Wednesday, December 25, 2013

RI CAG End of the Year HIghlight Video, 2013

Check out These Free Online Magazines

Looking for some great tips and ideas for carp fishing?  Check out these free online publications.
North American Carp Angler-  This is the latest online magazine from the Carp Anglers Group.  You can access this magazine by going to the homepage of the CAG at
Just scroll down about halfway and you will see the magazine cover and just click.  You do not have to be a member to see the magazine.
US Carp Pro- This is one of my favorite magazines.  If you go to the US Carp Pro site at  and register (free) you will be e-mailed the latest version of the magazine.  You can also access past magazines from the US Carp Pro site.  The latest issue of this magazines have some interesting reads, many of which are directed to fly fishermen.  Patterns of flies, fly fishing from a boat, and dropping and dragging techniques are just some of the fly fishing features. There are also a number of articles for traditional carp fishermen that feature baiting ideas and rigging ideas.  However, I was particularly impressed with the editorial titled "Culture Shock".  It talks about the evolving carp scene here in the US and how their popularity as a gamefish has been surging in recent years, even though they are not treated with respect in some places (RI DEM.....this would be a good read for you guys). Following this article was an advertisement for one of the latest books on carp fishing called "Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing for Carp".  Hmm, can't get more mainstream than that. Wouldn't it be great if some of these well respected and conservation minded fly fishing groups like Trout Unlimited here in RI would jump on the carp fishing bandwagon.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Can't Beat this Deal on Reels

Just noticed on an Okuma Baitrunner, an Avenger ABF-50, selling for the unheard of price of $37 (and that includes free shipping!).  That is an incredible buy for a quality baitrunner reel for carp fishing.  This is the reel I am using about 80% of the time I am carp fishing. For me this reel has been durable and reliable and has landed some massive fish over 30 lbs.  I have one that I have been using for many years with no problems. If you want to get into carp fishing or are an experienced carper, you know the baitrunner reel is a must, probably the most important piece of equipment you can purchase for carp fishing.
Here is the link on Amazon:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Think "Carp Care"

Carp nets are large nets that feature
fish friendly, soft netting.
If you read any online carp fishing publications, you will see that the topic of carp care is front and center.  We can all do more to ensure that carp are treated in a safe and harmless way before releasing.  Essential to carp care are a few pieces of equipment, namely a fish friendly net, an unhooking mat and a weigh sling.
Nets- Carp nets differ from bass nets in that they have a fish friendly mesh that does not remove or do harm to a carp's scales.  These nets are soft and not abrasive like a nylon bass net. Carp nets are not cheap.  They start at about $70-80 at online carp stores. Check out some of these nets at
This carp was weighed with the
weigh sling and then brought
to the water's edge with
the sling for release.
Unhooking Mats- It can be harmful to a fish if let it flop around on a hard surface such as a rocky shoreline after landing it.  Many of us keep the fish in the net in the water and unhook it there and release it.  However, in some spots you just have to land it.  Once in the net, the fish and net should be moved to an unhooking mat which is usually some sort of soft, foamy material where the fish is placed and the hook removed.  These can be purchased for as low as $10. It is a valuable piece of equipment if you carp fish. Check out the mats at Big Carp Tackle.
Weigh Slings-  These are sacks made of durable but carp friendly material in which a carp is placed for weighing.  The sack usually has a rope or string onto which you hook your scale for weighing the fish.  Note that you should NEVER stick a scale hook in the gill or mouth of a carp because it will most likely cut the carp's sensitive gills and kill it.  By the way, you should also NEVER stick your fingers under its gill plate to lift it up.  Once again, this will harm the gills. Inexpensive weigh slings sell for $15-20.  Check these out at Big Carp Tackle.
When it comes to carp care, the Europeans are masters at this, and much of these carp care techniques originated in Europe where they have the greatest of respect for this fish. We have a long way to go here in the US and many newcomers often have no idea about how to practice carp care for a fish they intend to release.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

End of the Line....for Now

All done for now as snow and ice have
shut down the carp fishing in ponds and
lakes in RI.
The bitter cold weather of the last few days has stuck a dagger in the heart of carp fishing in ponds and lakes here in RI.  I went out checking a few small spots in northern RI today and all are frozen solid.  Some of the bigger lakes have not frozen yet, and of course, the moving water in the rivers is not frozen but extremely cold.  From a practical sense, though, the carp fishing is done for now.  However, we just might get a warm spell later in the month that could open things up and get it going again.
I was at one of my spots today.  It was completely frozen with about an inch of clear ice.  The sun was hitting the place just right and low and behold, there was about 50-60 carp bunched up and moving slowly under the ice.  Ah, what a tease!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Catching in the Cold, Ice and Snow

Today's first fish
was a good looking mirror.
The bank was covered
with snow.
This is winter carp fishing.  Yes, I fished the last two days and did very well considering the conditions which had everything from frozen banks to skim ice to snow covered shorelines.  But, despite the wintry conditions, I managed to land 6 mirrors and a good size common.  All were taken on Pescaviva sweet corn with no method mix.
Today's second fish was a brute that battled me
 under and on top of the skim ice before I finally landed it.
Today was especially wintry.  I got to the spot as the snow was coming down and the ground was covered and the temperature was hovering around 32 degrees.  The place I was fishing was covered with skim ice and a slushy surface from the morning snow.  Still, I had a small opening to fish way out which was ice free.  I had several bangs on the rod and decided to give it a "lucky pull" and sure enough, I hooked a decent fish.  I pulled the fish through the open water but there was skim ice between me and where I hooked the fish.  Here's where it gets wild.  I am now fighting the fish under the ice as the fish is pulling drag and my line is cutting though the slushy surface.  About ten yards from the bank, the fish decides to do battle on the surface.  It thrashed around sending pieces of ice flying as it looked like an icebreaker plowing though the Bering Sea.  Finally, I got it close to shore, pushed my net through the slush ice and netted my prize.
As most of you know, I love this type of weather.  In my mind, the last two days were just great days for carp fishing!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hitting in a FOOT of Water!

One thing I love about this carp fishing is that it is a continuing learning experience.  Take today, for example.  I was having a frustrating day.  I had fished a couple of spots with no success at all.  In those spots, I was casting way out to places I normally catch them at this time.  I moved to the last location of the day and was having no luck there either fishing way out.  I was about to leave when I noticed the slightest movement in the water very close to shore.  It was maybe a foot deep in a lot of muck and leaves.  Was that a carp?  I decided to try this location.  Well, I hit the jackpot, landing 5 mirrors in a short period of time (see pics of two of them at right and left).  There was not one fish but a whole bunch of them just hanging around this very shallow water. And, they were active tearing off with my sweet corn on the take.  Even the thrashing fish that I had on did not frighten the others which usually happens in shallow water. 
The other unique thing about this outing was that I landed all these fish right near and at dark, a time that is usually not good in December.  So, today's outing did not follow the December norm, but we all know that carp fishing is a lot of experimentation, and today's change in tactics really worked out for me.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fishing Heats up with the Weather

It's that time of the year.  When the weather warms, the carp fishing seems to warm up also. Today's beautiful weather wiped out any ice that remained on the places I was fishing.  Shallow spots can warm up quickly on a day like today and that seems to get the carp more active.  They were hitting today as I landed two mirrors and a common on hair rigged sweet corn. No, it was not setting the world on fire, but any carp I can catch in December is really a bonus so I was quite happy with three fish (see pics on right and left side of two of today's fish). 
Check out the weather for the next few days.  With above average temps coming, it looks like  favorable conditions for carp action here in RI.  They should be hitting.


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Winter "Bunch Up"

This good size mirror was landed today in one of the author's
favorite winter "bunch up" spots.  Carp will bunch up in tight
schools in the wintertime.
Here's a big secret about winter carp fishing.  Carp tend to bunch up in large groups in the wintertime in certain places. If you find these bunched up fish and the spots where they do this, you will catch them, even on the coldest of winter days. During the warm months you might find carp in various places along a pond or river.  Yet, in the winter, they will leave their warm weather spots and get together in large groups.  Just to give you an example of how this works, I was checking out a location last week.  It was a sunny day and I could see into the shallow, clear water in this venue.  I moved to this one location and spotted a mass of 60-75 carp just slowly moving around in a tight knit oval that was about the size of a kitchen table.  I suspect every carp in this body of water was in this one tight spot.  I went back later to this location with my fishing stuff and landed three mirrors.  Now, you'd think I would have killed them, but when you hook a fish in these tight bunches, it tends to spook the school. The big challenge for winter carp fishermen here in RI is to find these winter spots that hold big numbers of fish.  It's time consuming challenge, but when you find these spots, you've got some very potent and productive winter locations to fish.