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Monday, April 28, 2014

Saginaw Carp Fishing This Weekend

This is a big week for my carp fishing hobby. On Friday we leave for a weekend trip to Saginaw, Michigan for the Midwest Regional carp fishing tournament on Saturday and Sunday. But perhaps best of all for me...is a chance to break my personal best! I have never fished the Saginaw River, but I have it on good authority that there are some B-I-G carp in there. And, I've seen the pictures to prove it.

So this week is all about preparing hooks, rigs, leads, method supplies, etc. for the trip. In a typical day, I use 3 lbs. of panko for my ground bait, but I am prepared to use 9 lbs. a day this weekend. I picked up an 18 lb. case from Gordon Food Service today.

I don't usually lose a lot of tackle here locally anymore, but I have pre-tied 18 hair rigs for this weekend in various hook sizes from 4 to 7 in several lengths.

I picked up a new collapsible wagon to transport gear from the vehicle to the fishing spot. It's got a 150 lb. payload and should work well for me.

My list for this week also includes picking up a case of cream corn and a 2 gallon plastic bucket with lid for mixing my ground bait.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hines Park Drive - Wayne County Michigan

Although I am relatively new to the pursuit, I enjoy fishing for carp. I also enjoy searching for new spots to fish for carp.

Today I headed out to Newburgh Lake on Hines Park Drive near Livonia, MI.

We arrived at 8:15 a.m. and picked our spot at Sumac Point. The sun was rising and everything was looking up. But it didn't last long. Before long a couple of white ducks decided to enter the water near where we'd set up. It was kind of cute actually. They wouldn't go into the water more than a few feet, but deep enough to take a quick bath.

Then a few more white ducks appeared and headed toward the water. Before long it was a full on white duck party. There was frolic, havoc, and every other kind of duck-party-time right in front of my rod pod. It didn't take long for several of the ducks to wrap themselves in my braided fishing line. I was able to untangle things very quickly, but I had to recast all three rods.
Our spot at Newburgh Lake

My fishing partner thought it was pretty cold Sunday morning

Then the Canadian geese decided to join the party. They were dive bombing the water right in front the rod pod and managed to tangle themselves as well. Again, I had to untangle them and recast.

After this happened a third time, I had had more than enough. We left Newburgh Lake and headed to Nankin Lake a short distance away.

Water levels on Nankin Lake are very low currently. Overall it's a smaller lake than Newburgh and not as deep. There are points on Nankin that I could have walked across with ease. I found some deeper water toward the spillway and cast all 3 rods.

It didn't take long for the first activity. Within 10 minutes the middle line alarm went off. I headed toward the rod pod to pick up the rod and fight my first Nankin Lake carp. But just as quickly, the alarm went silent - no fish.

I don't know for sure whether it was a carp, a catfish or something else, but it was definitely something. A fish thing.

Our set-up at Nankin Lake

We stayed at Nankin for another 3 hours. The sun hid behind the clouds for most of the time and wind blew at what seemed like supersonic speeds (well maybe not that fast) - enough to freeze my buns off. We decided to throw in the towel and call it a day.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

North Hydro Park

I fished Hydro Park in Ypsilanti today for a few hours. Since inland season for walleye also opened today, that turned out to be a bad idea. There was way too much boat traffic for my tastes. Two boats actually snagged my lines. Several other boats had absolutely no concern for barreling up the river right over my lines. I am amazed that one boater in particular didn't snag me and pull all 3 of my rods in the river right along with the rod pod.

If you are a boater, please try to be aware of bank fisherman. We all need to share the water. A boat fisherman and a shore fisherman have an equal right to fish in my opinion.

After dodging the boaters for 3 hours I had to pack it in and live to fish for another day. Tomorrow I'm heading out the Nankin and/or Newburgh Lake. I think boaters will be few and far between in those locations (I hope).

Milan, Michigan - Nature Park and Wilson Park

All week long I planned to fish for carp in Milan. The Saline River forms Ford Lake near downtown Milan and it looks like a nice carp habitat above the dam. The downside though is that there is precious little bank space for fishing. The best place to fish I could find was nearly on the sidewalk. Besides that the best spots are in the VFW front yard, but I am sure that it out of bounds unless maybe you are a member. (and that may be stretching it).

Below the dam (in front of the police station) there is Wilson Park. I did not get out and walk around, but it does appear there is some open bank space for fishing. I didn't give it a try today, but I might make a trip back to Milan sometime in the upcoming weeks.

Tomorrow I've decided to try Nankin Lake or Newburgh Lake in the Rouge River chain of lakes. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Milan Nature Park

I like to visit new areas and new places to fish. I'm putting Milan Nature Park on my list of future venues. I haven't been to this park, but based on the map there appears to be plenty of shoreline.

I have fished the Saline River in Saline, so I know there are carp here. I'm definitely going to be finding out. I'll let you know how it turns out.

The Saline River has a reputation for having a higher than typical concentration of mirror carp. Since the lake in Milan was formed from constructing a dam on the river, there is a pretty good chance that Ford Lake in Milan Nature Park has it's share of mirror carp as well.

If things progress according to plan, I may find out this weekend.

Interesting fact about Milan and the lake:

Part of its present City Hall is the former Ford Power Plant used for the Village industries. Henry Ford built the power plant in 1937 when he dredged Ford Lake. He also used a former lumber yard garage as a factory to make engine ignition coils. Ford intended his factory to depend upon hydraulic power, which is why he built a very fine dam to power his plant. However, the water power was inadequate, and his "Ford Industries" actually ran on steam engines depending on coal.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fly Fishing

I'm not a fly fisherman, but after watching videos like this one I am getting more and more interested.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Northeastern Carp

It's not Michigan, but the carp are big. I have in-law's relatives in this area. I need to take a fishing vacation to this area sometime.

Carp on the Fly Blog

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs on the internet. Some of them are better than others. Many of their authors started with the best of intentions, but later lost interest in writing articles on a regular basis. Some contain a lot of pictures and others are exclusively text on a white background. Some are personal blogs about one family, a profession, or a hobby. Others are a simply diary of whatever happened that day.

Blogs about fishing are a smaller subset and again, some are better (or worse) than others. One of my favorites that falls into the better - and some might argue best - category is Carp on the Fly.

As the name suggests, it's a blog about fly fishing for carp. Until I started fishing for carp, I never dreamed that someone would target carp exclusively with a fly rod, but after spending time reading Carp on the Fly I fully understand the allure.

The blog dates back to 2006 and is loaded with fly fishing tips and tons and tons of carp pictures. The photography has improved dramatically in more recent years.

Readers that visit the blog with hopes that the author might divulge actual locations for pursuing the fish - don't say I didn't warn you. The actual locations are a closely guarded secret. (The author lives in Oregon, so the Columbia River is obvious. It's a long river, so put on your walking shoes, boots...and waders.)

I'd like to try fly fishing for carp on the Huron River some day, but I've had surgery on both knees and walking the river presents a problem. For now, I'll just live vicariously by reading Carp on the Fly.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Carp Fishing Video Footage

I found this video on You Tube. I hope you enjoy it.

Loon Feather Point Park - Ford Lake - Ypsilanti, MI

I have been having some fun exploring new ideas for local places near by home for carp fishing. I plan to try my luck at Loon Feather Point Park in the future.

The internet can help with the research. It's a valuable tool, but there comes a time when you need to physically drive to the location and see it up close.
From the Google Map, Loon Feather Point Park looks very, very promising. It looks like there is lake access off of the main channel, but after driving out to the park for a look the location presents several challenges. The path to the water is pretty steep. It's wooded and from the shoreline there is a distinct possibility of falling into the water while landing a big carp. There are a couple of areas to cast a line from, but it's not really feasible.
The park has a hexagon shaped pier that sits on concrete pilings. It has an aluminum floor and metal railings, but it's pretty small. It would be challenging for more than 3 carp fishermen to operate from the pier simultaneously, so an early arrival to the venue would be necessary to guarantee a fishing spot.
In summary, what looked like a promising possibility from Google Maps turned out to be less than expected up close and in person. But under the right conditions, I'd give it a shot and through in a few lines.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Carp Fishing

The weather was perfect for carp fishing on Easter Sunday. There was a very light breeze, bright sunshine and I had 5 or 6 hours for fishing.

I decided to try a new spot today, so we headed out to North Hydro Park, which is located below the Ford Lake dam in Ypsilanti.

Hair rig with a boilie tipped with a piece of fake corn

Hair rig with 2 pieces of maize and a piece of fake corn

Hair rig with a pink pop-up dumbbell boilie

Hair rig with a pink pop-up boilie dumbbell tipped with a piece of fake corn

8.5 pounds

6 pounds

14 pounds
It was a fantastic day to be outside with temps nearing 70 degrees. This is a spot that I plan to return to again soon. It's got plenty of shoreline, plenty of shade, restrooms nearby, plenty of parking and it's only 4 miles form my house.

Here's a picture of my rod pod.

Rod Pod

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday Carp Fishing

The forecast for a 60% chance of rain didn’t deter me. I had Good Friday off from work and I took advantage of the opportunity and spent the day fishing for carp at Sterling State Park near Monroe, MI.

When I arrived, the wind was non-existent and the sunrise was beautiful. The water in the lagoon was smooth as glass. Those are my favorite conditions for landing some good sized carp.

Instead of maize, my go-to-carp-bait, I committed to using a pink pop-up dumbbell exclusively until I either caught a fish on one (or got bored trying). I have always wanted to fish with pop-up boilies, but my confidence in them is low. I saw an article in an online carp fishing magazine a few weeks ago touting the effectiveness of the color pink in attracting carp and decided to give it a try . I am so glad I did.

I use pack bait made from cream corn and panko with a hair rig on a #6 hook. I had no activity on the rods for 90 minutes, but patience paid off with a short run. Carp on!
A few minutes later I landed a 17 pound common carp as a reward making it my biggest fish in 2014.

Sterling State Park near Monroe, MI

Later in the day I landed another small common carp in the 5 - 6 pound range and a 2 pound bullhead catfish.

If the nice weather holds out, I might fish for a while tomorrow too. If I catch, I'll post some more pictures.

I think this picture turned out nicely so I wanted to share it.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Review of the Metallica Net from PSFishing.com

While conducting a mental inventory of my carp fishing gear a few weeks ago I decided to upgrade to a larger and stronger landing net. I conducted a quick survey of my favorite carp fishing group on Facebook to solicit recommendations. Based on several positive comments regarding the Metallica Net,  manufactured by Balzer, I purchased one from PSFishing.com.

I've fished with it a couple of times now. Based on my experience with the net so far, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a quality landing net for a reasonable price.
  • The net has rubberized mesh 1/2" in size.
  • The net is 110" when extended for fishing and 42" when collapsed for transport and storage.
  • The rubberized mesh helps cut down on odor as well.
  • The head is 35".
  • The net extends and collapses with ease.
  • The handle extends easily and it's easy to grip.
The only drawback I've seen so far is the handle length. Ninety percent of the time, the handle will be fine, but I can think of a few occasions where I might want to fish over a railing on a pier or walkway. For those particular situations, the handle will likely be too short. Lucky for me, I don't fish from piers and walkways with high railings very often at all, but some people do that on a regular basis.

Like most nets that are popular for carp fishing, the aluminum handle will not allow for picking up a 20 lb. carp with the handle in a horizontal position. But with proper technique, the net is plenty strong enough for daily carp fishing use.

Linked from PSFishing.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014

North Hydro Park - Ypsilanti

I am lucky to have so many bodies of water close to my home. Today I decided to scout a local fishing spot that I have not yet visited - North Hydro Park in Ypsilanti. The park is located east of the dam on Bridge Road.

It's mostly shaded with lots of fishable shoreline. The current is a little strong for my liking as of today, but a little later in the spring when the current weakens a little more I am going to head out the North Hydro Park for a day of carp fishing.

View Larger Map

Why I fish for carp

I spent yesterday fishing for carp at Sterling State Park near Monroe, MI from 7:45 a.m. until almost 4 p.m.

During the course of the day guys fishing to the right and to the left of me caught good sized and good fighting common carp on light tackle. The guy to the right was fishing for bullhead catfish (and caught 5 or 6), but in the process he caught a common carp that fought like no bullhead catfish would. The guy to the left was fishing for walleye, but caught a few freshwater drum and a common carp on very light tackle. The drum were in the 7 - 8 lb. range and fought well, but the common was a monster. I enjoyed watching the guy fight the carp for more than 10 minutes. At first I thought it was a lost cause, because the carp was wining (by a landslide), but even the light tackle (and perseverance) eventually wore the carp down.

These two examples illustrate why I fish for common carp exclusively now.

When was the last time someone caught a 20 lb. walleye or a 30 lb. bullhead catfish? Aside from the pending world record walleye caught recently in Lake Erie, the average size most people catch is closer to 5 or 6 lbs. As for bullhead, the average fish ranges somewhere between a pound or two; with the world record at 7 lbs. dating back to 2009. But at Sterling State Park, Detroit River, Ford Lake, and Belleville Lake where I live the average sized common carp is almost always above 10 lbs. and it's becoming quite common to catch them near 20 lbs. with regularity. My friends catch 30 lbs. + carp with regularity now, although I am still waiting for my first above twenty at this point.

I grew up catching perch, crappie, bluegill and bass in local farm ponds, but after becoming addicted to carp fishing I doubt I can ever go back to fishing for those smaller sized and lesser fighting fish. After all, I've never caught a 3 lb. bluegill, a 12 lb. bass, or 30 lb. crappie. :-)

Many people approach me and ask what I'm fishing for when I am out on the bank, but when I explain that I'm fishing for carp most folks turn up their nose at the thought. Carp are not an inferior fish. Common carp (introduced to U.S. from Germany a century or more ago) are here to stay. In fact, I'd argue that the common carp is a superior sport fish to any other common fresh water species I can think of readily accessible without a boat.

So if you are out fishing and run across someone fishing for carp, don't automatically dismiss the pursuit as inferior. Keep an open mind and observe. You might discover that you like the idea of catching stronger, faster, and tougher sport fish.

Please don't knock it until you've tried it! It might surprise you too.

Even the small ones are strong fighters

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sterling State Park

My original plan today was to take a short drive to Ann Arbor to fish at the Huron River Bridge Park off of Barton Drive, but I got a better offer.

So I decided to join my friend Bill and headed down to Monroe and spent the day fishing at Sterling State Park.

Today had the best fishing weather in Michigan so far in 2014. I couldn't wait to get everything set up and start fishing.

I arrived at 7:30 a.m. and picked my spot near the parking lot. I like Sterling because you can fish 10 feet away from your vehicle. Instead of unpacking all the equipment, you can leave it in the vehicle until it's needed.

I started getting activity on the rods within about 90 minutes. They were mini runs for awhile and then there was a screamer that starting ripping off line! I had the drag very loose so when I started reeling, the fish kept gaining. But a small adjustment to tighten the drag evened everything out quite nicely and I started gaining ground.

Bill helped with netting and we snapped a couple of pictures before returning the fish to the water.

First common carp in 2014

And I wasn't even wearing my lucky shirt!
I didn't weigh the fish, but I'd estimate it would have weighed in the 11 - 12 pound range. In my experience at Sterling, that is a smallish sized common carp. There have been a lot of 17 - 20 pound carp landed from that location.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saline Michigan

It was sunny, Sunday and 52 degrees today so we headed out to Saline for some carp fishing.

I tried out my new Power Wheel rod pod from Bank Fishing Systems that Santa Claus brought me for a Christmas gift. I use Okuma reels, 50 pound braided line and NGT alarms. The rod pod works well, but the fish didn't want to cooperate today.

I had lots of mini runs on that left rod, but no hook ups. I fished with panko, seasoned with cream corn and butternut. My hook bait was two pieces of floating fake corn dipped in 4 Seasons from World Classic Baits.

After my first casts I noticed a lot of leaves on my hook and lead, so I switched from Pineapple Maize to fake corn and that seems to work better.

Friday, April 4, 2014

National Carp Tournament - Waddington New York

My mother-in-law is from the Watertown NY area, but I had no idea the area was such a big area for carp fishing. We took a trip there a couple of years ago to visit, but didn't do any fishing. I may need to go back sometime.
Approximately 70 anglers from across the country will line the shores of Waddington on Sept. 13 to take part in the tournament organized by the Carp Anglers’ Group. Read more...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Carp Fishing at Belleville Lake Michigan

On afternoons when the weather is nice I like to head out to the local lake after work for some fishing. In my case the local lake is Belleville Lake in Belleville, Michigan.

We've had some very cold weather in 2014, so when the temp gauge on my car displayed 55 degrees on Wednesday afternoon during my commute home I couldn't resist the temptation to head out for a couple of hours of carp fishing.

I have been trying to catch carp at Belleville Lake for several months, but so far I've had no luck. I know there are carp to be caught because: 1. The DNR survey from 2012 said there is a 30-35% concentration of carp in the lake, 2. I have seen two of the best carp fishermen in Michigan catch fish from the lake in less than ideal conditions (26 degree temperatures). If they can do it in bad weather, I should be able to do it when the weather and water temperatures are more favorable.

I'm not going to give up trying. I live about  mile from this spot, so I can pop in for a couple of hours any time I want to.