Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nothing Doing

It's the same ole story with snow covering most of the woodsy areas and ponds covered in ice in much of the state.  However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as the shorelines are going in most ponds south of Providence. There are even places where you can get a cast away from a snow less shoreline and actually fish.  Some good news is that I got out and fished open water three times this week. The bad news is that I never even had a hit.  I suspect the cold snow melt and lack of sunshine is contributing to very cold water temperatures and the lack of feeding. Even moving water was not producing at the beginning of the week as I tried the Blackstone in MA and came away empty.
What can I say....we are off to a very slow start.  I'm looking at the forecast for this week and it looks like a warm up is on the way.  I'm guessing the fishing will slowly perk up in the next week if you can find fishable water. It's got to get started eventually!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament

Medals will be awarded for the first,
second and third place finishers in
the RI CAG Big 3 Tournament.
Snow and ice cover most of the ponds and waterways in the state right now, but in two weeks our Spring Big 3 Tournament begins.  This is our major yearly event for RI CAG members.  It will run for three months.  Basically, each member enters his or her biggest carp for the month of April, the month of May and the month of June.  At the end of those three months, the weights of those three biggest fish are added up and that becomes the entrant's total points. All fish entered must be caught in RI and released. Engraved medals are awarded to the top three finishers.
This tournament was very popular last year with our members.  There were many fish over twenty pounds entered and even a thirty pounder was landed, a very unusual feat for RI. Keep an eye on this website as we will be posting monthly results.
For anyone looking to join our RI group and take part in our events, you must join the CAG first.  Membership information is on the group's website at Carp Anglers Group.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Carp Care Sorely LACKING

I went out to one of my favorite winter spots this week, a place that has seen very little to no pressure in the past.  Well, the word was out thanks to Facebook.  I found a lot of fishermen there.  It was apparent that most of these guys were not experienced carpers.  I suspect they were probably bass fishermen with cabin fever.  These guys had some knowledge of carp fishing since they were using the right bait, sweet corn, and they were catching some fish.
The problems started once they got their fish near shore.  Without nets, some of them resorted to using a boga grip to "lip" the fish and lift them up the bank.  Boga grips are sort of like locking pliers that grab the fish's jaw or lips in this case. These grips are made for toothy critters such as pike or hard jawed fish such as largemouths.  But, one should NEVER use a Boga grip on a carp.  It does consider able damage to the carp's lips. I saw another guy get a fish near shore and he grabbed the fish under the gill plate with his hand to lift it out of the water. That is a no no since it will likely break a gill and the fish will bleed to death.  Then, this same guy pulled out a scale with a hook on it and hooked the fish under the gill plate and lifted it to weigh it. Once again, this will break the gills and kill the fish.  NEVER put a weigh hook under the gills of a carp.  If you are going to weigh a fish put the it in a sling and then weigh it, or keep the fish in the net and weigh it with the net.
We all need to remind ourselves of carp care.  Equipment such as carp friendly mesh nets, the use of unhooking mats on rough ground and weigh slings should all be part of a carp fisherman's equipment arsenal. I will say that these same guys who were clueless when it came to carp care were conservation minded fishermen.  They were releasing all the fish they caught so I applaud them for that.  However, they would be wise to brush up on carp care, a key component of carp fishing.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Three Rods in CT; Letter Sent to RI DEM Suggesting the Same

Three rods would be so great to use if you are a carp fisherman.  Here in RI the rule is two rods. The state of CT just adopted a three rod rule that was pushed and supported by the CT Carp Anglers Group.  So, why not here in RI? We have a world class fishery for mirror carp that is unmatched anywhere in the US and that three rod rule could really attract outside fishermen to our state.
So, here is the letter sent to Catherine Sparks of the RI DEM.  We'll see where it goes.  If I get a response, I will publish it.

As the chairman of the RI Carp Anglers Group, I would like to pass along this info that CT has just passed a "three rod" rule for freshwater fishing. This info was forwarded to me by the chairman of the CT Carp Anglers, Ian Sorrel. The info from Ian is pasted below:
After several years working with CT DEEP Fisheries I'm delighted to announce that you can now fish THREE rods in the State of Connecticut.
Perhaps even more exciting is the wording that highlights carp fishing and the "strong and passionate following in the USA" and how it has the "potential to enhance tourism in the state".
A big thank-you to all the anglers who helped support this change and made the effort to attend the hearings.
Here is the regulation update:
Section 2. Section 26-112-43 (RCSA) contains definitions and restrictions for a range of fisheries-related terms, gear types and methods. This proposal will 1) increase the number of lines that can be used by an individual angler from two to three lines, 2) add bowfin and tench to
the list of fish that can be taken by spearing, and 3) clarify that the only lamprey species that can be taken by spearing is the sea lamprey.
Increasing the number of lines that can be used by an individual angler is expected to enhance the fishing experience for a number of avid anglers by allowing them to take better advantage of technical methods available to target their select fisheries such as shore-based common carp
angling and trolling for trout in lakes. Although popular in Europe for decades, shore-based catch-and-release carp fishing is just beginning to develop a strong and passionate following in the United States and this type of fishing has the potential to enhance tourism in the state, especially if a third line is allowed for each angler.

Avid trout anglers would enjoy greater flexibility in trolling. As use of more than two lines/rods would be inappropriate in certain shore or wading based trout fisheries, the existing limit would be maintained in most specially designated trout areas.

A s unlikely as they are to be taken by such methods its still a shame bowfin and tench have been added to the list of species that can be taken by spearing as it undermines their true value as sport fish.
Please note that there were several reasons CT changed from two to three rods. One was the popularity of carp fishing which is increasing all over the US. The other was the possibility of increasing tourism in CT in the hopes that more fishermen would come to CT to carp fish.
Here in RI we have probably the best mirror carp fishery in the entire US. Anglers from all over the US write to me about this fishery that exists primarily in the Blackstone River system. So, we have something here that is very special that could attract a lot of outside fishermen. Being able to fish with three rods would be a real plus here also.
Any thoughts on the matter?

Dave Pickering, RI Chairman, RI Carp Anglers Group

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Hot Day on a Cold Snowbank

I will admit that I was itching to get out fishing today so that's just what I did.  Damn the snow and ice; it was 40 degrees out and I was going.  I went to a spot I don't normally fish.  I had to trek through woods with snow up to my ears, and when I finally got to the spot, the water in front of me was just about ice covered except for a thin channel of fast moving water.  I had no choice,  That would be the place I would be fishing. I planned to pinpoint my casts right along the ice sheet, the type of spot that often produced in other places like this in early spring.
I will make a long story short.  The fishing proved to be red hot for such tough conditions.  I landed 8 carp and had several more hits in just a few hours of fishing.  Sweet corn on the hair rig with a delicate approach did all the damage.  The fish proved sluggish on the take and on the fight, but that is what happens when the water is cold as ice.
So, this proves once again, that carp will hit in the wintertime if you are in the right spot and you are using the right approach. You need both to be successful.  Many fishermen will tell you that these fish don't hit in the wintertime, but then again, my guess is that these same guys are not out trying.  You can't catch if you don't try.
Let the spring games begin!

There is three to four feet of snow on this bank.  I packed down the snow
and drove my banksticks right into the packed snow. I had to be real careful
when netting the fish.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Favorite Online Carp Stores

Many people ask me where they can buy carp gear.  Specialized carp gear like baiting needles, carp friendly nets, artificial baits, boilies, weigh slings, rucksacks, banksticks and alarms (just to name a few items), can only be purchased in online tackle stores.  You can't walk into tackle shops in RI or even Bass Pro and find any of the important items mentioned above.  Here are three top notch online stores that you should check out.
1.  Big Carp Tackle-  This is my favorite US vendor.  They have everything here from bait to tackle to luggage to outdoor shelters. If it has to do with carp fishing, they have it.  Only problem is they are so popular, they run out of stuff fast. I've bought things like alarms, carp rods, backsticks, nets, bait and countless other things off them. They are very reputable and a sponsor of many of our CAG events.
2.  Harris Sportmail, UK- I do quite a bit of business with this overseas (UK) vendor.  Their prices are 20-30 % cheaper than stores in the US for the same stuff.  The problem here is shipping.  Their shipping goes strictly by weight.  If it is heavy, the shipping costs are so great they offset the lower costs of the items.  However, I buy a lot of lightweight stuff and shipping on those is usually less than US shipping.  At Harris I've bought stuff like quality hooks, artificial baits, shrink tubing and even a weigh sling.  They take a US credit card with the order.
3. Wacker Baits- Over the years I have bought a lot of stuff off Wacker.  They sell everything just like Big Carp Tackle. At Wacker, I have bought stuff like rod pods, backsticks, nets, alarms, rods, sinkers and baiting tools. Not sure what you want, pick up the phone and call Paul who runs the shop.  Every time I have called, he has picked up the phone.
While I have dealt with other carp bait and tackle dealers, these are my three favorite places to shop.  Check them out. I'm guessing they will have what you are looking for!