Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Report...Numbers Down, Sizes Up, Weather Plays a Big Factor

Biggest carp of the year was this 33 lb.
common, taken in April
It was a strange year if you were a carp fisherman.  I can't remember another year in which the weather played such a big factor. From July till the end of the year it was one big rainstorm after another.  Now, I like fishing in the rain and did well again this year in this nasty weather, but it was the after-effects of all this rain that caused all kinds of problems. The heavy rains swelled both the lakes and rivers and dirtied up the water in many cases. After these big storms, it took days, sometimes a week, for the river flows to return to fishable levels. In both the rivers and some ponds, the fish were feeding in the woods in flooded waters, making catching them impossible. This scenario played out over and over again the second half of the year.
Strangest fish of the year was this
white and orange koi.
I do believe this wet, high water pattern of 2019 led to the poorest year, numbers-wise that I've had in the last five years. I fished the same amount of time this year as in other years but came up way short. According to my logs, I landed and released 704 carp in 2019. The prior three years, 2018, 2017 and 2016, I had over 1,000 fish each year. The numbers were just not there this year.
On the other hand, it was a good year for big fish for me.  I landed 4 carp over 30 lbs. this year.  I usually get one or two.  I also had good numbers of fish from 20 to 29 lbs. Those big fish got me 8th place finishes in the CAG National Spring and Fall Big 4 Tournaments. It's really tough to break into the top ten in these national events so I'm pleased with those results.
Here are a few other facts from my log of 2019:
* Of those 704 fish I landed, 377 were mirrors, 327 were commons
*My best month was June in which I landed 129 carp
*My worst month was January in which I landed 23 carp
*My worst non-winter month was August in which I landed just 30 carp
*My biggest carp, a 33 lb. common, came from RI waters in April
*My biggest carp outside of RI weighed 32 lbs. and was taken in CT waters in June
*My biggest carp from MA was a 24 lb. mirror landed in May
*The strangest fish I caught was a beautiful white and orange koi that I landed in the Blackstone River in August
*My best day numbers-wise was (surprisingly) Feb. 4.  I landed 18 carp that day.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Photo of the Day- "Perking up in Spring-Like Weather!"

A good size mirror comes to the shore this afternoon. Winter fishing has perked
up in this spring-like weather.  Find some open water and you will
likely find carp willing to hit!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

The action was slow but the scenery was beautiful.  As the song goes, " It's
beginnning to look a lot like Christmas......"
Merry Christmas to all my carping friends, CAG members and blog readers!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

In Search of Sno-carp

Here's a good size sno-carp landed just a few days ago. Carp
can be caught in the dead of winter using winter tactics and
fishing the right locations.
I've written quite a bit about winter tactics. If you are fishing in the winter or looking to fish, tactics make up only half the puzzle of winter carping.  The other half is location. And, when you are dealing with southern New England winters, location can be tough to deal with since you are dealing with cold, ice and snow for the most part.
I try to read a lot about carp fishing, and I've read many times that carp tend to "bunch up" in certain places in the wintertime.  These are often spots in deep water, whether it is in a river or in a lake. Oftentimes, it's hard to find these spots due to icing.  And, many times when you do find these locations, the fish are not hitting.  Once water temperatures get really low, the carp tend to stop feeding.
Many years back when I started carp fishing, I went out one day in search of open water winter carp. To my surprise, the place I wanted to fish was completely iced over with a thin sheet of clear ice, windowpane ice I call it. It was a bright sunny day, and as I looked through the ice, I saw outlines of carp, lots of carp, milling around just under the half inch windowpane ice. There were 50, maybe 60 fish, just doing nothing, and occasionally slowly moving about in a circular motion.  Of course I couldn't fish because of the ice.  But, what I found that day was a wintering over carp spot that has produced from me winter after winter when the spot is ice free.
If you are looking for these types of places, look for deeper water.  Even in small, shallow ponds, the deepest spots should have the winter populations of carp. Deeper spots in moving water might have them, but not all deep spots have them so it is a matter of looking and trying.
To be successful at winter carp fishing takes a lot of experimenting and exploring.  Find those productive winter spots, use the tactics described in a couple of posts back and you have the whole puzzle solved when it comes to winter carp fishing here in southern New England. Sounds easy but I can tell you it is not!

Friday, December 6, 2019

RI CAGers Score in Top Ten in National Big 4 Tournament

Todd Richer, 6th place, 106/11 points.
I came in 8th place. 97/14 points.
The national Fall Big 4 Tournament sponsored by the Carp Anglers Group has concluded, and once again, our RI carpers had a real good showing. Prizes were awarded for the 10 ten finishers and we had two winners. This is a tournament that ran for two months in which carp anglers (CAG members) from all over the country entered their biggest four fish.  Add the poundage for the biggest 4 and that was your point total.
RI CAGer Todd Richer ended up in sixth place.  Todd logged in four fish that had a combined weight of 106 lbs., 11 oz. His biggest was 27 lbs., 2 oz. Todd is one of premier big carp fishermen here in RI and regularly places in many of the national tournaments. Todd won a gift certificate to Big Carp Tackle.
I was the other winner in the top ten, and ended up in eighth place. My total was 97 lbs., 14 oz. My biggest fish was 27 lbs., 2 oz. I also won a gift certificate to Big Carp Tackle.
I can tell you that it is not easy to place in the top ten in this tournament.  You are competing with some of the best carp anglers from all over the country. Many of these guys and gals fish some of the big rivers that regularly give up 30+ lb. fish!

Monday, December 2, 2019

RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament Winners

Laura Mitchell- First Place
Brian Savage- Second Place
We recently concluded our fall combo tournament.  Once again, our RI CAG members did an outstanding job catching some big fall carp here in RI. Here is the way the tournament worked. Our members entered their biggest common carp, their biggest mirror carp and their bonus fish (catfish or sucker).  All fish were measured to the nearest inch. All of these results were added up and that became their total. Two other important notes: all fish had to be landed in RI waters, and all fish had to be released.
The top three finishers will receive medals that were bought by the national Carp Anglers Group.
Here are the top three winners:
1. Laura Mitchell- 29 1/2  inch common, 34 inch mirror, 19 inch sucker= 82 1/2 points
2. Brian Savage- 37 inch common, 28 1/2 inch mirror, 16 inch sucker= 81 1/2 points
3. Tom Perron- 30 1/2 inch common, 27 inch mirror, 17 inch sucker= 74 1/2 points
Congratulations to all our winner and all the other members who entered fish.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Pre Turkey Day Carping

I've been itching to go carp fishing in the last few days with this warming weather. I'm now in a transition period in that I am skiing one day (yesterday), still saltwater fishing for stripers (Monday) and still carping (today).  Ah, the beauty of New England!
This is one of ten carp landed today on this day before
Thanksgiving.  The warm weather got them hitting.
Today I found good numbers of carp that were really actively hitting.  But, my adventure did not start off well. Most of you know I like to move around, and today that is just what I did.  After poor results (2 fish in three hours) in my first two locations, I hit a third spot where I found the jackpot. Lesson here is that don't get anchored to one spot if nothing much is doing.
In an hour and a half I was able to bank 8 mirrors from 5 to 8 lbs. Nothing really big, but at this time of year any fish is good. I used two rods with two different baits.  On one I was using 2 kernels of sweet corn on a hair rig.  The other had one kernel of sweet corn along with a white, artificial corn on the hair rig also.  On both I was using small #10 hooks. No method.  Both baits seemed to work equally as well.
At this time of year, the opportune time to fish for carp are those warm days, especially when many warm days come in a row like what happened this week. This causes to water temperature to rise which gets the carp feeding in the cold months.
Happy Thanksgiving to my many readers, and good luck if you get out in the coming days.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Winter Tactics: Effectiveness of 1 Artificial

Just one artificial corn on the
hair rig wil do it. This washed
out pink color has been very
effective for me.
This is one of many carp that fell for the one
 artifical approach this week.
I was back to using winter tactics this week.  I started off with my cage feeder/sweet corn set-up that I outlined in the last post. The problem I ran into with this was dace or fall fish.  These little varmints are active in the cold water and they will rip apart the sweet corn in short order. So, my cage feeder set-up was rendered useless by these cold water pests.
So, onto option 2 that I've used in past years in this situation. This option involves the hair rig.  I've tied a bunch of small hairs onto #10 hooks with light, 30 lb. test braid.  This delicate set-up is perfect for winter use.  The key is to put on just one artificial corn.  In this case I was using a white or washed out pink Enterprise artificial, plastic corn. The hook is so light it allows the artificial to actually float upwards on the hair rig in an alluring fashion.  It did just the trick as the carp keyed on this one bait while the dace left it alone for the most part. I also used a method ball packed around my sinker.
I used this one artificial in the last three outings including today.  Yes, I was out in this absolutely miserable weather this afternoon.  It was cold (40 degrees), windy and pouring rain, but the carp were hitting.  I landed seven nice fish up into the teens. It lessened the misery factor.
These are real hot in the wintertime. Sold at Big Carp Tackle! Best
colors for me have been washed out pink and white.

Monday, November 18, 2019

On to Winter Tactics

The cage feeder is packed
with method and the hook is
loaded with sweetcorn. This
is a terrific set up for winter
carp fishing.
Here is one of many that fell for the cage
feeder set up in today's cold weather.
It's only Nov. 18 but the last few days have felt like January. The carp have a false sense, too, that winter has set in and they are acting like they do in January.  They are sluggish on the take and sluggish on the fight, but still hitting in ice free spots. 
I got out today with the intentions of hitting a small pond. No good.  The place I was hoping to fish was frozen solid. So, I quickly changed plans and headed to moving water. I broke out my cage feeders for the first time this year.  These are winter tactics at their best. I'm using an NGT 1 oz. cage feeder (sold at Big Carp tackle for $.95) for my weight and using just a #10 hook with a couple of pieces of sweet corn threaded on. No hair rig. It's all put together with light, ten pound test line. I packed my cage feeder with a method mix of oatmeal and crushed up bread. It all worked like a charm as I landed a number of carp in today's cold.
Cage feeders are ideal to use in moving water.  They release method gradually which attracts carp to your sweet corn.  Note that "takes" are often subtle, most often just bounces of the rod tip.  When the rod tip starts twitching, pull. A carp's metabolism is slowed in the cold water and rarely will you get those blistering, alarm screaming runs in the winter.
Winter fishing is here early this year.  I will continue these winter tactics in moving water in the coming cold months of December, January and February.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Winnings in CAG Discovery Month Contest

One of my favorite contests that CAG (Carp Anglers Group) runs is called Discovery Month. This is a national contest in which members go out and try to find places where no one has caught carp before (at least to our knowledge).  I like it because it takes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to look for new, unfished spots.  Sometimes I find some real gems; some years I find only duds. The contest runs all of September and is open to all CAG members.  In the end, we submit a story about our adventure along with photos that get printed on the CAG Forum.  There is also a photo and video contest.  Members get to vote and pick the winners.
My adventure was called "Remote Blackstone". My objective was twofold here.  I wanted to explore a section of the Blackstone River in MA that I had never fished before.  It was quite remote and hard to get to, and  place that I don't believe anyone has fished for carp. I also wanted to experiment with taking a number of different camera shots from action to creative photos while fishing.  I made about 6 trips to this location and landed about 15 fish so things worked out, and I found a new spot that was off the beaten path that I will fish again in the future.
My story came in second place and my photo won top prize.  My winnings amounted to gift certificates which I can certainly use, and my photo gets published in our North American Carp Magazine.
First place photo, CAG Discovery Month, 2019

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Photo of the Day- "Fall Colors"

Check out the stunning colors on this mirror that I landed today. Most mirrors
exibit vibrant colors in late fall and winter when the water turns cold.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Another Stormy Day Delivers!

Today's biggest fish, a 27 lber., sits in the water in the sling
in wet leaves and is about to be released.
 Nasty weather delivered again today!
I hate to sound like a broken record because I have written about this so many times in the past.  I just knew today would be a good day.  It was warm and very stormy with lots of wind and rain.  It was just the type of day that delivered big fish for me in the past, and it did again today.  I got out this morning and landed two  nice commons of 12 and 16 lbs. I went back this evening and landed another two fish, but this time, they were big fish (RI standards) that weighed in at 23 and 27 lbs.
Carp love this type of weather and often these wary fish become aggressive and careless in the bad weather nastiness.  They are opportunistic feeders that will feed voraciously under the cover of nasty weather. The bigger ones are tough to get under normal conditions, but they become vulnerable in bad weather.
All my fish today fell for a combo bait of maize and one white artificial corn fished on the hair rig. I did use a method ball packed around my sinker.
No question, the bigger fish are on the fall feed right now.  I've landed 5 twenties in the last ten days and a good number of teen fish.  Our RI CAGers have also entered some impressive fish in our fall combo tournament. Now is the time to land that fall biggie of the year!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Warm Fall Nights Productive

Here's a small mirror that
was landed tonight.
This big common that sits in the water
was landed a few nights back.
It's that time of year when I am fishing more and more at night for carp.  It's getting dark earlier and earlier which is one reason I am fishing more at night.  The other reason is that it is very productive. Many fishermen don't realize that carp are big nighttime feeders. In fact, many experts say that some of the biggest and toughest carp to catch are more likely to be caught at night. Last year I landed a big 30 lb. common while fishing in RI at night.
I've fished several nights in the last week.  While I haven't gotten big numbers of carp, I've gotten some really good size fish in the low twenties along with some smaller fish. I stick to the same methods I use in the daytime going with a combo bait of maize and artificial corn. Sometimes I pack a method ball around my sinker.
If you are thinking about fishing at night, my suggestion is to pick a safe area. Inexperienced fishermen who want to fish at night might also choose lighted spots with streetlights nearby.  If you can, prebait a few hours before you fish.  That always seems to work better. In addition, warm fall nights are always better than cold nights.  The fish are more active and likely to hit on warmer nights.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Photo of the Week- "Here's Looking at You!"

Just the eye of a good size common peeks through the surface of the water.
The carp are on a fall feed here in RI. Now could be your best shot at a big one!

Friday, October 18, 2019

RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament Underway

Laura Mitchell is our current leader in the RI CAG
Fall Combo Tournament. Here she holds a
terrific 34 inch mirror carp.
Our RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament is well underway.  It started in September and will continue until the end of November. The idea here is for RI CAG members to enter their biggest mirror, their biggest common and their biggest "bonus" fish (catfish or sucker). Measurements are by length to the nearest half inch. The total of all those fish (by inches) are the points. All fish must be taken from RI waters.
Our members have already landed some pretty impressive fish. The biggest common so far comes from Tom Perron with a 30 1/2 inch fish.  The biggest mirror comes from Laura Mitchell with a 34 inch beauty.
Currently Laura Mitchell, one of our frequent tournament participants, leads the pack with 82 1/2 points (29 1/2 inch common, 34 inch mirror and 19 inch sucker).

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Nasty Weather Improves Fishing

This is one of several carp taken in this morning's nasty
weather. The rain and wind improved the fishing.
The last time I posted was Sept. 19. I've fished for carp quite a bit since then and have only caught a few fish, way below what I normally catch at this time of year. The slow fishing from late summer has just continued into the fall for me. So, when I saw this nasty weather coming in, I could only think it might improve the fishing.  It has!
I got out this morning and landed several nice fish in the 12 to 13 lb. range. I had "perfect" conditions with light rain and a strong wind, just the type of daytime conditions that wary carp love at this time of year.
I got my fish today on a combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn pop-up fished on a hair rig. I also had a method ball packed around my one ounce sinker. I was able to prebait this spot last night with maize,
and I think that helped the fishing.  Whenever you can prebait, it ups your chances greatly of catching.
I'm hoping this is the start of a fall feed here in RI.  We'll see how it plays out in the coming days.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Just OK

Here's a mirror landed yesterday.  September fishing has been
mediocre at best.
I wish I could report that this cool pre-fall weather has gotten the carp feeding.  In the places I have been fishing it is not the case. Mediocre is about the best way I would describe my fishing in the month of September thus far. My best day was 5 fish, my worst day none, average has been 2 fish an outing.
I've seen no uptick in the fishing. For me, the mediocre fishing goes back to mid summer.  It's stayed about the same, just ok. Hotspots of years past are just not producing.
In recent years, fall fishing has been an up and down affair with little consistency. In fact, in recent years, I have landed more fish in late fall (early December) than I have in early fall. 
Meanwhile, saltwater fishing has been lights out for me since August.  It's been loads of bluefish, good numbers of striped bass and some albies. The Bay is hot, the oceanfront is hot.  I always will take the best bet that fishing has to offer here in RI.  Right now, that best bet is happening in saltwater.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Photo of the Day....Good Size Mirror on the Fight

A good size mirror makes his way to the shore. It was one of five carp landed
this morning as the bite has picked up!

Saturday, September 7, 2019


I landed this fish and several more from a new discovery spot
that I have found in the last week.
This month is Discovery Month for CAG.  The group runs a contest every September.  The idea is to go out and find a new carp fishing spot that no one knows about and that's never been fished and to write a short story with photos added. I've been searching new spots for the last week.
I do this every year and I have found some really good spots to fish that were previously unfished and unknown.  Besides, it gets me out of my comfort zone of going to the same places all the time.
This is the way carp fishing should be done. Trial and error, look for new places to fish, keep on the move. Unfortunately, today's fishermen in general tend to rely on social media to figure out where to fish. Most fishermen rely far too much on looking for places others are fishing and having success, and then moving right into those places and taking over. Don't you just love Facebook and Instagram!  I prefer to stay ahead of the social media crowd. Sometimes this approach really works out, sometimes it doesn't. Right now, I think I have found something hot that no one knows about.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Dealing with Fussy Fish

Just one small kernel of
maize on a small hair rig
with no sinker did the trick
with fussy fish.
This mirror went for the one
kernel of corn on the
freelined (no sinker)
This summer has been a struggle for me. The numbers and the sizes have just not been  there even though I have tried many different places.  Same story all over for me- slow fishing.
Today was an interesting day, though. I was in a place where I was getting hits.  I know they were carp because I saw some cruising around. They would pick up my combo bait of maize and artificial corn, go to run with it and drop it.  I knew I was dealing with fussy fish. So, I made some big changes.  I took off my rig and sinker rig and tied on just a hair rigged, small, #10 hook with a short hooklink. No sinker.  I decided to freeline just one one small kernel of maize on a weightless set up, something I have done in the past with fussy carp. That did the trick.  Within minutes, the alarm was screaming and I was onto a fish that turned out to be about a six pound mirror.
I wish I could tell you I killed the fish, but the truth is that I only landed one more fish today. Oh well, with the way things have been going, I'll take two fish in this morning's outing!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Summer Surprise Leads to a Summer Hat Trick!

This was the surprise of the day!
I got quite the surprise today when I caught a beautiful white and orange koi. Over the years I have caught only a few of these so this was a special fish.  In addition to the koi, I also landed a good size common and a good size mirror, making this morning's catches a rare summer hat trick.  All these fish were caught on a combo bait of one kernel of maize and one, white, artificial corn fished on the hair rig.  I'm not using a method ball these days because it attracts too many turtles.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

FINALLY....Number 500

This common, landed today, is number 500 on the year. Fishing
has been inconsistent lately.
It's been a grind for me this spring.  The carp fishing overall has been so inconsistent, maybe as a result of the weather. This extreme weather...very cold spring, very hot summer, real big rainstorms has played havoc with the fishing. Normally, I've got 500 carp by late June or early July, so I am way behind what I normally catch. I'm still hoping to hit a thousand fish this year, and I've got  five solid months to get it done. Things can get mighty hot mighty fast in this game.  We'll see what happens.
That 500th fish for the year turned out to be a common of about 6 or 7 lbs.  It hit a single kernel of maize threaded onto the hair rig.  I'm usually catching on plastic corn at this time of year, but they are not going for the plastics lately.  Today I had one outfit baited with plastics and one with real maize.  I landed three carp and they all went for the real stuff. I know full well that what happens today might not happen tomorrow and this fishing is a constant experiment for me.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Photo of the Day....Catching in the Heat

The hot weather is here, but the carp fishing remains productive.  This is one
of many landed this morning.  Plastic corn or combo baits of plastic corn/ maize
on the hair rig has done the trick. Carp adapt quite well to any weather.

Friday, July 12, 2019

In a Summer Mode

I landed this 5 lb. mirror two days ago
on maize and a pop-up fished on
a hair rig.
I landed this 10 lb. mirror today using
freelined maize fished right on top of
a bait pile close to shore.
I'm now in my summer mode.  I try to fish the coolest parts of the day, mainly the mornings. On these hot days I'm content to sit under a shady tree by the shore and catch what I can.  After chasing down big fish from May into mid June with heavy gear, it is nice to get a break and go after the more abundant smaller ones with light tackle.  I have also been mixing up how I do it. Some days I am freelining mulberries under a berry tree.  On other days I am fishing in tight to shore and freelining maize (one kernel on a hook, no hair rig) into a pile of bait I've chummed.  Still, on other days I am doing it the traditional way- hair rig with maize and a plastic corn.  It just depends where I am fishing, and how I want to approach it.
I went out this morning locally for a few hours.  I landed 4 carp, all mirrors.  They ranged from 5 to 15 lbs.  A couple of days ago I went out and fished in the morning again.  Landed 5 mirrors up to 10 lbs.  So, while the action has not been hot and heavy like the weather, it has still been good.  It's the dead of summer and the fishing is productive. I'll take it!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

On the Mulberries

A hooked mulberry is ready to go.
This high teen mirror was caught a few days
ago on a mulberry.
It took a while to happen this year, but the mulberries are now dropping in southern New England.  If you know a place where berry bushes and trees exist along a lake shore or river bank, more than likely carp are waiting below for the berries to hit the water. Carp just love mulberries.
I've been fishing mulberries for the last ten days. I've landed good numbers of carp up to 25 lbs. while freeling them in various spots here in RI. So easy to do.  Simply tie a #8 hook onto the end of your line, impale a berry and toss it in.  Most likely a carp will rise up from the bottom and grab the berry as it hits the water.  One note here.  The carp get wise to this game very quickly. The wise ones will figure out which berry has a hook in it and ignore it.  Others will scatter when a fish is hook knowing something is "fishy" with this scene.

Monday, July 1, 2019

2019 RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament Results

Sean Reed...1st place, 73 lbs., 13 oz.
Brandon Dee....2nd place, 72 lbs., 7 oz.
We've been running this tournament for three months, and it is finally over.  And, the results are fantastic again this year. Members entered their biggest fish by weight for the months of April, May and June.  The weights were added together and that became their score.  All fish entered had to be caught in RI waters.
Our top three finishers are listed below along with their entries:
1. Sean Reed- 26/3 +27/13 + 19/13 = 73/13
2. Brandon Dee- 25/12 + 28/9 + 18/2 = 72/7
3. Brian Savage- 27/3 + 23/0 + 20/9 = 70/2
Others entering some quality fish included Laura Mitchell (4th), Tony Carvalho (5th), Tom Perron, Jeff Henderson and Manny Dias.
The top three finishers will get engraved medals provided by the national Carp Anglers Group.

Friday, June 28, 2019

RI CAGers Take 8th and 9th Place in National Big 4

Todd Richer (right) holds up a 30 lber to match his partner,
Dave Dakin's 30 lber.  Todd finished the Big 4 in 9th place. 
Once again, RI Carpers made their presence known in the national CAG Big 4 Tournament that just concluded.  This year's event was the most competitive I have ever fished in as their were 80 experienced carp fishermen entered from all over the country who competed for three months competing to finish in the top ten (prize categories). The idea was to log in your biggest 4 carp.  The total weight would be your points.
I have competed for many years in this tournament and this was my biggest total I have ever had.  I ended up putting up four thirty pound fish (30/8, 31/4, 32/0 and 33/0).  My 126 lb., 12 oz. total for my four largest fish was good for 8th place.  It won me a thirty dollar gift certificate to Big Carp Tackle.
Here is my second biggest carp at 32 lbs. My total of 126 lbs.,
12 oz. was good for 8th place
Todd Richer, one of our most consistent big carp hunters from the RI CAG, also had some great success.  Todd put up four fish with a total weight of 122 lbs., 11 oz., good for ninth place.  He had fish of 34/14, 32/11, 28/11 and 26/7.  For his ninth place finish, Todd also won a thirty dollar gift certificate to Big Carp Tackle.
Just to give you some idea of the competition here, Kody Clayton of PA was the overall winner with 153 lbs. for four fish.  Kody's biggest was a 51 lber. (YIKES!).

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Photo of the Day....Beautiful Common Comes Ashore

The light was just right and the fish was just right as I landed this chunky common yesterday.
For me, fishing has been good lately.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Best Color? Depends Where You're Fishing

This combo bait of maize
and a pink artificial corn
has been deadly at the CT River.
I landed this mirror today on
a single white artificial corn
fished on the hair rig. Overall,
white is your best color.
I'm now using a plastic, pop-up artificial corn whenever I fish.  Sometimes I'm going with just the plastic; sometimes I'm fishing a combination bait of  maize and plastic. Color becomes an important consideration whenever using plastics.
Personally, I feel there are only three colors that I need.  White, overall, is the best.  Pink comes in second and orange is a distant third. Keep in mind, though, it often depends on where you are fishing that determines your best color.  I fished a lot in the last month at the CT River.  By far, the best colored pop-up artificial corn was a pink color. When I matched that pink color with a couple of kernels of maize it really produced some big fish for me.  I don't know why....maybe the muddy color of the water caused the pink to stand out more? Sometimes orange worked also at the CT River. Here in  RI and nearby MA, white pop-ups rule overall.  I've been killing it recent days with a combo bait of a white pop-up matched with a single kernel of maize on the hair rig. At times, I have also done well in the last few weeks with a color called "pale pink".  This is a washed out pink/white color and tends to work well in places where white produces.
Just a reminder that one other advantage to using plastics is that the turtles tend to leave it alone, a big plus in places where you find a lot of these shelled pests.

I really like this artificial pop-up sweet corn from enterprise tackle. My best
colors have been white, pink, pale pink and orange.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Photo of the Day....."Gotta Love Those Mirrors"

A beautiful mirror comes ashore. Gotta love our New England mirrors!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Latest Results for RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament

Brandon Dee becomes our new leader with this beautiful
28 lb., 9 oz. mirror. He leads by a mere 5 ounces over Sean Reed.
One more month to go in the Tournament!
Here are the latest standings for our RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament. The guys and gals got some serious fish again this month.  One more month to go! Here are the April and May entries and the total so far (weights for April and May added together) for all RI CAG members who entered 2 fish:
1. Brandon Dee- 25/12 +28/9= 54/5
2. Sean Reed- 26/3 + 27/13=54/0
3. Brian Savage- 27/3 + 23= 50/3
4. Tony Carvalho- 20/8+ 19= 39/8
5. Laura Mitchell- 20/15+ 17= 37/15

6. Tom Perron- 15/6+ 19/6=34/12

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Awful Weather = Awful Fishing

Here's a recent good size mirror. May fishing
has been way off in this cold and rainy weather.
I am working on my WORST May of carp fishing EVER.  I have been out just about every day so far this month at many different spots, and at this point I have exactly 5 carp in the month of May. I was doing better back in January and February. On the only positive note to all this, two of those carp weighed over 20 lbs.
The cold and rainy weather has given the fish lockjaw. Funny thing is that I am seeing them.  I've seen some jumping and I have also seen bubble trails.  In one spot I actually saw several swim right by the shore where I was fishing. Just out of curiosity, I put a bait pile right in the spot where I saw them.  A few minutes later, I saw a group of five carp swim right over the bait pile without even giving it a look! I guess they were not interested in feeding.
I've written many times about how lousy weather can light up the carp fishing.  Warm rain is golden, cold rain sucks. Problem we have been having in May is that we keep getting a cold rain with northeast winds. That has dropped the water temperatures, and has put the carp feed on hold.  Couple that with high water everywhere.  Most of the big rivers are unfishable due to high, fast water.  Most of the ponds are flooded with water in the woods. Not a good scene overall.
So, I have my fingers crossed that this weather will return to normal soon, and the carp fishing will improve. After all, May has traditionally been one of the best months of the year. Hopefully, the second half will live up to its reputation.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Results for April CAG Big 3 Tournament

The April leg of our RI CAG Big 3 Tournament is in the books.  Once again, our guys and gals landed some terrific fish. Our Big 3 Tournament runs for the months of April, May and June. Our members enter their biggest fish by weight for April, for May and for June.  We add up those three weights and the total becomes the point total. Many of our members carry certified scales with them so their weights are quite accurate. Many also send in photos of their fish. All fish entered must be caught in RI waters.
Brian Savage grabs the April
lead with this terrific 27 lb., 3 oz.
common carp.
Here are the April results (pounds/ounces):
1.  Brian Savage- 27/3
2.  Sean Reed- 26/3
3. Brandon Dee- 25/12
4. Laura Mitchell- 20/15
5. Tony Carvalho- 20/8
6. Manny Dias- 15/7
7. Tom Perron- 15/6

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cold, Rainy and High Water Diminish April Fishing

The woods around the Blackstone River were really flooded
today.  The main river is over 100 yards away
from where I snapped this photo making fishing
here impossible.
I heard on the weather news yesterday that we have had 22 days of rain this month. No surprise if you look at the water levels of the ponds and rivers around here. I've never seen the Blackstone River so high for such an extended period of time.  In most ponds, the water is in the woods. All the rain and cold has had a negative impact on our carp fishing. I do like to fish on rainy days, but it has to be warm and rainy and most of what we have gotten has been cold and rainy.
I landed exactly 62 carp this month.  Last year, 2018, I landed 114 carp in the month of April. So, I got just about half of what I caught last year with about the same effort. It has really been up and down fishing in between warm and cold weather this month.
However, I did get a 33 lber this month, a whopper of a carp here in RI, so that sort of made my April fishing a success. Other than that I had a few twenties and a load of fish in the teens.
Looking ahead, May has been THE month for big fish for me. I've landed more 30 and 40 lb. carp in May than any other month. Let's hope the weather gets a bit warmer and the big fish fishing lights up.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Tips from Steve Briggs, Master Big Carp Hunter

I used some of Steve Brigg's ideas to land this good size mirror
Recently I attended the NECC (New England Carp Conference). I had a chance to hear and see via video feed Steve Briggs from the UK. Steve is sponsored and employed by Nash Bait and Tackle.  He travels all over the world in search of big carp.  And, when I mean big, Steve is talking over 50 lbs! He answered a number of questions from the audience and I got several tips from Steve that most of us might find helpful.
1. Keep it simple- Throughout his talk, Steve kept mentioning to keep things simple. He generally uses a simple knotless knot hair rig for all his carp fishing applications.
2.  Hooks- For large carp, Steve generally uses a #4 hook. I think most of us are using a #4 or a #6 when targeting larger carp.
3.  Length of hair-  Steve said he wanted the bait as close to the bend of the hook as possible. So, his hair is just long enought to cover the bait and reach to the bend of the hook. He has little space between that bait and the bend of the hook. I think many anglers use hairs that are too long.
4. Pop-up boilies vs regular sinkers- Someone asked about pop-up boilies vs. regular sinking boilies.  Steve prefers the sinkers.  His reasoning is that you toss in bait (sinking boilies) when you prebait a spot so why would you then go with something different like a pop-up? He did acknowledge, though, that pop-ups did have their pace in certain spots.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Another Monster Landed on a Rainy, Crappy Day

33 lbs.....taken on a rainy, stormy day!
The two biggest carp I have ever landed in RI waters were caught on stormy, rainy, crappy days like the days we have been having lately. Those two fish weighed 36 lbs. and 33 lbs.,2 oz. Well, add in another monster for RI that I landed yesterday in the wind and the rain.  This beast tipped the scales at exactly 33 lbs.
Thirty pound carp are rare catches here in RI.  We just don't have the big waters like in CT and MA that will hold good numbers of 30 and even 40 lb. carp. In this state, there might be anywhere from one to five thirty pound carp landed in an given year.  Some years see no catches of a thirty pound fish.
This big one fell for a combo bait of maize and a white artificial pop-up corn fished on a hair rig and fished ahead of a method ball that was packed around the sinker.
Big carp seem to be coming to life here in RI.  We are currently running our RI CAG Big 3 Spring Tournament, and we have many entries so far from the high teens to the mid twenty pound ranges.  These fish were all landed in the last week.