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Monday, August 29, 2016

Detroit River Carping Spots

We investigated 3 more spots on the Detroit River last weekend.

The first spot was a wonderful looking pier accompanied by a half-mile of shoreline access. We decided not to fish that spot on Saturday due to the crazy amount of grass and moss floating in the water. It's a spot that we'll try earlier in spring and later in fall; after the vegetation subsides a little more.

We headed further south and tried Rotary Park for a few hours, but only managed a nice channel catfish.

This spot is full of snags. I managed to lose $25 or more worth of leads, hooks, swivels, etc. and decided to try another spot with fewer snags and hopefully more hungry carp.

The next spot was another pier a couple miles to the south. I really enjoyed fishing there, but the carp were non-existent on Saturday. The locals assured me that carp are caught quite often, but I had no success to the point when the thunderstorms and lightning literally rained on my carp fishing parade.

In the words of Arnold - "I'll be back."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Carp Fishing Supplies

Carp stuff fresh from a UPS delivery
This picture is a couple years old at this point, but it illustrates a point - carp fishing can be done on a budget.

I am holding 3 new NGT alarms that I purchased for $15.99 each. I still have all 3 of them and all 3 still work fine. You dont need to spend $100 or more each for alarms. It's simply unnecessary.

By saving some money on the alarms, I still had money left over to spend it on some high quality hooks. Those in the picture are Nash Fang Twisters.

I have since graduated to Korda Wide Gape hooks, which are a little less expensive and more readily available for me. Every time I try to order the Nash size 4's the vendors are always out of them. Korda hooks are highly respected and I have had good success using them.

I have also switched primary carp vendors for my purchases since this picture was taken. These purchases arrived from Big Carp Tackle, but all of my more recent purchases have been made at Carp Kit. And that will continue going forward. The selection and personal service from Carp Kit are great. I highly recommend them for purchasing you carp fishing supplies.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Detroit River Carp Fishing

I have lived in the Detroit Metropolitan Area for almost 8 years and have been carp fishing for almost 4 years. I have fished big lakes, small lakes, ponds, creeks, small rivers, medium rivers and everything else in between; but until today I hadn't spent much time fishing on the Detroit River that connects Lake Huron and Lake Erie with Lake St. Clair in the mix too.

This week I made plans to fish the Detroit River and head out to a place on the river that provides plenty of parking, plenty of bank space and some current break via an island that separates the spot from the main river channel with the primary ship traffic.

I switched out my normal 2 ounce leads and put on some 3 ounce on two rods and a 4 ounce on the third. Using some plum flavored corn dipped in some pineapple 3D powder I casted out about 7:45 and waited for some action.

I had a bite within 30 minutes, but that fish snagged up on some floating most and grass for a bit. Eventually the fish managed to get off the hook.

I casted all the rods again and waited. It didn't take long to get another screaming run. And with in a few seconds a second rod started screaming the adjacent alarm. Everything went from zero to a Detroit River Double Run in a few seconds flat.

The first fish was landed and then the second; and we knew immediately the second fish was more substantial. Both fish were hooked about 3 feet from the sea wall (a strategy I had to use today because the floating moss and grass was no match for a few ounces of lead) to help offset the massive current we were experiencing.

Here are some pictures of the spot and two fish.

Detroit River carp fishing spot

Detroit River Double Carp Run

19 pounder

15 pounder
The moss and floating bunches of grass turned out to be more than my patience would allow today and we packed it in after about 4 hours of fishing.

I will definitely be back to fish this spot again later in the fall and next spring. It was a nice surprise overall. A few folks mentioned that fish caught from this location tend toward the smallish side, but with the 19 pounder I am feeling this spot may hold a little promise than I gave it credit for. Time will tell once I put in a few more hours of fishing here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mixing Politics and Carp Fishing

I'll be glad when the election season is over. It's a necessary evil, but discussing politics is difficult because someone always leaves the conversation disappointed.

I commented on a Facebook thread discussing trickle down economics vs. tax increases a day or so ago. I thought I'd inject some actual facts into the conversation regarding Gross Domestic Product (GDP). My goal was to discuss economics. In no way at all did I plan to get pulled into a discussion of politics, but that is what happened.

Then the conversation turned back toward carp fishing as another response attempted to create an analogy between carp fishing and economic/political theory in response to an observation about current economic policy seemingly having a nice handle on modulating the up's and down's of the economy.

The analogy:

"I'd rather catch 30's on a regular basis, maybe a 40 or even a 50 along with blanking. Than set and catch 5 lbers all day long with no night fishing, and being told what to use as bait."

It's actually a very good analogy, regardless of what your personal political perspective is.

That analogy ties into carp fishing perfectly to illustrate the dilemma many carp fishermen are confronted with regularly: 

The goal to catch lots of carp  on a regular basis vs. the goal to catch a fish that increases your personal best weight.

It's kind of an elitist view compared to the viewpoint of the carp fishing novice toward fishing for trophy sized carp.

  • The elitist has probably been fishing for carp for many years.
  • The novice has probably been fishing for carp for less than 5 years.

  • The elitist is likely to plan family vacations around carp fishing.
  • The novice is likely to try to fit some carp fishing into a regular vacation.

  • The elitist is willing to spare no expense in the search of big fish. Elitists might drive 3+ hours on Friday night after work, fish all day and night on Saturday and Sunday morning; and then drive back Sunday afternoon to prepare for work on Monday. And they do that week-in and week-out. They are willing to change their lifestyle for fishing, but forgoing family time for fishing time. Anything less than 20 pounds is an extreme disappointment.
  • The novice must prioritize 6 or 8 hours on a Saturday and adjust their lifestyle just enough to fit some time in for fishing among the other responsibilities for work, family, church, civic group, children's activities, etc. A 3 hour drive is definitely out of the question (on a weekly basis) and fishing venues are usually within an hour's drive or less. The novice is willing to catch whatever is biting; whether 5 pounds, 15 pounds, or 25 pounds.

  • The elitist carp fisherman has all the best equipment and spares no expense to pursue their fishing passion.
  • The novice carp fisherman gets started on a budget and buys the minimum equipment to get started and adds to it as experience and budget allows.

True - a novice might one day become an elite carp angler, but a novice is much more likely to remain a novice indefinitely.

The point I am trying to make is that promoting carp fishing to the extent that there are millions of anglers actively and purposely fishing for carp on a weekly or semi-weekly basis requires a whole heck of a lot of novices. You don't go from not fishing for carp to elite carp angler landing 30+ pound fish week in and week out by accident. It takes time.

The carp fishing vendors, contest promoters, and clubs promoting carp fishing would do well to keep this in mind.

As J. Paul Getty once said:

"I'd rather have 1% of the efforts of 100 men, than 100% of my own efforts."

When promoting carp fishing, we can do more in large numbers than we can alone.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Improved Second Time Results at New Venue

I fished a new venue 3 weeks ago for the first time. That day I caught one fish. My results today improved by 100% and I caught 2 fish.

I think I would have had a few more, but after dodging rain and overcast skies all day our luck ran out around 3:30 when the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. Luckily I had most everything packed up before the bottom fell out of the cloud bank, but it resulted in a wet ride home.

Here are some of the pictures:

2nd fish today
1st fish today

This single digit carp hit the mat first today

This was a nice carp in the 10 pound range
All  fish from this venue seem to be in pristine condition with perfect scales.

In the first trip to this new spot, I fished in 6 feet of water. With the warmer weather this week I switched spots to a point that drops off rather steadily to 12 feet of depth within 50 or 60 feet from the bank. If the rain had held off for a few more hours I think this spot would have demonstrated it's true potential and hopefully proved out my theory that in hot weather carp like to hold up in deeper water.

I am confident there are some big carp in this lake, but in two trips I haven't found them yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Solved My Hook Pull Problem

Question:  Why have I been having so many hook pulls?

Answer:  The length of my hair rig was too short.

I have been targeting carp in my fishing efforts for more than 3 years at this point and never in that time have I had so many hook pulls. In fact, I once went more than 6 months without a single hook pull.

During my session on Sunday I figured out a solution to the issue I have been experiencing.

I am very particular about my hooks. I like sharp, micro barbed hooks that are bronze in color and coated in the non-stick PTFE treatment. I change hooks every other session and sometimes in the middle of a session if I sense that my hook has become dull.

I tried sharpening them myself for a while, but tired of that quickly and decided to just buy hooks when they are on sale and change them out regularly. It's so difficult to catch nice sized carp consistently, I made a decision not to let the hook stand in the way of a new personal best catch.

I am also very particular about how I tie up my hair rigs and I often tie hair rigs in groups. I sit down with a goal to tie 5 or 6 at a time, which helps me have more uniformity in the rigs. I have found out this summer that uniformity can be a help or a hindrance. I have a bunch of consistently tied hooks, which is great, but I did not take into consideration that the most recent batch I tied up have a slightly shorter length for the hair.

I have discovered that it doesn't take much to throw a kink into things.

I have always tied my hair lengths at 3/4" and used 3 pieces of corn (1 fake and 2 flavored maize). After closely inspecting my current batch of rigs I discovered that my hair length is shorter than 3/4" and is actually closer to 1/2" or 5/8" on some of them.

That is a problem sometimes if you fish with 3 pieces of corn, as I have concluded after about 15 hooks pulls over a 3 session time period. Using 3 pieces causes the corn to rest too closely to the hook and impacts positive hook holds. If the hook hold is weak then the chances of a hook pull increase significantly; especially in summer when there are more weeds, moss and lily pads in the carp swims. But luckily it's an easy-to-fix problem that can be remedied by fishing with 2 pieces of corn (1 fake and one flavored maize). This adjustment caught 6 carp for me on the shorter hair rigs on Sunday.

With that knowledge I can now fish confidently with 2 pieces or 3 pieces of corn, depending on the length of the hair rigs I am using.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Several Carp and a Catfish: Dog Days of Summer

I headed out for a day session on Sunday and ended up with several nice carp and a channel catfish. The weather was warm, but luckily there was a gentle breeze that provided some relief.

I apologize in advance because some of the fish are properly posed and some pictures are "mat" pictures, but my photographer had to leave early. As you can see in the pictures these fish were in good condition with nice colors and scale patterns.

A few of them are on the smallish side, but I enjoyed every single one. I'm not particular. Some fish are much better than no fish at all.

As I started to pack up, I caught this little guy on a screaming run.

Late day carp 

Another late day carp

Ten pounder

Biggest fish of the day in the late morning weighing 13 pounds

1st fish of the day about 8 a.m.

Channel catfish

I loved the clouds on Sunday and just couldn't resist taking a picture of the swim.
I like to fish this venue at a medium range (40 yards or so), but the fish weren't biting in the 4 feet depths. When I concentrated on long range casts (near 100 yards), I started catching fish and it continued throughout the day. All fish were caught at 75 yards or greater distances.