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Monday, April 10, 2017

2nd Common Carp in 2017 - Lake Erie

It's been a strange spring this year. We had upper 60 degrees in February and 6 degrees in March. It's rained a bunch in April too, which has made fishing challenging.

I got my first fish in February, but didn't get the second until today. It was worth the wait I guess because it was a quality common weighing 22 lbs. 11 oz.


My 2nd carp for 2017

The fish was caught with panko pack bait with cream corn, chicken feed, peanut suet, a few chopped up homemade boilies with habernero and jalapeno and a couple of Hungarian paprika boilies, with anise hook bait, tipped with a pink piece of Enterprise fake corn.

Catch and release carp fishing



Saturday, February 18, 2017

First Carp of 2017


With a forecast of 60+ degree weather for this weekend I couldn't resist the chance to get out and try to land my first February carp and first carp of 2017.

I scouted a few spots last weekend and settled on a shallow pond connected to a small river. It was completely ice covered on Saturday of last week, but on Sunday the ice was a very thin layer.

I work nearby so I kept an eye on it during my lunch times a couple of times during the week. I did throw in about 9 baseball sized panko balls yesterday, but with the cool water temps I wasn't really sure if it would help or not.

I arrived at the spot at 10:45 with temps at 45 degrees. I had a fish about 90 minutes later caught about 15 or 20 feet from shore in no more than 3 - 4 feet of water.

With the warm weather, I had hoped for a couple more. Apparently the carp had other plans. Here is the one fish I did manage to land today.

One bite, one run, one fish.

First carp of 2017 and the first fish I have ever caught in February
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black for Carp Fishing

I have added a new tool to my fishing efforts for the upcoming season.

The camera provides a lot of big features in a small package including 12 megapixel pictures, 4K video, burst and time lapse photo functions. The camera is also waterproof in shallow water.

I can't wait to test it out on the bank soon.

Hero 5 Black by GoPro
I hope to get some cool video mounting the camera on my net, using the chest strap mount and head strap mount.

I need to get a second battery and a charger when I save up a few bucks.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

How to Tie a Multi Rig for Carp Fishing

I have spent some time this winter learning to tie some better rigs to use for fishing with pop-up baits. Here is a good one for the multi-rig.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

How to Catch Common Carp

With temperatures at 7 degrees this morning the carp fishing is very, very slow locally where I live in Southeast Michigan. That leaves more time for updating information on the carp fishing blog.

I have written articles featuring specific hooks, fishing line, fake maize, etc. in the past and plan to get back to doing more of that in the next several weeks and months. I am far from an expert, but I have learned a few things in the past 4 years that helped me and a few others learn to catch more common carp.

Catch and release carp fishing
There are few things more frustrating for a new carp fisherman than spending hours on the bank and failing to catch a fish. Occasionally channel catfish will bite the corn, maize, boilie, etc. being used to target carp, which is a bonus that helps reduce the disappointment, but only for awhile (at least in my case).

But there are things we can do to help increase the odds. Some are obvious and others not so much. Please don't take this list of carp fishing tips as the "one and only way" to approach the task; and please decide whether it makes sense for your personal situation, but I hope some of my experiences help folks who are new to the pursuit catch a few more fish.

1. Fish in waters that hold carp in larger numbers

You might think this tip is obvious, but I think it bears mentioning. There are likely carp in most every water locally where I live, but some waters hold more of them in total. And in some bodies of water the carp "school" or "shoal" up in common areas in concentrated numbers. So it makes sense for me that when faced with a choice between casting a line in Water A with 15 to 20 carp per acre vs. Water B with 100 to 200 carp per acre (as an example for the sake of demonstration), going with Water B is the simple choice.
  • Where can you find this type of information on waters that have a greater density of carp?
There are several options and at one point or another I have used many strategies, but the fastest approach is to make contact with other local carp fishing enthusiasts. There are groups on Facebook and websites for clubs such as Carp Anglers Group that focus on carp fishing, which will help you a lot. Do a Google search for carp fishing in your local area, do a search on You Tube, on Facebook, on Instagram, find a local hunting and fishing forum and ask others for tips, read the fishing survey reports for various lakes available via the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) websites in your state, etc.

Going to a water that you think may hold carp and walking the shore line looking for obvious signs of carp is another good option. It takes more time and effort, but it can pay big dividends in the long run. Finding the places within the lake, creek, river, or reservoir that hold carp will help you decide areas to concentrate on when you come back later to fish those areas.

2. Use bait that has been tested and proven to attract carp

Techniques for catching carp are very different than those used for catching sunfish, bluegill, walleye or bass. Top water buzz and spinner baits won't get the job done. Float fishing with night crawlers might yield an occasional carp, but it won't catch them consistently day-after-day in most waters.

Sweet corn, bread, and boilies have proven successful over the years. And to kick it up a few notches higher, adding sweet flavors to those offerings works even better.

A productive day
I prefer flavored maize/corn over bread and boilies, and more specifically; corn/maize flavored with a fruit such as pineapple or sweet flavors such as butternut, anise, or vanilla. Commercial carp bait makers offer many different varieties that I encourage you to try, but you can start out with sweet corn straight from the can dipped in corn syrup or even maple syrup. But if you get serious about catching carp I'd recommend you try flavored maize sold by Trilogy Carp Baits or World Classic Baits to start. I mention those to bait companies because I have personally tried their products and fully support the effectiveness of their flavors like "Brendan's Bumbleberry", "Sweet Anise", "Sweet Plum", "Four Seasons", or "Scopex.

3. Learn to ties a knotless knot aka "hair rig" to improve the odds of catching carp

While placing sweet corn directly on a hook can work, threading it on a "hair" that floats below the hook works much better. Here's one my favorite videos for "How to Tie A Hair Rig" on YouTube:



4. Use "pack bait" or "ground bait"

Mixing up some bread crumbs, oatmeal, Wheaties, panko breadcrumbs with some type of binder for moisture like water or cream corn works well enough to allow the mixture to be molded around a lead and adhere tightly enough to be casted. It's not absolutely required to catch carp, but it will increase the odds dramatically.

Two pieces of flavored maize
 tipped with a piece of plastic corn

A picture of the typical pack bait
molded around the 2 or 3 oz. lead
Experimentation is encouraged. From time to time I have added chicken feed, bird seed, flavoring, peanut powder, salt, chili powder, and even peanut bird suet pellets to my pack bait mixtures. Try not to go overboard and add everything on the list all at once. I don't think it's necessary.

Plenty of carp have been caught on plain old bread molded around a hook and floated free line-style on top of the water. In fact, for those confident enough to use that method consistently, with the ability to stalk the carp, locate them in a body of water, and then deliver the bread bait to that exact spot have had a great deal of success.

The best part about carp fishing for me is trying different things and deciding what will work best in a given body of water under specific conditions.

5. Pre-bait

I don't usually go to my planned fishing spot the day prior and through bait into the exact spot I plan to fish, but when I do I always catch more fish. Most of my fishing spots are 30 minutes from my house or more, so heading out the day before isn't usually possible. I wish it was something I could do more consistently. Here's why:

Sometimes I go out to my spot, cast and start catching fish within a few minutes. Other times I cast out and wait...and wait...and wait. I have spent a lot of time analyzing and thinking about the reasons for this.

There are all sorts of scientific explanations that might help explain it - like temperature, oxygen levels, available natural food sources, barometric pressure, etc. - but it can likely be boiled down to one simple concept and I suspect it's correct the majority of the time.
  • Sometimes there are numerous fish in the area and sometimes there are not.
I am sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping for something more substantial, but many times the simple things are most meaningful and insightful. And that's were pre-baiting might help.

  • If there are fish already present, pre-baiting gets the fish feeding on the specific bait you will be fishing with.
  • If fish are not already present in the spot then pre-baiting adds the missing ingredient - food to attract the fish.

Or, as I often have to do, you can not pre-bait and pack your patience; because if the fish are not present it make take awhile to draw them into the spot by casting and re-casting for a few hours to draw them in. That's why after fishing for 6 or 7 hours, many of the fish are caught during hours 8 and 9 (or not caught at all because we give up before the fish arrive and start feeding).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The State of Carp Fishing in the United States

Many of my friends and family are perfectly content spending the day fishing for 1/2 pound and 1 pound bluegill, 2 pound crappie; and 3 or 4 pound largemouth bass with an occasional channel catfish hooked every now and then. Carp provide a viable alternative to those smaller fish. Catching 10 - 12 pound common carp is normal among fishermen targeting carp.

When I am out fishing in some of the local spots people commonly ask me whether I eat the carp I catch - I don't. Their next reaction is usually very negative. Some people actually shake their head at me in disbelief and continue their line of questioning with comments about it being a waste of time to fish for something you can't eat. Some more knowledgeable fishermen who have tried eating carp or know others who have, often comment about removal of the "mud vein" to help improve the taste.
22 pound fall carp
There is another group of people - including many visitors to this site - who are sickened by the fact that I take great care of the carp I catch and do everything I can to return them to the water unharmed to be caught again another day. Some of them leave comments on my posts expressing their disdain that I promote carp fishing to others as something desirable to do. One person left a rather lengthy comment about how I shouldn't be returning carp to the water at all. He said I should kill them all like he does when he bow hunts for them. Really? Well, no.

I know bow fishing is a legitimate way to catch fish, but I do not support bow fishermen who shoot fish and leave them laying on the bank. I've seen pictures posted on the internet with three or four bow fishermen posing with at least 50 or 60 carp laying on tarps with comments below the picture bragging about their kills. Call me a cynic, but I have a lot of doubts about those guys eating one single fish from their kill. I've seen other pictures and comments about taking the kills and planting them in flower beds for rose bush fertilizer. I understand it's not illegal to bow fish, but I think it should be illegal to kill fish (or any other animal) just for the sake of killing something and then discarding it like an used cigarette butt or an old newspaper.

Bass fishing in the U.S. hasn't always been a multi-million or multi-billion industry either. Bass fishing has benefitted from promoters who have profited handsomely from tournament fishing series and television shows.

Carp fishing is going to get there too someday. It's been widely popular in Europe and other parts of the world for decades. I am completely confident that carp fishing will rise in popularity too. There are economic benefits for companies that cater to carp fisherman. Right now it's probably still in the niche stage, but the momentum is slowly shifting. The possibilities for carp fishing in the U.S. are huge; and I want to be prepared to ride the wave when it does finally arrive.

Here is an example of the popularity of carp fishing in the U.K.: Carp Universe Magazine

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

More Photo Editing Examples

It's so tempting to edit all the fish pictures that are taken. Sometimes I convince myself that a tweak or two will make a difference, but I am not always right. The two photos below help demonstrate the downside to "over-editing" a photo.

The edited photo has been cropped slightly and the lighting was adjusted to make the fish brighter.

I like the original photo much better than the edited version. The edited photo looks "fake" and even slightly out of focus. The original photo may have been out of focus, but in the original photo it does not stand out and is not as noticeable. The editing emphasizes the lack of focus even more.

On a mobile device, the edited version appeared acceptable, but in the larger format of the laptop or desktop, the photo suffers quite a bit.

Edited photo

Original photo
This appears to be a clear case of "too much of a good thing" actually creating an undesirable result.

I think the photo stands on it's own without any adjustments to the lighting. The photo seems to stand on it's own in hindsight, but if I did anything to it at all; I should have cropped it slightly and be done with it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Photo Filters to Improve Carp Fishing Pictures

I have been playing around with a photo filter app I found on Google Play Store. Here are a few of my first attempts with it.

Small mouth buffalo with the lighting improved significantly compared to the original cell phone picture.

The filters allowed me to remove most of the green from my John Deere sweatshirt and highlight the fish to a greater degree.
My current personal best common carp at 29 pounds and a few ounces
I will always love it when I catch multiples
Those pictures were some of the photos I experimented with when learning to use the tools available via Photo Filters in Google Play Store.

I have continued to use the application the past few days on various photos with mixed results. I have noticed that photos which look great in the smaller format provided on a mobile device (e.g. cell phone and tablet) tend to distort when viewed on my laptop.

I will keep using the Photo Filter app to "clean up" photos I post on Facebook, but I think editing those photos posted to the carp fishing blog need to be edited in a larger format on the laptop.

Another point worth noting about the free app is that from time to time when you open your cell phone to use it, Photo Filters sometimes displays unprompted advertisements that require me to "exit" them in order to use my phone. I don't really mind it at this point, because the "pro's" do seem to outweigh the "con's". I will, however; continue to be on the look out for a photo filtering app that works even better.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

25 Pound Common Carp and 2 pound Wild Feral Goldfish

As we get deeper into autumn I fully realize that every fishing session I plan might be the last one for 2016. After water temperatures fall into the 40's fish activity will fall off considerably and fewer fish will be caught. The chances of catching carp in those cooler temperatures drop off too. But the weather on Friday was quite good with sunshine, few clouds and temperatures in the upper 50's to keep the water temperatures in check.

I caught 11 carp and a catfish with weights ranging from 25 pounds on the high side to 2 pounds on the low side.

Here are my two favorite pictures from the session:

25 pounds


Wild goldfish, 2 pounds
That is the first goldfish I have caught since I started targeting carp several years ago. The scale pattern and metallic coloring were very cool.

Here are some other pictures from the same session:

25 pounder in the carry sling being released


Swim away of the 25 pounder

1 set of two double runs I had (and landed successfully)


The first set of double gold I landed. The fat fish weighs in the mid teens for a reference point on the smaller one.





This was my first fish of the day and I didn't get the lighting quite right for the photo.

I used a carry sling and landing mat for all of my catches. This helps protect the fish from inadvertent injury.
Thanks for stopping by the website and looking around. I hope you enjoyed your visit and I hope you come back for a visit again in the future.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Carp Release

First Triple Catch: 2 Carp and 1 Small Mouth Buffalo

In the 3 years I have been fishing for carp I have had a lot of exciting days. Few have measured up to the days I have been fortunate enough to catch to catch multiple carp at nearly the same time.
 
The video below documents a triple catch I had this past fall near Lake Erie. I was running around like a one-legged man for a few minutes, but I landed all three fish successfully.
 


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New Personal Best Common Carp: 29 Pounds 2 Ounces

I have been fishing a lot this fall season. Beginning in late September when the temperatures started to cool down a little, I started thinking it might be possible to catch a new personal best common carp.

My previous best was 26 pounds and change. I caught that fish a short time after I started targeting carp exclusively almost 4 years ago.

I am lucky to work for a great company with fantastic benefits, which includes a generous number of vacation days. I scheduled a vacation day yesterday and headed out to one of my favorite fishing spots.

I ended up with 7 fish (6 carp and 1 catfish) overall, but one fish stood out above the rest - a 29 pound 2 ounce "monster" on Halloween.

While reeling in the fish I remember commenting to my friend Bill who was fishing nearby that the fish was kind of lazy and meandering. I carefully adjust the drag on my Sonik reels to ensure I had just the right amount of tension while keeping the drag lose enough to guard against the dread hook pull.

I wasn't making a lot of progress at first, but slowly and steadily the fish drew nearer the bank. And then the fish was safely secured in the net, I knew it was something special.

And the weigh scales confirmed it - 29 lbs. 2 oz.

I hope you enjoy pictures of that fish and the others.
Big carp, big mouth

This fish was not easy to pose properly. I am always surprised at the dead weight of fish weighing more than 25 pounds.

This is my favorite picture of the 29 lb. 2 oz. that has become my new personal best common carp.

Upper teens

This fish has been eating very well lately it seems.

This fish is on the way to bigger and better things. It's getting thick in the head, which is a sign of future possibilities.

Another mid teens

Look at that gut

Another quality Halloween carp

Another one
In case you are wondering, here is a picture of my previous personal best 26 pounder:

Caught in October 2014

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pictures of Recent Carp Catches

Here are some pictures of various catches from a recent session. I ended up with 8 carp and a small-mouth buffalo. I also have a pretty funny video I will be posting later on. I was using panko, chicken feed, peanut bird pellets crumbled up, and cream corn with peach or butternut flavor and hook bait dipped in 3D powder. These fish were all caught within 20 minutes of recasting fresh pack bait. Waiting longer than that yesterday did not produce results.