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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Lake Erie Metro Park Carp Fishing

Lake Erie is a great carp fishing resource. Although commercial fishing for carp has impacted the numbers of large fish being caught, the Metro Park is still a nice place to catch a few common carp.

Access to the shoreline is tricky at the Metro Park. The efforts to prevent shoreline erosion have made it challenging to land fish. It's a little dangerous in fact. The big boulders provide very few level footholds. If you do fish there, be careful.

I caught a nice fish with near perfect scales there recently. 

It took awhile to turn on a bite, but I got two before the cold front turned it back off quickly.

I had an hook pull in the early afternoon that I chalked up to being a little rusty from not fishing over the winter. The fish ran like freight train and in an effort to slow him down I over tightened the drag one click too many.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Easter Carp Fishing

On Good Friday, the kick-off to Easter weekend, it was 34 degrees. I was hoping for a balmy 70 degree week culminating in a great weekend of carp fishing. Saturday wasn't much better, so I waited to fish until Sunday. The weather forecast promised good weather and it delivered. 

Sunday was the best weekend day weather we've had YTD 2021 with the temperature topping out at 55 degrees, a light flowing breeze, blue sky, no clouds and sunshine all day long.

I caught this lone fish at 11:30 when it was still in the low 40's. I will take the weather at this point. The fish is a bonus, but I always hope for more.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Tips for Better Fish Photos


Taking better fish photos is possible with a little foresight and planning.

Looking back through my carp and catfish photos for the past several years, I have noticed that most of the best photos were taken on cloudy days. The softer light on cloudy days makes it easier to take great fish photos.

On sunny days finding a bit of shade near a tree, building, or other structure can help lessen the effects of too much light that creates unsightly and undesirable glare and highlights on our photo subjects. This is easier at some fishing venues than others of course. 

On a river bank, there are often no trees, no buildings and no shade to be found. In those conditions it helps to increase shutter speed to something like 1/500ths or 1/1000ths or  use a higher F-Stop. These settings are easily identifiable on a digital camera, but can be illusive when using a cell phone camera. 

Experiment with your cell phone's settings and find the menu for adjusting exposure. In bright sunlight, less exposure (higher F-Stop) is helpful. In bright sun, F16 or F22 works well with ISO 200 or ISO 100. Since fish are stationary when we hold them, we get greater detail at lower ISO. Higher F stop enables lower ISO.

Some additional tips:

  • Position the sun behind you when taking the photo
  • If it's really bright, experiment with taking the photo with the sun to one side
  • Avoid standing too close to your fish and creating a shadow
  • Iron all of this our before you catch your first fish, experiment for different times of day
  • And of course, it's much easier if you have a tree nearby for shade
  • If you end up with glare in your photo, experiment with filters to reduce glare and highlights
  • Having a plan before you catch the fish-of-a-lifetime can help capture a better photo
  • Sometimes using a vehicle as background works out well too (dark colored vehicles work best)
Here's a link that is helpful: Digital Photo Tips

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Habanero Boilies Catch Carp

Homemade habanero boilies simply work. Catching common carp, buffalo and catfish with something you make at home, is rewarding and fun. The boilie recipe below is one I've used for a few years to catch fish in Michigan. 

With spring just around the corner, it's the time of year that I begin preparing baits for my first round of carp fishing sessions in April and May. Having a good supply and selection on hand helps with pre-baiting campaigns. I also use these boilies year-round in my panko pack bait mix.

Don't worry if they aren't perfectly round. The carp don't care.
Habanero Recipe


1 cup soya flour
2 cups semolina flour
1 cup milk powder
1 cup protein powder
1 tbsp salt
5 eggs
2 tbsp condensed milk
1 1/2 tbsp fish oil
6 habaneros
3 jalapenos
Add a little food coloring of your choice.

  • Cook the peppers in a small amount of olive oil first, then blend with a hand blender.
  • Mix in eggs and food coloring. Then add to dry mix.
  • Form boilies and boil for 2 minutes.
  • Let dry on a cooking drying rack. Freeze.
When it's time to go carp fishing, I pull a a bag from freezer, empty from the plastic bag into a cotton bag or simple brown paper bag. The boilies will thaw quickly at room temperature. By the time I reach my fishing spot, they are usually reading to use. Even it they are still a little frozen, they will thaw in the water anyway.
A word of caution is in order...

If you have never used habanero in a recipe, be careful. You should probably wear some plastic gloves when handing them and, whatever you do, don't rub your eyes after handline these hot peppers. Also, be aware of whatever you touch may end up with residual capsicum and a transfer can easily occur to skin, eyes, ears, nose, lips, and other sensitive areas that you definitely want to avoid. 

Cooking habaneros in a ventilate room is also recommended. Turn on a fan. Open a window. You will thank me later, I promise.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Muskie Fishing from Shore

I have developed a new interest to learn how to catch musky fish from the shoreline this year.

I started out watching muskie fishing videos on YouTube. WinCity Outdoors has some great videos of fishermen catching muskie from the shoreline at Lake St. Clair and Detroit River.

I thought carp fishing was expensive, but compared to carp fishing it's very affordable.

To make a long story short, I bought an Okuma Komodo reel and a 9' Chaos SWAT XtraHeavy muskie rod. Then I bought some rubber lures. Musky lures can range in price from about $8 to $200 each. They can range from 2 oz to 16 oz (or more).

Okuma Komodo SS 364

Fishing for muskie requires a good reel. I selected a 300 series reel with stainless gears. Casting big baits, sometimes double bladed, requires a very durable reel. Top musky reels sell for $400 and even more.

Getting fish landed and released is key to good fish care, so a rod with backbone is a necessity.

I ordered the Chaos 9' SWOT Xtra Heavy telescopic muskie rod. It's a much stiffer rod than I use carp fishing.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

My New Bank Fishing Tackle Facebook Group

I have recently created a Facebook Group for Bank Fishing Tackle

There are many fishing groups on the internet ranging from discussion boards, traditional WordPress and Blogger pages, micro blogs on Instagram, and more, but in those groups I see a lot of posts from people who fish from boats, kayaks, canoes, etc. 

Bank fishermen and fisherwomen need their own fishing group, so I am hosting one.

The group will welcome posts, pictures, photos and discussions about bank fishing for all species. If it's a fish that can be caught from shore, this is the page for it. Those who catch, or desire to catch, freshwater or salt water fish without a boat are welcome in the Bank Fishing Tackle Facebook group.

I have been learning how to target pike, muskie and small-mouth bass, which are all on the fishing agenda for 2021.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

How to Attach Fluorocarbon to Braid

The Alberto knot makes it easier to reliably and securely tie fluorocarbon fishing line to braid. If it looks like an Albright knot, that's because it's pretty similar with an "improvement" making it even more effective.

I've always tied braid directly to the swivel and also tied braid directly to my carp hooks. But I'm seeing more and more discussion on fishing discussion boards and websites advocating presentation of fluorocarbon as a leader for carp fishing. The theory is that braid is detectable by fish, and fluorocarbon provides anglers a slight edge. Fish find fluorocarbon more difficult to detect, which should translate to a higher catch rate.

I haven't tried this knot yet, but I definitely will. I found this on a "how to catch pike" web page, but you can never learn to many fishing - can you?

I only use two good fishing knots for all of my carp fishing exploits: 

  • Palomar knot link
  • Knotless knot aka "hair rig" link
And know I'll add the Alberto knot to my repertoire, which will prove useful for more of my bank fishing efforts to catch some pike and sturgeon in 2021. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

How to Catch More Michigan Catfish

Catfish are sometimes a nuisance when fishing for carp. The photos show some of the larger Mr. Whiskers I have landed in Michigan.

Ninety-five percent of the time I fish with 3 pieces of corn on a hair rig fished with pack bait and bolt-rig. It catches carp effectively and also attracts catfish occasionally. 

Catfish Pictures

When I am carp fishing, catfish are sometimes an unwelcome but necessary frustrating side effect. This collage includes some of the largest catfish I have landed in the past few years. Size ranges from about 5 pounds up to 13 pounds with one of the largest coming from a local city park pond.

The next largest was hooked in a large impoundment near the Michigan / Ohio state line that is known for very good musky fishing. Most of the remaining photos come from various rivers in Michigan.

Best Bait for Catfish

Natural baits work the best. Worms are good choices. 
  • Night crawlers
  • Red wigglers
Growing up my uncles used a variety of other baits with good results as well.
  • Chicken liver
  • Beef liver
  • Beef tongue
A variety of other baits are also used successfully.
  • Bread balls
  • Corn
  • Hominy
  • Stink baits
Catfish are sometimes caught on artificial baits as well, but natural baits increase the odds significantly.

Trophy Sized Catfish 

Catfish in the 12 to 15 pound range are frequently caught in Michigan. A personal best in that weight range is a reasonable goal. But for the trophy sized specimen tipping the scales at 50 pounds or more, I would head to the Missouri or Mississippi River systems. Even some of the larger reservoirs like Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, Lake Barkley in Kentucky, Pickwick Lake in Tennessee are some other good alternatives for some very large specimens.  

Recording Setting Catfish

In Michigan, a Niles man caught a 49 pound catfish in the St. Joseph River back in 2012. The fish was 45 inches in length.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Bank Fishing in 2021


As the end of 2020 nears, I have started thinking about my goals for 2021.

I love carp fishing and it will always be my primary focus, but I will be branching out a little into additional species that can be caught from shore.

I live near a great small-mouth bass fishery, so I hope to add a few SMB catches to my shoreline tally next year.

And then there's Northern pike -

I have caught 3 or 4 through the years while carp fishing, but never "on purpose". I want to change that in 2021. This will extend my fishing season a little too because the pike bite starts a little earlier and stays a little later.

Of course, a sturgeon catch (from shore) has been on my list for the past few years and it remains a long range goal.

I am not a boat owner, and never will be, so I will remain solely focused on shoreline fishing. I plan to share more on the blog about specific baits, techniques and lures as well.

And if everything goes according to plan, I'm going to start a mail order and online marketing business that ties into my fishing addiction. If successful, maybe I'll finally be able to take some Jeremy Wade inspired fishing vacations.

In the meantime I will pursue some Detroit River Monsters.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Carp Bank Sticks and Bite Indicators

It started a couple years ago when I posted a photo on a carp fishing forum and I continue to be amazed by it. The level of concern and criticism I have received for daring to place my bite indicator forward of the alarm has been surprising.

I have had many hours on the bank to contemplate the positive and negative benefits of both near side or far side placements, but I am not convinced it makes a difference.

The argument made by detractors is that drop back bites are not detected with the bite indicator forward of the alarm. Someone forgot to tell the small mouth and big mouth buffalo I've caught on drop backs, because I have caught my share through the years.

Additionally, I have fished a few times with a popular tournament winner who uses his alarms in the same method.

So, I guess the conclusion I've reached is that if it helps people feel better to criticize my preferred bait indicator placement - more power to them. Meanwhile, I'll just keep fishing.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Edit Carp Photos Easily

I use Snapseed to easily edit my carp photos.

The screen shot below demonstrates the quickest way to improve carp photos by using the "curve" adjustment tool in the Snapseed app.

Tip: Start at the upper right or lower left of the photo and make small adjustments.

I also use the "heal" functionality to remove identifying background items that may reveal key details about the fishing location. But I mostly just take the photos facing away from the water, which takes care of that issue right up front.

Friday, October 23, 2020

People I Meet Carp Fishing

This post marks the beginning of a new feature here on the Michigan Carp Fishing blog. It will be a running post providing some details and insight into people I meet while carp fishing.

There's something about fishing, which brings out the friendly in people. From casual passersby who ask the obvious "Have you caught anything today?" to comments about the carp fishing tackle and gear I use like "You sure have a positive attitude based on the size of the net and rods you're using."

I've met some characters along the way. Some I'd like to forget, and some I just can't.

I meet a lot of people walking their dogs. At Lake Erie, a gentleman stopped by to inquire about whether I had caught any fish. During our conversation, he shared that he retired from several jobs, and one paid a low $59.00 a month pension. He took social security at 64 1/2. His wife died a few years ago. Now it's just him and his little dog navigating the days, trying to cure boredom by taking short trips out of the house when the weather is good. The little dog reminds me of a lot of "Snoopy, " one of my favorite cartoon characters as a seven or 8-year-old. At 91, the gentleman is driving himself, living alone, fishing regularly, and spending a lot of time boating on Lake Erie when his son has the time to take him along.

Then there was the time I met a guy 6'5" who caught a sturgeon 7' long on an 8' medium action catfish rod 6' from the fishing pier at John Dingell Park in Ecorse. A couple of other guys in the park that day helped him unhook the fish and take a few pictures. And before you chalk that description up to a "fish story," I will add that he had the pictures to prove it. He was lying beside the sturgeon, and it was indeed longer than he was tall! They returned it to the water as quickly as possible, but I can't imagine the effort it took to pull the 150# fish out of the water up onto the walkway. They assured me that the fish swam away with no issues, but it's too bad they couldn't have let the fish remain in the water while they snapped a couple of pictures and finished removing the hook. If you happen to catch a sturgeon someday, please treat it with care. A fish of that size is likely several decades old!

Jehovah's Witnesses have approached me countless times to invite me to services.

A financial services salesman representing the Michigan Education Association (MEA) spent 45 minutes talking about mutual funds, pension benefits, and long term insurance options.

A couple of summers ago, while fishing in Trenton, a 20-something young man from the local neighborhood stopped by on his bicycle to check-in. Over the course of the next couple of hours, he filled us in on the details of his "love life" and described some of the bullying he received. That was a first for me, fishing or not fishing. I'll try to be a better listener if there is ever a next time. 

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I eat the carp I catch, I could take my wife out to dinner and a movie two or three times. And the looks I get when answering no are something to see. Most people can't understand why I fish for something I have no intention of eating. What can I say? I'm a catch, photo, and release fisherman.

I have encountered countless Ford retirees, contractors, and vendors. One of them who lives in Melvindale paddled his kayak down the Rouge River, down the Detroit River, and along the shoreline of Lake Erie to Cleveland on a week's vacation trip a couple of years ago. He said he camped on the shoreline a few nights along the way.

I made friends with an 87-year-old at the Rouge River, who depends on catching catfish for many of his meals throughout the year. He worked 19 years at two different companies, and they alternated between layoffs, rehiring, and part time work so that he would not become eligible for pension benefits at either company. He lives on $753 a month from Social Security and proceeds from metal scraps he can scavenge and sell for cash. We have provided him at least 100 pounds of catfish in the past three years. It's not a lot, but it helps out.

In Toledo I met a father catching minnows and shiners for flathead bait as he prepared for a 72-hour catfish marathon. I talked to a gentleman who worked 23 years at Chrysler who stopped by to check out the fishing on the Maumee during his vacation day. And I met a husband and wife team who caught 75 pounds of catfish in 6 hours for a family fish fry back in Michigan.

On a cold spring day at Lake Erie in March, a lady stopped by my spot for a visit, but I quickly learned she had more on her mind than fishing. After a few minutes, she peeked her head around the corner of the Sportbrella and was greeted by my smiling wife. Busted! 

I'm always a little surprised when others fishing nearby asks to borrow a net to land their fish. It's a pretty prevalent occurrence when river fishing from a pier or raised walkway. Of course, I am always willing to oblige the requests. But I would offer a tip that fishing a venue that provides an opportunity to hook fish greater than 3 or 4 pounds regularly suggests that a net is necessary for proper fish care.

Several years ago, while fishing a trendy lake spot close to home, I ran into a first class selfish dude that ended up being the rudest fisherman (or non-fisherman) I have ever encountered. They were a pair of fishing bullies. I happened to be set up in his favorite spot. Unfortunately, he and his friend didn't arrive until 11 o'clock. By that time, I had been there fishing for 4 1/2 hours. One of the pair decided to cast a line over two of my lines. A tangle ensued and an awkward period of untangling the lines followed. A few minutes later, he re-casted and in the process haphazardly "tripped over" and kicked my rods that are sitting on rod holders about 10' apart. I began to get the message at that point - he's decided I MUST leave. Since they had a 2-to-1 advantage, I had to give in, but it still does not sit well with me to this day. Sadly, the days of sportsmanship and fair play are declining.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Carp Release Videos

Catching carp and releasing them to be caught again someday - catch and release - is becoming more popular. In my opinion, carp are an under appreciated sport fish in the United States.

This is especially important for trophy sized carp greater than 25 pounds. For most people, a fish of that size is a catch of their lifetime.

Carp fishing makes it possible on a regular basis.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Want to Be Featured on the Michigan Carp Blog?

My goal for this Michigan carp blog website is to promote carp fishing in Michigan. I share personal carp fishing experiences, pictures, tips and strategies I have implemented and learned.

If you would like to have your photos featured on the carp fishing site and be a part of promoting successful fishing experiences in Michigan leave me a comment below.

I will be happy to link back to your blog, website, Facebook, Instagram or other social media pages.

My vision for these profile features include these topics and more:

  • How long have you been carping?
  • How did you become interested?
  • Favorite reel
  • Favorite rod
  • Favorite line
  • Favorite bait
  • Favorite place to fish
  • How did you get started?
  • What is your personal best common?
  • What is your personal best mirror?
  • A few of your favorite carp photos 
  • Advice for new carp fishermen
  • How do you find new fishing spots?
  • And whatever else you want to share

I hope to hear from you and share your Michigan carp story.

Creating a community of carp fishermen helps all participants catch more fish. It also helps encourage more people to take up the sport. This will help gain the attention of the DNR to consider placing limits on the trophy sized fish that bow fishermen indiscriminately kill each year, similar to what was accomplished in Connecticut. It also supports the established carp equipment vendors in the U.S. The goal is to create an environment where the sport is better organized in Michigan, so that everyone wins.