Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: An Excellent Year of Carp Fishing

I was on a discovery theme for most of the year.  Here is a
nice 20 + lb. common that I landed in a new spot
on the CT River in CT.
This past year, 2016, turned out to be the second best year I have ever experienced numbers-wise. I ended up with a total of 970 carp, an astounding number only surpassed by last year's total of 1300 carp. My best month numbers-wise turned out to be August (surprise!) in which I landed 178 carp.  I had my best day of carp fishing with 30 fish on November 8.
Numbers don't always tell the complete story.  This was a year in which I landed very good numbers of decent fish from the high teens all the way up to 30 lbs. plus. The biggest mirror that I landed was a whopping 32 lbs. while the biggest common tipped the scales at 28+ pounds. Both were caught on a combo bait of maize and artificial corn fished on the hair rig.
Biggest carp fo the year for me was this hog of a mirror that
tipped the scales at 32 lbs.
One of the themes in my fishing this year was "discovery".  With many of my past spots being loaded with fishermen, I decided to look for lots of new places to fish. My travels took me instate to places I had never fished before as well as to big waters out of state.  For the first time I bought a license in CT and fished the world class CT River numerous times.  I landed quite a few 20's there along with some big channel catfish.  I also found lots of new places in nearby MA that delivered hundreds of carp for me up into the 20's. I took this discovery thing one step further and entered the CAG Discovery Month contest.  I won that along with the CAG Discovery Month Photo Contest.
I did my best this year in in CAG's Big 4 Tournaments.  I came in second place the the Spring Big 4 (106 lbs., 4 oz.) and third place in the Fall Big 4 (106 lbs., 4 oz).  Both were my best finishes in those events.
I usually begin my year hoping to land about 500 carp. Catching close to a thousand fish far exceeded this goal,  It was a great year for me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Photo of the Day....."Snowcarp"

Still a few willing to hit if you want to put in the time and effort to find them!
Got this hefty common today along a snowy river bank.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

End of the Line?

Yes, you can fish in the snow provided there is no ice.
Could be the end of the line for this year.
I got out yesterday in the morning snow and rain. I was very limited due to icing and could only fish fast moving water.  All the ponds I checked were iced over and even slow moving water was ice. For the first time in a long time, it was a complete blank. No hits, no runs, no nothing.
With some of the coldest weather of December coming, it looks more and more like this is it for the year.  Yes, carp will hit in cold weather, but once everything is iced over, that is generally the end of the line. And, that big icing is coming.
We were spoiled big time last year as December weather remained warm right till New Year's Day. Most of last year's December temperatures were in the fifties,  And the fish remained active.  Not so this year.
I'm not putting my stuff away just yet, but things are not looking good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cooler + Wetter = Lesser

I landed this hefty mirror this
morning. Numbers are way off
compared to last year. Blame the
cooler and wetter weather.
This is nowhere near the same December fishing we had last year.  Numbers of fish are way down due to the weather. Two culprits are in play.  It has been far wetter this December than last year. Last week's two inches of rain  had rivers and streams overflowing and unfishable for days. The water levels in most ponds were also up.  It has also been far cooler.  Fifty degrees or more was the norm last December as we fished in record breaking warm temperatures, and that had the fish feeding big time.  I went to a small pond to fish yesterday morning and was shocked to find the pond TOTALLY frozen with ice.  Yikes! If you look at what is coming in the next week or so, it is not looking good as temperatures this weekend will struggle to get above freezing. I'm noticing the fish I am catching have been sluggish on the take and sluggish on the fight, a sure sign of plunging water temperatures.
December is probably the most unpredictable and variable month of the year for carp fishing.  The fishing  is all dependent on the weather.  Warm weather leads to good fishing, cool weather leads to marginal fishing and cold weather and icing shuts it all down.  In recent years there have been some fantastic Decembers in which I have caught hundreds of fish (last year) while there have been other cold Decembers where I have struggled to land 10 fish.  Most Decembers I have been able to get 25 to 30 fish, and that is putting in a good amount of time.  For me, this December seems to be turning out a bit above average, but we'll see what happens the rest of the way.  Not looking like a banner end of the year at this point. However, I plan to fish the rest of the month or until severe icing shuts it down.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament Results

Fish were entered by
Our RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament which has been running for three months is over.  The guys and gals went out and tried to catch a common, a mirror and a koi.  The biggest ones by length (inches) were entered.  We added up the lengths of those biggest ones and that was the point total.  The first three places were awarded medals that were purchased by the national CAG organization.
Our members scored some very impressive fish overall. Jake Ayotte, who seems to be winning everything these days, came in first place with 94 1/2 points.  He caught the only koi so that gave him an additional 24 points (length of koi).  Tom Perron and Brandon Dee ended in a tie with 64 1/2 points but Tom won the tie breaker with a larger third fish.
Here is the final tally with the angler and points awarded. Note the first number is the length of the common, the second is the length of the mirror and the third is the length of the koi.  Every fish landed was released in good shape.

Jake Ayotte won first place with 94 1/2 points.  He was the only one who entered a koi.

1.      Jake Ayotte- gold medal- 37+33 ½+24= 94 ½
2.      Tom Perron-silver medal- 32 ½+32= 64 ½ (decided by tie breaker)
3.      Brandon Dee- bronze medal- 32 ½ +32= 64 ½
4.      Sean Reed- 30 +33 1/2= 63 ½
5.      Brian Savage- 27 ½+36= 63 1/2
6.      Todd Richer- 31+31= 62
7.      Mike Stevenin- 32+30= 62
8.      Manny Dias- 34 1/2

9.      Tony Carvalho- 30
Winners (left to right): Brandon Dee, Tom Perron and Jake Ayotte

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rain/Warm Weather Charge Up Fishing

This is one of 20 carp landed in
the last few days.  Fishing has really
perked up in this warm and rainy
Carp fishing took a noticeable turn for the better in the last few days with this shot of warm weather and rain.  I did three short sessions in the last few days and put 20 carp on the bank.  Most of these fish were in the 5-10 lb. range. This recent "perk up" is a characteristic of early winter fishing.  In those periods of warm weather in which the water temperatures rise, the level of activity also rises and the fish go on the feed.
I have been using winter tactics as described in my previous posts to catch these fish in multiple venues.  The bait of choice has been sweet corn on the hair.  Two kernels on a short hair seems to do the trick.  Sometimes I am using a small method ball, sometimes I'm not.  I will put the ball on one sinker, leave it off the other outfit and see what happens.
Many newbies ask when this will end.  Fishing should continue to be worthwhile, sometimes very good, until the ice arrives.  I have no timetable for ending. If this is an ice free winter, I will fish for them all winter.  Realize that the cold months can be very productive. Last year, for instance, I landed a whopping 292 carp in just the month of December.  That is what warm weather can produce.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Onto a Winter Approach; 900th Carp of the Year Landed

Today I landed my 900th carp of the year using what I call a winter fishing approach. Here is generally the way I target carp in the wintertime:
Venue- Your best ponds will be small, shallow ponds.  Those places heat up fast on a sunny day and that often gets the carp feeding.  In bigger and deeper ponds and rivers I try to find those places where the carp will bunch up for winter.  Those are often deep spots that are found by trial and error and lots of trying.
Rigs- Go small.  Small hooks, small hook links, small hairs, small method ball and the smallest sinker that will get the job done.  I only use a #8 or #10 hook in winter fishing. Sometimes I will put sweet corn directly on a #10 hook and not even use a hair rig.
Bait- Sweet corn that is bought in a supermarket is your best bet.  I have also done well with small doughballs. On my small hairs I will generally use only 2 kernels of sweet corn.
Time of Day to Fish-  Best time is the warmest part of the day.  That is mid to late afternoon.  The exception here is a real warm day. Sunny days generally fish better than cold, cloudy days. Warm, rainy days can also be good.
When to Quit- When the ice arrives.  Up until then, carp can be caught!
This good looking fully scaled mirror that was caught today is my 900th carp for 2016.
It was caught using a winter approach described above.

Monday, November 21, 2016

RI CAGers Score BIG in Big 4 Tournament

Tom Perron, 4th place
Dave Pickering, 3rd place
Our RI CAG members scored big this year in the Carp Anglers Group Fall Big 4 Tournament.  Our guys and gals placed in 5 or the 10 main prize categories, a very impressive showing.
The CAG national Big 4 Tournament ran from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15.  In that six week period, CAG members from all over the US who signed up for the event went out and fished.  They entered their four biggest fish by weight.  The combined weight total was your total number of points.  Those who finished in the top ten were awarded gift certificates.

Here is a summary of where our members placed:
1st- Jake Ayotte- 134 lbs., 14 oz.- $150 gift voucher
3rd- Dave Pickering- 91 lbs., 10 oz.- $75 gift voucher
4th- Tom Perron- 84 lbs., 3 oz.- $50 gift voucher
8th- Keri Doire- 70 lbs., 6 oz- $20 gift voucher
9th- Todd Richer- 60 lbs., 10 oz.- $15 gift voucher
Jake Ayotte, 1st place along with biggest mirror, biggest common and biggest combined!

In addition, Jake Ayotte won another $150 in gift vouchers for the biggest common, biggest mirror and the biggest combined mirror/common. Quite an achievement for Jake.
This tournament puts the whole US on notice that we have some of the very best carp fishermen in the country right here in RI.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ocean State Tackle Loaded with Carp Gear

Baitrunner reels, bite alarms and
Ocean State Tackle, 430 Branch Ave., Providence, RI is the latest tackle shop in RI to stock carp gear.  I stopped at the store today and spoke with Dave Henault, owner of the shop.  He told me he wanted to be the biggest dealer of carp gear in RI and MA, and after seeing what I saw today I would say he is there.
Nets, carryalls, mats and scale
If you are looking for general and specialized carp fishing gear, take a look at this store. He showed me loads of prepared baits as well as artificials baits.  He has lots of artificial pop up corn in all colors, something a lot of guys have been looking for.  I saw a big assortment of baitrunner reels from Okuma, Shimano and Tica. He has a big assortment of rods that will go with these reels.  Soon, he will have some of the Daiwa Euro reels.  He has a display of terminal tackle which include PB carp hooks, pretied hair rigs, and sinkers.  He has a big supply of bite alarms as well as various sized banksticks.  And, I saw some hard to get items (that are in demand) which include Euro carp nets, padded mats and even a Korda Rueben Heaton scale, a real tough to get item.
Loaded with bait- boilies as well
as artificials
This is just the beginning.  Dave has plans to bring in carp rods, more reels and  more baits in the future.
Already, Ocean State is reporting brisk business in carp gear sales, and this is November.  My guess is that he won't be able to keep this stuff on the shelves come March.
The website is Ocean State Tackle. Check it out or stop by the store.  You'll be impressed!
Check it out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Still Cooking

Here's a hefty 14 lb. common
that was landed this morning.
This is one of 6 mirrors landed
after dark tonight in 43
degree weather.
Despite the fact that we are getting late in the year, carp fishing continues to be very good for me.  I got out today for a short session in the morning and again for a short session after dark.  The total for the day was 8 carp from 5 to 14 lbs.  Not bad for mid November! I have fished three out of the last four days and have landed 16 carp.
What really surprised me about today was how active the fish were after dark.  It was a cold 43 degrees where I was fishing tonight, yet the fish were hitting.  In two hours I managed to bank 6 mirrors.  They were especially keying on a combo bait of maize and a white, artificial corn combo fished on the hair rig. That white ESP artificial corn has been a hot producer for me all fall, and it continues to work.
I will continue with my carp fishing until the ice comes. If this warmer than usual weather continues, I suspect the carp fishing will remain good until the end of December just like it was last year. As the weather cools into December, expect the daytime (especially late afternoon) to produce the best while the cold night fishing will gradually shut off.
At this point I need 125 carp from now till the end of the year to reach the 1,000 mark for 2016. It is possible, but I will have to find a hotspot or two to make it happen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Big Changes=Big Day

Sweet corn on the hair was the bait
of choice today.
I had one of the very best fall days of carp fishing numbers-wise that I have ever experienced in November.  Fishing a few different spots, I landed a whopping 28 carp on the day.
Before I headed out, I just knew it would be good.  The weather set up was ideal.  We had a cold couple of days and suddenly it is a very warm day, something that turns the carp onto feeding at this time.
This common was one of 28 carp
landed today in one of the best
November days I have ever
experienced. The warm weather
was a factor.
In addition, I made a number of changes to my own fishing which is constantly evolving and changing throughout the year.  First off, I changed venues.  For the last month I had been concentrating on several spots which had been producing some large fish for me.  However, the last couple of outings have not been good. It only takes a blanking or two, and I am ready to make a move.  Secondly, I changed baits.  For the last month I had been using maize and artificials.  Today, I went with sweet corn on the hair rig.  Carp in cold water prefer the soft and sweet taste of sweet corn over maize, and it worked like a charm today.  With many of the pests dormant now (although I did catch two horned pout today), sweet corn is a more effective choice in the cold weather months.
From now until the ice arrives, look for these warm days and warm spells to really perk up the fishing. It did today, and I suspect we'll see more of these super good days from now till late December.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Award Winning Carp Photo

Check out my award winning carp photo.  This photo captured first place in the national CAG Discovery Month Photo Contest. The winning prize was a gift certificate to Big Carp Tackle, a CAG hat and a year's free membership to CAG. It was the first time a RI CAG member ever won this event.
Most people who know me know that I love to take pictures, especially fishing related photos. I have a lot of high tech photo equipment that can really deliver a stunning shot.  In this case I was using my Canon SLR with a 55-250 mm telephoto lens attached to it. I was shooting at about 150 mm. The trick here is that I was using a continuous shooting mode which means when I pressed the shutter button down, the camera continuous shot off photos at a rapid pace. The camera was also in the auto focusing mode.  While balancing the camera with one hand and my rod with the other, I took a lot of photos whenever I had the fish in view on the surface.  Once home, I downloaded the photos, sorted through the dozens of pictures and picked the best one.  That one shot proved to be the contest winner!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"Fat as Pigs"

Most of my recent catches
have been super fat and heavy fish.
I have been catching some very good size carp in the last week. These fish have ranged from the high teens into the low twenties. I am catching these fish in the daytime as well as at night. In just about all cases, they are some of the fattest carp I have ever seen.  Yes, some are as fat as pigs!
In late fall, carp are feeding up big time in anticipation of winter when food is scarce. So, it makes sense that you will be catching some real hefty fish at this time. The only other time you will find big bellied fish is in the spring and these will be females.
I am having good success using a combo bait of maize and a white, artificial pop-up corn fished on the hair rig. In addition, I am packing a method ball around my sinker.
Note that I have seen very little activity (fish breaching or bubble trails), yet the fish are still active.  The carp should remain active until the ice arrives.  Last year's open water fishing held up real well until late December.  I have every reason to think that will happen again this year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Targeting Larger Carp; 800th Carp of the Year Landed

My biggest carp of the fall so far....28 lbs., 2 oz.
In the last few weeks I have been targeting larger carp.  I've been fishing mostly in RI but have hit some spots in MA and CT. I've landed quite a few carp in the teens along with several good size fish in the 20's.  I also had my biggest carp of the fall a couple of days ago.  This was a brute of 28 lbs., 2 oz. It had such a gut, it looked like it swallowed a small barrel. The fish was taken on a combo bait of maize along with a white pop up artificial corn.
I believe the time period from mid October to mid November is prime time to catch a really big fish in the fall.  It was mid November several years ago that I landed that monster 36 lb. carp in RI waters, the largest carp and the largest freshwater fish ever caught in RI.  Large carp are on the fall feed at this time as they feed up for winter. The problem at this time of year is that the fishing can be as inconsistent as the weather. The best days to fish will be those warmer days after a cold spell or a warm, wet and stormy day. Daytime as well as warm nights can be productive.
On a completely different note, I landed my 800th carp of the year tonight while fishing after dark.  It was a mirror of about 8 lbs. Already this is my second best year ever in terms of numbers.  With two months left of fishing for the year, it could be another 1000 fish year for me.  I'll need the weather to stay warm and a little bit of luck to get there.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Nighttime Carping Productive

Here's a good size mirror carp that was
recently landed at night.  Fall fishing
after dark can be very productive.
It's that time of year when it starts getting dark earlier and earlier. So, I find myself fishing more and more at night.  In the last three weeks I have spent many short sessions in the dark in many spots and have caught some good size carp up to 20 lbs.
I know some fishermen fish all three seasons after dark, but I find that fall is especially productive for me at night.  Maybe it's because that's when I put in the most time carp fishing at night. Also, keep in mind that the carp are feeding up for a winter that is coming, and their time to feed in the daytime is shortened by the lessening light. So, I do think they feed more and more after dark in the fall.
Nighttime carp fishing is no different than doing it in the daytime.  Same baits, same techniques.  Get yourself some warm clothing and a good headlight, and you are good to go.
Some big fish are taken at night in the fall.  One of our RI CAGers, Jake Ayotte, is competing in the CAG Fall Big 4 Tournament.  He recently sent me several photos, all taken at night, of some phenomenal fish that he has caught recently.  He had three carp in the THIRTIES that were all taken at night. Jake's catches are proof that some of the biggest fish of the year are feeding at night in the fall. By the way, Jake has taken a big lead in the CAG Big 4 Tournament. Could a RI carper be heading for a first place victory in this prestigious tournament?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

RI CAGers Competing in Fall Big 4

Here is one of my entries, a hefty 19 lb. common.
One of the signature tournaments that the Carp Anglers Group (CAG) runs every year is the Fall Big 4.  This event runs from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15.  Anglers who compete enter their 4 biggest carp for that period, and that becomes their total points. Anglers weigh their own fish and take a photo that shows the logo and the scale used (see photo at right).  Prizes are awarded to the top ten finishers. The tournament draws CAG members from all over the US and Canada.
Last year the RI CAG had three members compete.  They were Tom Perron, Todd Richer and myself. All three of us ended up finishing in the top 10, a phenomenal feat.  This year these same three guys are entered along with RI CAG members Jake Ayotte, Keri Doire and Mike Stevenin.  Yup, we have 6 RI carpers entered in this event, and that is the most of any state!
Currently, the RI crew is off to a great start.  Jake has the biggest carp so far, a 28 lb. beast.  Tom has the biggest mirror, a good looking 15 lber. and I am the current overall leader at 81 lbs. While it is still very early in the tournament, the RI guys are flexing their muscles! Hopefully, all six members will end up in the top ten.  Now, that would be a feat!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Dedicated Carper

The number plate above belongs to one of our most dedicated RI CAG
carpers.  He is Richard Bessette, who is also our oldest member. At 82 years
young, Richard is out there every day and making some impressive catches (see photo below).

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Big Day in Lousy Weather

I landed 7 carp on the day and this was one of the larger ones.
They were also hitting after dark.
The big ones have come alive.  Today was a day in which the large carp were very active.  I've said many times in the past that the lousier the weather the better the carp fishing. With a cool northeast wind and overcast conditions, the fish were in a hitting mood this morning. I landed good numbers of them up to the high teens.
In addition, I got out on my first nighttime adventure of the fall.  I also caught fish after dark with the biggest going 20 lbs.
The hot bait for me all day was a combo bait of maize along with a white, plastic pop up artificial corn made by ESP. That has been a hot ticket in recent weeks for bigger fish, and it worked like a charm today.  I am also using a method ball.
With lousy weather forecast right through the weekend, it should be prime time to get out and catch a large fall carp. They are on the feed right now.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cooler Weather Brings Uptick in Activity

Here's a mirror double that was
landed this morning. It was part
of a 12 fish haul. Numbers and
sizes have increased in this cooler
weather.  The fish have begun
their fall feed.
Fall is having its usual effect on carp fishing here in RI.  I have noticed an uptick in activity in the last ten days with more fish as well as bigger fish around.  It all spells the start of the fall feeding for carp as they load up for the upcoming winter.
I am on a September roll.  I landed my 100th carp of the month today in a haul of 12 fish.  I also got my 700th carp of the year last week, the earliest I have ever hit that number.  September has been a good month for me with lots of fish in the 10-18 lb. range.  I've gotten nothing real big but very steady fishing for those mid size fish.
In addition, our RI CAG members have been reporting some impressive fish in the last 10 days in our fall combo tournament.  They have entered numerous common and mirror carp of 30 or more inches (we use length in the fall tourney).  These are real good size fish, and they were all taken in RI waters.
My two biggest RI carp, 33 lbs. and 36 lbs. (RI CAG record), were both caught in the fall.  Need I say more.  This is a great time to get out and catch your carp of a lifetime.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Inconsistent September Fishing So Far

This good looking common was
one of 10 carp landed in a short
period of time this morning. Today
was a good day; the rest of the week
was not!
Ah, the inconsistencies of September carp fishing reared its head this week. The water is warm, it's very low due to lack of rain and it is very weedy.  These conditions all contribute to the inconsistent fishing we find at this time of year.  Add to that the up and down weather which is cool and fall-like one day and summer-like and humid the next.
The past week was running fair to poor for me.  I got out several days in the morning and had a blank, had a day with two fish and had another with three.  This was all in multiple spots. Then, I went out this morning and nailed 10 carp in a two hour span.
This has been my experience with carp fishing in the past in September.  They can be in the mood to hit one day and completely turned off the next.  Doesn't seem to matter the spot or the bait. The inconsistencies of carp fishing are here. Just have to go out and try it and hope it works out.

Friday, September 9, 2016

RI CAG Combo Fall Combo Tournament off to Good Start

RI CAG member Brian Savage entered this impressive
30 inch FSM mirror in our Fall  Combo Tournament.
We've only been running our Fall Combo Tournament for a week and a half and already our members  have some impressive entries.
Here's how it runs.  CAG members can enter their largest mirror, common and koi over the next three months. Fish must be caught from RI waters. Size will be determined by LENGTH. Our members can enter as many fish as they like but only the biggest will count. The lengths of your biggest fish (in inches) are added up and that becomes your point total. All fish must be released.  Medals provided by CAG will be awarded to the top three finishers.
Already our guys have entered some impressive fish with some commons and mirrors over thirty inches (about 20 lbs.).  Those are terrific fish for this time of year. We have not had a koi entry yet as these fish are hard to find and catch.  The koi will be a wild card in this year's tournament.
Fall is a great time to land a big carp as these fish are going on the feed prior to winter. I suspect we will have some very impressive fish landed in the coming months.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Photo of the Day!

The good times just keep rolling along as today produced many fish this size.
September fishing is off to a hot start!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

An August to Remember; 600th Carp of the Year Landed

This hefty common was
number 600 on the year.
It has been an August to remember.  I landed 179 carp in August making this month one of the best numbers-wise I have ever had.  In fact, so far this year, August has been my most productive month.
The strange thing about August fishing is that it can run hot and cold and often holds surprises.  Many years back I remember having a dreadful August in which I landed a mere 19 carp.  And, last year I got a big surprise in August by landing a 30 lb. common, the biggest summer fish I have ever landed. This year the surprise was the big numbers.
In all the hoopla with the big numbers I got my 600th carp of the year last week.  It was a hefty common that fell for one kernel of maize on the hair.
Beginning carp fishermen often ask how I get these big numbers.  My key to success at this time of year is about making adjustments, which is so hard to do for novices who have limited knowledge of locations, baits, patterns and methods. This summer I completely abandoned all my past spots which were not producing in early summer, and I went out and searched for new venues that really paid off.  I also altered by bait, pretty much going with one kernel of maize on the hair in the last month.  That has really worked out.  I also have gone small and light with the hair rig, hooks, and sinker. I have also given up fishing afternoons and evenings and have been concentrating on morning fishing when the temperatures are cooler. It was a combination of all those things that delivered a record August for me.

Monday, August 22, 2016

1 Kernel, 1 Week, 50 Carp

Just one kernel of maize on the
hair has been my ticket to success.
This good looking mirror is one of
50 carp landed this week alone.
Wow, this past week has been hot for carp fishing for me. It's unusual to hit big numbers of fish in August, but this past week has been  one of my best weeks in August of all time as I landed 50 carp in the last seven days. They have ranged from little guys to hefty fish in the teens.
The hot ticket to success has been just one unflavored kernel of maize on the hair rig. Every fish in the last week fell for that one kernel. I have been lightly baiting my spot in a tight area close to shore when I arrive and then I will cast to that spot with my bait.  On occasion I have put another bait way out with my second rod.  When I am fishing way out, I am using a small method ball around my one ounce sinker just to get a little extra weight on the cast.
Surprisingly, the turtles are not that keen on attacking that one kernel of maize.  They will take it off once in a while, but for the most part, they leave it alone. Bigger or more plentiful baits are definitely an attraction to turtles.
My discovery of the effectiveness of one kernel of maize has played big this August.  We'll see how long the hot streak lasts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How Many Kernels of Corn on the Hair?

This good lize mirror was one
of five carp landed this morning
on just one kernel of maize on
the hair. 
A question I am often asked is "How many kernels of corn do you put on your hair when carp fishing?" As with so many other questions about depends.
Yes, just one kernel
can get the job done.
In most instances I use either two or three kernels.  Usually when I fish for larger fish in the cooler weather of spring and fall, I am using a #6 hook that has a longer hair and I generally use three kernels (usually a mix of sweet corn, artificials and maize).  When fishing for smaller fish under 10 lbs., I generally use a #8 hook with a shorter hair length and go with two kernels of corn. Note that I know other successful carp fishermen who will string four or even five kernels on a long hair and they catch good numbers of fish.  I guess a lot of this depends on what you are confident using and what has worked in the past.
However, you will be very surprised at what I have been doing in the last several days. In recent hot days the turtles have been super aggressive and the carp have been very fussy, a bad combination. If I loaded up the bait (method and three kernels of corn), the turtles would be right on it.  To combat the turtles, I have been using only ONE kernel of maize on a small hair and NO method.  That has worked on the fussy carp and the turtles have generally left it alone. Yes, one kernel of corn on the hair can do it, but you have to have a very short hair on your hook for this to work. In the last two days I have landed 9 carp by using just one kernel of maize and no method. Also, I have done little chumming or prebaiting, another thing that lures turtles into your swim.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bigger Fish Come Alive; 500th Carp Landed

This August "20" was landed
during yesterday's nasty weather.
It took a rainstorm and stormy weather yesterday to liven things up, and it livened things up big time.  While I have been catching small fish on average (under 10 lbs.) in the last several weeks, the bigger ones (10-20 lbs.) made up the majority of the fish I have landed in the last two days. That rain was responsible for an August "20" that I landed yesterday along with a load of fish (12 in all) that I landed this morning.
I've written many times about how nasty weather turns on carp fishing, especially the fishing for larger fish.  I've fished in northeasters, tropical storms and even hurricanes (fished during Sandy), and all of these stormy events have been unbelievable for me. A storm like yesterday's that breaks a streak of warm and sunny weather seems to bring the big fish to life.  I was even catching the end of it this morning in the cooler, higher water.  I suspect that we will get back into the normal, small fish fishing starting tomorrow.
During these good two days, I have landed my 500th carp of the year. I am on a summer roll right now like I have never experienced before with outstanding fishing from July continuing right into August.  It is so good that I have surged ahead of last year's numbers. Last year ended up with over 1300 fish, a record year numbers-wise for me. For that to happen again, I will need a boatload of luck and some favorable late fall, early winter weather.  But, who knows what the rest of the year holds in this game?  Right now, everything is working out.
This hefty mirror, landed this morning, is number 500 on the year!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Catching on the "Green Seed"

Green seed pod found
along water's edge
Green seed/maize combo
on hair rig was very effective.
I discovered something today.  After catching a couple of fish, the action just stopped.  While sitting along the shore, I noticed some seed pods coming off a plant close to the water.  So, I decided to grab one and open it.  Inside I found these interesting green seeds that looked like peas but in a more pear shape.  I know from past experience that carp will eat a lot of things that are naturally in their environment like seeds and berries.  So, I decided to hair rig one of these along with a kernel of maize. It took about a whole five minutes before the alarm was screaming and I was fighting a good size mirror. After unhooking that one, I landed two more in quick succession on the green seed/maize combo.  The other outfit that was baited  with maize and sweet corn never got a look.
I have no idea what kind of seed I was using.  I know from past outings in other years that I have caught carp on mulberries and acorn insides, and I know they feed on mulberries, grapes, raspberries, etc.  So, seeds and berries are a standard staple in their diet.
You never know what secrets await when carp fishing, and today was a prime example.
This good looking mirror feel for the maize/green seed combo.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Staying the Course

August is continuing right where July left off. The weather is hot and the fishing continues to be hot for me.  In the first five days of August I have put 26 carp on the bank (see photos of two of them on left and right), real decent numbers for this time of year. While many of these fish have been small, I am resisting the urge to go looking for bigger ones.  I know from past experience that when I'm into something hot, stick with it, especially in the dog days of August.
The hot bait continues to be a mix of sweet corn and a small kernel of maize on the hair rig.  I am also using a #8 hook.  I am using a small method ball packed around my sinker.  Once again, it's working, so why change.
In past years, September has been a far better month for bigger fish.  However, last August, around this time, I landed a rare 30 lb. common in RI waters.  So, you never know!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Record Numbers for July

Adaptability. It is one  of the keys to successful carp fishing.  I am talking about the ability to change baits, change rigs and change venues when things are not going well. I have learned a long time ago that I have to adapt to changing conditions if I want to continue to catch good numbers of carp.
This is one of over 150 carp landed in the month of July.
It has been record numbers for me in July's heat.
Most fishermen, including myself, will tell you that July is a difficult month for carp fishing.  The weather is hot, the water is like a hot bath and the pests are ever so pesty. Even the carp seem to go into a funk in the mid day heat. In past years, I fished my summer spots and was content to catch a few fish here and a few fish there.  That was the way I started off this year in the first week of July. During that first week, it was a scant few fish with lots of effort and little return.
That's when I made the change.  I started exploring new spots.  At first it was a hit or miss deal and then I found something hot and stuck with it. Adaptability at work!
The results have been astounding.  So far this July I have landed over 150 carp, the best July I have ever experienced.  I will tell you that the majority of these fish have been small, under 10 lbs., but small is better than nothing in my book. The biggest fish I have been able to catch tipped the scale at just over 15 lbs.
There are other changes I have made since that first week of July.  All my fishing has been short sessions in the morning, the coolest part of the day.  I have gone to using small hooks.  Number 8 hooks with short hairs have done the trick on these smaller fish. I am also using a small amount of bait on the hair, mostly a kernel of maize and a kernel of sweet corn along with a small method ball.  One more thing.....I reel the bait in often to check it.  Yes, the bait stealing turtles have been a real problem, and I seem to catch upwards of a half dozen a week, but that is the irritating part of summer fishing that I put up with.
While fishing is often slow in the summer months, it can also be quite productive as I have found out this year. Adaptability is the key to making it work.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Photo of the Day....Number 400 on the Year!

Here is my 400th carp of the year that was landed yesterday. This hefty
common fell for a combo bait of sweet corn and maize fished
on the hair rig. The weather is hot and the fishing is hot right now for me.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Beating the Heat

Man, it has been hot, and I am not talking about the fishing. With temperatures soaring into the 90's in the last couple of days and no relief in sight, I'm sure many of you are wondering if you can still catch carp in this weather. The answer is yes.  You see, carp are very resilient and adaptable fish.  They will feed in water that is in the 80's as well as water that is in the 30's.
This good size mirror was one of
21 carp landed in the last three
mornings.  Yes, they will hit in this
heat but you might have to adjust
your tactics.
I have been out fishing the last three mornings and have gotten decent numbers of fish (21 in all). I have made some changes to my fishing in this hot weather and that has resulted in the good numbers.
Here are a few suggestions to beat the summer heat and improve your summer carp fishing:
1. Settle for any size fish. While I live for chasing the big ones, I know this is a poor time to catch a big fish. So, rather than catch nothing I will take what I can get.  Of those 21 fish in the last three days, none were over 10 lbs.
2. Go smaller. Since I am targeting smaller fish I need to go smaller.  I like a #8 hook at this time of year.  I also like to shorten up the hair to fit just two kernels of corn. My hooklink is also short.
3. Go with a mix of sweet corn and maize. My bait on the hair has been one kernel of sweet corn and one kernel of small maize (nearest the hair stop).  The sun turtles will key on the sweet corn but generally (not always, though) will leave the maize alone. Even if they take off the sweet corn I still have a kernel of maize to lure a carp. I still use a small method ball.
4.  Check the  bait often. Turtles are merciless in this weather and will constantly harass you.  I will check my bait just about ever 15 or 20 minutes.
5.  Fish the mornings.  The fish will be most active at the coolest part of the day and that is the morning. I usually fish until about noontime on a hot day.
6. Some places are better than others.  From experience I know the best summer spots.  They are usually moving water locations and small ponds. I know a bunch of good summer spots that I keep a secret.
7.  Finally, get out and fish. Can't catch 'em if you don't have a line in the water!

Friday, July 15, 2016

From a Slump to a Hot Streak

I'm on a hot streak right now. I've landed some good
numbers as well as some quality fish like this mirror.
Back in the beginning of the month of July I was in a summer slump.  When that happens I usually make some big changes to my fishing.  I will try other spots, search for new locations, change baits, etc.
It usually takes a while for me to break out of the doldrums and find greener pastures elsewhere, but this time it was fast and consistent. In the last week, I have landed over 50 carp, fantastic numbers for the pits of July. I found a productive location that is off the beaten path, and it has really been producing for me. In the last week, my best day was 11 carp while my worst day was 3 fish.  Note that I am fishing short sessions, usually 2-3 hours an outing in the morning, which is the most productive time in the summer. I am catching all these fish on a combination bait of maize and sweet corn fished ahead of a small method ball.
This morning was a hot one weather-wise.  I was debating not going, but figured I would hit my spot for a short period of time.  I'm glad I did because in two hours I landed 7 carp up to fifteen pounds.  In addition, I also landed a large snapping turtle and a big sun turtle.  Yes, the turtles continue to be a summertime nuisance.
I always remind myself of something Kevin Wasliewski repeats several times on his blog, Dark Carping.  He frequently describes the carp year as a marathon rather than a sprint.  It is very true in my own fishing.  I will go through peaks and valleys, yet in the end, the numbers are usually there. A successful year for me is 500 to 700 carp.  I'm on pace to hit that, maybe more.