Wednesday, July 21, 2021

In the Palm of My Hand....


I landed this small common this morning.  For
me, it's been a lot of small ones lately.

They are not always big. I'm on what I'd call a "small streak".  I have gotten a number of small carp in the last week in a place where I was catching bigger fish several weeks ago.  That's the way it goes. Groups of fish move in, groups of fish move out. The bigger ones, which probably headed to deeper and cooler water, will be back eventually.

We are in a difficult period of carp fishing right now in southern New England.  There is extremely high and unfishable waters in many places, particularly in the rivers.  Many of the ponds are choking with weed brought on by the run-offs from all these big rainstorms making fishing difficult.  In addition, the vegetation growth along the shore is awful and I find that I am constantly trimming the shoreline vegetation with a clipper that I carry in my bag. Finally, the mosquitoes are out in force due to the rain and warm weather.

Still, the carp continue to hit.  A combo bait of maize and a white, artificial corn pop-up on the hair rig is my main bait these days.  I am also fishing this bait with a method ball packed around my sinker. Mornings and evenings have been the best times, just what you'd expect in the dead of summer.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Back to Maize and Artificials; Best Bait of Summer?


Check out this combo bait of maize
and a white artificial corn on the hair 
rig. This has been my hottest bait 
of the last couple of weeks.

My experimenting with big baits (boilies) lasted a few weeks, and in that time period I caught a lot of big carp.  But, gradually my ole standy bait of maize and a white artificial corn on the hair rig began to outfish the boilies. So, I'm back to using that bait, and I have been catching decent amounts of carp in the last two weeks considering we are in the doldrums of summer. I've gotten numbers as well as big ones with several fish in the twenties.

Maize is just a real convenient bait.  It's cheap so you can prebait a lot of it.  The carp also really go for it.  I buy my maize at Tractor Supply.  It's marketed as "whole corn" and comes in a dried state.  A fifty pound bag will cost you about 10 bucks.  

Here's how I prepare it.  Put it in a large pot with water and let it soak overnight. In the morning I will put it on the burner and wait until the water boils.  Then, set the stove timer for exactly 35 minutes. Once finished take it off the heat and let it sit a while to soak up water.  Next, I pack it into zip lock bags and pack it in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for weeks.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Fantastic Day in Today's Tropical Deluge


Here is one of three twenty pound
carp landed today in the tropical
storm. I also had 5 other smaller fish.

Based on past experiences, I just knew that today's carp fishing would be real good in this tropical storm. I've fished in northeasters, hurricanes and tropical storms and all of those events light up the fishing. And, it did today! In all, I landed 8 fish, but here's the big story of the day.  Three of those fish were in the 20 to 25 lb. range.  Those are real good fish for July.

Stormy weather like today's seems to really charge up the carp, and sends them on a reckless feeding spree.  The weather was wild with deluges of rain pelting down, wind blowing the rain sideways and small tree branches coming down.  My kind of fishing weather! Action prior to today had been fair at best for the last week or so with smaller fish dominating the fishing. Along comes a tropical storm and all that changes.

The hot bait today was a kernel of real maize and a white artificial corn on the hair rig.  I was also using a method ball packed around my sinker.

Sorry for the lack of photos....impossible in the heavy rain.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

In the Slop


A dark colored mirror landed last evening.

I've seen this pattern many times before.  Hot, hot weather suddenly turns to cold and rainy, and it just lights up the carp fishing here in RI.  The last three days of rain have, once again, lit up the summer carp fishing for me.  I landed 30 carp in the last three days of fishing in the sloppiness. While a good number have been smaller carp under ten pounds, I also had a couple of low twenties as well as many in the 10 to 19 lb. range. The fish have been a combination of mirrors and commons.

I'm back to using my old favorite of a kernel of maize

A gorgeous common landed yesterday.

and a white artificial corn on the hair rig.  This seems to be working much better than the boilies these days.  I suspect it is because I am getting smaller fish on average than I was catching several weeks ago when the boilies were red hot for larger carp.  I'm making a note of this. Next year, I plan to really fish boilies on then post spawn when the big fish (over 25 lbs.) are really aggressively feeding.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

RI CAG Big Three Tournament Ends.....Final Results

 Our RI CAG Big 3 Tournament has ended, and as usual our guys and gals entered some pretty impressive fish.  The leaderboard was really shuffled around in June as Tom Perron, one of our most steady big fish guys, moved up from 4th to third with a 15 lb. 9 oz. mirror. Jeff Henderson also made a big move from 5th to 3rd place by catching an impressive 24 lb. common.  Our leader all along, Brian Savage, remained in 1st place with a big 19 lb., 6 oz. mirror.  The top three finishers will receive engraved medals purchased by CAG. The final standings along with the weights of the fish are listed below:

1. (gold medal)- Brian Savage- 31/10 + 23/11 + 19/6= 74/11

2. (silver medal)- Tom Perron- 13/2 + 16/2 + 15/9 =44/13

3. (bronze medal)- Jeff Henderson- 20 + 24 = 44

4. Laura Mitchell- 15/13 + 19/2 + 8 = 42/15

5. Manny Dias- 16/8 + 24/8 = 41

6. Eddie Taylor- 15 

Brian Savage- Gold Medal

Tom Perron, Silver Medal

Jeff Henderson, bronze medal

Monday, June 28, 2021

Ghost Carp

Check out the white streak on this fish's back and 
under the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin was also
very light.

Scientifically, ghost carp are an artificial breed of the common carp. They are generally all white and are found in Europe.

Around here we refer to light colored common carp as "ghosties", or ghost carp.  They might feature whitish, grey heads or streaks of white along the scales of their bodies.  Most of those ghosties found around here are common carp, although I have seen one mirror ghostie.

Every year I seen to catch one or two of these ghosties. Today I caught one of them, my first one of 2021.  It had streaks of light color in its head, and it had a wide, white line running down its back under the dorsal fin.  The dorsal fin was also quite light.  In the water it looked like I was reeling in a wet, white towel as it swam around. It was quite different as I knew right away I had a "New England Ghostie." 

The head of this fish also had very light
streaks running along its side and top
of the head. It was very whitish in the 
water. Its scales were also very light.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Third Place Finish.....National CAG Spring Big 4 Tournament

Biggest carp, 38 lbs., 2 oz, a 
potential state record.

 I had my best numbers ever in the CAG Spring Big 4 Tournament and ended up in third place in this national event. This tournament featured 75 of the best carp anglers from all over the country. The event ran for three months, beginning on March 15 and ending on June 15. The idea was to enter your four biggest carp of the spring, and your poundage total became your point total.

I've entered this event for the last 15 years. The best total I could put together in the past was 124 lbs. This year I far exceeded my previous best total by 11 pounds.  My entries were all carp in the 30's- 38/2, 34/8, 32, and 30/6.  Added all up it came out to 135 lbs. For the third place finish, I won a $100 gift certificate at Big Carp Tackle.

The most exciting day of the tournament was the last day for me.  On the afternoon of June 15th, I managed to bank a 34 lb. carp that moved me from 4th to 3rd place overall. I never expected to land

Second biggest fish....34 lbs., 8 oz,
another potential state record.

such an enormous fish on a bluebird afternoon.

I changed strategies from previous years. Rather than traveling all over the place in MA and CT and fishing these big venues, I stayed right here in RI. Yes, I caught all these monster fish (two of which were potential state records) right here in RI, but in different locations.

I also made a significant change in baits. For the last two weeks of the tournament, I fished only with large boilies.  Boilies are known for luring large fish.  In that two week period, I had at least a dozen carp in the 20's and two in the 30's. The use of large baits (in this case, Carp Maxx coconut boilies) was a major factor in catching these big, post spawn carp.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Mulberry Drop Happening


This nice mirror feel for a free lined mulberry 
today. The mulberries are dropping and the carp 
are right under the trees.

Do you know a carp pond or river where a mulberry tree is at the water's edge.  If so, you have a hotspot to fish right now.  The mulberries are ripe and dropping from the trees and most likely carp are right under these trees slurping them up.  Sweet mulberries are one of carps' most favorite late summer natural food.  These berries come in white, purple and red and will be falling from the trees for the next several weeks.

Fishing them is super simple.  Just a hook is needed at the end of your line (no weight).  Impale a berry with a # 6 or #8 hook depending on the size of the berry.  Cast it where the carp are feeding.  Most likely a hungry carp will rise up from the bottom a gulp down your offering.

Impale a mulberry with a #6
or #8 hook.  Fish it without a 
weight for best success.

I got out today and landed my first mulberry feeding carp on a white mulberry.  It took a whole of ten seconds to get the fish to take.  It was a good size 10 lb. mirror carp. 

Be aware that carp will get onto what you are doing mighty fast.  They will actually learn to pass up the berry that has a hook in it once they see a lot of fishing activity!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Boilies....Big Bait for Big Carp

Boilies are commercially
produced flavored baits.

As many of you know, I haven't written a whole lot about fishing with boilies
for carp. Rest assured, I do use them on occasion, but maybe I should be using them more!

Last fall I won a photo contest sponsored by CAG.  I won about 40 lbs. of Carp Maxx boilies in a coconut flavor (20 mm size).  I had them sitting in my basement and decided to pack some in my bag. Two days ago I was out fishing and getting nothing on the 'ole reliable maize/ plastic corn bait.  Good size fish were occasionally jumping so I knew they were in the area I was fishing.  Why not try a boilie?  I baited up in front of me with a few spoonfuls of a maize/cut up boilie mix and proceeded to bait up my hair.  Since the boilies were large, I decided to cut them in half and add a piece of maize to the combo.  That's a rather large bait, but no problem with fish over 15 lbs. The results speak for themselves.  In two hours, I caught carp of 16, 18, 21 and 23 lbs. all on the boilie combo.  The maize/plastic corn combo, fished on another outfit, did not even get a hit. I was sold.

I has good success
with a combo bait of
half a boilie and a 
kernel of maize

Many experienced fishermen will tell you that boilies are a bait made for big carp. While 15 mm seems like the average size most anglers use, some of the big carp hunters will go with a 20 or even 24 mm size.

Boiles can be purchased online in most carp fishing stores like Big Carp Tackle or Carp Maxx (found on Facebook). If you are looking for a big fish, boilies are certainly a good option.

Here's the proof that boilies work.  They are big baits made for
big carp!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Standings Through May for RI CAG Spring Big 3 Tournament


Tom Perron ....biggest

The guys and gals from RI CAG were catching some big carp again this month in the second leg of our Spring Big 3. I added up April and May results and the total weight equals the total points. All fish were caught in RI waters.

Here are the standings:

1.      Brian Savage- 31/10 + 23/11 = 55/6

2.      Manny Dias- 16/8 + 24/8 = 41

3.      Laura Mitchell- 15/13 + 19/2 = 34/15

Laura Mitchell....19 lb. common!
4.      Tom Perron- 13/2 + 16/2 = 29/4

5.      Jeff Henderson- 20

6.      Eddie Taylor- 15

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Big Misery Factor, Big Reward


Miserable weather can deliver some impressive 
fish.  This carp from yesterday's awful weather
tipped the scales at 32 lbs. The fish was a spawned
out female.

As many of you know, I have written many times about carp fishing in nasty, stormy weather. Most of those times have led to memorable days.

Well, I did fish yesterday in that awful May weather.  Temperatures were in the 40's with a big wind and driving rain.  The misery factor was off the charts. Yet, the fishing was very good.  The highlight of my day was my second biggest carp of the year at 32 lbs. This was a spawned out female that looked like she was in a bar brawl. Had I caught this fish before she spawned, I'm sure she would have gone mid to upper 30's. In addition to that fish I landed 6 others that ranged from 5 to 13 lbs. The fish were also quite active with loads of fish jumping and whirling. All my fish were caught on hair rigged corn with a white artificial corn added.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Do Carp Hit During Spawning? Yes and No????

Here are a bunch of them that were spawning 
today. While most of the spawning carp will
not hit a bait, occasionally a non-spawner will.

 In the last couple of days I fished an area where carp were spawning. Those warm days earlier in the week got the spawn in full motion in places.  They were all over the place splashing and whirling in groups and tearing through brush and weeds.  They were also lots of them moving along quickly looking for other spawners. In the past, I was never able to catch carp while they were spawning, but today I decided to try.  

I put a small pile of bait right in front of me and observed. Many of the spawners just quickly moved over the bait completely ignoring it.  But, every once in a while, one loner fish came by slowly, picking up stuff on the bottom, and would stop and eat my bait. So, I have to say that while most do not feed while spawning, there are a few that are choosing to feed rather than spawn.

Anyway, I did coax six of them to take my bait today.  These were all smaller fish and all males judging by their rough skin. They were carp in the 5 to 8 lb. range.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Photo of the Day....Fattest Carp Ever


I caught this fatty today.  It is the fattest carp I have ever seen/caught.
It tipped the scales at 23 lbs. Assuming it was full of eggs, it was
gently released after a quick photo!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

MONSTER Carp Landed


Unofficial state record of 38 lbs., 2 oz. released!

Yesterday I landed the second biggest carp I have ever caught in RI.  The beast topped the scales at 38+ pounds. That fish bested the official state record by over 5 lbs.

I wrote in my last post that this has been an epic week for me for catching large carp with many fish in the upper 20's.  But, yesterday's fish far exceeded all expectations I had about catching a large carp. This fish was not only large by RI standards, it was gargantuan!

I landed this fish on a combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn fished on a hair rig.  I was also using a method ball of oatmeal and bread packed around my sinker.  The fish hit with a screaming run.  Just after I grabbed the rod, the fish went on a blistering run, peeling off 50 to 60 yards of line off my Shimano baitrunner reel.  From then on, it was a back and forth battle.  The fish would take line, I'd gain a bit more. At this point, I knew I had a big fish. Once close to the net, I made several stabs at it as the fish would bolt away as the net came close. I prayed the hook would hold as it was just barely stuck in the fish's lip.  Finally, I had the prize in the net.  From there it was onto the mat, into the weigh sling and finally the weighing with my Reuben Heaton certified scale. Exactly 38 lbs., 2 oz.

This fish marks the 5th time I have broken the official state record of 32 lbs., 5 oz. Here in RI we have an archaic and far outdated means of establishing state fish records. In order to claim the record, you must have the fish officially weighed at a weigh station of which there are very few.  That means killing the fish and bringing it down to be weighed.  I've always refused to do this. In other more progressive states, they either have records for catch-and-release, or they allow a state record if you have a photo, a witness, a length and a certified scale. So, once again, another unofficial record was released to swim off and fight another day. A happy ending for all!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Big Carp on the Feed Here in RI

 The past seven days have seen the best fishing in a long time for big carp for me.  We are definitely in a

Take a look at the sagging, egg filled bottom 
on this 27 lb. female that I landed yesterday.
Big carp are on the feed right now. By the way,
the fish above was released in good shape right
after a quick photo!

pre-spawn mode in many of our lakes and ponds.  Big females have become more numerous in the past week, and they are feeding.  Also, lots of aggressive males are in the mix.

In the past week I have landed 4 carp over 25 lbs. here in RI.  That includes a 26, 27, 27 and 29 lb. fish. All of them have been females as evidenced by their sagging egg filled bottoms. There have also been days with lots of fish like yesterday.  In that miserable rainy, cold and windy weather, the carp were on a tear as I banked 10 carp from 15 to 27 lbs. in  a few hours of fishing.  Once again, the crappy weather delivers.

The hot bait for me continues to be a combo bait of maize and one kernel of white, artificial corn fished on a hair rig.  I'm also packing a method ball around my sinker.  I try to prebait whenever possible, and for the most part, I am prebaiting with maize. Sometimes I mix in cut up boilies.

If your are looking for your biggest carp of the year, no better month to catch her than May.  Fishing for big carp is hot right now.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Results of RI CAG Big 3 for April


Brian Savage takes the early lead with 
a massive 31 lb., 10 oz. carp.

The first third of our Spring Big 3 Tournament is in the books.  Once again, our guys and gals caught some decent fish.

The RI CAG Big 3 Tournament runs like this. CAG members who wish to take part enter their biggest fish (by weight) for the month of April, the month of May and the month of June. All fish must be caught in RI waters and all fish must be released.  We add the weights together and that becomes the point total. The national organization provides engraved medals for first, second and third place.

Last fall's combo tournament winner, Brian Savage, is off to a hot start.  He has the biggest fish so far with a whopping 31 lb., 10 oz. common carp.

Here are the fish entered for April:

1. Brian Savage- 31 lbs., 10 oz.

2. Manny Dias- 16 lbs., 8 oz.

3. Laura Mitchell- 15 lbs., 13 oz.

4. Eddie Taylor- 15 lbs.

5. Tom Perron- 13 lbs., 2 oz.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Brutal Conditions, Fish Still Hitting


This fully scaled mirror is one of two carp that I
landed last evening.  I had two more this evening
in some brutal weather.

Yes, I did fish the last two days and it was like fishing in the middle of February.  I thought for sure the weather would kill the fishing, but I did manage to find a few fish that were willing to hit.

Today was especially tough.  With snow mixing with rain, temperatures stayed in the 30's with a stiff wind. Prior to today I had a streak of 15 straight days of catching carp in April.  So I was hoping to extend that streak today. I baited up one of my favorite spots with maize this afternoon and returned in the evening.  It took all of ten minutes before the alarm screamed, and I was onto a carp that took my combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn on the hair rig.  That fish was a beautiful mirror that weighed about 6 lbs. Another fish about the same size was landed a half hour later, and I had one more fish on that I lost.  On a brutal night when I knew that catching one fish would be a big deal, I was quite pleased with landing 2 carp.

I am hoping to get back to catching larger fish this week once this nasty weather clears out and warmer weather returns.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Big Females on the Feed


A beautiful 22 lb. female has just been released
and is about to swim away.  Bigger carp, many
of them females, have been more
numerous in recent days.

That warm weather that we had last week really got things moving.  Even though we are now experiencing cool weather, the past week's warmth has ticked up the water temperatures and gotten the carp in a feeding mood here in RI. It has also led some big females to go on the feed.  In the past week, I have landed several good size female carp.  These fish have had bulging bellies that are full of eggs. While the spawn is still over a month away in most places, we are now witnessing a pre-spawn in which groups of carp are bunching up in places, particularly low water spots. And, these fish are feeding.  I am also consistently catching bigger fish in the last week.  I landed a couple of females in the 20's (22 and 27 lbs.) along with a bunch of low to mid teen size fish.  All of this is a sure sign that a spring run of bigger fish is underway in places. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Slow Rise to 100


Here is my 100th carp of the year that I landed
tonight at dark. It's been a long and winding 
road to get to 100 this year.

I hit a milestone tonight with my 100th carp for 2021.  

It hasn't been easy.  This is the latest in the year that I've gotten my 100th fish in the last ten years.  I can't put my finger on why the slow fishing thus far in 2021....cold and snowy February, inconsistent weather, lots of people fishing, lots of disruptions (boats, kayaks, etc).  Pick any one or a combination.

The weather in the last week has become much nicer and more favorable for consistent fishing.  In fact, I have been getting 2 to 5 fish an outing with no blank days. So, things are looking up for now.

I've switched my bait choices in the past week.  Sweet corn is out because of the emergence of pests (turtles, bluegills, horned pout).  I am now fishing combo baits for the most part that consist of maize and plastic corn fished on the hair rig.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

An On and Off Deal


Here's a mirror landed earlier in the week.  The
carp fishing in RI has been an on and off deal
that has been greatly influenced by the weather.

As the weather goes, so goes the carp fishing.

It's been a week of contrasts.  That beautiful sunny weather at the beginning of the week had the carp really active.  I saw fish jumping, mud coming up from the bottom feeders and fish sunning themselves. The fish were also hitting as I landed 16 fish in three days in various spots.  But, the hammer fell last night with a cold rain that brought temperatures in the 40's.  Those cold 40's continued today under an overcast sky.  I went out this morning and didn't even get a sniff. It was a complete shutdown in the cold.

Hey, this is early season carp one day, cold the next.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Opening Day Coming Early; Carp Fishing Gets More Consistent

Here's a decent 10 lber. that I landed a few days
ago.  Carp fishing has gotten more consistent in 
this nice spring weather.

Everything is looking up in this beautiful spring weather. 

Big news that will affect carp fishermen is that Opening Day of trout fishing will come early this year with a "soft opening" happening on Wednesday, April 7. This will open up all bodies of water in the state.  To those who don't know, some of the best carp fishing venues in the state such as Olney Pond (Lincoln  Woods), Lake Tiogue and the Blackstone River have all been closed since March 1 because they are trout stocked waters.  They will open up on April 7. This will give carp fishermen in the state more options.

In the last week, carp fishing has gotten more consistent for me and other members of the RI Carp Anglers. Many are reporting good catches of fish in this warming weather. There's been nothing real big, but I and others have been catching good numbers of fish up into the low teens. Biggest I have gotten this week has been 13 lbs. Nothing wrong with that! Sweet corn or sweet corn in combo with artificial corn has been the hot bait.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Finally Perking Up

This mirror is one of 9 carp landed
in the last two days.  The warm
weather has really perked up the

 After several false starts in the last three weeks, the spring carp fishing has lit up.  With an extended period of consistent warm weather coming, it looks like the good fishing should continue.  I got out yesterday and today and landed a total of nine fish in all.  I also saw some carp jumping and others cruising around in the shallows, a sure sign that fish are on the move from deep to shallow water to feed.

All my fish were caught on combo baits of sweet corn and a white artificial corn fished on a hair rig.  I did do some prebaiting with maize, and I think that helped. I know other RI CAG members were also catching this weekend in a variety of spots so it is happening all over.

Note that carp fishing is off limits in RI in waters that are stocked with trout. Trout stocked waters (yes, that includes the Blackstone River) will not be accessible until Opening Day which is the second Saturday in April. All non trout stocked waters are open to fishing.

If you are looking for that first carp of the new year, this week is an opportune time to catch it.

Thursday, March 18, 2021



Here is a common from last week.  So far,
March fishing has been a big disappointment.

Carp fishing is not going well for me.  I've fished quite a bit in March and have come away with a paltry 7 fish.   The fish are just not active. This lousy fishing pattern has continued all winter long. Last year, 2020, at this time, I had over 170 carp.  This year I fished about the same number of times, and I've landed just 44 fish to this point. I try to tell myself that the weather has really been up and down, a negative for carp fishing, but that's the way March usually goes so not really different. Yes, the water is cold.  Yes, the ice reformed in a lot of places this week.  So, we've not seen an extended spring pattern of weather yet. I've tried fishing a lot of my previous March hotspots and just not much doing.

I'm hoping a warmer week next week might perk up the fishing here in RI.  I'm also guessing that when things do perk up the fishing will get hot very quickly which just might lead to an extended hot streak. Until then, I'll keep looking and trying.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Strange Carp Tail

It's dark out, but you can clearly see
the hook and white artificial stuck
in the tail of this carp. It was snagged
while reeling in my bait. The hook 
was a small, #8!

 I had a real weird experience this evening while carp fishing. I had landed a couple of fish in the evening, and as the darkness was upon me, I decided to pack up and leave.  So, I went to reel in one outfit, and as I was about halfway in, I suddenly was stuck.  I thought I hit a snag, and I attempted to pull it out.  But, as I pulled, the snag pulled back, and I quickly realized I was onto a fish. Just as I was onto this fish, the other alarm went off.  I grabbed that rod also and was now fighting two fish at the same time.  Or, was it?  I thought maybe the first fish went into the other line.  In total darkness, it was hard to tell and both lines were in about the same spot. As I fought two fish (or one) and made some headway while getting the fish close to shore, I saw two distinct jumps right in front of me, and now I knew that I did have two fish.

I got one fish close to shore and quickly popped the hook out.  The other fish, though, continued to put up quite a battle.  Once near the shore, I realized something was wrong here as the fish was very difficult to reel in. When I got the carp close enough to see it, I realized I had snagged this fish in the tail. That was the fish that was hooked as I was reeling my bait ashore. My #8 hook just caught the fish in the tail.  What are the chances of that happening? It was a common about 10 lbs., and the hooked popped out quite easily and the fish was on his merry way. 

I've got to tell you that carp hooked in the tail put up quite a battle. The fight can be described as a tug-of-war. I really thought I had a much larger fish!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Back in Business and Avoiding the February Blank

Here's a beefy common that I landed today in
this beautiful sunny weather. Expect the carp
fishing to perk up when many of the state's ponds
lose their ice this week.
 It has been years, maybe decades, since I blanked in a winter month. As most of you know, I fish for carp year round, and some years it can be very good in the dead of winter. But, not this year as I was headed for a blank this February. Fishing has been particularly tough this February.  My usual winter moving water spots were not producing, and all my still water spots were completely iced over. I got out maybe a half dozen times with no luck until today.

Today I managed to put at least a few fish on the board for February.  It was a beautiful afternoon and the fish decided to hit. I got them to take my usual combo bait of sweet corn and a white artificial fished on a hair rig. I was also using a small method ball.

I get the feeling that carp fishing will break open this week in RI with a bout of warmer weather and rain headed our way. Carp tend to come to life at ice out, and I suspect many ponds in the state will lose their ice covering within a few days to a week. Get the carp gear ready. Spring is in the air.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Only Show in Town


It's not open water carp fishing, but it's fishing! I got out onto the ice this morning with my son Jon to do some jigging.  We came away with a lot of action and a lot of fish.  We caught bluegills, crappie and largemouth bass from the small pond we fished.  All the fish were caught on small gold Kastmasters tipped with a meal worm.  This is a deadly combo for jigging, and somthing we used to catch a lot of fish years ago when we actually had an ice fishing season.

I was surprised to find the ice was a solid 5 inches of clear, hard ice. How long it will last is anyone's guess. But, for now, we have the start of an ice fishing season here in RI, and I'm going to take advantage of it!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

At a Standstill


Just about everything fishing related in RI is at a standstill right now.  On the saltwater striper scene, nothing is going on. The holdover fishing has been shut down in every spot I know due to icing.  In freshwater, my carp fishing is also in a dormant stage due to icing.  I can fish running water, but that has not been producing.  I saw a photo today of someone ice fishing in RI and catching stocked trout. So, apparently there is safe ice somewhere.  If it’s not safe now, it’s a good bet you’ll find safer ice this weekend if you are into ice fishing. But, the window here will be short. Expect a snowstorm in the beginning of next week.  I hate the feeling of walking onto snow covered ice since I just don’t know how much ice is under the snow.  Real dangerous.  In addition, expect a warm-up at the end of the week with rain which should mush up the ice. Doesn’t it seem like just about everything these days is screwed up including the weather?

Fortunately, I’ve got my skiing to turn to.  That has been great and I’ve been sliding down the hills almost every day!

If you’re a fisherman, hang in there, because who knows what will come our way in a week or two. Things can change very fast in February.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Back to Sweet Corn

This common fell for a combo bait of sweet corn
and a white artificial corn fished on the hair rig.

 It's a new year, but the most effective bait is the same in the wintertime.  Sweet corn rules.  

I was out today in a new January location that I had not fished before.  I had one rod out with maize and a white artificial.  The other rod had sweet corn with a pale pink artificial.  First carp was on the sweet corn.  Second fish was on the sweet corn.  Ok, that was enough.  I got rid of the maize and went with sweet corn and the artificial on both outfits.  I landed one more carp. Not bad for a mid January afternoon.

Without question from now until the weather warms, sweet corn from the supermarket will be your best bait whether you fish it on the hair rig or just on a hook.  Sweet corn is always a top notch bait, but the pests of warm water (bluegills, turtles, suckers and horned pout) love this bait also and can easily take it off.  In this cold water, all those pests are dormant.  If you get a hit on your bait, it is pretty much going to be a carp. I always fish my sweet corn on a hair rig and usually combine it with one artificial pop up.

Sweet corn from the supermarket
is your best bait at this time of
the year.

We are in a funky January as far as weather. The ponds don't seem to know whether they want to freeze or thaw. In the last week or so, in many places a thin coating of ice seemed to form at night and then melted in the daytime especially when the sun was out. Afternoon, the warmest part of the day, will always be your best bet at this time of year.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Catch of the Day...."January Gold"

Landed this 12 lb. common on this cold and nasty day. Not too shabby for Jan. 3!


Saturday, January 2, 2021

First Ones of the New Year


My first carp of the new year, a 12 lb. common,
is in the net. My first outing in 2021 was very

My carp fishing for 2021 began today. I got out on a sunny afternoon and had quite the outing for Jan.2.  I landed 10 carp that ranged from 7 to 19 lbs., one of my better winter outings in recent years. 

Many people don't associate carp fishing with cold water but truth is they do continue to feed in open water in the wintertime. Get a nice warm-up with the sun out like we had today, and you have the recipe for a good carp fishing day.

Certain places offer a higher percentage of success in the dead of winter.  I like to fish low water spots that heat up quickly on a warm winter day.  These can be small, shallow ponds, small rivers and canals. These are the places that warm up the fastest which causes the carp to feed. I have never scored well in bigger lakes with deep water in the wintertime. 

I was fishing my usual combo bait today- a small kernel of maize along with a white artificial corn on the hair rig. That same bait that was scoring in the fall continues to catch. Sweet corn is also very good at this time of year.