Friday, August 28, 2015

Steadily Fair

Here's a good size mirror
landed yesterday.
This 20 lb. common was
landed last week.
The fishing is not real good, but it is not bad either.  It is what I would call "steadily fair". In the last two weeks, I have gotten anywhere from one to a few fish an outing.  The sizes have been all over the place from a few pounds up to the low twenties. This is typical for August.  The water is very warm and very low, the weed growth is real bad this year, and the pests are super active. It is not the best conditions.
This will not really improve until we get a change in the weather.  We could use some rain along with cool weather.  Those conditions should perk up the fishing in a number of locations. While fall fishing can be a hit-or-miss deal, I have had some banner days in the fall in past years.
At this point I am slightly ahead (numbers-wise) of my August numbers in the last four years.  Normally, I can count on catching 50-60 carp in August.  I am currently at 71 fish with a few more days to go.
Regardless of what happens, this August will go down as a special month for me.  That RI 30 lber. I landed a few weeks ago has made my summer.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

MA Sportfishing Catch and Release Awards Program

If you meet the minimum
length, you will be awarded
an engraved pin.
The state of MA does a terrific job with their Sportfishing Awards Program.  This year they added a catch-and-release component.  See MA Sportfishing Awards. The website lists a minimum length for each freshwater species. For those entering, it requires a photo of the fish next to a measuring tape. The application can be filled in online, the photo downloaded and everything e-mailed or it can all be sent via postal mail. Very easy.
My pin winner was 35 inches.  The minimum
entry for a carp is 31 inches.
Their minimum length for carp is 31 inches.  I'll tell you that is a good size carp, probably in the 20-25 lb. range. The carp I entered was 35 inches, my biggest by length in MA waters.  That fish was quite skinny and weighed 27 lbs.  I had a fat 29 + lber. but it only measured 34 inches. So, this contest, like so many other catch-and release contests, goes by length.
Every entry receives a beautiful pin with the length and date engraved on the back.  The pin can be worn on a hat or jacket.  Very classy.
Now, you might ask, "Does RI do something like this?" Are you kidding.  The do have a Sportfishing Awards Program but they don't recognize carp. Is anyone surprised?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Check out this Funky Mirror

The dorsal fin was a combo color of
orange and purple!
The head of this mirror
was splotchy yellow and
orange spots.
I landed this unusual mirror carp today.  It had a head that had splotchy orange and yellow spots, especially around the nostrils, eyes and lips.  Its dorsal fin was orange and purple with orange/gold scales along its back.  It had bottom fins that had touches of orange spots on them. Its body was dark but almost smooth skinned. I'm not sure if this is a mirror koi, but it is one of the most unusual looking mirrors I have caught this year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RI's Carp Gear Tackle Shop.....Continental Bait and Tackle, Cranston

Here is just a sampling of  some of the carp gear
at Continental Bait and Tackle.
RI carp anglers were constantly asking me where they could buy carp fishing gear.  My reply up until recently was that there were no tackle shops stocking an extensive line of carp gear.  Well, that has now changed.
RI's #1 Tackle Shop for carp gear.
Continental Bait and Tackle, 1065 Park Ave., Cranston, RI (943-2137) is now stocking all kinds of gear such as bait (boilies), carp hooks, hair rigs, baiting needles, sling shots, throwing spoons, sinkers, method feeders, banksticks and even alarms to name a few items. They also have an extensive supply of baitrunner reels.  The owner, Craig Mancini, got in touch with me and asked what he should be carrying.  He also had a lot of requests from his customers.  That prompted him to start stocking the shelves with carp gear.  The result?  He claims he can't keep the stuff on the shelves.  It is moving that fast. And, if Craig does not have what you want, he claims he can get it.
Why other tackle dealers in RI are not getting into carp gear is a complete mystery to me.  It is the fastest growing fishery around the country, and judging from the interest here in RI, I would rate it as our fastest growing freshwater fishery.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


This good looking mirror is number 500 on the year.
I got my 500th carp of the year this week. It was a real good looking mirror. Mirrors have dominated my totals since I generally fish where there are lots of mirror carp. Every year my goal is to catch 500 carp, and this year I have reached it super early. Those record breaking months in the spring have really upped my totals for the year. My best year ever was last year when I landed 750 carp.  With a decent fall and early winter, that could be beaten.
August is turning out to be far better than expected for me as I am on a bit of a roll for this time of year. In the last week I have landed 30 carp, real good numbers in this August heat.  I have committed to fishing different spots from other summers, and it is really working out for me. A key to carp fishing success is to constantly be looking for new and productive spots that are off the beaten path and away from the fishing pressure.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's Needed to Tackle the Beast?

This big common in the twenties was landed recently on
the equipment described on the left.  The 30 lber. from the
last post was also landed on this same equipment.
There's a lot of carp fishermen out there who would like to catch a BIG one.  Beginners seem to look for a 20 lber. Those with a little experience have their sights on a 25.  And, the dreamers out there are looking for a 30 lber. And, those shooting for the moon would like to get a 40.
But, making it a reality is a far different story. I will tell you right out that most fishermen are fishing too light and have little or no chance at landing that beast when it does strike.  That 6 foot freshwater bass rod with a light reel and ten pound test line is simply no match for a real big fish. You can not imagine the power of a large carp over 30 lbs.  Add the fact that many fishermen don't even carry a net or they have a net made for a 12 inch trout should make you can conclude that it just is not going to happen unless you are super lucky.
I can tell you that all the CAG members I know that have landed 30 lb. carp in RI (and there are only a handful) were ready for it.  They had the right equipment, a sturdy carp net and the experience to make it happen.
Here is a list of everything I used two days ago to land that 30 lb. common:
1. Rod- Fox Warrior 12 foot carp rod, 3 lb. test curve
2. Reel- Shimano 8000D Baitrunner Reel
3. Line- 20 lb. test Berkeley Big Game mono, clear color
4. Hook- #8 Umpqua Tiemco 2457, hair rigged
5. Hooklink- 50 lb. test red Power Pro, short length, 5 in.
6. Method Ball- Yes, oatmeal/cornmeal/bread mix packed around sinker
7. Sinker- Homemade no roll 1 oz. sinker painted green weed
8. Net- Fox Horizon carp net 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Rare August Beast.......30 lbs., 4 oz.

From late July into August I have been writing about a slowdown in terms of numbers and sizes of carp.  But, it all changed with yesterday's stormy weather. My massive fish was a rare catch for August.  I have never landed a 30 lb. carp in the month of August, but it happened yesterday.  Most of the big carp I have landed (fish over 30 lbs.) have come in the spring or the fall.  Big fish in the dead of summer are rare here in RI.
I knew I had the right day yesterday for something big to happen.  I had experienced very good fishing in the past on rainy, nasty, windy days in the summer, and yesterday's weather was ideal. I've fished in the past during tropical storms and hurricanes, and all produced exceptional results.  This fish hit in the middle of a wind driven downpour.  It took straight maize fished on a hair rig ahead of a method ball. The massive common weighed 30 lbs., 4 oz. Besides this fish I also had a 21 lb. common and two others under 10 lbs.
This marks my 16th carp over 30 lbs. (14 thirty pound fish and 2 forty pound fish).
So, big fish can be caught in the dead of summer, but you will need the right conditions to do it.  I had it yesterday!
This massive common weighed 30 lbs., 4 oz. and was landed in the middle
of s downpour.  Thirty pound carp are rare here in RI and even rarer in the summer.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Picking Away

I've had four months in a row of personal record months in  terms of numbers of carp, but I can say with certainty that August will not follow the record trend. While things are not hot and heavy, I am picking away at fish and catching on almost every outing. The numbers and sizes are not there, but that is August fishing.  Things will change with the cooling weather in September.
I haven't fished much in the last week since I was away in NY for my oldest son's wedding.  So, yesterday was the first time out in four days.  The fishing was decent as I went out for a couple of hours in the morning and landed two and went back in the evening and got six more. All the fish were under ten pounds, but that's ok for this time of year. I am getting all my fish on maize these days since it is a far more durable bait than flimsy sweet corn. So far this month I have 25 carp.  My expectations for August are that I can average two fish an outing.  Sixty fish for the month and I would be very happy.
This decent size mirror was landed this morning using maize. The fishing in
August so far has been typical of most years with a fish or two per outing. We
are in the slowest period of the year.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pulling Out All the Stops

One kernel of maize is hooked and
ready to be freelined.
In this slowdown, I have been doing a lot of experimenting.  I'm trying different spots along with different methods and baits. I've been having marginal success, picking up 10 carp in the last 4 outings,
In the last couple of days I have been freelining maize for finicky carp  This method involves simply hooking one kernel of maize directly on a #8 hook.  It is cast with no sinker or other hardware involved.  Prior to fishing, I try to bait an area in close to shore and try to lure some carp into feeding.  Once they are around and picking up the free offerings, I cast my bait (warning, it doesn't cast very far) and wait for a hit.  At times, I could watch the carp as it picked up my offering. Once a fish is hooked the others tend to spook and I needed to wait about 20 minutes before the others returned.  While I am not killing the fish doing this I have picked up several 10 lbers.  Certainly, better than nothing!
This ten pound common fell for freelined maize.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Tale of Two Julys

July saw more record numbers.  The first
half of the month was hot while the second
half was slow.
July has turned into another record breaking month for me in terms of numbers of carp landed.  This follows the best  April, May and June I have ever put together.  The total for July numbers 112 carp, great numbers by most standards for a summer month.  However, numbers don't tell the whole story.
My summary for July reads like two different months.  Remember that this hot weather came in the second half of the month, and that's when things turned sour.  The first half of the month, that time period from July 1 to July 15, was hot for fishing as the weather was cooler than normal.  In those two weeks, I landed 84 carp with sizes up to twenty pounds.  Most were over ten pounds.  I was getting them on a variety of  baits and methods from hair rigged corn to freelining mulberries and doughballs. Things went downhill the second half of the month.  In that period from July 16- July 31, I landed exactly 28 carp.  My biggest was a paltry 12 lbs. Most of the other fish were under ten pounds. I blame the hot and dry weather and low water conditions for the drop in numbers.
We seem to be in that same hot and dry weather pattern for the beginning of August.   I suspect it will be tough going for at least the first half of the month. Traditionally, August has always been a difficult month for carp fishing.