Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Closing the Book on 2020 - The Year in Review

Highlight of the year, a RI "40"!

 I've caught my last carp for 2020. Overall, it was a strange and different year for me.  With Covid on the scene and travel restrictions in place, I did almost all my carp fishing here in RI.  That was very different because in past years, I caught good numbers fish in MA and CT waters.  Covid caused me to REALLY focus on RI carp fishing, not a bad thing. I explored a lot of places and found some very good spots I never knew existed. I actually put up some very good numbers, maybe the best ever for just here in RI. I also caught some very big fish. In fact, one special fish was the biggest I have every caught in RI and the first 40 lber. ever landed here. That was probably the highlight of my year.

So, below are some interesting numbers that tell part of the story of my carp fishing in 2020:

Total number of carp landed- 724 (278 commons, 446 mirrors)

Biggest Common Carp from RI- 40 lbs., 40 inches (new unofficial state record), landed June 6

Biggest Mirror Carp from RI-  25 lbs., landed on July 1

Most carp in one day- 50 on Nov. 30

Most Productive Month- November, 105 carp landed 

Least Productive Month- December- 12 carp landed

Best Month for big carp (over 20 lbs.)- October

First carp of the year landed- Jan. 3

Last carp of the year landed- Dec. 4

Numbers Comparison to 2019- 704 carp landed last year; 724 landed this year

Friday, December 25, 2020

Happy Holidays from RI Carp


Wishing  you and your families safe
and happy holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Shut Down, Iced Over and Snowed Out

No carp fishing, but the skiing is 
great these days!

I have never seen a carp season come to a crashing halt like this one.  One night I'm catching carp on a fifty degree evening and the next day I am shoveling a foot of snow. Welcome to New England.

Every spot I know of that has produced in the past in December is not fishable or not producing right now. All still waters are iced over, all running water is very high.  Access is near impossible even in river waters due to all the snow.

So, no need to stress about it.  I've put the rods and carp gear in the basement temporarily, got out the ski gear, and it's been off to the slopes for me for the last two weeks. The beauty of living in New England is that there is always something to do outside regardless of the time of year!

Friday, December 18, 2020

RI CAGers Hit it Big in CT Tournament

Brian Savage

The biggest "big money" carp tournament in New England is the CT Carp Open sponsored by Fishin' Factory 3 in Middletown, CT.  It is held every year on the CT River and draws in top carp fishermen from all over the US.  This was a 4 day/night event in late October.  Anglers set up tents and fished day and night.
Sean Reed
Two RI CAG anglers, Sean Reed and Brian Savage, formed a team and were big winners in this event. Sean and Brian are no strangers to big carp fishing as they have consistently placed in the top three in many of our state run tournaments. Brian and Sean came in 3rd place in the Big 4 part of the tournament. This won them a whopping $4,000. Their Big 4 total amounted to 111 lbs. Realize there were 70 top anglers entered and 40 teams, so to come in 3rd place is quite the accomplishment.
Huge congrats to Brian and Sean.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Results of RI CAG Fall Combo Tournament


Our RI Fall Combo Tournament is now complete.  In this event, our CAG members are trying to catch both a common and a mirror along with a bonus fish (either catfish or white sucker). All fish must be caught in RI waters.  We measure the catches and add up the measurements of the biggest fish for the final score. Most of our members take part in this popular tournament that runs from Sept. to the end of Nov. We award medals provided by CAG for first, second, and third place. 

Here are the winners:

1. Gold Medal- Brian Savage- 82 points (32 in. common + 32 in. mirror + 18 in. sucker). Photo at left.

2. Silver Medal- Eddie Taylor- 43 1/2 points (29 in. common +14 1/2 catfish)

3. Bronze Medal- Laura Mitchell- 42 1/2 points (26 1/2 mirror + 16 in. sucker)

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Perfect Storm/ Epic Day


This ten pound common was one of
50 fish landed in yesterday's
massive storm.

Yes, I did fish in that massive storm that hit our state yesterday, and it turned out to be one of the most epic days I have ever fished in my carp fishing career.

I just knew when I got up yesterday morning and looked at the weather that this would be the PERFECT storm for carp fishing. I've fished in some big storms in the past like Hurricane Bob, Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Jose to name a few. And, I know what can happen in these events as carp get charged up and go on a feeding rampage.  All of those days mentioned above were memorable, so I knew what was coming. I was well outfitted to deal with the elements in my Grunden parka and rain pants along with my muck boots (same commercial rain gear you see on Deadliest Catch).

I got to my venue in late morning just as it started to rain and the temperatures began to rise out of the high forties into the fifties. Fishing started off slow.  The first hour I landed just 2 fish, nothing special. So, I decided to move on to another location in the same body of water.  At this point, we had all the weather events moving into high gear- high winds, temperatures rising in the upper fifties and a warm, driving rain. As I was walking along and looking at the water, I saw what at first I thought was a wide area of coon tail weed.  Only thing, it wasn't weed. It was a massive school of carp just milling near the warm surface water being heated by a warm rain. There were hundreds of carp in this school in a part of the shoreline that went on for 20 or 30 yards. I never imagined this venue had even fifty carp, let alone hundreds of them in one spot. This is where I set up to fish.

The day's haul of 50 fish included a mix
of commons and mirrors that ranged from 
5 to 12 lbs.

For the next three hours it was non-stop action. I never waited more than ten minutes for a runner.  In the next three hours of daylight, I landed 37 carp that ranged from 5 to 12 lbs. I had several doubles in the mix.

Now, nighttime set in and the driving rain and wind had turned into a gale, but I decided to stay and fish in the stormy darkness (yes, I did remember to take  a headlamp with me). I saw a massive tree blow down about fifty yards to my left as the storm seemed to intensify.  Branches and sticks kept blowing off the trees into the water, but it didn't deter the carp from hitting.  After dark, I landed 11 more carp in an hour and a half of fishing in a monsoon.  I had two doubles in the mix.

Once I reached 50 carp for the day, I called it quits. I have never come close to these numbers in all my years of carp fishing.  I remember once getting 30 fish in one day, and I thought those numbers would never be beaten. All my fish fell for a combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn fished on a hair rig. No method ball. These fish weren't fussy as they would key on the bait as soon as it hit the water at times.

Yesterday's storm was every bit as potent as those hurricanes I fished in. And, once again, the carp were charged up, feeding voraciously and super active in this nasty weather. Just epic!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Thanksgiving Day Carp


This is one of four Thanksgiving Day carp landed
on this rainy and warm morning.

This morning I had a couple of hours to spare before leaving to go to my son's house for Thanksgiving. I only had to look out the window to know this was going to be a good carp fishing day. It was unusually warm and rainy, a deadly duo for late November conditions. So, I packed up my rain gear and fishing stuff and drove off to a nearby spot.

I prebaited some maize when I got to my location.  I put out my two rods with combo baits of maize and artificial corn on the hair rig. It didn't take long before one rod tip was bouncing away, and I was soon onto my first Thanksgiving Day carp of the day. It was a mirror about 6 lbs. I would go on to catch three more mirrors about the same size.  I would also have quite a few other taps of the rod tip, a sure sign of weak takes due to colder water and the carp's slowing metabolism.  But, also a sign that good numbers of carp were in front of me.

As I left the bank, I thought to myself, "not bad for a couple of hours of fishing in late November." We are fortunate to have some great carp fishing here for such a small state. We also have some of the best mirror carp waters in the entire US. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Photo of the Day.....November Nites

Yes, they are still hitting on these cool November nights.
I landed several this week after dark including this good
looking fully scaled mirror that I caught tonight.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Turning to Winter Tactics, Winter Locations

This is one of four mirrors that I landed today
in cool, forty degree weather.  They are still

I'm still catching good numbers of carp, but I've changed many of my tactics in the last week to ten days.  I've also moved from big waters to smaller locations. I'm in a winter fishing mode right now.

Winter Tactics: Less is more.  I have just about abandoned the method ball and am now fishing a kernel of maize and one artificial pop-up on a hair rig.  Soon, I will replace that maize with sweet corn.  I am also using smaller hooks, generally a size #8. The fish I am catching these days are also smaller, generally running 5 to 10 lbs.  As far as prebaiting, I am using less bait.  Winter carp just don't feed as voraciously as summer carp. I am also targeting the warmest part of the day from mid to late afternoon.

Winter Locations: With this colder weather, I am guessing that many of the bigger fish have moved off into deeper water in big lakes to winter over. The fish are generally not in shallow water anymore. So, I've abandoned the bigger waters and bigger fish and have concentrated on small shallow ponds and "small" river locations.  In these small spots, the fish have nowhere to go in the winter.  Besides, these smaller bodies of water warm up quickly on warm days, and the fish quickly will turn to feeding.  I am seeing a lot less activity these fish jumping, no bubble trails and no carp visible, but they are still around. Today I landed 4 mirrors in cool 40 degree weather.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Photo of the Day....Mirror Coming Ashore


The mirrors were really hitting on this rainy and cloudy
day.  This is one of 10 mirrors landed. All fell for a combo
bait of maize and artificial corn on the hair rig.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Opportunities in the Warmth


This mirror is one of ten carp landed in the last
two days.  They are hitting in this record 
breaking warm weather here in RI

The record breaking warm weather of the last few days has lit up the carp fishing here in RI.  I was having a dreadful time of it right after that freak snowstorm of a little over a week ago as water temperatures plunged and the carp fishing slowed to a crawl.  But, get a couple of record breaking warm days, and we are back in action. It's a pattern I have seen many times at this time of year.

In the past, I've had streaks of real good luck in mid to late November, and much of has been tied to the weather turning warm.  It was ten years ago that I landed that 36 lb. RI common (RI CAG record at the time) during a streak of rainy, warm weather. I've had other days with big numbers of fish in November.  You just have to get out and fish and find a hotspot that is producing.

In the last two days I have landed 10 decent size mirrors.  I've gotten them all on hair rigged combo baits of maize and a white, artificial corn.  I'm not using a method ball. I am also prebaiting with maize in the spots I am fishing.

Good luck if you get out and try in this beautiful November weather.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Great Week for Big RI Carp


Biggest carp this October is this chunky
28 lb.+ common that was caught on a warm
night. Big RI carp have been on a fall feed.

I've had a great week of October fishing for larger carp.  In a recent post I mentioned how large carp were on the fall feed here in RI, and this past week proves just what I was talking about.

In a one week period, I managed to land 8 carp over twenty pounds with the largest one going 28 lbs.  I also had good numbers of carp in the mid to upper teens. I was getting the fish at night as well as in the daytime.  The hot bait continues to be a combo bait of one kernel of maize along with one white, artificial, pop-up corn.  At times I was using a method ball; at times I was not.

I credit a couple of things for my success.  First off, the weather was warm for the most part. Secondly, this mid to late October time period is prime time to catch a large carp here in RI.  Thirdly, my logs of year's past indicated this was the time (and I knew the place)! And, I have put in a good amount of effort.

I am currently fishing the CAG National Big 4 Tournament.  In year's past, I had done my Big 4 tournament fishing in RI, MA and CT.  However, with travel prohibited to MA, I decided to fish just RI waters this fall.  And, it has paid off.  Currently, my four fish cumulative total is 108 lbs. There are still a couple of weeks left to this event, and I'm still hoping to find a RI "30" somewhere.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Surprise of the Day

 I was watching my rods and suddenly, the alarm went off.  It was a slow run, so I expected a big carp when I lifted the rod off the alarm and engaged the reel.  But, judging from the fight it was no big carp.  In fact, it was not a carp at all.  It turned out to be a largemouth bass, and a decent one.  The fish weighed about four pounds. It took my usual bait of one kernel of hair rigged maize along with a white, artificial corn. This is not my first largemouth bass while fishing for carp. Years ago I landed a largemouth that was over 6 lbs. using a doughball. Yes, they will occasionally hit, but it is certainly a surprise when it happens!

The surprise of the day turned out to be a largemouth bass
that hit my hair rigged corn and artificial (in its lip).

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Big Fish on the Fall Feed

A twenty pound carp rests in my 
sling in the water. Big carp are now
on the fall feed here in RI.

 This has been a good week of catching large carp for me here in RI.  With dropping temperatures and shorter days, I get the sense that the bigger fish are now on the fall feed.  I had a couple of twenty pounders this week along with many teen size fish. My biggest for the week was a 26 lb. common. I'm catching both in the daytime and at night. All my fishing is being done in RI waters.

The hot bait continues to be a combo bait of maize and a white pop-up, artificial corn. I'm also packing method mix around my sinker. I'm prebaiting whenever I can.

Leaves in the water has been an irritant but has had little effect on the fishing so long as I cast beyond the leaf line. Netting the fish along with a pile of leaves has been a mess.

If you are looking for that big carp for the year, the next month is an opportune time to get her. Big carp are on the fall feed!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Orange Pop-ups

 I discovered something interesting in the last couple of days.  I was fishing a body of water with poor water clarity.  I wasn't getting much on my white pop-up/maize bait combo bait offerings.  So, I looked around my bag for something which might get the carp's attention and stand out in this poor water clarity.  I found it! It was a pack of orange artificial corn.  I tried these a long time ago when I first started using artificial corn.  So, I set up one outfit with the orange artificial and the other outfit with my ole favorite white artificial corn.  In the two day stretch I landed 4 carp.  They ALL went for the outfit with the bright orange pop-up. The only thing I can conclude from this is that color orange is effective in stained water with poor clarity.

Color is an attractor in carp fishing and most of us will mix colored bait on the hair rig.  We know that white is a great overall color to use when using pop-ups. My second best color over the years has been pink. Orange is a wild card here and one that I plan to use in the future when fishing ponds and rivers with poor water quality.

This mirror went for a combo bait of
maize and an orange artificial corn (see
photo above) fished on the hair rig.
Orange has been an effective color in 
stained water.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Photo of the Day....Nighttime Mirror

Here's a nighttime mirror that was landed this evening after dark.
Now is a great time to fish at night for carp here in RI.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Nighttime Productive


Here's a nice mirror in the net that was 
landed a couple of nights ago.  Nighttime fishing
for carp is especially productive in the fall!

It's that time of year.  Night's darkness is arriving earlier and earlier and when I am not striper fishing, I find myself heading out after super with my carp gear and headlight, ready for some nighttime  carp fishing. I find the fall to be especially productive for fishing for carp in the darkness.  Besides, you can get in several hours of fishing and still get home at a reasonable hour.

There is no difference between your approaches to fishing for carp at night or in the daytime.  Same baits, same spots are good, same gear. Get yourself a good headlamp and you are ready.  Still, I know many find fishing in the darkness unnatural and difficult.  I love the quiet stillness of darkness. The excitement comes when the alarm screams off and puts an exciting end to the silence.

I've been out several times at night in the last week or so and have some fish every outing.  In each case, I did prebait my spots, a key to success.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Winner: Essence of Carp Fishing Photo Contest


My entry has won the Essence of Carp Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by the Carp Anglers Group (CAG).  This is a monthly photo contest for members, and winners are awarded a $100 gift certificate.  For me, the essence of carp fishing here in RI is catching beautiful Mirror Carp, and this was a beauty.  Surprisingly, I captured this photo with my phone, an LG G7 Thin Q, a phone that takes fabulous photos. CAG sponsors all kinds of contests and tournaments for its members.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Porker of the Year


This is the porker that I caught yesterday in
the light rain.  It is the fattest carp I have caught
this year.

September is the start of fall fishing and carp tend to really feed up for winter when the cooler fall nights arrive. 

Yesterday I fished in the light rain and unsettled weather, great conditions for early fall.  I was rewarded with the fattest carp I have landed this year.  I estimate the fish was about 25 lbs., but it was the shortest 25 lber. I have ever landed!

The fish hit a maize/white artificial combo bait on  the hair rig, the set-up that has worked for me all summer.  I was also using a method ball around my sinker.

From now until mid November is prime time to catch a big carp here in RI. Some of the biggest carp that I have landed over the years in this state have been caught in this time frame.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Photo of the Day....A Gorgeous Summer Mirror


The water is low and it is warm, but there are still some good fish to be had
at this end of summer.

Friday, August 28, 2020



Here's one of the carp landed this morning coming ashore with
a pile of weeds around it. The weed is thick right now in many 
places, but the carp are still hitting.

It's everywhere, and if you are fishing for carp in this hot weather, you are dealing with weed. We are in the peak time of the year for weed.

The carp will use weed to their advantage.  Many times the carp will move along the shore just on the edge of the weed and the weed lines.  Those are the best spots to bait up and put your bait on the bottom.  In some places the weed will have avenues of clear passages going right through it. Carp will often use these weed free zones to also move around.

The biggest problem with weed comes after you hook a fish.  It will often run into the weeds for cover. You don't want to put really hard pressure here but rather you want to ease the carp out of the weed with pulls of the rod tip.  Often their moving around will free them from the entrapment of the weed.  You also want to beef up your line when fishing weed. It will require a minimum of 15 lb. test line with 20 lb. test being an even better choice when targeting larger fish.

This morning I got out and fished a weedy shoreline.  I landed 2 good size mirrors on maize and an artificial fished on the hair.  I fished the edge of thick coontail the weeds as described above.  Just like I said, the fish headed right for the thick weeds when hooked. Slowly I eased them out and got them onto the shore. This type of experience is typical for carp fishing at most places at this time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Photo of the Day.....Common from This Morning


This decent size common was landed this morning along with a few others.
Notice the bait in its kernel of maize along with a kernel of
white artificial corn. Fishing has been slow for the most part in the past week.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Slow Climb to 500

Here's a recent catch, a beautiful
fully scaled mirror. I hit number 500
on the year today!
 I haven't posted much lately because there is not much to post. I am in a mediocre pattern.  I'm consistently getting some fish but not many and not many big ones.  There are many reasons for this mediocre fishing. The hot weather has been a killer as I have been unable to fish much past noontime due to the heat. The turtles have been very troublesome as they are super active in the heat and constantly harassing my bait.  Low water is everywhere due to the lack of rain.  I'm seeing carp moving around but not feeding.  Maybe they are stressed in the low, warm water.

The only noteworthy news for me lately is that I landed my 500th carp of the year today. This year I got off to a real fast start in the winter/spring numbers-wise, and it looked like this year was going to be lights out, but we all know a year of carp fishing is a marathon and not a sprint. This summer things have really slowed. The virus has not helped with these travel restrictions to nearby states.  In the summer I usually fish a lot in CT and MA, but that has come to an abrupt end.

So, I still plan to plug along, and I know there will be hot streaks of fishing as I move forward.  As for the fishing right now, mediocre is better than nothing!

Friday, July 24, 2020

No Silver Bullet in the Hot Weather

I landed this common this morning.  The cool mornings have
worked out best for me in recent weeks.
This real hot weather has made for difficult carp fishing. The fish are around, but so are the pesty turtles.  I see carp moving around and rooting in the mud, but getting them to hit has been tricky. I want to really bait up the venues that I am fishing but I know full well it will attract every snapping turtle in the area.  I also would like to add method to my offerings, but that, too, attracts turtles.
So, lately, I have been going with just bait on the hair rig.  My best producer has been a small kernel of maize locked onto the hair with an artificial corn.  I've tried varying the colors and they are all working about the same.  I've caught using pink, orange and white artificials.  I've tried going with just artificial corn to avoid turtles, and that has not worked so well. It seems like the real thing with an artificial seems to be the most effective way to go for me.
Best time of the day for me has been before noontime. Once the sun and heat take over, the fishing really trails off.
So, no silver bullet at this time of year. Fish the cool mornings, get into a shady spot and hope a carp will make the alarm scream!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Photo of the Day.....A Chunky Mirror!

Check out this beautiful chunky mirror that I landed this morning. Morning
fishing in the cooler weather is prime time to fish right now.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Slow Going; Pests a Problem

Here's a recently landed mirror carp just sitting on the surface
after being released. Fishing has been slow in this hot weather.
The hot weather has settled in and the carp fishing has cooled right down.  Oh, the carp are still around, but they have been rather lethargic in the hot daytime.  I've seen many just sitting near the surface doing nothing. Those fish are not interested in feeding.
The pests have also been unbearable at times, especially turtles.  I must have hooked at least 6  snapping turtles in the last week.  Bait up an area and they are right there.  Put method on the sinker and they are right on it. Even when you try to outsmart them and move around, they will poke their heads out of the water like a submarine periscope looking for you.  While they tend to ignore plastic corn, some have taken it in the last week.  Sun turtles are equally as pesty as they will nibble at the bait and take it away without so much as a twitch of the rod tip.
Horned pout and catfish have also come to life as they, too, love the warm water.  They will really key on the method mix so in a lot of catfish spots, I will not even use method.
This is a time of year where your best bet will be to fish the coolest times.  Prime times now are mornings, right before dark and even at night.  Lousy, rainy days can also be productive.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Judging Size from a Photo......IMPOSSIBLE

This fish looks about 4 lbs., but it is
7 lbs. If you step back from the wide
angle lens and hold the fish close to
your body it appears smaller than it
really is.
This is the same fish that you see at
the right.  The photo was taken with
a wide angle lens and the fish is held
out to the camera. While it appears to
be about 15 lbs., it is really 7 lbs.
You simply can't guess the size of a
fish by the photo!
You see a lot of people posting photos of impressive carp these days all over social media.  Some of these fish look enormous, but we all know the biggest carp around here are maybe in the 40 lb. range. So, what makes a twenty pound carp look like a hundred pound tuna? Wide angle lenses.
Most high end smart phones have a standard lens and a wide angle lens. The wide angle lens allows you to get real close to the subject.  It spreads out the view, making any fish look much larger than it really is if you get up close.  If you hold the fish outward, it magnifies it even more.
Strange thing about the wide angle lens is that it can also make a fish look much smaller.  If you step back a bit from the camera and hold the fish close to your body, the fish can actually look smaller than what it is because the whole view is so spread out.
I don't object to fish looking bigger than what they are.  I sell a lot of photos and work for many magazines.  The wide angle shots are popular with editors and readers.  In addition, think about a photo in which the angler is holding a large fish.  The fish should be the central theme of the photo. In addition, these photos can generate a "wow" factor with people looking at them.
However, don't try to guess the weight of the fish by photos shot with wide angle lenses.  It's impossible.
Take a look at the two photos I've posted with this article. They are vastly different, but the same fish taken from different angles with a wide angle lens.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Results of RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament

Brian Savage hoists a beautiful 28 lb. 11 oz. mirror, the biggest
fish landed in the tournament.  Brian was also this year's gold
medal winner for the most points.
This year we held an abbreviated and modified Spring Big 3 Tournament for RI CAG members.  The event ran for 2 months in May and June.  Here's how this year's event worked.  You could enter your 3 biggest carp by weight.  It didn't matter which months they were caught.  The weights were added up and that was the point total.  All fish entered had to be caught in RI waters. The national group bought engraved medals for the top three finishers.
Here is a summary of the top three winners and the weights of their biggest three (lbs./oz.):
Gold medal- Brian Savage- 15/10, 18, 28/11 = 62 lbs., 5 oz.
Silver medal- Manny Dias- 14, 14, 18 = 46 lbs.
Bronze medal- Tony Carvalho- 12/2, 14, 12 = 38 lbs., 2 oz.
Honorable mention to Tom Perron and Jeff Henderson for submitting some quality fish.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Monster Mirror Landed on a Mulberry!

I was unprepared for what I was about to experience.
I went out this morning to check out a new mulberry tree off the beaten path that I had discovered. I had no serious fishing equipment with me. When I found the tree last week no berries were dropping and no carp were around. So, I was going today just to look and see if any carp were there now.
When I arrived, I saw several carp feeding on a few berries that were dropping. The only rod I had in the back of my truck was a six foot telescopic rod in a backpack with a quality reel that held just 10 lb. test line. Oh well, I figured I would give it a go since I didn't want to waste time going back home.
I impaled a berry with the #8 hook that was on the line. Before casting I looked in the water to see if I could spot one of the feeders. Suddenly, a big head and mouth arose from the bottom to suck in a mulberry on the surface that had just dropped. I flipped my hooked berry right in that direction. It took maybe two seconds and the line was screaming off and I was on.
I knew this was a big fish from the sheer weight of it tearing off and the drag spinning to its breaking point..  Luckily, there were no obstructions and a drawn out see-saw battle ensued. 
Slowly, I got the fish in real close and knew that I had to really tire it out because I was hoping to grab it and hold it in the shallow water on shore. I had no net with me- yup, unprepared.  I made several grabs of the fish, a monster mirror, before I was able to secure her in the shallow water. With the hook just barely in her lip, I popped it off and watched the beast swim off.
I had no phone, no camera, no sling, no mat and no scale so no pictures of this beauty.
I've landed many big carp in the last ten years and have become very good at guessing their weights. I can tell you with certainty, that this monster mirror was 25 to 30 lbs. It is the biggest mirror that I've landed this year here in RI.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Mulberry Drop in Full Swing

This good size mirror carp was landed on a
freelined mulberry (see right photo).
The mulberry drop is in full swing right now.
Do you know where a mulberry tree that exists along the banks of a carp pond or river?  If so, this is the easiest ticket to carp fishing you have ever seen.
Carp just love mulberries and they can't get enough of them once they start falling into the water.  They will sit under a tree and eat and eat as the food just drops down from above.  Impale one of these berries onto a #8 hook and toss it in. The carp will generally fight for it.
Be aware, though, that carp will get very wise to this berry thing.  In places where fishermen use them, carp will develop a keen sense in which they soon figure out which berries have a hook in them and which do not! Additionally, you will have to put the berry right in front of these sharp eyed feeding carp.
Have a tree in your backyard and you want to collect berries to use by the water?  Forget it.  This only works in places where berries are hitting the water. The tree has to be by the water. The carp have to be conditioned to eat them.
Mulberries come in white, pink and purple shades. The berry drop is a short lived phenomenon. It lasts for about two to three weeks here in southern New England. The biggest carp I have ever landed on a freelined berry is a 25 lb. mirror!

Friday, June 19, 2020

In a Summer Pattern

Here is a nice mirror that I landed this morning.  Fish the cooler
times of the day for the best action.
We have quickly  moved into a summer pattern of carp fishing here in RI.  Most of the big females have spawned and it is unlikely we will see them again until fall.  Still, there are lots of other good fish to be had.
Key here is fishing the right times.  I have been fishing mostly in the morning up until about noontime when all the action seems to die out.  I've tried before dark with little success.  I know some fishermen who do well fishing late at night at this time of year.  You see, the carp seek a "cool" comfort zone at this time so it makes sense that the cooler times of the day, morning and night, would produce better.  Rainy days in the summer can also light up the fishing.
Another key is bait.  I have not been using a method ball lately because it is a big turtle attractor.  I am just going with the hair rig with a plastic artificial and one kernel of maize on  the hair.  Sometimes in the summer I might also just fish with one artificial on a small hair.  Turtles tend to avoid the plastic artificial but the carp will still hit it.
So, fishing is still going well for me, but I have also made the adjustments to summer fishing that have led to my success.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Are You Geared Up for the BIG One?

Looking for a big carp like this RI mid 20?
You need the right equipment to do it.
Many newbies are ill equipped to handle big carp.
Most carp fishermen, especially the novices, are not. I talk to a lot of fishermen along the banks these days.  Many of the newer carp fishermen talk about how they'd like to catch a big one.  Most here in RI define that big one as 20 lbs. Some of the more experienced guys are looking for a 30 lber. which is very difficult to catch here in RI. It took me decades of carp fishing before I landed my first thirty pounder here in RI. However, when I look down at their equipment of those fishermen wanting to catch a big one, I don't have the heart to tell them it is not going to happen. At my winter carp fishing seminars I often will tell newbies you can't expect to hunt elephants with a BB gun. Most novice carp fishermen are woefully under equipped to land a big one.
So, let's just take a look at equipment needs to land that big carp.  Of course, there are many other factors (bait, location, presentation, etc) that go into this.
Reels- Here is the most important piece of the puzzle.  Big, baitrunner reels are a must for a serious carp fisherman. You want a reel with good line capacity.  I use Shimano Baitrunners on my bigger rods.
Line- Twenty pound test mono or heavier braid is recommended.  I like the mono due to abrasion resistance.  I use Berkley Big Game mono, a saltwater line, on the reels above.
Rods-  I like the 12 foot Euro carp rods because they cast well, are soft on the fight and give me great leverage on a big fish.  Mine are Fox rods (3.0 test curve).  A lot of our RI guys use 9 or 10 ft. surf rods.  They are adequate.
Hooks-  Those cheap Eagle Claw hooks will bend under the weight and fight of a big fish. I buy my carp hooks (#6) from Big Carp Tackle. They are about a dollar apiece but well worth the money.  I have used Fox, PB and ESP hooks, and they are all good.
Hooklink-  I'm using braided line for my hooklink. I like Power Pro Braid in 50 lb. test.
Net- This is a key piece of equipment.  How do you get a 25 or 30 lb. fish onto the bank when your line is only 20 lb. test.  A big Euro carp net is the key. These generally measure 42 inches across. I use a Fox net. Those small bass and trout nets are worthless when it comes to big fish.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Unthinkable Happens....RI 40 lb. Carp!

I am on a roll right now, having landed many fish from 13 to 31 lbs. in the last few days.  But, in one  sudden screech of the alarm, the unthinkable happened today.  I landed my first 40 lb. carp in RI waters, a feat many sharpies doubted was possible.  Every year there are a smattering of low 30 lb. carp landed from RI waters.  Some years see no 30 lbers., so 40 lbs. is off the charts. My biggest RI carp up until now was a 36 lb. common that I landed 8 years ago, a fish that was thought to be the biggest ever landed in RI.
Today's fish hit a combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn fished on a hair rig along with a method ball packed around the sinker. When I initially hooked the fish, I knew it was big.  It did its fighting right along the bottom, steadily peeling line from my Shimano Baitrunner reel. When I got the beast near the net, the challenge began.  I used my 42 inch Fox Euro carp net to make several stabs at the fish. The first two times missed as the fish rushed off when the net was near and smoked the drag.  On the third stab, I got her into the net.
Once on the shore and onto the unhooking mat, I knew I had a monster. I weighed the fish and with  the weight of the sling subtracted, the certified  Rueben Heaton scale showed the fish was exactly 40 lbs.  The fish measured a whopping 40 inches.  I also had a witness to the weighing and measuring.
This fish would have shattered the RI record, but in order to claim a record here in RI you have to bring the fish to a weigh station.  No way I was going to kill this fish.  This fish would be capable of producing eggs that could produce offspring that could potentially grow to enormous sizes. After a few photos, I got the beast down to the water, swished it around a bit and with a mighty swoosh of its tail, it was gone.  I'm hoping we will meet up again some day!
40 lbs., biggest carp ever taken in RI!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Monster I Was Looking For!

Finally, I got that biggie I was looking for all spring here in RI.  With Covid-19 around, I was forced to generally do most of my carp fishing locally in RI this spring. I know it's very difficult to get a real big fish (over 30 lbs.) here in RI, but I got one today.
I mentioned in my last post that there were bigger fish being caught recently here in RI by members of our RI CAG group.  The warming weather and the pre-spawn has gotten the normally cautious, big fish to start roaming around and feeding.
The big common that I landed today tipped the scale at 31 lbs. It hit my usual go to bait, a white plastic pop-up corn along with a kernel of maize on a hair rig. I was also fishing a method ball packed around my sinker. The fish was released in good shape!
With the warm weather here, I suspect more big ones will be caught in the coming week, but the window of opportunity to catch them in the daylight will be short. Many of these biggies will spawn soon if they haven't already, and once the water really gets warm, it will turn into a nighttime affair.
31 lb. common. Biggest one of the spring for me.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Photo of the Day- "Memorial Day Biggie"

I celebrated a quiet Memorial Day along the bank today. I was rewarded with
this gorgeous fully scaled mirror.  Big carp are hitting in RI as several  RI CAG members
report big fish catches in the past couple of days.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Disappointing May

May is supposed to be a great month for carp fishing here in the Northeast. But, so far it has not been for me. Most Mays I can put about 100 fish on the bank with many large ones in the mix.  So far, I have landed a disappointing 17 fish for the month with most of them on the small side. And, I have been out trying just about every day.  I've seen very little activity (fish jumping, bubble trails, fish swimming by).They are just not active and not hitting. The other day I put a pile of bait in some clear water right in front of me. I saw several carp swim right over it and they never stopped to eat.
Here's a recent catch coming ashore.  Fishing
has been off big time in May so far here in RI.
Some of it I blame on the coronvirus restrictions.  Lots of lakeside spots that I normally fish are closed and off limits to fishing.  I have not tried to travel to MA and CT waters where I have scored well in past Mays because of out-of-state travel restrictions. In addition, the weather has been crappy.  It's been all over the place.  There have been lots of wind and cold nights with little of no consistency to the weather. 
So, I know from experience that carp fishing can suddenly turn around and go from bad to terrific.  It looks like we are getting into a more favorable weather pattern in the next week.  I'm hoping that will improve the fishing.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Inconsistent Weather = Inconsistent Fishing

Here is my 300th carp for 2020. Fishing has been inconsistent
in May.
The weather in May is following the patterns of April.  It's all over the place. Warm, cold, wind, calm, rainy, sunny. It never seems to get in a consistent pattern, and that has really thrown off the carp fishing for me. On the few warm days, I did quite well, but when those nighttime temperatures dropped into the 30's the fishing fell off. Let's hope we get into a consistent weather pattern soon.
On a positive note, I landed my 300th carp of the year this week.  It was a nice looking 10 lb. mirror. I got it on a combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn fished on the hair rig.
By the way, I am now fishing with maize rather than sweet corn.  The pests (turtles, bluegills, horned pout) are now out in force, and the maize is more durable and lasts longer than the delicate sweet corn.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Not Always Good

This good size mirror, landed today, was my only carp in the
last six days.  Persistent cold weather has taken its toll.
I was on a roll in April until about a week ago.  Then, everything went downhill.  I tried a number of locations and different baits, but I was able to put only one carp on the bank in the last six days.  A friend of mine suggested that maybe the carp were practicing social distancing or doing the stay at home thing. Seriously, this has been real poor fishing for me.
I blame the weather for the lousy fishing.  At this time of year, dropping water temperatures are not good.  A lot of cold rain, cold nighttime temps and cool, windy days, has caused the carp to go into a funk.  Additionally, I have not been able to fish many of my April hotspots.  Some places are closed off to fishing due to corona virus restrictions. Some of my places in MA and CT are off limits to RI residents. And, high, high water in the Blackstone River due to rains have prevented me from fishing some of my river spots.
Still, I managed to bank 90 carp in April, a bit above average for me in April, so things are not all that gloomy. The key here is to stick with it as carp fishing, like the weather, will change in the warming days ahead.
Good luck if you get out and be safe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Ticket to Success

April is turning out to be a decent month for me.  I've landed good numbers of carp and had only one blank so far this month which is unusual with all this wild and cold weather. I've also been doing all my carpin' close to home and in state. The ticket for success for me has been one of my old favorites that I have written about a lot.  It is one white artificial corn along with one kernel of sweet corn on the hair rig (see photo at right). The artificial is at the end of the hair and locks in the delicate sweet corn.  Sometimes I use a method ball, sometimes I don't. The method is usually determined by the amount of turtles that are around. They are getting more brazen and active by the day as the water warms.  In the last two days I have landed 8 carp on this combo rig. Not big numbers but very steady fishing for me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Catch of the Day

Here's a common from a new "walk to" location.  I have been out a lot finding
new spots to fish that are close to home. They are hitting!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Newsflash: RI Trout Fishing Suddenly Opens Up

Trout fishing season suddenly opened today in RI. Under normal circumstances, trout fishing would normally open the second Saturday in April, or April 11 this year.  The DEM wanted to avoid the big crowds that come out on Opening Day so they decided to go with a “soft” opening at mid week, similar to what CT did this year.  Smart move considering the coronavirus situation we are in.
There is a twist to this opening. DEM has said that you can fish for trout on odd/even calendar days.  If your last name begins with A to M, you should be fishing on even days.  If your last name begins with N to Z, you should fish on odd days.
There are other restrictions in effect. State parks are not open for parking, there should be no more that 5 people together and social distancing (at least 6 feet) are if effect. Additionally, trout will be stocked throughout the season but will not be publicized. They are also suggesting if a pond or lake is crowded, look for other areas which are not so crowded.
All of the details and information about this unusual trout opening can be found HERE.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Making the Most of a Tough Situation

Here's a carp that I landed yesterday in one
of my close to home spots. Fishing is very
limited right now.
Yes, I am still fishing. The state DEM is still encouraging people to get out walking, riding a bike and fishing.  The number of places to park, though, is dwindling by the day.  Most of the state parks and recreation areas are now closed to parking. Many local spots are also shut down.
So, I have been doing a lot of bike riding and walking to carp fishing close to home. I'm lucky that I live walking distance to about a half dozen carp venues. This has allowed me to explore some of those areas more thoroughly than I did in the past, and I am finding new spots to fish and catching some fish. I'm also getting a lot of exercise. Heck, not much else to do.
Normally, at this time of year I am dividing my time between fishing for carp in MA and RI.  Any out of state travel is not happening at this point since state regulations require a 14 day quarantine for out-of-staters traveling to a different state. I'm not taking a chance on that happening.
If you do get out and carp fish, remember to keep that 6 foot social distance.  No too difficult doing this as I have seen just about no one in the areas I have been fishing.
Good luck if you get out for carp, and stay safe.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

RI Stay at Home Order Puts an END to Most Fishing

Within hours, maybe minutes of writing my last post, the Governor put into effect a stay at home order for people in Rhode Island. I'm guessing that will put an end to carp fishing for most unless you have a pond in your backyard. If you can't drive to a spot, you can't fish. Supposedly, you can only drive to get food, medical supplies and gas.
Stay safe everyone, and I hope things improve soon.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Trying to find some normalcy.....

This is normalcy for me.  I got this nice mirror yesterday
evening in a solitary spot.
These times are anything but normal.  I like things to have a normal pattern about my life. Much of that normalcy involves some type of fishing every day along with at least an hour or two of exercise. My exercise pattern has been sort of out of sync.  Normally at this time of year I am still skiing four to five days a week.  That ended two weeks ago.  So, I turned to bike riding earlier than normal.  Usually, I ride on bike path near my house. Forget it.  That place has been jam packed with bikers, walkers, dogs, kids, etc. In a lot of cases, no regards for social distancing. Riding along the path has been a maze of people and congestion. Not good. So, I am now riding on the roads. It's safer in some ways (no infected people), more dangerous in other ways (cars).
My fishng has also been modified. I am really trying to fish solitary places where no people are around.  I've got a number of spots like that where I can carp fish, but the fishing has not been great in those places. Also, many other good spots (trout stocked waters) are still closed until Opening Day, so it has been limiting. March has been a disappointing fishing month so far for me. The weather has been up and down and that has killed the fishing consistency.
Still, I am able to fish, making for some normalcy. Everyone in my family is still healthy and that is the most important thing here.
I shudder to think what a mandatory stay at home order would be like.  I don't even want to think about it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What Will Happen with Opening Day of Trout Fishing?

What is going to happen with Opening Day of Trout fishing here in RI? As of right now, it is slated to open on April 11. This is a day that traditionally sees tens of thousands of fishermen descend upon the stocked waters of RI in search of trout.  Some places like Carolina Trout Pond, Lincoln Woods, Silver Spring Pond and many other hotspots see hundreds if not thousands of fishermen standing shoulder to shoulder.  In other places dozens of people camp in close quarters waiting for daybreak. Under the present circumstances, I see no way this will be allowed to happen. So, as of now, no one seems to know what will happen.
Nearby CT has taken a novel approach to this, one that I think RI should immediately adopt. Yesterday they opened all their trout waters to fishing.  They previously had the same Opening Day as RI, but they decided to open early to avoid the masses of fishermen that would normally hit the waters on April 11. It was also smart to open during the week.
Here is the press release from CT:
On March 24, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order opening many lakes, ponds, rivers and streams to fishing statewide.  Opening the fishing season early helps to limit community spread of COVID-19, by eliminating the large crowds that often accompany the traditional Opening Day of fishing in April. During this time of social distancing, fishing should be enjoyed as solitary experience or with members of your immediate household, not as a group activity. 
DEEP is encouraging all anglers to follow social distancing practices.  Anglers should maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, practice good personal hygiene, and stay home and away from others if you feel sick.  If you arrive at a favorite fishing spot and see that crowds are forming, choose a different location, or return another day or time. “
Smart policy!  Now, will RI follow? 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Changing Strategies to Avoid Crowds

A nice carp sits in the water in the net.  Fishing in the last
couple of days has been really good. I have been trying
to fish spots with little or no people.
The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we live, at least in the short term. It's also affecting fishermen and their choices, and will greatly affect them as the weather warms and more and more people get out.
In my daily life, I have been trying very hard to avoid crowds, even small crowds. I'm keeping my social distances and washing hands often like everyone else. My fishing for carp has also changed in the last week.  I am not fishing public parks where lots of people are out and about.  I have also been avoiding easy access points that might see a lot of fishermen. I might try some of these spots on crappy, rainy days, but you won't find me in any crowded spots on a nice day. I'm trying to fish more in remote places, and I know a lot of these spots where I have never run into another human being. Of course, getting to these spots is often a chore, but we can all use more exercise.
I am grateful that I can still go out and go fishing. And, the fishing has been really good in the last couple of days in my off the beaten path spots. A stay sheltered in place ultimatum would really drive me nuts. I hope it doesn't come down to that.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Good Stuff

Good stuff!
This winter my go-to bait has been sweet corn from the supermarket. I have been using this alone or in combination with artificial corn.  The problem with buying cans of sweet corn from the supermarket is that you just don't know what you are getting. I hate it when I open a can and it is all very tiny kernels, which are basically not usable on the hair rig. To solve that problem, I have been buying Nature's Promise sweet corn.  This comes in four small plastic containers that you can actually see what you are buying. The kernels are not only larger, but much firmer than the canned stuff. While more expensive, this stuff works out far better.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Catch of the Week

Weather-wise, it has been a warm week for early March.  Fishing-wise, it has been a hot week.  Our warming waters have put the carp in an active and feeding mood.  I got out multiple times this week.  My worst day was three carp; my best day saw twelve fish on the bank.
The catch of the week for me was a wild hybrid goldfish.  These fish do exist in the Blackstone River system in MA and RI, though they are not that plentiful. While many might think these fish are small commons, they are a bit different. Look closely at the photo below....hybrid goldfish have no barbels and they have a straight mouth that is in the middle of their head.  They also have much smaller scales than a common carp.  I landed the beauty below this week using one kernel of sweet corn and a white artificial corn on the hair rig.  I was also using a small method ball packed around my sinker.
Catch of the week for me was this wild hybrid goldfish.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Photo of the Day...."February Gold"

The gold scales from this mirror shimmer in the water in today's beautiful sunshine.
February carp are a bonus, and this one was the prize of the day!