Thursday, November 30, 2017

Winter Tactics Getting It Done

Sweetcorn on the hair did
the job yesterday.
I got out yesterday, and for the first time in a while I was able to catch more than one carp. I actually landed three carp and had a couple of more hits. It's been tough going this month. For the first time I employed what I call winter tactics to catch these fish. Here's a review of those tactics:
1. Go with sweet corn- The pests are gone and my sweetcorn is back.  Carp really go for this bait, and for the first time in a long time I went with two kernels on the hair rig and it paid off.
2. Go small- Yesterday I went back to using #8 hooks with short hairs.  I did not use a method ball.  I also used the lightest sinker I could to hold bottom and cast. Smaller and lighter is better when the fish are sluggish in the cold and hard to catch.
This was one of three mirror carp landed yesterday.
Note the gorgeous golden colors, something we find
in fish caught in cold water of winter.
3. Move around to find the fish- I almost gave up yesterday as I had to fish four different spots before I found anything.  Carp tend to travel in small or large groups in the winter, and it is often a case of finding where those groups of fish are lurking. I rarely stay in a spot more than an hour if I am not getting anything.
4. Don't expect any screaming runs- The fish are sluggish on the take at this time and usually just keep tapping away.  Pull when you see the rod tip bouncing.  Note that they are also very sluggish on the fight in cold water.
5. Try to fish the warmest part  of the day- I did get these three carp in late afternoon, the warmest part of the day when fish are most active at this time of year.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tough Going

I landed this six pound mirror this morning.
It's been a slow November so far.
This is turning out to be the worst November in years for me in terms of numbers of carp landed. Since that very cold spell hit back in early November, the fishing has gone downhill.  In the last five outings, I have gotten exactly two carp. I haven't seen much moving around and haven't seen any jumps. It's like everything just died!
I attribute this poor fishing to two factors: that sudden drop in water temperature back in the beginning of the month and the very high water from all the rain this month. High and fast water is a problem because it kills the river fishing which tends to be more consistent than pond fishing in the cold.
But alas, things seem to be heading in a moderate direction in the next week.  The temperatures will moderate and there are no big rain storms coming so I see the fishing as picking up in the coming two weeks. In the last two years I have experienced excellent fishing in November and December.  Well, November was a bust this year so I am hoping for a turn around in December.  We'll see.
Like in the past, I plan on fishing right through the winter unless we get a hard freeze.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Two RI CAGers Place in National Big 4 Tournament

Todd Richer....5th place.
Dave Pickering....7th place.
The National CAG has completed the Big 4 Tournament as two RI anglers placed in top ten. This tournament ran for six weeks.  You entered your four biggest fish and the combined weight was your point total.  This is a tough one to place in the top ten since some very good carp anglers from all over the US compete in this event.
Todd Richer, on of our most experienced and committed carp anglers here in RI, placed 5th in the event.  Todd had a total of 101 lbs, 3 oz. At an average of over 25 lbs. a fish, that was a big accomplishment.  Congrats to Todd!
I had the other top ten finish with 87 lbs., 12 oz.  That was good enough for 7th place. My goal every year in this event is to finish in the top 10. So, I'm pleased with the results.
In the past RI has had many top ten finishers in the spring and fall Big 4 Tournaments.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Carp Fishing Turns Ice Cold

I landed this common this morning.  It was
my only fish in the last three outings.
Too cold. Too fast. The sudden and dramatic drop in water temperatures has the carp in a funk. I've mentioned many times in the past that the carp don't react well to those sudden and fast drops in water temperature, and this is a prime example.
In the last three outings I've gotten exactly one carp which I caught this morning.  Another tell tale sign of the cold is that the fish I caught this morning was very sluggish on the take and very sluggish on the fight.  This happens when the water temps are way down.  Here's yet another sign that winter is quickly approaching.  I was driving up to skiing today (yes, I am now skiing) and I drove by a number of small ponds north of the RI border.  Nearly all of them had a thin coating of ice. I've never seen that this early in November.
We've been spoiled in the last couple of years with very warm weather in November and December, and very good carp fishing that held up till late December.  I think this year is a different animal.  Unless things warm up mighty fast, I hate to say this, but we are approaching the end of productive carp fishing in the ponds and lakes around here. It will end with the ice arrives. The way the weather is shaping up, we are not far away from that happening in RI.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November off to a SLOW start

I landed two mirrors after dark tonight. It
wasn't great but better than the daytime action.
I have been spoiled.  Last year and the year before November carp fishing was fantastic. That's because the weather stayed consistently mild all fall those years.  The water was also low.  Combine that low water and mild weather and you have the formula for great late fall carping here in southern New England.
This year the temperature is all over the place and the water is high from that big storm we had two weeks ago that dumped four inches of rain on the area. It's all affected the carp fishing making for slow going thus far in November. I'm averaging less than two fish an outing so far in November and that is way off compared to the last two years.
I got out today from morning till night and tried a whole lot of spots that usually produce at this time of year. Daytime fishing was poor. The water was high and the temperature was cold.  I  only banked one small common, and I lost another fish. Nighttime was a bit better.  I landed 2 decent mirrors of about 10 lbs. apiece. Compared to last year, this was a slow day for me.
I don't think this frigid weather we will get in the next two days will  help the situation.  I see the fishing as maybe picking up next week after the weather moderates a bit, but I don't expect anything great. It's looking like a slow fall. I hope I am wrong.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Fall Nights

Here's a chunky 23 lb. common that was recently
landed while fishing on a warm night.
This is the time of year that I spend the most time fishing after dark. Yes, that time change to standard time is a killer.  So, with it getting dark real early I will get out more and more after dark in the coming days and weeks.
I have already been fishing after dark a many  times already in the last month, and it has been productive in terms of bigger fish. I've banked  a good number of high teen and twenty pound plus fish. Carp do hit after dark as they will come close to shore in the dark of night to forage. My best luck at night has been to fish on those warm nights in the 50's and even 60's.  That works especially well if the warm night comes after a cold spell. Warm, rainy nights are also great.
I fish it the same way at night as I fish the daytime.  Prebait if I can about 4 hours before fishing. I like to use a combo bait of maize and artificial corn on the hair rig with a method ball packed around the sinker.  I have been having very good luck with white artificials in the last month or so.
I am now fishing in the CAG Big 4 fall tournament.  Of the four biggest fish I have entered (all fish in the twenties), three have come after dark.  That should be proof enough that the after dark fishing is productive for large carp.