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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Relating Carp Fishing to Scientific Complexity Theory

I have been reading the novel Shantaram since early 2014. It's an interesting novel based on an Australian's travels and experiences in India. In a recent chapter the author went to great lengths to equate lives becoming more complex to good and suspension of complexity to evil. I barely understand the philosophy behind it, but a few Google searches later and the fog is beginning to clear.

This theory equates to carp fishing, just hang in there with me a while longer.

Science has proven that as cells evolve they absorb more energy to sustain life. Wall Street has proven that in order for corporate stock values to continue increasing over a number of years, companies have to continue to grow; and growing often means merging with other companies, adding innovative new products, etc., which adds complexity to operations. Having children adds complexity to a household. Entertaining visitors for a few days in your home adds unforeseen complications in day-to-day household activities including meal planning and entertainment.

When I started carp fishing, I used one fishing pole, one net, and one basic bait. Then I added other rods, reels, nets, equipment, and other nice-to-have, but not absolutely necessary equipment like bank sticks, alarms, etc. Adding all this extra complexity to carp fishing, adds cost to the hobby.

In my quest to find the perfect rod, reel, bait, etc. I have spent significant amounts of money on items that I rarely if ever need; and rarely if ever actually use while fishing.

I have 8 rods, 6 reels, 3 nets, 7 alarms...you get the idea. I have spent about $2,000 on carp fishing supplies, equipment and trips in two years.

A popular bait company I purchase items from periodically used to have only a handful of products, but they continue to add new items annually. Their product line of ground baits, flavored corn, additives, dips, boilies, etc. has expanded significantly in the last 2 seasons and numbers more than 100 individual items at this point.

Another carp fishing equipment provider I shop with occasionally has 15 or 16 kinds of nets, 20 kinds of alarms, 5 kinds of bank sticks, and on and on...

All these newly developed choices each year might help us all catch more carp, but do we really know for sure? Or are these new products and choices just confusing us and enticing us to spend more money on a relatively simple endeavor - catching carp?

This is an oversimplification to be sure, but there are guys and gals across the country catching plenty of carp on a consistent basis using basic rods, reels, and cheap corn from Wal-Mart for way less than the $2,000 I have spent. They don't use $300 rods, $200 reels, remote alarms, $150 nets, $100 carp cradles, etc.; but they still hook and land carp.

Purchasing the latest-and-greatest is the American way of doing things and it's the epitome of capitalism, but other than stimulating the economy and pocket books of various bait companies and equipment retailers; what does it really accomplish?
  • Make us feel more confident when we fish?
  • If I outspend my bank mate, am I guaranteed to catch more carp? 
  • Make us look better on the bank when our friends see all the new stuff we bought?
  • Impress new comers to the sport?
  • Or does it overcomplicate the issue at hand?
Here's an example of what I'm referring to:

A popular carp equipment retailer in the U.S. is currently selling a carp rod for more than $700. That is ten times the cost of an entry level carp rod from another popular carp tackle retailer.
  • Is the premium rod going to catch 10 times the number of carp? I am confident the answer is no. (
  • Are there people who will buy that rod to have the latest and greatest rod on the market? I am sure there are a few that will.
  • Can you imagine the mark up on that premium rod compared to the entry level rod? I think I can.
Buying the entry level rods leaves plenty of money to buy everything else you need to go carp fishing. The counter argument is that if you spend $2,100 on three rods they might be the last carp rods you ever purchase. But I might be able to fish the rest of my life with entry level carp rods and never spend $2,100 on them. I can probably buy new rods every 2 years and still keep it under the $2,100.

Complexity theory might make sense for science, stock investing, brain surgery and the like; but the theory doesn't hold water for me with regards to carp fishing. I am going to keep it simple and keep it affordable.

As I plan purchases for the upcoming fishing season, shunning complexity theory will probably save me $100's of dollars this year and several $1,000's in future years.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Michigan Master Angler Award Program

The Michigan DNR has a neat program to spark interest in fishing throughout the state called the "Master Angler Program". Here is some specific information from the website:

2015 marks the 42nd 'birthday' of Michigan's highly successful Master Angler Program. Launched in 1973 to better recognize anglers who catch unusually large fish, the Master Angler Program began with just 19 species of fish eligible to win distinctive Master Angler shoulder patches. In 1992, the catch and release category was established. Today, more than a quarter-century later, the Program has expanded to include 50 various species for which anglers may compete for honors. The list of catches eligible for recognition ranges from such seldom-caught species as the northern hogsucker to the commonly sought yellow perch and walleye. At the end of each calendar year, recognition certificates are awarded to anglers entering the top five fish in each category

One of my goals for 2015 is to catch a 30 pound carp and submit it for consideration in the "Michigan Master Angler Program". Judging from some of the past award winners, a 30 pounder with 35 - 36 inches of length would probably qualify for an award.

Here is a link to the 2015 application: Master Angler Program

The waiting game

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Making Better Photos of Your Big Carp

I took a lot of grief for this picture. Linda caught the fish, but she isn't comfortable posing them for the camera. I held the fish so she could get a picture of her 24 pound personal best catch, but I didn't do the fish justice.

A few people on one of the fishing forums actually questioned whether we were fudging on the weight a little bit. Of course not, but after studying the picture a little bit I do understand why someone might wonder.
I had my fingers too far forward and they distracted from the size of the fish. Some find the background a little distracting as well. A nice background draws the eyes to the fish and not the peripheral items in the picture like the van and pick-up truck. The lighting is also a little off. A quarter turn toward the sunlight would have put more light on the front 1/3 of the fish which is where most of the mass and size comes from. It's not something I paid much attention to until that day. Most of the time catching the fish was satisfaction enough, but I need to improve.
For the remaining part of the fishing season I tried to pay more attention to a proper pose and I did get better at it.

The fish in the second picture is much smaller, but my fingers are farther back and it allows the eyes to focus more on the fish and not my fat fingers. One thing though about this picture that would have improved it much more - some water to rinse off the fish and to clean up the blood around the lips.

The background is better than in the top picture, but there is still room for improvement.

I started keeping a small amount of water near the unhooking mat. It helps clean up the fish and aids recovery time for the fish too. It's very important on hot summer days as well to wet the mat a little before laying a fish down on it.

Almost there

Although not perfect yet, this picture is better in my opinion. The background and lighting are much better; and I am almost happy with the position of my hands and fingers. But I still need to work on how to position my hand near the rear of the fish.

My biggest fish in 2 seasons of fishing for carp weighed 26 pounds, but I'm hopeful to hook a 30 pounder this season. When I do I hope I don't ruin the picture by an improper pose that fails to do the fish justice when photographed. A proper fish deserves a proper photo to memorialize the moment.

I am not saying my way is the only way and it's definitely not the best way, but hopefully it will help you consider ways to improve your own fishing photos this season.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fishing Hat Recommendation

Since I am follicle-challenged aka "bald" with little hair, it's important that I wear a hat while fishing. I have been wearing a Barmah Canvas Drover hat since 2007 and 2015 might be the year to replace it with a new one. The hat has held up well. I will likely purchase the exact same hat again (the one in the Amazon link below).

I wear sunscreen and try to hang out in the shade while fishing if possible. Spending all day outside with no protection is a bad idea. Sunburn is not a good thing. And it's not good for your long term health.
This hat has brought me a lot of fishing luck too. I was wearing it when I
caught this carp - my first in 2013.

How to Generate Money from Carp Fishing

12 pounder caught in the fall
I went to high school near the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Bass fishing is very popular in that area. I recall sitting in history class one day and the teacher asked each student to explain their plans after high school. Most responded with college plans, some responded with plans to work in local businesses and one responded with, "I'm going to go on the professional bass fishing tour."

Intrigued by that response I later learned that his father had been a guide on the lake for 25 years and earned his living mainly by hunting, fishing and teaching others to do it too. A few months after graduation, that same student was in the local newspaper for winning an event on the Redman fishing series.

We can't all be professional fishermen and we certainly all can't count on earning enough money consistently from carp fishing competitions here in the U.S. to earn a realistic and consistent living from doing it. But I think there are options for supplementing our incomes and earning some part time money following our carp fishing passion.

It's a long shot to gain full-time or even part-time employment with a tackle or bait company; and even more remote that one of them would contact you at random and offer to sponsor your carp fishing efforts. I guess it can happen, but the odds of it happening are very long (maybe even 1 in a million).

Starting a bait company or tackle company catering to carp fishing is another possibility, but that requires a fairly high up front investment and ongoing working capital to sustain it for the long term.

That leaves eBay, Craigslist, garage sales, flea markets and trade shows buying and selling used fishing equipment. I have a very good friend and fishing partner who has taken this approach and does earn money doing it. Being successful requires some special knowledge about the more valuable antique tackle to make it lucrative. That is simply knowledge that most people don't possess and don't have time to learn.

That leaves us with creating our own website...

Besides this carp fishing blog I have others and some of them are monetized with advertising and affiliate links to Amazon. In my opinion, it's more realistic to earn some money from carp fishing efforts with a website. Here are some ideas for potential methods:
  1. Affiliate programs like Click Bank
  2. Adsense ads and other ads and banner programs
  3. Building a list
  4. Amazon.com products
  5. Relevant fishing advertisers
  6. Create your own fishing product
  7. Teach fishing lessons
  8. YouTube.com
  9. Write a book about carp fishing
  10. Do all of the above
I have been earning money from simple websites since 2001 using a mix of the items on the list above. If that sounds like something you would like to learn more about, let me know and I'll be happy to help if I can. Or you can read some of the free step-by-step training materials from this affiliate training website.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Potential Carp Fishing Headquarters

I love Class A RV's. I have been day dreaming about owning one for more than 15 years. New ones are way out of my price range and many of the used ones have seen better days. Lately, I have noticed a trend in the used diesel RV's - pricing on nice used units have decreased the past couple of years and are quite reasonable these days (in my opinion).

This very nicely maintained 1999 Allegro Bus 34 ft. diesel pusher with 300 hp Cummins would make a very nice traveling headquarters for an avid carp fisherman. The wood floors are perfect for a fisherman's RV because they are super easy to clean compared to carpet.
I am not ready to pull the trigger on this particular RV, but I would really love to purchase one like this one at some point in the future. As of 2/8/15 the Allegro Bus is still available for sale for $29,995. It is located in Greenville SC.

Here's another excellent motor coach listed on eBay. This one was relisted on 2/8/15. It will likely sell for somewhere in the mid-$40's range.

Wounded Warrior Project

Last year I pledged the proceeds from the Amazon.com affiliate links on this page to the Lupus Foundation. For 2015 I am pledging the Amazon.com proceeds from this page to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Wounded Warrior Project has a tri-fold mission:

  • To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members.
  • To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
  • To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

  • I hope I can generate some funds for this great non-profit service provider. The work they do is helpful to so many soldiers in need.

    To donate to the Wounded Warrior Project directly, click here

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015

    Pier Fishing Michigan Website

    I found a tool today that helps anglers find pier and shoreline access sites. Here's a video regarding an access site in Monroe. I'll definitely be checking this out. It's been my experience that where there are catfish, there are often carp as well.

    The site in the video is a "no fee site" with plenty of parking, restrooms, paved walkways with shore and pier fishing access.

    I can't believe it's taken me two years to find this site. It definitely looks promising.
    Anyone else use this site/tool to find shore access fishing spots in Michigan?