Friday, November 27, 2015

One THOUSAND for the Year

My thousandth fish of the year
really turned out to be two fish!
I hit the thousand fish mark for the year today. Catching over a thousand carp in a year seemed impossible before the season started since nothing got started this year until April due to the severe winter.  So, I got there without catching hardly any carp for the first three months of the year.  But, once the fishing got started in 2015, it was one record month after another for me.
There's a story behind my thousandth fish.  I knew my 15th fish (if I could get it) today would be my thousandth for the year. So, when I landed 14 carp at mid afternoon, I knew the next fish would be it. But, here's where it got crazy....both alarms sounded at the same time....yup, a double.  I fought both fish to the shore with one rod between my legs and the other in one hand while the other hand took turns reeling both reels.  Finally, I landed two commons.  One was about 10 lbs., while the other went 7 lbs. So, my thousandth fish turned out to be really two fish.  Hmm, kind of the way this crazy year is going.
Prior to this year, my best year was 750 fish.  I fish about the same number of days every year, so you can conclude that 2015 has been a spectacular year in terms of numbers for carp fishing. And, it has been a banner year for me with big fish too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Now Using Winter Tactics

I am now using my winter tactics to fish for carp.  With the water temperatures dropping into the 30's and ice forming along many of the shorelines (especially in the mornings), a different approach is needed to coax sluggish winter carp into hitting.
Think small and light.  At this time of year I always use sweet corn.  Unlike other times of the year I go with a small hair on a small hook (#8).  I usually thread just two pieces of sweet corn on the hair (see photo at left).  I also rarely use a method ball at this time of year.  If you are fishing areas without current, go with a smaller sinker like a quarter ounce steel egg sinker.
I also sometimes really change things around in the winter as I did the other day.  I will often use a very light rod ( 9 foot noodle steelhead rod) along with a baitrunner reel that is spooled with just 8 lb. test monofilament line.  I will use a small sinker and a foot long monofilament leader (8 lb test line).  At the end I will tie on a #12 hook and just hook a couple of pieces of sweet corn (yup, no hair rig). That super light set-up can work exceptionally well with finicky winter fish. Of course, you might find yourself in trouble with this super light set-up if you hook a big fish.
Today I got out on a real cold morning and found ice along the shore everywhere I went.  I did, however, manage to bank half a dozen carp as the weather warmed in the afternoon using the winter techniques described above.  One of those fish one was a magnificent 20 lb. mirror, a real good size winter fish (see photo at right).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

RI CAGers Score Big in Big 4 Tournament

Todd Richer....4th place
Three RI CAG members entered the national CAG Big 4 Tournament and all came away winners, a phenomenal feat for RI carp fishermen.  This tournament was open to all CAG members.  The idea was to go out and fish from October to mid November and log in your four biggest carp.  The poundage total would be your points.
Tom Perron....10th place
Note that some of the best carp fishermen from all over the country were involved in this tournament so the competition was stiff. At stake were prizes (gift certificates) for the top ten finishers. Here's how we did;
Todd Richer came in fourth place overall with 113 lbs., 4 oz.  In that haul of fish, Todd had a PB (Personal Best) 33 lb., 8 oz common, a stunning fish.  If you remember, it was Todd who had the biggest mirror at 30 lbs. in the Spring CAG Big 4. Todd is quickly becoming one of New England's top big carp hunters.
Dave Pickering....7th place
I came in seventh place with 83 lbs., 2 oz.  All my fish were in the low twenties.  This goes along with my 5th place finish in the Spring CAG Big 4.
Tom Perron came in tenth place.  Tom is a first year CAG member and part of our up and coming group of young carp fishermen in this state. Tom's total was 66 lbs., 2 oz. and he had a very impressive mirror of 22 lbs., 3 oz. in the mix.  You might remember that Tom and his partner came in second place in the recent Merrimack River Regional Tournament.
Make no mistake about it...we have some of the best carp fishermen in New England here in our RI CAG group.  And, we are now raising some eyebrows on the national level.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


The good times just keep rolling along.  November is turning out every bit as good as October for me.  Landed my 900th carp of the year today, a good looking mirror carp of about 10 lbs.  It came as one of a fourteen fish haul in just a few hours of fishing. All were caught on sweet corn fished on the hair rig.  I am guessing that as long as this weather stays warm the fish will continue to hit.
My next challenge will be to reach 1000 fish. I have a month and a half to do it. It is reachable with a little luck. Now, that would be monumental!
Number 900 on the year!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Working on Another Record Month

It is only November 14, but already I have caught more carp this November than any other November.  At this point I have 90 carp on the bank, about half mirrors and half commons. This fall continues to be the best I have ever experienced in terms of numbers. Take a look at a couple of pictures (right and left) of fish I have landed in recent days.
Today I set out with low expectations.  Wind chills were in the low thirties when I left my house and there was a big dip in the temperature last night, not good for carp fishing. There was also a brutal, cold wind.  Things began real slow.  I tried two spots for an hour each and came away with three small ones.  So, I packed up and headed for a different location. That's where I found the fish stacked up in a small area.  I was able to land ten fish in just an hour and a half in this spot.  The fish were all sizes and went up to ten pounds.
The hot bait continues to be sweet corn fished on a hair rig.  I've tried maize also and the results are far below what I am getting on sweet corn. With the absence of any pests (turtles, horned pout, bluegills, suckers, etc.), sweet corn is my best bet right now.  At times I am using a method ball with this, at times I am not.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Record Numbers Fell for All Natural Baits

All natural stuff....sweet corn on
the hair rig and a method ball of
oatmeal, bread, cornmeal and corn.
I will catch more carp and more big carp this year than any other year. An interesting footnote to all of this is that this is the first year that I have used all natural baits.  No flavoring on my main baits.
This common that was
caught today hit sweet
corn on the hair rig.
Unflavored baits are very
effective, sometimes
outfishing flavored baits.
Many novice carpers may find it a surprise that I am not using flavored baits. I know most beginners flock to flavors thinking that is the magic bullet to catching big numbers of carp.  Not so.  Presentation, rigging and baiting are far more important to your success than flavored baits. If fact, while flavors can be a turn on to a carp, they can also be a turn off. Pick the wrong flavor on a given outing and you might as well stay home. Think about it this way.  I like to eat a good apple, but if I was given an apple that had been flavored with garlic or cucumber flavoring, I would not eat it.  I'm guessing carp feed in the same way.  We tend to chum with sweet corn or maize, a natural food.  Why, then, would you use say banana flavored corn in an area you baited with non flavored corn?  Makes no sense.
This is not to say that flavors are not effective.  We know from research that carp love fruity flavors such a pineapple, especially in cold water.  So, at times, that might just give you an edge.  I stress the word "might". Note, too, that the best flavor will differ by location.  The carp might love that scopex flavor in one pond, but might turn their noses up at it at another pond.  With non flavored or natural baits, you simply can't go wrong.
The only bait I have flavored this year has been my plastic artificial corn.  I don't like the plastic smell so I keep it in a jar with pineapple flavoring.
I also do not use flavoring in my method mix.  My method is a simple mix of old fashioned oatmeal, crushed up bread, some coarse corn meal and a particle (usually corn).
Some of the natural baits that have delivered those record numbers of carp for me this year include maize, sweet corn, chick peas, doughballs and mulberries. It's all natural stuff that carp love to eat.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Reaping the Benefits of Discovery

This fish was one of many taken from a spot reached only by
kayak.  It was featured in my discovery story.
The national CAG organization was running a contest called "Discovery Month".  For the month of September the idea was to go out and discovery a new spot and write about it.  After the contest ended members would vote for the best story.  I had never entered this contest before, but I had a good idea this year to go out in a kayak and explore an area of the Blackstone River that was completely off limits to shore fishing. Well, it worked like a charm, the story came out great and I caught a lot of good size fish in my newly discovered location.  I also ended up winning second place in the contest.  That amounted to prizes and gift certificates worth about $75.
After this contest I decided to continue with my discovery quest.  I began fishing some new spots I  had never fished before in the fall, basically places that NO ONE fished that were off the beaten paths.  That has lead to a fabulous fall for me with loads of fish on the bank.  In the month of October alone I landed 175 carp, unheard of numbers for fall fishing.  Most of those fish came from newly discovered locations.
If there is any advice I could  give to new carpers, I would say don't be afraid to explore and discover new spots.  Most newbies take the approach of going to spots that others mention or write about.  These spots will produce, but it is often the leftovers that others did not catch or fussy fish that have been caught recently. When you think about the Blackstone River, for instance, I know that most fishermen are crowded into a few easy access locations.  Realize there are parts of the river loaded with carp that have never seen a bait before.  If you can get in on these spots first or discover them, you can have some phenomenal fishing.
Give discovery a try.  You might end up blanking in some spots, but then again, you might just discover some unbelievable fishing that you will have all to yourself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I reached a milestone today that I never thought was achievable.  I landed my 800th carp of the year, a beautiful 14 lb. mirror carp.
November has continued just where October left off with some real hot fishing.  Today I landed 14 carp in a short session of 3 1/2 hours. The fish went 5-15 lbs. The action was terrific for this time of year.  I also saw many carp rolling and jumping on the surface as if celebrating this beautiful weather.
I can't guess where this year is going with two months left of fishing.  Nine hundred seems like a lock at this point.  Can 1000 fish in a year be possible? I don't know, but we'll see.  With a little luck and some good weather great things could happen.
Number 800 on the year proved to be a hefty mirror carp of 14 lbs.