Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Closing the Book on 2014......A Record Year with 749 Carp Landed

Big Carp Tackle's Carp of the Month
for May
Big Carp Tackle's Carp of the Month
for April
For me, 2014 will go down as a personal best year.  I caught more carp in 2014 than any other year. The final tally in the logbook reads 749 carp landed for 2014. My previous best year was back in 2011 when I landed 738 carp.
While the numbers were there, the sizes were also.  I landed more carp over 20 lbs. than I had caught in any other year.  In addition, I landed that monster 40 lb. 2 oz. mirror that captured the Biggest Mirror Award in the North American Big 4 Tournament sponsored by the CAG. Over the years there have been very few forties taken in New England waters so this was a real prize.  It was also my second 40 lber. I have ever landed.  While I didn't land a carp in the thirties this year I got a good many fish in the 25-29 lb. range, not too shabby as far as size is concerned.
When it comes to remembering 2014 highlights, two other fish stick out in my mind.  These were the two winners in Big Carp Tackle's Carp of the Month Contest.  I had the winner for April and the winner for May.  Both of these were gorgeous mirrors that weighed 26 and 28 lbs.
The three mentioned fish above were all caught on combo baits that featured artificial, plastic floating corn matched with some type of natural bait and fished on a hair rig.  Plastic corn would have to be considered the "Bait of the Year" my book.  If you have never used this stuff, order some of the ESP plastic corn in a pink, red or orange color.  They were terrific producers for me when it came to big fish.
Note that favorable weather, especially in the fall and early winter, played a big role in keeping the fish hitting and active.  By far, it was the best September to the end of December I have ever experienced and the numbers of fish just piled up non-stop at times.
So, I am closing the book on another great carping year.  Time to start a new log as I plan to get out and hit the waters in the coming week. For me, the fishing just keeps going year round.  Let's hope 2015 brings another great year of fishing.

This 40 lb. 2 oz. mirror carp was my biggest carp for 2014,  It won the Biggest
Mirror Award in the 2014 CAG Big 4 Tournament.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Subfreezing Temps., Icing, and HITTING Like Crazy

This 13 lb. mirror sits on some
shoreline ice.  It was one of 15
carp landed today.
This 10 lb. mirror also sits in some
shoreline ice. Most of the carp today
were taken with a delicate approach
geared to winter fishing (see post).
I ventured out this morning with temperatures in the mid 20's.  I would have guessed the cold would put an end to my terrific streak of winter carpin.  I was wrong as today turned into one of my best winter days as I landed 15 carp from 5-13 lbs. A good number of fish went over 10 lbs.  At times the action was non-stop.
I even switched venues today as the pond I had been fishing was completely iced up when I got there.  So, I put into action Plan B and I headed for some ice free river currents where I was able to fish although the shoreline was frozen in spots.  I was experimenting with a new rig today which was basically made with a long (12-14 in.) monofilament hooklink (10 lb. test mono) with a tiny #10 hair rigged hook (hair rigged on fly tying vice with nylon thread) at the hook end.  I used a small 1/2 oz. steel egg sinker and a small method ball.  I used only two kernels of sweet corn on the hair.  This delicate presentation, fished on a light, 9 ft. steelhead rod and a baitrunner reel spooled with 10 lb. test mono, was highlighted in some UK sites for winter fishing. It worked like a charm and caught a good number of the fish today. The delicate rigs and presentation really appeal to winter carp that are touch about feeding and taking a bait.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sweet Corn a Killer Bait Right Now

It was another big haul today with good numbers of carp
along with two doubles.
Sweet corn has been THE bait this week as I have landed close to 50 carp in my last three outings on the sweet corn.  Most carp fishermen know this is the bait of choice for carp fishing but for much of the warm weather months it is a problem to keep the stuff on the hair rig.  Pests like turtles, bluegills, horned pout, dace and other small fish will just pick the delicate sweet corn apart.  But, alas, the water is just too cold for those pests to be active so the carp have it all to themselves and they will pounce right on it.
Today was another torrid day of fishing for me with good numbers of carp landed. Here's a few tips that you might find helpful if you are looking for December Carp:
I like three kernels of sweet corn on
the hair.
*In a big warm-up, hit shallow spots in small ponds that warm up quickly. I am fishing in water that is generally 3-5 feet deep.
*I use three pieces of sweet corn on the hair.  Hair rigging is far more effective than putting the bait on a hook. I am using no method.
* Go small.  Small hooks (#8), small hooklink (4 inches maybe), small sinker (one oz.or less)
*Fish the warmest part of the day.  Last three days that time from noon to 3:00 has been very good.
*Keep chumming or prebaiting. I use maize or sweet corn.
*I am using "Double Luck" sweet corn from Walmart (48 cents a can.  Can you beat that deal?)
*Put in your time and move around if the fish are not hitting in one spot.  Sometimes you have to find the "winter bunch".

Friday, December 26, 2014

700th Carp of the Year on a Sizzling, Hot Day of Fishing

Nick hold a good size mirror.
I hold a mirror that was one of 29
that we landed today!
Wow, the fishing is hot, hotter than I have ever seen in the month of December.  Credit this real mild spell for turning on the carp fishing.
Today was a milestone for me as I landed my 700th carp of the year.  There have been only two other years in which I have been able to get to 700 so this is a big deal for me.
I got out today with my friend and fellow RI CAGer Nick.  We hit the venue where I have been experiencing hot fishing in the last few days.  Today was even better than those days.  Nick and I landed a grand total of 29 carp, all mirrors.  Those numbers are off the charts in the month of December.  There was a period of time today (early afternoon, warmest part of the day) in which we could not keep four lines in the water.  Several times we would BOTH have a fish on at the same time. It was like fishing a pre-spawn bonanza in May. The hot bait continues to be sweet corn on the hair rig without any method ball.
As long as this mild weather sticks around, expect the fishing to remain very good.

My 700th carp of the year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Gift of Carp on Christmas Morning

This is one of 16 carp landed in just an hour and a half of
fishing.  The Christmas morning fishing was phenomenal.
I must say upfront that I don't normally fish on Christmas Day.  However, a number of "circumstances" led to my going out for a short period of time this morning.  My young adult sons went out last night and got home real late so they planned to sleep till about noontime.  My wife was cooking away and wanted me out of her way and out of the house so she could "cook in peace". My son and his fiance Kristy were coming in from New York in early afternoon.  I was told I had to be back around noontime to cut up the turkey and get ready for the dinner and the family party.
So, I decided hit a nearby place on this very mild Christmas morning.  I figured I was going  out to get some fresh air and exercise and maybe, if I was lucky, I would catch a carp.
Lucky I was as I experienced one of my best late fall/early winter days ever.  The action began almost immediately as the carp pounced on the sweet corn almost as soon as it hit the bottom.  From that first fish on it was nearly non-stop action.  Rarely did I have two outfits in the water as I seemed to be battling a carp, taking off a fish, snapping pics, rebaiting, etc.  In a short period of one and a half hours of glorious fishing, I landed 16 carp, maybe the most I have ever gotten in that short a period of time.  Included in that take were three doubles.
Yes, I was a good boy and left the hot fishing to get back in more than enough time for the turkey carving, the dinner and the party.
Some Christmas gifts are surprises The carp on this Christmas morning were on of those surprises and one of my best gifts of the day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

On a Spring Roll in Late December!

This is one of six carp landed today while fishing sweet
corn on the hair rig in some rainy, mild weather.  
The carp are on a spring rampage, but it is late December! Charged up by this mild, warm weather, they are hitting.  In the last two days I have landed 11 carp and have had a number of other fish on and hits.  Yesterday I got them on maize.  Today the hot bait was sweet corn on the hair rig.
If you have never gotten a carp in winter, the next week will be an opportune time to get out and fish.  With unusually mild weather and warming water temperatures, the fish are acting like it's ice out in March.  They are on the feed. Get in on the action because I can tell you it won't last!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Casting to Bubble Trails Leads to Good Day

Persistence pays off.  I finally had a good day of carp fishing in December.  I changed strategies a bit, hitting a smaller spot that held carp in the past at this time of year.  I also targeted bubble trails that I noticed moving along the surface.
Bubble trails are an indicator of carp in an area. In the warmer months bubbles on the surface can mean a variety of things.  Yes, it could be carp rooting on the bottom but it could also be turtles moving along the bottom or even an old piece of debris pressing along a soft bottom.  Today, I landed a couple of fish just casting blindly.  Then, I noticed several bubble trails just to the left of where I was fishing.  So, I began pinpoint casting to those trails with my hair rigged maize.  In two instances, I had running takes before I could even set the rod onto my alarm.  In another case, it took seconds after the rod was set to get a runner.
In all I landed 5 carp today (see photos). Anytime you can score even one carp in December, it is an accomplishment so I am thrilled with today's results. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December Fishing Way Off

The alarms have been silent lately
as December fishing has been poor.
December has never been a big month of carp fishing here in RI, but I have always been able to average 15-20 fish in the month of December in past years.  Not this year.  So far, the fishing is way, way off.  I've been looking in lots of spots and getting out several times a week, but I have only been able to get three carp so far in December.
So, what's wrong.  I attribute a lot of this lousy fishing to that very cold spell that we had back in late November around Thanksgiving.  At that time, the ice was forming in a lot of places and the carp went into their winter funk.  They have not really perked up since.  In addition, we have had a lot of cloudy, rainy, cold weather.  I find that when the sun is shining on shallow water, it tends to perk up the carp.  Cloudy and cool weather has always fished poorly at this time of year.  Also, the weather has not been cold but it has not been warm either. It seems to be steadily in the thirties and low forties by day and in the high twenties at night. Finally, all this rain has really swelled the Blackstone River, one of my prime winter places to fish.  The River is unfishable right now.
So, my plan is to keep slugging it out and hope that the fishing perks up before the ice arrives.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Product Review.....Fox Specialist Compact Rucksack

Rucksacks, or knapsacks as we call them here in the US, have become very popular carry bags for carp equipment.  I have used shoulder bags as well as rucksacks and I greatly prefer using a rucksack because it adds to my mobility.
Last year I purchased a Fox Specialist Compact Rucksack to replace a Nash Hooligan rucksack that was well worn after years of use. The Fox Compact Rucksack is a smaller rucksack made for short sessions.  It has an inside space of 35 liters, ideal for my use. If you are looking for something bigger, the Fox FX Rucksack is a 55 liter bag ($139).  There are lots of things to like about the Fox Compact Rucksack.  It is very comfortable on the shoulders due to the heavy padding on the back. The heavy duty material that the bag is made with seems solid and long lasting.  The storage is also very good. The inside is large enough for me to store containers of bait, a container of method, my lunch, my compact camera, my banksticks and even a lightweight jacket.  The bag has a large pocket on the front that holds my rigger pouch.  One side of the bag has a large elongated pocket that holds such things as my scale, brush cutter and other tools.  The other side has two small pockets.  These hold such things as my boxes of hooks, sinkers, hair stops, extra line for rigging and packs of plastic artificials.  The top of the bag has yet another big pocket.  I keep a long plastic box in this pocket.  It holds such things as extra sinkers, small pliers, scissors, small tools and baiting needle. The top of the bag also has a couple of straps with pulls that hold my compact unhooking mat.  I like that feature. Those are the pluses about this bag.
There are a few minor negatives I should mention.  The heavy duty zippers, though high quality, are only single, one way zippers. I much prefer double zippers.  It also has an elasticated strip on one side that is supposed to be able to hold backsticks and alarms.  No way.  The strip is way too flimsy to hold regular size banksticks with alarms.
This rucksack sells for $73.95 at Big Carp Tackle ( ).
Mostly everyone knows I am a big fan of Fox products.  Every Fox product I have ever used has been top quality and this bag is no different.
Final Verdict:  Recommended!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

On the Board in Dec.

I got out today and landed several nice carp (2 mirrors and a common) in some cool, raw weather (see photos).  These are my first ones in Dec. as I blanked on Dec.1st. For the first time this fall I noticed the fish were sluggish on the take as well as the fight.  That does happen in cold weather and cold water.  The takes were very subtle, sometimes just a series of small taps on rod tip.  When this happens, pick up the rod, engage the reel and give it a slight pull and hope for the best.  It worked that way several times today.  The best bait today was a small kernel of maize with a small artificial kernel of yellow pop up corn.  I used no method, an approach I generally use in winter, a time when less is usually better.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Todd Richer Wins RI CAG Tournament

RI carp fishing expert Todd Richer has won our
fall mirror/common combo tournament.
A big congrats to RI CAGer Todd Richer who has won our fall Mirror/Common Combo Tournament.  This tournament ran from Sept. to November.  Basically, you had to enter your biggest common and your biggest mirror caught from RI waters.  The combined weight was your point total.  Todd logged in a grand total of 33 lbs., 6 oz. for his two fish total.  For winning Todd gets a gold engraved medal from the Carp Anglers Group.
The RI CAG holds tournaments and fish-ins throughout the year for its members.  In addition, the national CAG holds fishing contests, photo contests, writing contests and numerous tournaments for its members.  For those interested in joining the CAG go to its website at .  Membership in the national group gets you free membership in the RI CAG.