Learn how to catch common carp, click the banner above.
If you decide to join, please tell them I referred you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Carp Juice Flavors

My order of R & W Carp Juice arrived today. Here's a few pictures of the flavors I'll be using and testing in 2015:

19 bottles of assorted carp attractants

Pineapple Extreme

Peach Plus

Banana Nut Extreme
I have traditionally used pineapple as my primary "go to" flavor for a couple of years. This season I decided to try some others. If you don't try something different from time to time, you might not realize what you're missing out on...right?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Prepping Hair Rigs Today

I spent the day prepping some rigs and equipment. Here are a couple of rigs I tied:

Size 6 hooks
These are the typical hooks I have been using for carp fishing - size 6 from Resistance Tackle. The hook length on these is exactly 5 inches with the hair a little less than an inch.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Scouting Fishing Spots Near Monroe

I developed a small case of "cabin fever" this afternoon and decided to get out and scout some potential fishing spots.

I found this one in downtown Monroe:

Veteran's Park
I had high hopes for finding an access point to the River Raisin from the shoreline, but not being familiar with the area I did not achieve that goal today.

There is a campground directly on the river off of Front Street, but it was closed today so we couldn't get close enough to tell whether it would fit the bill or not.

There is also a pier near the Edison Plant but it is closed from November through March apparently.

Packbait and Groundbait

Common carp swimming away after landing and safe return to the water

Before I started carp fishing I had no idea what the term ground bait meant and why it’s important.

Ground bait can be made from various types of organic materials including bird seed, bread, Panko, oatmeal, corn, corn meal, cream corn, grits, hemp seed, molasses, Jell-O, and vanilla (and on and on). There are also many versions and varieties of pre-made commercial ground bait mixes that can be purchased and mixed with water for convenience.

A common mixture (and one I use) includes oatmeal, cream corn, and some type of flavoring (some use vanilla). For flavoring I’ve used R & W Carp Juice available online and in stores and Booster from World Classic Baits, which I purchase online.

Instead of oatmeal, bread crumbs are also popular choices. I switched to bread crumbs last year.

I add a cap full of flavoring/scent mix into a can of cream corn and stir it up well. Then I add two cups of dry oatmeal or bread crumbs to a large plastic container and add the can of cream corn. I mix the oatmeal and corn very well and then add more oatmeal to dry it out a little. This took some trial and error to learn correctly. If it’s too wet, it won’t cast well; and if it’s too dry, it won’t pack correctly and stay on your method lead, method spring, or other type of cage you may be using to deliver the bait to your favorite carp fishing spot. I have found that about 2 - 3 lbs. of dry bread crumbs and 2 to 3 cans of cream corn provide a nice consistency for me.

Not knowing how to fish with ground bait, I went online and watched videos that discussed it, demonstrated it, and theorized about doing it correctly. I asked questions on fishing forums, read online magazines and talked to so guys I know who have been avid carp fishermen for several years. The main strategy goes like this…you attract carp into the area with the scent and flavoring and that gives you a chance to entice the carp to consume the bait and get hooked by consuming the hookbait.

I have learned that this style of fishing takes patience. It can take a while for carp to arrive into the area you are fishing. I wait 60 minutes and then repeat the process again. Caution is warranted using this strategy because if you over feed the area, the carp may be content to eat your ground bait and avoid your bait and hook. Likewise when using too little ground bait it can take a long time to attract carp into the area. It does require some trial and error experimentation to develop a method that works for the particular fishing spot and personal tastes for how you want to approach the task.

Misconceptions About Carp

A beautiful common caught on Memorial Day in 2014

Most people in the U.S. think of carp as a nuisance or even an invasive species, but in other countries throughout Europe and many other areas of the world; carp are THE fish to go fishing for. Known widely to anglers in Europe, they were brought here purposefully in the mid-1800’s following a rise in European immigration to North America.

They might be a nuisance if you want to catch a mess of catfish for a summer fish fry, but I personally wouldn’t call them invasive.
  • A starling in most of the U.S.? Yes.
  • A Burmese Python in South Florida? Definitely.
  • A bighead or Asian carp in Illinois? Absolutely. 
I am specifically referring to common carp or German carp aka Cyprinus carpio; not to be confused with bighead carp aka Fypophthalmichthys nobilis or Aristichthys nobilis; and silver carp (the jumping variety) aka Hypophthalmichthys molitrix. The bighead and silver carp were not purposefully introduced to the main American waterways, but are believed to have “escaped” from southern catfish farms following a flood in the 1970’s.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Short Session vs. Long Session

Big Carp News has an interesting article about the pro's and con's of long vs. short fishing sessions. Most of the time I can only allocate a certain number of hours to fish on any given weekend. I try to arrive early before sunrise and start fishing. Then I try to stay for as long as I can; usually around 4 p.m.

In Southeast Michigan I am not aware of more than one place that allows overnight camping. I know of another place that does allow overnight fishing, but it has the potential to be a little "sketchy" late at night. It's in a somewhat industrial area. Still, I might try it sometime if I can find a couple of other guys who want to fish an all day and overnight session at that venue.

I am sure longer sessions are better than short sessions and I have seen fishing be slow all day long and then pick up unexpectedly in late afternoon. Leaving even 30 minutes earlier can sometimes mean the difference from catching a couple of fish vs. catching 5 or 6 fish.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Southeast Michigan Carp Fishing League

I'm going to move this post up a little higher in the list of articles. It's a new year and this activity provides something to look forward to when the weather turns later this spring.

Inspired by the recent video posted by John Finney at Carp Quest on YouTube, I am currently brainstorming some ideas for a little friendly competition among friends next year.

I would like to drum up some interest in a Honor System Carp League in 2015.
It would work something like this:
  • Sign up to participate in the league.
  • No cost to sign up.
  • The participants would establish a list of venues by popular vote.
  • The frequency could be once a month or twice a month; again established by popular vote.
  • League participants would fish specific venues on specific weekends.
  • Fish could be caught on either Saturday or Sunday of the specific weekend.
  • Fishing could occur anytime after midnight on Friday and before 8 p.m. on Sunday.
  • We would make a post on the CAG Facebook page for Southeast Michigan Carp League Results on Sunday evening and then post our single big fish picture and weight in a comment under that post.
  • The pictures would have to be posted by 8 p.m. on Sunday night of that weekend.
  • No posts would be accepted with a timestamp after 8 p.m. Sunday.
  • The closing post on that weeks main post would be the tally of the final results.
  • I'd keep a running total of the results on this page as well, so it would be easier to read without scrolling through a bunch of Facebook posts.
  • The league could run for a specific number of weeks: 4, 6 or 8 as a example and then crown a champion.
  • There are a couple of ideas for scoring (revised today based on a suggestion in the comments below): 1) best 3 carp caught, 2) 10 pts. for biggest carp each weekend, 3) 1 pt. for every pound of carp netted, photographed and posted during the weekend time frame.
I'd be open to other ideas for improvements on the above guidelines and feedback on whether anyone might be interested in participating with me.
If having a league with running totals is too much of a commitment, we could just do one off weekends and have individual weekly winners. Or we could do some other variation of the above that I haven't thought of yet.
Here's a list of possible venues I am thinking of that have plenty of access as an example:
  • Ford Lake
  • Belleville Lake
  • Mill Pond Park in Saline
  • Huron River in Flat Rock
  • Sterling State Park
Again, I am open to other locations. The qualifier is that they would need to have plenty of shoreline access so we'd be assured of fishing access no matter when we went to fish. This would also be an attempt to level the field and make it fair for all as much as possible so you can still catch fish if the "honey hole" area isn't available.

Another alternative is to make all the locations eligible every single weekend. That way if one location is not available, you could move to another one. That would also allow for fishing more than one venue during the weekend as long as only 3 fish are scored.

Here is a summary of my initial thoughts on how the score keeping would work:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Motivational Quote

Believe where others doubt. Work where others refuse. Save where others waste. Stay where others quit. And you will win where others lose.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fishing Poetry

I found this poem today while looking through a file cabinet in search of another file I misplaced. This was written in 1990 during my senior year of college for my Contemporary Poetry class.

Me and My Fishing Pole
Back to nature at Little Dixie,
It's just me and my fishing pole.
Nothing disturbs me here. There are
No cars to honk their horns. There are
No ringing phones or doorbells.
All that remains in my earshot is
the fait whispering of water rushing to the shore.
I hear the splash of geese skimming across the water.
I hear the nesting bluebirds feeding young ones in a tree.
I see the squirrels, and rabbits, and fish swimming near and far.
I long for days like these with nothing much to do.
No papers or homework, no bills or yelling roommates.
I wish I had more time, away from life's subtle pressures.
I'd spend time alone enjoying the simply soothing times
escaping hustle and bustle if it's only for a day.
Brian Pearcy
March 20, 1990
1st Draft
Poem #8

TUF Line XP Braid for Carp Fishing

I have been in the market for some braided fishing line and purchased some tonight on Amazon. I have been using Power Pro for about 18 months. After a brief flirtation with Big Game monofilament, and disappointing results, I am returning to braided line.

The picture shows the Tuf Line XP 1200 Yard Braided Fishing Line in yellow, but I prefer the olive green variety. I got 1,200 yards for $104 and free shipping. Locally I have been buying Power Pro for about $28 per 300 yards, so 1,200 yards would be $120; plus I have to drive to the store and pick it up.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Carp Juice

Now is the perfect time to accumulate supplies that have to be ordered and shipped vs. picked up locally.

Here is an order I am preparing for some R & W Carp Juice:

Any body got any other suggestions for flavors to try I might have missed?

Linda was just looking over my shoulder and suggested more Grape Ape. She used it last year a few times and caught well with it. Now it's her favorite flavor. I guess I need to update my order before I press "submit"

More Pictures from the Auto Show

If you are looking for some new transportation to your favorite carp fishing spot, some of the pictures in the video below may help you choose your new ride.

My personal favorite is the Raptor 4 x 4.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Downtown Detroit River and Auto Show

We were in downtown Detroit today for the auto show and checked out the river. It's still ice covered so it looks like any ideas for fishing the Detroit River anytime soon will need to be placed on hold unless it's near a warm water discharge.

Detroit River and a view of Windsor Ontario Canada from COBO in downtown
 I am posting a few auto show pictures below. They aren't pictures of new personal best common carp, mirrors, koi or wild goldfish but I hope you still like them.

BMW i8

BMW i8 rear deck

BMW i8 front view

BMW i8 right front
BMW 650i convertible side profile

BMW 650i convertible right front

BMW 650i convertible rear quarter

BMW 650i convertible left front
Dodge Viper
Jeep Renegade
Ford GT
Ford Mustang profile

Ford Mustang front grille
Buick Avenir right front profile

Buick Avenir right rear profile
It was a nice day at the auto show, but I can't wait to get back to carp fishing this spring. It's time for those temperatures to start warming up.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Michigan Carp Fishing Pictures

It's warmer today, but with snow on the ground and ice over the lakes I can't fish. So I did the next best thing and looked at fishing pictures. Here's a compilation of some from 2014.

I have a Sony video camera that I plan to put into use for 2015. Hopefully we can capture some good footage of some runs, fights and landings. Hopefully we'll get video of a new personal best along the way.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Carp Fishing Tactics Observations

When I first started fishing for carp in early summer 2013 I used 3 pieces of corn on a hair rig and a mixture of oatmeal, cream corn and pineapple flavoring for my pack bait molded around an inline lead. I tended to recast with another round of pack bait about every 45 minutes. My catch rate was sporadic and inconsistent.

In 2014 I switched to panko bread crumbs instead of oatmeal, but stuck with the cream corn and pineapple flavoring. In the beginning of the year I experimented with waiting for longer periods of time between recasting with new pack bait. I extended the time to 90 minutes and even 120 minutes in some cases. Sometimes I would catch carp within 10 or 15 minutes of casting and other times it would be closer to 90 minutes before hooking up.

22 pounder caught in October
Toward the end of the 2014 I started noticing the hook ups were coming sooner and sooner. In fact most of the time, if I caught carp it was within the first 20 to 25 minutes of the cast. So I gravitated back to recasting every 60 minutes or so.

I actually think the time between recasts has a direct impact for me on the catch rate. It seems that recasting time after time to the same spots also helps draw in more fish to the area as the bait builds up in the water. Also, it seems like the time between recasts makes some difference in catch rate.

You might want to pay more attention to whether or not this impacts your carp fishing and make adjustments if you think it will help. I know I will.

Maybe this will work for you; maybe it won't, but it may be worth experimenting.

2015 Carp Fishing Goals

Last year I made out a list of 2014 goals for my carp fishing exploits. I've been thinking through my 2015 goals today and have included the list below. Most people probably don't care about them like I do, but posting them here will keep me accountable for doing my best to achieve them.

  • I would like to help two or three new folks learn how to carp fish. I'd like to continue paying it forward. 
  • I hope to catch 175 or more carp in 2015. (I need to average 5 fish per session to do it, which is a significant increase in last year's catch rate. Otherwise I need to fish a few more times.)
  • I hope to catch multiple fish weighing more than 30 pounds, which would give me a new personal best.
  • I'd like to catch a small mouth buffalo.
  • I'd like to catch a koi or goldfish.
  • I'd like to catch a fish from the Raisin River in Dundee and spend a few sessions fishing the river in Monroe.
  • I'd like to catch multiple carp from Belleville Lake. I live with 2 miles of the lake, but can't seem to catch a carp from there to save my life. :-)
  • 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 continue developing the blog. I wrote 153 posts so far. I'd like to add another 150 posts this season with lots and lots of pictures with a few videos sprinkled in to make things a little more interesting and to add variety.
  • I really hope people enjoy reading what I write, looking at the pictures I post and just hanging out reading about carp fishing. I do it to share what I've learned because someone was kind enough to share it with me about 18 months ago and I now love carp fishing. I am hopelessly addicted in fact!
What goals do you have for 2015? I'd love to read a few of them. Feel free to post them in the comments below.

Prepping for the Upcoming Year of Carp Fishing

A nice 17 pounder from the fall
I like this time of year. It's still much too cold to fish here locally with temperatures at 2 degrees this morning. But this is the perfect time of the year to begin preparing for what's to come. I love the anticipation and expectations for bigger and better fish when spring finally arrives.

I use this time to scout new spots via Google Maps/Earth and talk to friends about potential new fishing spots. I found a spot on the River Raisin today using that technique.

I also use this time to tie up a bunch of hair rigs. With 14 weeks until warm weather here, if I tie 5 or 6 hair rigs each weekend, I'll have more than 70 pre-tied rigs ready to go. That will keep me fishing for quite a while once the weather breaks. Preparing hair rigs bankside is a highly inefficient use of valuable and what's becoming scare fishing time for me. I prefer to keep 15 to 20 in my Korda rig box safe ready-to-go.

I plan to hit it hard in the spring because starting in mid-summer my time will need to be focused more on my day job responsibilities for several weeks (and possibly months). My time will be limited to weekends and holidays exclusively for a while, but hopefully things will free up toward fall when the bigger fish return.

For anyone trying to build up their supplies for the season, it's a great time to take advantage of a fantastic sale going on at ResistanceTackle.com. I ordered leads, hooks and baiting needles there myself last weekend. When the season gets a little closer I'll pick up some flavored maize, dips and a few dumbbell pop up boilies to round out my carp fishing supplies.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Crosswinds Marsh Preserve

My primary spring venue for carp fishing is going to be Crosswinds Marsh near New Boston. I discovered this hidden gem in July 2014, but by that time the lily pads had taken over much of the area. I am hopeful that I can catch a few carp here in March and April before the lily pads take hold when the weather warms up.