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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chod Rig Carp Video


I really enjoy underwater videos. YouTube.com is a great resource to build confidence in how particular rigs work. I was curious about a chod rig, so I searched for it on You Tube. I found this video.
I am still not entirely sure I know what "chod" means and "PVA" is also a mystery, but I plan to research it more after seeing the video. I think using this style of fishing might help me with my casting confidence. During my last few trips this year, my casting has been pretty spotty. I had trouble getting my method to "stick" on the lead the way it should. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lake Erie Carp Fishing

I someday hope to have a day catching numbers of carp of this size. If I understood the video correctly, this session took place on private land that hasn't been carp fished much (if at all).
Watching this video makes me wish spring would come a little sooner!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why I am Raising Money for the Lupus Foundation?

You may wonder why I have chosen to raise money for lupus through carp fishing. Some might assume that I have lupus or that a close family member does. I do not and no member of my family has the disease.

I first became aware of the disease because my wife's hairdresser had the disease. She continued to work as much as she could, but it was a struggle. She had a child to care for too, so not working wasn't an option.

Photo credit: Lupus.org
Charles Kuralt died from complications of the disease. I have no personal connection to him, but I watch the CBS Sunday Morning program to this day. He was retired from CBS News at age 60 and died from complications developed from lupus at age 62.

Compared to some other diseases, lupus research is vastly underfunded. But as an autoimmune disease, its' affects can be devastating. I am thankful that I am healthy and that my family is healthy. I do not wish illness upon anyone. I could develop an illness tomorrow. It can happen to anyone.

I feel called to make a contribution; to give back. And that is why I have chosen to get involved with raising funds for the Lupus Foundation of America via this carp fishing blog.

From lupus.org:

In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

What to do While Waiting for Carp to Bite?

I am still a carp fishing novice with less than one year's experience at this point. My typical carp fishing day goes something like this:
  • Buy panko bread crumbs
  • Buy cans of cream corn
  • Mix bread crumbs and corn
  • Pack vehicle
  • Travel to fishing venue
  • Unload vehicle
  • Bait up
  • Cast
  • Set up chairs
  • Organize gear
  • Sit back and relax waiting for the carp to bite
Some days are better than others, but waiting for bites can eat up hours of time on the bank. I have had days where the fish were biting within 5 minutes of my first cast, but I have had other days waiting 4 or 5 hours before the first run.

I enjoy sitting back and relaxing enjoying the great outdoors as much as anyone. I typically work 50 hours a week and sometimes work from home a few hours on weekends, so I appreciate the down time. I really do. But this spring, I am going to try to leverage my time on the bank waiting for bites into something more productive. (I don't consider texting and checking Facebook as productive.)

So what should I do?

Here are some options I have come up with:
  • Visit with other anglers, if any are present
  • Read a newspaper
  • Read a book
  • Spend the time studying a foreign language
  • Become a better chess player
  • Eat snack foods
  • Just chill
I am a true beginner level chess player and even less experienced with chess than I am with carp fishing, so I have a lot to learn.

Lucky for me I have a Smart Phone and there are plenty of free mobile chess apps available!

Photo credit: Chess.com

I have been experimenting with a few of the free chess apps today and the mobile app from Chess.com seems to work pretty well.

I'd like to say that I could spend that time studying a foreign language, but I'm just not sure I could concentrate well enough to pull that off. I had two years of high school of high school French and another semester in college. Sadly, I've lost it all since I didn't use it regularly later on.

If I get real ambitious I'll take an actual chess board and play for real, but I make no promises. Based on my results with online chess today, maybe I need to stick to plain old checkers. :-)

I am open to other ideas for how others like to spend their down time while carp fishing. Please post your suggestions in the comments below.

Affiliate Links for Carp Fishing Gear

I have added a new section to the carp blog today for some options for carp fishing equipment. There is a section for books about carp fishing, fishing reels, and some carp friendly rods. A book about carp fishing might be the perfect gift for the carp fisherman in your life.

As I have said from the beginning, this blog is about raising money for the Lupus Foundation. Any proceeds from the affiliate links or other advertising that might be added to this page in the future will be donated to the Lupus Foundation. If I earn $.50 from the sale of a book, $4.00 from the sale of a reel, or $6 from the sale of a fishing rod; it will all be donated to the Lupus Foundation.

So if you are shopping for carp equipment and think you might like to purchase from Amazon.com, why not click one of he links below and do your shopping. Anything you buy will help support a very worthy cause.

Thanks for your support.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Camera for Carp Fishing

One thing I have noticed among catch and release carp fisherman - a desire to capture a high quality picture of the carp prior to release. I have largely been lucky in this regard because my wife is a frequent fishing partner. She doesn't fish (yet), but she does seem to enjoy taking the pictures.

Rhode Island Carp posted information recently about a pretty good deal on a Canon PowerShot camera. It's no longer selling for $44.99, but even at the current listing price of $74.99 I'd say that's still not too bad for such a small, compact, easy to use, point-and-shoot camera also capable of high definition video.

Canon PowerShot A2300
(Photo credit: http://shop.usa.canon.com )

Description from the Canon website:

Simple and stylish, this chic compact camera is packed with advancements that make it easy to get a great shot every time. Smart AUTO recognizes 32 predefined shooting situations, then automatically picks the proper camera settings for you. Saving memories in breathtakingly realistic 720p HD is as easy as pressing the dedicated movie button. You'll see extraordinary resolution and fast performance with the 16.0 Megapixel Image Sensor and DIGIC 4 Image Processor, and capture more dynamic, exciting images with the 5x Optical Zoom with 28mm Wide-Angle lens.

If I go fishing without a fishing partner I use my Flip Video camera mounted on a tripod and then take a photo from the video. The quality is usually not the greatest with this method, but it does work in an acceptable manner. My main goal is to capture the moment so I can look back at the pictures later. I especially enjoy that on nights like tonight when it's 12.9 degrees on my back pork thermometer!

But if I see this camera back down in the $44.99 price range any time soon, I'm going to own one for sure.

Big Carp Caught on a Fly Rod

Well, here I go breaking one of my carp blogging rules right out of the gate...but I hope you'll agree that it might be worth it occasionally to see very large carp like the one in this video.

In the video description he mentions a 40 lb. estimated weight and something nearing 4 feet. At first I thought it was an obvious fish story. It's difficult to tell for sure from the video, but his guesstimate might be pretty close to correct from what I can tell.
I'd love to catch one like it someday.
BTW, I think this takes place in South Carolina.

Friday, December 6, 2013

News Article About Michigan Carp Fishing

Here's an article about a past C.A.G. fish-in event held on the Saginaw River:

Detroit Free Press

Solunar Theory and Fishing Results

I have only recently become aware of various solunar applications available on the web. As the theory goes there are factors that will enhance the chances of catching fish that depend on the weather; and more specifically on the sun and the moon.

Here's some information about this fishing theory from Wikipedia.com:

In May 1926, John Alden Knight put together some fishing folklore and other fishing factors such as the sun and the moon, hence the name Solunar (Sol for sun and Lunar for moon) to form a theory on the patterns of animal movement. Knight compiled a list of factors which control or influence the day-to-day behavior of many fresh water and salt water fish. Each one of the 33 different factors were considered. All but 3 were rejected. The three factors retained were the sun, the moon and the tide.[2]

I don't know for sure that it works, but there are some very big believers in the theory who will swear that they have seen positive signs based on actual results that it does influence the ability to catch fish.

Let's assume that you normally catch fish on 30% of your casts. That would mean you catch fish 30 times out of 100 chances. For discussion purposes, let's assume that paying attention to solunar theory indicators only works 25% of the time. Assuming the sun and the moon influence fishing activity, a 25% improvement in normal results would increase the catch rate to 37.5 out of every 100 casts in this simple example. Who doesn't want to catch 7 more fish? Catching those extra fish could make the difference between you achieving a new personal best during the next few months or not.

I'm actually going to monitor this during the upcoming year and document the results. I hope to post about it here on the carp fishing blog periodically to share my experiences. I still plan to fish all day, but if the indicator is that activity is going to increase between 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. I will make sure that I re-bait, re-cast and organize my time on the bank to be very productive. During that particular period of the day I will definitely not stray too far away my rods because indications are that the odds of catching fish are improved. Make sense?

If you'd like to check it out for yourself, a quick Google search will yield several options for solunar information. You can also download apps for your smart phone or tablet and take it with you on your next fishing trip.

Scout Look Weather is one particular website that I find useful.

Screen shot from ScoutLookWeather.com

The graphic above indicates that the best (i.e. "major") fishing times are from 1:15 a.m. to 4:15 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. to 7:35 p.m.. It also indicates that, although not the best time of day, the period between 1:40 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. is a "minor" improved chance of fishing activity.

Please share your thoughts about this theory if you have first hand experience using solunar indicators in your personal fishing strategy.

Carp in the News

Occasionally I come across articles in the newspaper about carp fishing. I'll try to share them here for anyone that is interested. I will always label and title the posts as "Carp in the News" so they are easy to find.

Here's one I ran across today:

Traverse City carp fishing

If you have any other carp fishing articles to share, please feel free to post the link in the comments below.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Carp Fishing Tournaments - 2014

May 2014 is shaping up to be a very competitive month for carp fishing in Michigan.

C.A.G. is sponsoring a 2014 Midwest Regional tournament in Saginaw, Michigan on May 3rd and 4th. The event is open to participants from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The first 20 to sign up and pay the $15 entry fee from each of the eligible states will secure a place in the contest.

The Wooden Shoe Carp Classic will be held near Holland, Michigan on May 17th and 18th. At this point the field is basically set, but there may be a few spots that come available in the event that some registrants fail to pay their entry fee and send in the appropriate paperwork.

I have never fished a tournament before, so I am pretty humble in my expectations and will be happy just to participate, observe and learn from others during the events.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fishing Log

In 2014 I plan to do a better job of tracking my fishing results. I am sure I could purchase something online to do that job in a fancy way, but today I have been playing around with Excel and created the log below for free:

If anyone reading this has suggestions for improving the fishing log, I'm all ears.

Fishing Rods

When I started fishing for carp earlier this year I didn't have an appropriate rod for the task. I had an inexpensive light action rod similar to one used for blue gill and crappie fishing. Then I loaded it up with a 2 1/2 ounce weight and topped it off with another 1/2 or 3/4 ounces of method mix. Next I headed out to Belleville Lake and fished with it for a few hours. I casted it out as far as I could - 40 to 50 yards each time. I didn't know any better.

It's really a wonder I didn't hurt myself, my wife who was with me, or any of the other anglers in the nearby vicinity. Hopefully by posting this I can save you the potential risk involved in making these same mistakes based on a lack of knowledge and information.

Here's an article about test curve for fishing rods that I wish I'd seen before I started fishing for carp. The article explains a lot of the considerations and even touches on the affordability factor.

I have a medium heavy action rod that I purchased for $29.99 from Cabela's that actually works quite well if that's all you have available. I have a couple of real carp rods too that were donated to me to use while learning. I didn't know it when I purchased the King Kat rod at Cabela's, but I could have spent roughly the same at BankFishingSystems.com on a rod purpose built for heavier fish like this Black Phantom.

You can spend hundreds of dollars on fishing rods for carp fishing, but you can catch carp with affordable rods too. I decided to get my feet wet at an affordable price and then purchase better equipment later once my familiarity increases. Some would argue that I should have spent a little more up front to prevent a later expense, but I wanted make sure it was something I'd actually enjoy before sinking big bucks into the carp fishing hobby.

But if you can't already tell...now I'm hooked on fishing for carp!

Here's a picture of the first carp I caught on the King Kat:

First Carp caught in July 2013 at Ford Lake in Ypsilanti, MI
Here's a video from Shimano that addresses test curves to provide some more information for consideration when you are shopping for your first real carp rod.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Carp Fishing Goals for 2014

As I reflect back on my carp fishing progress in 2013 I am satisfied. I went from never having fished for carp; to catching a carp here and there for a couple of months; to catching multiple fish during several of my last few sessions.

I learned a lot in the last 6 months of 2013, but as I look forward to 2014 I find myself with a few goals in mind. Here are some of them:

  • I would like to help someone else who has never fished for carp get started. Someone helped me, and now I would like to pay it forward.
  • I hope to catch 50 or more carp in 2014 (o.k. you caught me, I'd really like to shoot for 100+).
  • I hope to catch multiple fish weighing more than 20 pounds, which would give me a new personal best.
  • Dare I saw it out loud, but I would also like to catch a fish tipping the scales at more than 30 pounds.
  • I would like to fish at least 4 times per month starting in March and ending in November. That's 36 chances at a 30+ pound fish.
  • I hope to develop the blog to the point that people enjoy reading what I write, looking at the pictures I post and just hanging out reading about carp fishing.
  • I hope to raise awareness and some money for the Lupus Foundation.
I am guessing that those goals might be adjusted a few times before my first day of fishing in 2014, but you know what they say, "Unless a goal is written down it's just a dream."

So there you have it...I've written them down. Now I have a framework for building some monthly, weekly and even daily goals to progress to the point of achieving them.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Braided Fishing Line or Monofilament

For as long as I can remember, I have used Stren brand fishing line when fishing for bluegill, crappie, and bass. So when I decided to try carp fishing last summer I purchased the heaviest Stren fishing line I could find locally, which happened to be a 300 yard roll of 14 pound test monofilament at K-Mart.

Photo credit: Amazon.com
That worked fine for my first few trips to local carp fishing spots at Ford Lake, Belleville Lake and the Huron River near Ann Arbor. But as my familiarity with carp fishing increased and I actually started getting bites, runs and landing a few carp in the 10 - 12 pound range I decided a change was in order.

For every carp I landed, I probably had at least 2 or 3 break offs. I had a very good trip to Ann Arbor where I was catching carp left and right, but my day would have been so much better if I had landed the ones which broke off before I got them to the bank.

I suspected my knots were the weak point at first, but after concentrating on tying the Palomar knot with purpose I realized that I wasn't losing fish to weak knots. I was losing them to abrasions and snags. Fish are actually pretty smart once they are hooked. They head to the nearest available cover in an attempt to "get away" and that usually takes them over some rough patches hidden to the eye. Submerged tree branches, tree stumps, rocks, boulders, concrete, etc. are likely candidates depending on the body of water. Many of those submerged obstacles are covered with zebra mussels, which will slice through monofilament fishing line like butter.

A fishing buddy suggested that I try spooling my reels with Power Pro braided fishing line to remedy the problem. I headed to Dick's Sporting Goods and purchased 300 yards of 50 pound line.

Photo credit: Amazon.com
It's available in the "slick" or the standard.

Photo credit: Amazon.com
I loaded two my reels with braided line and left one with the monofilament as a test comparison. Since that time I have had a lot fewer break offs and lost fish. I can't say it's entirely a result of the braided line though because I have caught an equal amount of fish on the inexpensive monofilament.

It could be that now I have a little more experience fighting the carp, my skills have improved, and I'm not "man handling" the fish as much causing stress on the line and contributing to the breaks myself.

At any rate, the braided line hasn't hurt anything either. In fact, over the winter I am going to spool my reels with some fresh Power Pro. I found it on sale yesterday for a buy one, get one 50% off at Dick's. They only had two packets of the green 50 pound left on the shelf or I would have picked up a few more packs. I'll stick to the standard stuff for now.

And I'll offer this disclaimer for anyone who reads this and feels that I am endorsing one brand over another...My personal best common carp (17.0 pounds) was actually caught on monofilament. It's the fish in the header photo at the top of this blog page.

Here's a picture of another nice fish I caught at the Detroit River in October; also on monofilament.

Detroit River common carp