rig the right length.  I like it dangling about 1/8 inch off the back of the hook when bait is added.  That length will be determined by how much bait you want to add to your loop.  A large boilie will need a longer hair than two kernels of corn. For hooks, I like an Umpqua Tiemco 2457 hook when fishing for small to medium size carp (under 20 lbs.).
The diagram of  my rig is below.  You can double click the picture for a larger view.

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Carp

I met this guy named Tony a couple of days ago in one of the spots I was fishing for carp.  He was fishing with his family for largemouths.  He saw me catch a carp and came over and asked me a few questions about how to do it.  I gave him some advice and also told him about the blog. He said he was going to check out all the info on the blog to learn more about carp fishing.
Today I went back to the pond and immediately noticed a small crowd gathered around a guy fighting a fish.  It was Tony and he was onto his first carp.  I became a spectator also and later netted the 8-10 lb. common carp for him. We took a couple of photos and then Tony released the fish.  It was his first carp, a beauty, and one to remember.
It's always rewarding for me to see a newcomer to carp fishing land his first carp.  So, congrats to Tony on landing his first carp.  Hopefully, this will be the first of many for him

Sunday, September 1, 2013


I got out a couple of days ago with my friend Eric Medenbach.  Eric is a new convert to carp fishing here in RI and a quick learner who has landed some big fish already.  Aside from his fishing talents, Eric is simply the best fishing photographer I have ever met. From the framing to the sharpness to the exposure, his pictures are magnificent.  Here is a photo of a near 20 lber. that I landed that day, and a gorgeous photograph that Eric took.