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Featuring Adam Clewer Tomas Kutschy David Wratchford Trevor Tanner Haley Mcpeak Austin Anderson John Montana



3 Rivers


WITHY POOL RIG explained

Contents 8 | Editorial - Tony Cartlidge 12 | Quebec Carping - Justin Taus 20 | Carp Central Recap - Dan Frasier 26 | Rig Clinic - Tomas Kutschy

34 | The Winning Method - Austin Anderson 44 | The Power of PVA - Adam Clewer


54 | Carp Throwdown - David Wratchford 66 | GRITS - Haley McPeak 74 | Carpocalypse - John Montana 84 | Small Flies - Dan Frasier 88 | Rig Clinic Extra - Tomas Kutschy 90 | 3 Rivers Carp - Matt Pike 98 | Return to Fantasy Island - Austin Anderson 113 | Roughfisher - JP Lipton Cover: Trevor Tanner with a Lake Michigan Monster!



TONY Cartlidge - Feature Editor Tony Cartlidge is a writer, editor, journalist, blogger and marketing specialist who started fishing as a kid in the city parks of Liverpool, England. He caught his first carp at age 12 and has been hooked since. Having lived in the US for almost two decades, Tony moved to Texas in 2008 and now targets  smallmouth buffalo just as much as carp

DAN Frasier - Editor Raised in South Dakota, Dan was introduced to fly fishing on a family trip to Breckenridge Co. Coming home to South Dakota, he knew he wanted to fly fish but the only obvious species was carp. Dan taught himself to fly fish on those carp over the course of a decade. In the process he began to blog about his exploits and became friends with some of the most influential fly fishermen for carp in the game. Dan found the forum and quickly became integrated as part of the team.  When CarpPro began looking for an editor specifically geared for the Fly Fishing niche, Dan was brought in to fill that role.

DAVID Smith - Layout & Design After founding USCARPPROmagazine David soon realized that fly fishermen were targeting carp. He made every effort to connect with this branch of the sport through regular articles, even making the long trek to MI from his home in California to meet David McCool and wade the freezing cold flats of an early spring Traverse City. A bait angler for over 30 years he understands the rise of the sport and the passion carp anglers develop for their quarry.





BUY! Picture courtesy of Austin Anderson


Tony Cartlidge There has been a surge of anti-bowfishing sentiment amongst carp anglers this year. Facebook is full of pictures of dead fish, speared and shot and left to rot. They do not make good viewing. I guess that is the point; to shock and shame the authorities into doing something about what sometimes appears to be a campaign to eradicate nonindigenous species -- an argument that falls flat when dead carp appear on the same piles of bloody carcasses as dead native buffalo and dead native gar. 

CARPPRO $ 2013

food fish and plenty of bow-fishers actually harvest what they shoot. While we might argue the ethics of bow-fishing, we are on a slippery moral slope when we campaign against another person’s legal sport for our own gain. The outpouring of venom on social media sites does nothing to solve the problem. Instead it polarizes neutrals and spurs those with that particular inclination to go kill even more fish next time. Let’s do something useful instead.

It's a highly emotional subject and, understandably, some of the rhetoric gets a bit heated. Understandable, yes. Acceptable, no.

Most states already have laws regulating bow-fishing. Photograph transgressions and report them to the authorities. Go about it the right way. This year, Scott Ferguson, organizing an Austin Wild Carp Club event, reported three individuals attempting to spear fish Ladybird Lake. He went through the right channels and the three men were caught and escorted away by the authorities. That’s protecting our sport by doing something the right way.

I don’t like bow-fishing and I don’t see the sport in sticking an arrow through a large, slow-moving fish. (Surely the skill is in hitting smaller targets?) But let’s not forget that carp were introduced to the US primarily as a

Trevor Tanner a few years back discovered and reported the Sand Creek oil spill, preventing it from becoming a wider ecological disaster. And Denver Trout Unlimited always mentions it when they write about him

competing at CarpSlam. Yeah, that’s right. Trout and carp, hand in hand (or fin to fin?), for the good of both sports. Doing things the right way earns respect for our sport.  Which brings me to Jason Bernhardt of WCC. Jason created a petition asking Texas Parks and Wildlife to do something about the damage being done to Lake Fork by bow-fishers. I urge you all to read it, sign it, share it and support it. It does a great job of explaining why we need to enforce the regulations and protect this magnificent multi-species trophy fishery from excessive bow-fishing. However, state Fish and Game departments are teams of scientists asked to regulate natural resources in a way that generates income for the state. And, since they must do this with shrinking budgets and manpower, regulating the killing of carp, a fish that is by no means endangered, is going to be a very low priority. Texas Parks and Wildlife is very progressive, possibly the most progressive DFG in the US as far as carp and buffalo fishing is concerned. They are interested in promoting the sport and promoting carp and buffalo tourism. They are also very

concerned for the future of Alligator Gar and the fearful rate at which they are being eradicated. If we are to stand a chance of regulation enforcement anywhere, it is in Texas. But that doesn’t somehow magic up the resources required to do it. We have to help. In short, we have to show them the benefits that carp and rough fishers bring. We have to show them the money.  No one collects data on the amount of money carp and rough fish anglers pump into the economy annually. However, the anglers survey from Southwick and Associates last month reported that 1 in 20 anglers were carp anglers. That’s a huge number considering that the survey classified carp as “other” for years. We’re making progress so please continue to sign up for the survey, sign Jason’s petition, and show the powers that be that we are here and we are valuable. To this end, I ask you to complete the US Catch and Release Carp Fishing Survey. It is short, just 7 questions, and completely anonymous. The answers are there for you to choose and the data collected will be used to present to Departments of Fish and


Game in America in support of petitions such as Jason’s.  But it is more than the money we spend. It’s about the money we save as well. We encourage all anglers to tidy up their swims, take home more trash than they bring, treat their environment with respect, and practice ethical and responsible angling. We can help alleviate the cost of waterbody management from the local authorities, sportsman’s groups and the local communities like Waddington, NY, Spartanburg, SC, Two Rivers, WI, Baldwinsville, NY, and Quitman, TX. These communities benefit from successful events like the Texas 44, Carpocalypse, Wild Carp Week, and the Carolina Cup and are the allies we need on our side in order to get carp, buffalo and gar designated as sportfish with all the same protections as trout and bass. With all that being said, this issue is full of material from the rising generation of carp anglers who see only the positive aspects of the sport and the excitement it generates. Hope you enjoy it.

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Bienvenue au QuĂŠbec! Le Canadien, la poutine et... la carpe! A short introduction to carp fishing in QuĂŠbec.

Justin Taus

Fabien Provost

By Justin Taus Pictures from WCC Quebec

Carl Saucier

The French-speaking Canadian province of Québec is known to many for its European vibe and architecture, for its national dish-the poutine--for its hockey team and as an overall great place to enjoy the arts and to party. In the angling scene, however, the province is slowly emerging as a great carp fishing destination. This

Although many European immigrants and native Québecois have undoubtedly fished for carp privately in Québec for many decades now, the first major occurrence that marked the beginning of an actual carp-fishing community was the founding of the Carpe Québec organization in 2008 by George Szczypiorski and Carl

hasn’t always been the case. Not unlike the rest of North America, carp fishing in Québec is for the most part only beginning to gain momentum. But it’s gaining quickly.

Saucier. Besides running a popular public discussion forum on their website, Carpe Québec introduced European-style tactics and culture by producing educational articles and by organizing fishing outings amongst its members. One notable event was an educational session for children in 2009 during which the carp were very active and every

The Beginnings:


child got a chance to reel one in. Furthermore, some Carpe Québec members were active in other facets of the North American carp scene, by participating in competitions like the renowned CAN-AM tournament for example. The popularity of carp fishing in Québec grew slowly but steadily until 2012, a year that I feel marked an

Fabien Prévost, in collaboration with the la Pourvoirie du Lac-St-Pierre and Carpe Québec, organized two different 48-hour tournaments under the banner of “the Lac St-Pierre Carp Challenge.” Lastly, towards the end of the year, another Montrealbased organization, “Les Pêcheurs Urbains,” organized a couple of tournaments and an educational

Wild Carp Club members gather regularly explosive increase in people’s interest in the sport. I believe that this increase can be attributed to three organizations that saw the light of day this particular season. Firstly, Richard Chamberland and I decided to form the Québec chapter of the Wild Carp Club with a goal of uniting carp anglers and of promoting catchand-release carp fishing. Secondly,

conference for beginners. At the end of the year, I published Québec’s first printed book about carp fishing, entitled “Carpe Sauvage,” which described the year’s events in detail. The Wild Carp Club of Québec: As mentioned earlier, we formed the Québec chapter of the Wild Carp Club to help promote catch and


.......Educating future carpers

The Book

Bruno Tessier


release fishing for carp, a fish that is sadly known as a "garbage species" by the majority of anglers in the province. We also wanted to create a community where carp anglers could meet, share information and opinions, and have a good time on the bank. Although participants change from session to session, they regularly consist of a good mix of seasoned, intermediate and beginning carp anglers, which make for great learning experiences. Although only in our second season, the Club's objectives have already been realized, with over 50 participants in total and plenty of carp caught in 9 different spots, some of which we were barely familiar with. Ever since starting the club, we have been very lucky to have the support of many great sponsors who have enabled us to provide equipment and price discounts for the club members as prizes at each of our sessions. Our 2013 season has started off a little slower fish-wise. We have had to cope with a late spring, a delayed spawn, and bizarre temperatures and water levels. Nevertheless, our first four sessions have had good turn-outs with many new members and the fish weights are generally higher than last season.

Carp fishing in Québec: In Québec, we have the mighty StLawrence river, with a length of 744 miles, running from one end of the province to the other. Although the majority of carp fisherman are based in and around Montreal, catches have been recorded as far north as Québec City, one of the last stops before the river becomes salt water. In addition, we have other carp-holding rivers like the Richelieu, Yamaska and Rivière des Prairies, to name a few. In Montreal, Canada`s second largest city, with an urban population nearing 4 million, many of us are used to "street fishing" as it is know in Europe. Here, many of us travel by bike and subway, which demands that we pack light and be mobile. Montreal is an island surrounded by rivers and large lakes and the city also also has a few canals passing through it, making it a true carp-fisherman`s paradise. Furthermore, we are only a one hour drive away from Long Sault, Ontario and Waddington, New York, both renowned for excellent carp fishing. The majority of catches are common carp ranging in the 18-25 lbs. Mirror carp are extremely rare



here, although some nice mirrors have been caught over the years.

The future: We hope that catch and release carp fishing will continue to grow in our province. As already mentioned, we have noticed a marked increase in respect for a fish that was once (and is unfortunately still somewhat) known as an "invasive species" destined


to be left to die on the shore. With the help of the different organizations working to promote carp-fishing, I am confident that QuĂŠbec will become a world-class destination. To all U.S. and international readers, know that you are always more than welcome to join us on the banks of one of our many lakes and rivers!

Merci! Justin Vali Pavaoalia


Carp Central Update Dan Frasier

CARPPRO ✌ 2013

The competition uncovered activities that are illegal in 48 states!! is good for fisherman is good for the sport as a whole.


or years Orvis has taken the stance that engaging their customers was an important part of being a steward of the sport. In that vein, they create instructional videos, offer podcasts and run a blog, all of which are free to anyone who wants to use them. This culture of engagement and education reflects a view that what

Orvis’ latest foray in engaging the public in a productive and fun way came in the form of their new Carp Central page and the accompanying photo contest. “We wanted to introduce more people to carp fishing with a fly, and we wanted to have fun doing it while engaging our customers.” said Tom Rosenbauer, Marketing Director for Orvis Rod and Tackle. “Just having a web page devoted to carp is not the same as involving your customers in the fun. Based on the number of entries we got and the thousands of votes on those entries, we consider Carp Central a big success.” Success indeed. Nearly 250 photographs and a dozen videos


CARPPRO ✌ 2013

of flyfishermen with carp were submitted during the 8-week-long contest. Winning photos were voted on by the public, who ultimately selected a Grand Prize winner.

One great thing about a photo contest is that the picture is never taken in a vacuum. There is always a backstory. This one is no different.

Winner Chris Fairbanks was elated. “…you really have no idea how much more this means to me than I believe it would to most… You see, my Grandfather. who has been gone more than a decade, was not only an avid fly fisherman but also an avid Orvis advocate. He loved and used your products so much he was actually buried holding one of his beloved Orvis flyrods with a favorite fly still attached from his last trip on the water. I am sure grandpa is having a hay day right now.”

Chris continues, “On the particular day that the picture was taken I was on a scouting/practice day for the 3 Rivers Carp Cup. This location … has some open areas as well as a tight spot where the building and outside eating area juts out over the water at a height of about 10 feet. I hadn’t planned on fishing at this location on that day but there happened to be a young family with a little boy of maybe 3 or 4 years old that was going crazy over the fish. I overheard him asking over and over to "touch the fishies" and the

Size isn’t everything


mother wouldn’t let him get close enough to the water. I approached them and asked if they would like me to try and catch one for him to see up close and touch. I don’t honestly think they thought it was possible especially when I produced a fly rod until I netted this 28 inch pig. The child was so

CARPPRO ✌ 2013

Orvis undertook this endeavor. As Tom points out, “A lot of the new people coming into fly fishing are young and they have no preconceived ideas about what is “proper” in fly fishing, so they are more willing to embrace nontraditional species.”

A very worthy winner

excited yet petrified of the huge fish I wasn’t even sure he would touch it. In the end he did. They were then  gracious enough to take a pic and send it to me with their smart phone.” Chris is and probably will be a lifelong fisherman; perhaps the young child that touched the fish will be too. That is a big part of why

“Some of our more popular trout streams have too many boats on them already,” he adds. “And since fly fishing is growing at a faster rate than in previous years it is important to spread fishing pressure across other resources.” In the end the photo contest was about engagement and having some fun. That is exactly what it delivered.

with ProStaffer Tomas Kutschy

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

PopUp Basics!

The pop-up rig is a proven favorite for anglers fishing over a thin layer of weed, in silt, or to present a neutral buoyancy bait to fool wary fish. There are many variations of pop-up rigs, from this basic rig to some very complex ones, but this rig has banked me some great fish this season and continues to

do me proud. I hope it is effective for you too! What you’ll need: Quality hook in size #6-#10, shrink tube, rig rings, supple braid, tungsten putty or split shot, a pop-up or buoyant bait, hair stops, a swivel lead, buffer bead, swivel of your choice, puller tool, and braid scissors.

Form a simple overhand knot in your chosen braid, pull tight with puller tool. This loop will be used to mount your bait.

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Most people will use a pop-up boilie but today I'm using a large piece of imitation maize. Thread onto the hair lengthwise and attach your hair stop.

Slide your rig ring onto the braid (this helps with the movement aspect of the rig) and secure with an overhand knot again.

Now adjust length of hair and tie a simple knotless knot.

Steam some shrink tube over the eye of the hook to help the hook turn and take hold. You can also use preshaped kickers from ACE and save your hands.

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Your rig should look something like this.

Add some tungsten putty. (I like a bit more than most).

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Next, slide on your chosen swivel lead, buffer bead and choice of swivel

There we have it, the finished setup! I'll often use this in a PVA bag or over a bed of particles. (The anti-tangle sleeve is optional)

All components are available from ACE, Taska & Korda and have never let me down. Tight lines and good times Tomas Kutschy

These flavors have set the Paylaking world alight. Don’t miss out, we simply can’t keep it in stock!!!!!!

Contact us for the latest availability


CARPPRO $ 2013

The Winning Method A ProTip from Austin Anderson

Fishing at range has advantages and disadvantages like any kind of fishing. Being able to fish really far out can be a huge advantage when fish don’t always venture close to the bank or during a tournament when fishing really far can allow you to intercept fish that others may not get the chance to present a rig to. For me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but it can get pretty frustrating when the conditions don’t cooperate. Fishing at range with a decent strength crosswind can be a royal pain in the ass, taking forever to sink your line below the surface. Lack of casting space may also be a problem, so try to make sure if at all possible that the bank behind you is clear and you have no chance of completely blunting a hook during the cast. It takes practice but I feel comfortable fishing and baiting upwards of 130 yards in the right conditions. During the Lake Fork tournament we were fishing into timber at range, accurately presenting baits over

beds of particle. We relied on two methods to bait up. The first method was launching method balls. Most people are familiar with a method blaster, my tool of choice, but some adaptations are made to this deadly method of baiting for long range. First and foremost you are going to need a decent spod rod to achieve the distance that you may need to hit, paired with a fast retrieve reel and braided line for spot-on accurate baiting. To hit the range in the first place it’s going to take a good amount of practice and some strength because of how rigorous this can be when you are putting out over 50 balls per sitting. Use a good method mix that binds really well, the last thing you want is for your method to break in mid air when you are heaving it long distances. I developed the mix that is listed above especially for this, because I needed a mix that would withstand extremely hard casts and long distances. The only downside is it’s a very heavy mix to begin with so you can’t put out extra big method balls, but it’s easy to pack compared to a lot of packbaits and method mixes and it is easy to prep in bulk once you get the hang of it.


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Austin’s Cracked Corn Method Mix (Adapted from original recipe by Richard Somerville) • 7lb cracked corn • 1lb prepared hemp seed • 4lb old-fashioned oats (half added to cracked corn, half added after adding hot water) • 1 gallon boiling water • ¼ small size jar cinnamon • 2 capfuls each: Hutchy Scopex, Savay Cream, and Fruit Frenzy • 1 can of cream style corn • 2lb regular breadcrumbs Preparation instructions: 1. Measure out cracked corn, oats, and hemp seed. Mix 2lb of

oats, cracked corn, and hemp seed together in a container and mix well to evenly distribute oats and cracked corn. This will be the wet part of the mix. 2. Begin to boil exactly 1 gallon of water 3. In a separate container mix the remaining 2lb of oats, 2lb of

breadcrumb, and the cinnamon. This will be the dry part of the mix. 4. When the water begins to boil, pour all of it into the container

containing the wet part of the mix. Stir very well with a feed scoop to evenly wet the entire mix. Let this sit for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. You want this part, once

completed, to be stodgy but not have any standing water in the bottom of the container. 5. Once the mix is set up, add the dry part of the mix gradually into

the wet part stirring well to evenly distribute everything. It may look like it’s not going to pack very well or like it will not ever break down at this stage, but just continue, that’s what it is supposed to be like. 6. Open a single can of cream style corn. Dump half of it into the

now made method. To the half that remains in the can, add all 6 capfuls of Hutchinson flavor (any combination you want). Stir in well and then add to the method. Stir very well to evenly distribute to every part of the mix. 7. Time to bucket it! Start to scoop the mix into a 5-gallon bucket.

Compress well into the bottom of the bucket and seal the lid. Leave this for at least 6 hours for the method to completely set up properly. 8. Once done, it should resemble a semi sticky paste, not too wet

and not too dry. When ready to use, break up with a feed scoop and pack into balls to put into the lake.

Notes*Don’t try to double this recipe. The amount this mix makes is barely manageable in a 5-gallon bucket. It fills a 5-gallon about halfway or more. A large mixing tray would be a lot of help when mixing the ingredients.


Water temperature determines the break time, but even though the breadcrumb holds this mix together like concrete, the cracked corn still traps enough air for it to break eventually. I wanted a mix that would take a while to break so the attractants in it would disperse more slowly into the water. Get into a rhythm of baiting up and once you get the distance right putting them out comes easily, and you can get a good 50 out at a time without tiring yourself out too much. The other method we used was spodding at range. I spod a lot when I’m not using a kayak on big water because you can quickly put a lot of bait into an area and also scatter some baits to give a little more chance of fish picking up your bait when you are fishing single hookbaits far out. Again, you need beefed up tackle. A regular 3lb test curve carp rod with a baitrunner isn’t going to cut it for this kind of baiting. I like a heavy spod rod that has a lot of power for casting and reeling back, but not too heavy so it fatigues your arms. A fast retrieve reel is a serious plus, and though it’s not necessary it’ll make your baiting go a lot quicker. A good line clip isn’t completely necessary with braid but it helps tremendously. My setup consists of a Chub Outkast

CARPPRO $ 2013

Plus 5lb TC spod rod and a Daiwa Emblem Spod reel. I use 30lb test Power Pro braid for spodding, 300 yards with another hundred or so of mono backing it to prevent slippage of line during the cast, which can result in a bad cut. I personally absolutely hate fingerstalls, I just can’t stand to use one so I just lock up the drag tight and have no problems with line burn or cuts. As for spods... I love Spombs because of how true and accurate they fly when cast, they just take a bit longer to load and you may have issues with the button engaging and spilling the contents all over the bank behind you if you aren’t careful with where you are going with your backcast. I also use a few others, including the Korda Skyliner. I really don’t find that spod spill is an issue for me, with a spod mix that is kind of sticky when packed into the spod very little of it comes out the back of the spod. The only problem with spods is they make a lot of noise on the retrieve and entry, so you may want to limit how many you put in at a time at night or when it’s really quiet, as it may spook fish from your swim. There are a few other tools that make fishing at range a whole lot easier. I absolutely love my marker

rod and use it a lot in every situation I can just to gain more insight on exactly what is down there. I put reflective tape all over most of my marker floats to help with visibility at night, if you get some quality tape you should be able to see it perfectly with only a small headlamp. Marker elastic is something else I use all the time, it’s great for making sure that you rigs end up where you want them every time, even at night. Keep several spods and method blasters on hand in case you screw up and a few end up in a tree 20 feet in the air above your bivvy or 150 yards into the lake floating away into oblivion. Casting accuracy and rhythm are both very important with both baiting strategies, otherwise this is all basically useless. Make sure you are able to hit the baited area comfortably; don’t fish as far out as you possibly can because if the wind picks up you are out of luck. Try to concentrate your area as much as you can, don’t just spod all over the place like I see far too many anglers doing. The more accurate and concentrated your bait is (same goes for your rigs) the greater chance you have of getting a take. Also, this can make a dramatic impact on exactly how

quickly the carp and/or buffalo find your hookbaits. Another important point is to KEEP BAITING. Don’t just put a few spods in and be done with it; big water takes more bait in comparison than smaller waters do. If you are seeing fish, most of that bait you put in is probably gone. Keep it going in and try to bait at set intervals to ensure the bait is still there if the fish haven’t showed up. Adapt the amount you bait out to the situations; you’re going to need a lot less in the winter when the fish aren’t feeding as often and their metabolism is slower than in the summer when they can basically continuously eat without doing any harm to themselves. Of course practice makes perfect, and a lot of this just needs to be messed with until you learn what you prefer bait wise; how much, what that consists of, how often you put it out, and what range you’re putting it out at. A lot of guesswork may be involved at first, but as you begin to get the hang of what you’re doing and see how your catches are impacted by different tweaks in your strategy, you begin to learn the game plan that works best for you.


CARPPRO $ 2013

Taska Needle Set $10.00

Taska Wazzup Foam Pop-Up Baits $3.29

Weedy Green Aligner - Short Shank - Hook sizes 6 - 2 $3.95

TASKA Nut Drill & 5 Cork Sticks 6mm $5.75

TASKA Big Eyed Swivels - Size 8 Matt Black $3.00

Taska Heli-Chod Beads $2.99


Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

The Power of PVA European Pro Adam Clewer explains PVA is a product that can totally transform your fishing. A bold statement I know. Its versatility and various guises mean the ardent carp angler is now equipped to offer an enticing trap over the top of almost any lakebed – it’s so good it’s almost cheating. When I first started fishing with PVA products it was a simple case of stringers or solid PVA bags. Over recent years, development in the tackle industry has meant we now have an assortment of PVA products available, all designed for different fishing scenarios. In this article I will explore how to utilize these products, and when they should be used or avoided.

The PVA stringer PVA string is one of the oldest products in the PVA family. Whilst varying strengths of string is now available, its attributes remain the same. PVA string enables the angler to thread boilies onto a strand, attach the strand to the rig or lead, and then cast the whole presentation into the water. As with all PVA products, the string melts in the water and leaves a tight deposit of bait in close proximity to the rig. This is accurate baiting at its very best. The added attraction of multiple baits near the rig enhances both the visual element of the rig and the boosts the aroma of the bait in the water. A restriction with PVA string is that it is only really compatible with boilies. Obviously the baits presented on the string

The classic PVA stringer—often overlooked but still a great carp catcher

need to be threaded using a hair needle. For some baits this is not possible. However, the benefits of PVA strings far outweigh their limitations. Of all the PVA approaches, stringers are amongst the least fashionable. This means carp are less likely to be used to them so they could provide you with a real edge to catch the cagey (often bigger) carp. When considering which brand of PVA

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Mesh bags can be shaped to suit your fishing situation. Sometimes big isn’t best!

string to use, there are numerous brands to choose from which all largely offer the same product. Some strands are thicker which delays the time it takes for the string to dissolve. The thicker strands are best suited to when you need to fish at distance, as they will withstand a big cast better. They are also better suited to the warmer months, where the speed of meltdown will increase in the warmer water. In contrast, the thinner strand PVA string works best during the fall and winter months, when the water temperature has cooled.

Mesh Bags Mesh, or cobweb bags as they are sometimes known, resemble stockings or long, open-ended socks, usually supplied on a dispenser tube which allows the angler the choice of varying the size of the PVA bags required. From golf ball-size to tiny PVA bags barely any bigger than a standard

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Once melted the mesh style bag delivers an alluring trap for the carp boilie, the possibilities are only limited by your own imagination. Obviously a huge sausage of a PVA bag will not cast particular accurately--but once again the choice is yours. One benefit with this style of PVA is that, like stringers, you can make up numerous bags in advance and be ready to cast back out quickly. This is especially helpful if time is short or if you are fishing a tournament and want your rigs in the water in double-quick time. The limitations of mesh bags are perhaps most obvious with regard to casting.

Often the lead and the mesh bag don’t travel too well through the air, frequently causing a helicopter action as the bag and lead wobble, fighting to lead the way. This isn’t an issue if you are gunned up with powerful rods, or are happy fishing at less than 80 yards. However, like stringers, mesh bags can be an excellent method and once again provide instant attraction to any hook bait.











Melanin is produced by the human body and is a natural defense against the negative impact of the ultraviolet and more

importantly, the blue light portions of the spectrum. Melanin-based technology is the foundation for Sundog’s Mela-Lens™ which features synthesized melanin. In addition to protecting you from UVA, UVB and UVC rays, Mela-Lens™ filters 98% of dangerous High Energy Visible Light (HEVL). Commonly called “Blue Light,” it creates “veiled glare” in the eye, causing fatigue and negatively impacting performance. By filtering this dangerous “Blue Light”, Sundog Mela-Lens™ effectively reduces veiled glare impact to provide “soothing” visual protection and superior visual clarity.


Solid PVA Bags In Europe, solid PVA backs are enjoying something of a minirevival in popularity. The greatest advantage of solids is their ability to conceal the whole rig and lead inside the bag. By crafting a baseball size and shape, the bag will not only cast well, but will ensure near-perfect presentation. Since the rig and lead are fished

inside the PVA, if the cast lands amongst weed or bottom debris, the hook point of the rig will not become obstructed or tethered. When the solid PVA bag melts the rig will always be fishing effectively. When faced with a new water, or perhaps a swim I am not familiar with, solid PVA bags are often a good starting point. The only downside of solid

A nice mid-20 caught using PVA products

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

PVA bags is the time and effort they take to tie—however will a little practice this isn’t too much hassle.

and stored in advance, but unlike mesh bags PVA sticks can cast really well.

PVA Sticks

PVA is certainly a product that is here to stay. Looking back, my first carp over 20lb was caught using a PVA stringer. My first carp over 30lb was caught using a solid PVA bag.

The PVA stick, which is similar in design to mesh bags, is a long, thinner version of the mesh style of PVA, which can be fashioned like a cigar. Sticks are great when fished with small food items and because of their smaller size and shape can cast really well. A great tip with PVA sticks is to thread the rig by means of a stringer or hair needle through the stick. This leaves the hook point submerged, much like a solid PVA bag, ensuring effective presentation every cast. Like mesh bags, multiple sticks can be made

PVA sticks provide high attraction with little actual food content.

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Last week, on a quick trip to France I landed a 45lb 14oz Mirror using PVA. In fact, I scarcely go fishing without some variety of PVA in my tackle bag. Whilst many anglers still revert to traditional method-ball tactics, PVA can provide the angler with better hookbait presentation and offers a far greater variety of approach and techniques. You don’t have to be a big baiter to catch with PVA. The added attraction of free bait in close proximity of your rig, combined with fantastic presentation can often produce quick bites – without the need to pre-bait. My advice would be to get your hands on an assortment of PVA products, and learn to use them. By utilizing PVA in your fishing you will almost certainly catch more carp.

Perfect your PVA fishing and you will certainly catch more carp

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05/02/2013 11:56


Wratchford Throws Down On Henshaw

David Wratchford reports & wins

Lake Henshaw in the town of Santa Ysabel, CA,carp is an amazing but difficult carp fishery. It’s also the site of the now annual Carp Throwdown. What makes the fishery so difficult is that the water is often dark with visibility that can run to just mere inches. High winds, typically starting around midmorning, also contribute to difficulty factor. While the average carp is only about 19-20 inches the lake is absolutely loaded with fish. It’s also one of the few places where large numbers of carp gather in groups to feed on algae. Because of this, a lot of the fishing is done to fish feeding either on or just below the surface. The other reason there are so many fish near the surface are the high winds; when the hoppers are around the wind blows them onto the water causing the carp to fall

into a protein-induced state of stupidity. There aren’t very many times or places where you can smack the water while fishing for carp and still get an eat! Most of the Throwdown competitors came out on Friday to take advantage of a pre-fishing day and to be there for

Jeans (competitor and owner of The Kernville Fly Shop) and Conway Bowman (tournament organizer, host of Fly Fishing the World, Orvis endorsed guide and outfitter) brought out their instruments and started the new band, Three Blind Carp. By 10:00 or so, filled up on food, music and fun, everyone made their way to their beds

Three Blind Carp the meet and greet that evening. Orvis rod designer Shawn “Puffy” Combs and I spent quite a bit of time walking the lake and putting our game plans together for the following day. Shawn found a nice secluded spot with quite a few tailers in skinny water and I located several pods of surface feeders that I hoped would still be there on Saturday. The festivities really started when the group of Bernard Yin (tournament social media guru), Guy

to try and get a bit of sleep before the big day. Saturday dawned warm and still and the competitors gathered at the lake’s general store to pick up lake permits and measuring boards before heading to the docks for the shotgun start at 7:00 am. Boats were launched and fired up; the wading division donned their waders and strung up rods. Al Q. and Conway counted down from 10

Worth The Tape?


and everyone raced to the spots they had picked out from the previous day. If they were anything like me, they had hopes of winning some of the great prizes donated by the sponsors. An Orvis H2 SW 6wt, an Abel Super 6 with their Skull and Crossbones artistic finish, Yeti coolers, and even a Galvan reel for largest “trash fish.” For the purposes of the tournament, a ”trash fish” was anything but a carp. How many other times could a Largemouth Bass be considered a trash fish? (All the time? Ed.) Most of the wading group headed to the south end of the lake while Shawn Combs, a couple of others, and me headed to the north end of the lake. My plan was to look for tailers early and, once the wind came up, to fish to the pods of carp that I’d seen feeding into the wind on algae clumps the day before. Even the best laid plans of mice and know how the saying goes. I was unable to find the early tailers I’d hoped for but I remained flexible and was able to pick up my first three fish on three different flies. The first came on a damselfly nymph, the second on a Parachute Adams, and the third on the ubiquitous San Juan Worm. Those fish were caught by locating the pods of carp that were traveling along and feeding sporadically. When the wind came up I was able to finally get back to my game plan. I found a knee-deep flat that had large


numbers of carp lazily making their way upwind and feeding. I put on a trusty white glo-bug and started making casts to groups of twos and threes. The day before I’d found that the smaller groups had a much higher tendency to eat than the larger groups. My percentages still weren’t

couple of carp and the only catfish of the tournament when the bug sank as I was looking for my next group of players and the line started ripping through the water, but I wasn’t going to trust to blind luck for the win. I couldn’t find any big fish--they all ran right about the average for the lake--

On Foot

..or by Boat high, maybe one fish out of every twelve that I cast to actually ate. The hardest part was that visibility was limited to about six inches. That meant that extremely accurate casts that dropped the bug within a few inches of the fish were necessary. Any further and the fish either wouldn’t see it or it would sink below the visibility layer making me unable to see the takes. I did manage to pick up a

but by the time I needed to head back to get to the weigh-in on time I had 13 fish that I’d landed and photographed on the measuring board. Honestly, I had no real expectation of being able to win since I’d been unable to locate any bigger fish as a kicker. I was just hoping to at least place. I was sure that with as many good carp anglers as there were fishing the tournament that at least one or two had managed


some better than average fish for score. The way the scoring worked was that you took your five biggest fish and the length, verified by the photographs, was added up and each inch meant one point. It didn’t matter how many

you caught except that the more fish landed the better the chance that you would have bigger fish to add up. As I talked to the others at the weigh in it slowly dawned on me that I was the only one in the wading division that managed to land five fish or more for score. At the awards ceremony it came out that I’d managed to squeak out a win and I’d also landed the only trash fish of the tournament with the

catfish. Shawn Combs and Dylan Moore tied for biggest fish and had to go to a cast off. After the first casts resulted in a tie, Shawn graciously conceded the prize to Dylan in a great show of sportsmanship. In the boat division the team of Dustin

Sergeant and John Hendrickson (a carp guide on Lake Henshaw) repeated their win from last year and both went home with new Yeti 45 Tundra’s. I also managed to repeat my win in the wading division from last year and won the awesome Orvis H2 custom Carp Throwdown rod and also won the Galvan reel that was offered as the prize for largest trash fish. (The




full results of the tournament are posted on This is a great event that just keeps getting bigger and better each year. With twenty something participants last year and about thirty five this year I really look forward to seeing how many more new faces arrive next year to join the fun. On a final note; there is always a bit of controversy and a difference of opinion as to whether competition is a good or bad thing for the fly fishing industry. As Shawn Combs and I were talking on the evening of the tournament the subject came up again. I don’t think that the tournaments are the right thing for everyone and there are a lot of very good anglers who might not ever choose to enter one. However, I look at it this way, if I hadn’t been fishing the tournament I probably never would have made the effort to really learn what the fish were doing and how to catch them. I would have most likely just gone out, caught a few fish and still gone home happy. Instead, I became a better fly fisherman by truly studying what the fish were doing. If competition is what it takes for me to focus and become a better angler, then I’m all for it. I mean truthfully, that’s one of the major reasons that I started targeting carp with a fly rod anyway. I firmly believe that no other fish is as accessible, as difficult to fool, and presents so many different variables in a single day of fishing.

Captions Please!!

Introduction Haley McPeak is a CarpPro pro-staffer, and she’s just 11-years-old. No, this is not some kind of gimmicky honorific, she’s a bonafide member of the pro-team, selected on merit,  and on her day she can probably out-fish just about anyone in the paylakes. (Just ask the anglers she beat in the CarpReport tourneys this year!) Haley, aka BirdDog, is a fully-fledged member of the famous team of paylakers along with her Dad, Barry McPeak (RedDog), and David (BigDog) and Donald (MoonDog) Moon. Together, the MoonDogs have been tearing up the paylakes for years and Haley plays a full part in that success. She makes her own pack, throws her own bait, lands and nets her own fish, and wins tournaments. Lots of tournaments. She even qualified for the CarpReport FInale this year by catching the biggest fish at a CarpReport qualifying event. Then went and did it again a few weeks later! Oh, and she’s also a straight A student, she's on the National Honor Roll, and even uses real words that CarpPro's editor has to look up in the dictionary!  We asked Haley to introduce herself and to explain what makes her tick. We think she has done a fine job of giving us a sneak peak at the determination and G.R.I.T. that makes her one of the up and coming paylake stars. She really is Girl Raised In the South!


CARPPRO $ 2013

G > girl R > raised I ! > in T !> the S !> south

Haley McPeak's True G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised In The South Have you ever been carp fishing? Have you ever fished with rice or grits? What about oats, soybean, millet, or chow? Well I have. My introduction to carp fishing starts with my dad. I am a third generation carp fisherman. My dad has been fishing since he was a baby. He sat on his Dad’s knee and fished the old school way. I got hooked on carp fishing after

going to a pay lake with my Dad; he caught a lot of fish. When my Dad did something, I wanted to do it too. When I was learning how to carp fish I got hooked just like a carp. I have been fishing for five years and I am only an elevenyear-old girl. I fish against some older men that have been carp fishing their whole lives. And they don’t take it lightly just because I am a girl. They treat me the same as every one else. To them I am just one of the guys. They call me BirdDog. Why I carp fish? I carp fish because I think it fun, unique and very competitive. There are not a lot of young people who compete on the level that I do in the paylake scene, especially young girls. One of the other reasons is that I hate, just hate, video games. I’d much rather be outdoors fishing or hunting than to be cooped up inside like a flock of chickens. My dad, aka RedDog, fished a wild-water tournament in Baldwinsville, New York. He fished for a total of 88 hours, then he drove another 20 hours home. He wanted to go to HUD’s carp lake in Bostic, North Carolina, for a Carp Report tournament and I am glad we went. Carp Report is a  circuit of tournaments held on different


CARPPRO $ 2013

paylakes in North and South Carolina. This circuit ends with a Finale that the 50 best fishermen and fisherwomen qualify their way into. it’s a really big deal to win one of these qualifiers. Ok so back at HUD’s, about nine, nine-thirty, I got a run. I jerk the pole and start reeling. I was on the back side of the lake about the second to last hole; this is the shallow end of the lake. The fish started running towards the bank. He popped the top of the water like a cork! After a pretty good fight, my dad netted it and we got the hook out. He got the fish carrier and walked to the scale house. I was standing watching the scales when they weighed it. And at 28 lbs 5 oz, it took the lead for big fish of the night. A little over four hours later the tournament ends and I got my picture taken because it was the biggest fish of the tournament. I got qualified at HUD’s and I was happy, happy, happy! What is my favorite flavor for different baits? I like to spray on my flavoring just in case the fish don’t like what I put in it, but if I was going to put it in the bait I like Savay Cream and Banana Crème from Rod Hutchison in grits. In chow I like Chocolate Malt, Maple Crème, and Total Maple and Megaspice is good in millet and Banana Crème is good in soybean.


I don’t like to use rice but Fruit Frenzy is good in it. My favorite is Chocolate Malt chow, because I caught a lot of fish on it and I caught my 28.05 on it. Here is a tip, if a lake put new fish in from the river use Swan Mussel, Monster Crab, Shellfish or Octopus and Squid.  CarpPro flavoring is new, not really like other flavorings but better and I like to spray those.  I thought it was really cool when I was asked to be one of the Jr Pro Staffers for CarpPro. Outside of fishing at pay lakes I fish at the river like Wateree and Baldwinsville New York. I also like to hunt. This year is the year I really got attached to hunting. The last three weeks of the year, I hunted for two weeks and didn’t see anything, but the last week I killed a doe, a boar and a coyote, three days in a row. Three days, three bullets, three animals.

CARPPRO $ 2013

My goal in life is to stop bow fishing for carp. If you kill a big carp and it’s a new state record it shouldn’t be recognized. It should be illegal. That is how things become endangered and extinct. Just like the Woolly Mammoth.                                                           

By Haley McPeak Aka BirdDog                                           Fish with Poles and Hooks    NOT WITH BOWS AND ARROWS 

September 26th - 29th Lake Blalock, Chesnee, SC

Where the Paylakers go Wild!! $18K in prize money Register now!!!


aLYPSE John Montana reflects



There are some things that just go together; peanut butter and chocolate, salt and pepper, prince nymphs and trout. And there are some things that don’t quite fit.

some awesome prizes. With the support of some sponsors such as Idlewylde and of course Orvis, he succeeded and Carpocalypse was born.

Like fly fishing and tournaments.

So what is the secret to his success? What makes this “tournament” more fun than competitive? Simple. The best prize (this year it was a one-of-a-kind Helios 2 8wt) is reserved not for the biggest fish, or most inches caught. Instead, the angler with the skill, savvy, and smarts to catch the smallest carp takes home the loot. Brilliant!

Truthfully, the entire concept of competitive fly fishing is often railed against by the majority of the fly fishing community, and usually with good reason. Fly fishing is about a lot more than simply catching fish, and adding that competitive edge, the drive, the rules, and the pressure generally goes against the things that make fly fishing special. But sometimes, it just works. The beauty of The Orvis Company’s Carpocalypse is that while they call it a tournament, it really isn’t. Adam Mcnamara, Orvis Portland’s Fishing Manager, came up with the tournament 2 years ago and his overreaching goal was to simply make it fun. For starters, like most, the idea of competitive fly fishing didn’t really sit well with him. Also, carp were not quite as accepted 2 years ago as they are today (and will be tomorrow. The growth of carp on the fly is a matter for a whole other article!) Adam set forth to create a gathering of anglers, to spotlight an under appreciated fish, and to give away

This year was a study in success for Carpocalypse with roughly 40 anglers descending on Kennewick, WA. Day one of the tournament dawned early, highlighted by clusters of anglers dotted around the parking lot, frantically hoping their 4G service held out while they scanned Google Earth for shallow flats on their iPhones. Well known big fish hunters like David Nakamoto, and eventual grand prize winner, Travis “Trashfisher” Hammond, whispered about secret “small fish” flats, and contemplated city parks and sloughs. No one talked of gravel bars and big tails-large fish are relatively easy to find on the Columbia--but small ones… not so much. Travis’s winning fish


came in at 22¼ inches, narrowly snatching the win from a 23 inch second place fish. That 22¼ inch fish is one of the smallest I’ve ever seen caught, and seeing people frantically hunting for “babies” was as entertaining for me and Adam as it was fun for the competitors.

The highlight of Carpocaypse isn’t the fishing (which was great). Instead, it is the conversations and stories that abound when 40 some carp anglers, both new and veterans, share some space, beer, and ribs. Walking through the room at dinner on Saturday night was virtually impossible. At every table a


new carp angler gushed about the near take he had, or a veteran suggested a drag and drop approach on a tailing fish. Hands waived as people explained fish position, and one gentleman broke into a full on carp crouch to demonstrate the stalk on a particularly memorable fish.

The beauty of Carpocalypse is simple…It isn’t a tournament. It is an event, a gathering, a party of like minded anglers out to have a good time and chase a fish we have all grown to love. The fact that Orvis and others give away great prizes is a bonus, and the money raised for the anti-Pebble Mine


campaign is a treasure, but most of us would show regardless. We’d pull into Kennewick, huddle over our phones and whisper secrets with one eye on the “competition.” Then we’d have a beer together and laugh and enjoy. As day two ended and anglers headed home, I frequently heard “can’t wait for next year.”

Some things just go together… like good times and carp on the fly.





Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Small Flies w/ Dan Frasier There will be the usual glory of fall. Fish feed heavily, often times getting more aggressive as they prepare for the lean months of winter; the fall feed. In many parts of the country it has already begun and it can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling times of the carp fishing year. But it is all too short-lived. Around the corner are cooler days and fewer hours of light, and that will move carp into the next phase of the year. They will still feed, but the size of the available food organisms will shrink. Smaller bugs will begin to make up a larger portion of the carp’s diet and if you want to catch fish you will have to adjust accordingly.

The answer is to get small and subtle. Nymph patterns will take on a far more prominent role in your flybox. Traditional patterns like Hare’s Ear Nymphs and Pheasant Tail Nymphs, not to mention more complex patterns like woven nymphs, can be very effective this time of year. Scuds and small Soft Hackles should also have a place in the late fall fly selection.

Soft Hackle size 12

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

Flies should be more sparsely tied. Eliminating bushy tails or too many rubber legs can be a good idea too. Remember, the idea is to looks like food, not look like a carp fly. Thinking more like a trout angler, you will want to dead drift the fly

handle the pull of a large fish. (The heavy duty Gapers are available in these sizes! Ed.) If you take these steps, downsize and adapt, it’s possible to extend your fishing for another month or

Think Small into the feeding lane of a fish, or feed it at close range if you are on still water. The critical factor here is size, not pattern. Over the course of the year we get accustomed to fishing size 6’s and 8’s to carp. Now it’s time to get out the 10’s and 12’s. Small hooks tend to have a smaller gauge, so be sure your hooks can

longer. The fishing will be tough and the shallowing angle of light and shortening days will make locating fish difficult, but if you are able to find them you can effectively fish to them far deeper into the year than you may have thought possible. And who knows, you may even catch one of those elusive December carp.

A R T EX The Withy Pool rig, created by Steve Renyard, can be a devastating rig choice on some waters. Created back in the late 80s for the highlypressured carp of Withy Pool, the rig proved highly effective as an anti-eject rig for fish that had seen it all before. The problem with

the rig, however, hasn’t been its effectiveness, but the fiddly process of steaming and shaping the shrink tube to the right curve. Until now... When I got a chance to try the new With Pool Kickers from ACE, I jumped at the chance. Everything I've used from them has been

Tactics ✔ CARPPRO ✭ 2013

with Tomas Kutschy & ACE Withy Pool Kickers top notch and these are no exception. No messing around holding tubing over hot steam, simply slide one onto the hooklink of choice then over eye of the hook. Put the tungsten putty or weight at the base of the kicker, and away you go. Couldn’t be easier and no need to put the kettle on to fix up new rigs! A quick word about the hooks. I’ve also been fortunate enough to try out the new ACE razor point curve shanks that are making a bit of an impression back in Europe. These are not only mega sharp, they seem to stay sharp too. I’ve yet to drop a fish on them and I’m using hooks smaller than I’m used to. So far, they are performing flawlessly and I’m very happy with their reliability! So far so good. The captures speak for themselves and I’ve no doubt they will continue.

3 Rivers Carp Cup


Matt Pike reporting Pictures Courtesy of Matt Pike and Ryan Dunne

Mid-August means hot. MidAugust means dry. Mid-August means guaranteed fantastic carpin’ weather. Unless, of course, it’s mid-August in the Southeast in 2013. Weird is the only accurate way to describe the unusual (middle) East Tennessee weather that had highs in the 70’s and rainfall amounts suited for spring or fall (in a record year). Cloudy

skies meant cloudy water, and for a carp fly fishing tournament that means, well, that means absolutely nothing at all. The second annual 3 Rivers Carp Cup was held in Knoxville,

Tennessee on August 17th, and can be considered nothing short of an absolute success despite the unseasonal temperatures and record-breaking rainfall of the previous weeks. More anglers entered the tournament this year. More boats hit the water. And more fish came to hand. In fact, participation topped out at 68 anglers this year, which is


extraordinary regardless of the weather, or moon phase, or gentle flow of the chum line. The contest playground is expansive and diverse to say the least. The water allowed includes 3 entire drainages and close to 150 miles of river, lake, creek, and

puddle. If carp live there, and you can physically make it to the morning and evening check-ins, then that water’s likely in play. That presented unique opportunities and challenges for the 22 teams and 13 individual anglers who participated, many of whom traveled across state lines (presumably legally). The hometown boys again held great advantage, as they hunkered

down in waterfront marinas and restaurants, waiting for a fat 36incher to cruise by in search of a discarded fry, partial hamburger bun, or carefully placed tater tot. Stories of broken 8wts, lost fly lines, spilled beers, and botched dockside orders greeted the exhausted flats, creek and river

anglers as they sped stinkily into the 6pm check in. Last year’s team winners, Team Shock and Awe’s Brent Golden and Jeff Keith, retained the honor with 13 fish and a top five that measured 146 inches. Andrew Smalling claimed the Individual Division title with his top five fish at 132 inches. The big fish winner and world famous title of 2013 3


Rivers Carp King went to Greg Marret of Team Fudd, with a common carp taping out at 35 inches. My team, Carptastic, including trusty partner (and spectacular boat owner) Ryan Dunne, fought it out in the trenches of the East Tennessee lake flats amidst poor weather, worse water clarity, sleepy fish and unsavory fellow

competitors to finish the day with a measly 5 fish that topped out at 111 inches. If you stacked all of those fish up into a shape of a basketball goal, I could probably dunk on it. That’s not impressive. The battle of marina fisherman vs. flats fisherman is just beginning, but the battle of the 3 Rivers Carp Cup will rage on, and on, and on, and on…


o t n r u t



Austin Anderson & Mirko Lucchi continue their adventure

Jon Eisen’s birthday was August first, and we wanted to do something special for it. We tossed around ideas for a small tournament on Fork to celebrate the occasion and try to throw a bit of friendly competition into our session. After getting everyone invited we ended up with Jon, Josef, Brid, Rick, Lil Rick, Mirko, Erik, and myself. We agreed on a $20 side pot for big fish, a trophy for the winner, and a list of rules. Summer in Texas is really brutal; it’s hot and humid. Sucks all the energy out of you and it can flat out exhaust you within minutes of

stepping into it. Sessions during this time of year are difficult, with the fish not always feeding, the nights being hot, humid, and sleepless. Along with the challenge that always exists at Fork with the hard fishing, snags, and big fish, it was going to be hard, maybe more so than ever. We were ready. After the results from the first session, the island never left my mind for weeks. I sat thinking for days about what occurred during that session, why things played out like they did. Were there always mirrors in the waters surrounding


the island? What about buffalo? There was only one way to find the answers; return for another trip and conquer the snag filled island once more. I prepped for several days rolling 30lbs of boilies ready to drop in along with particle bait. I was definitely coming prepared for every instance we could possibly encounter out there. Friday finally came and I loaded up the truck. Destination: Lake Fork. Upon my arrival I headed over to the famed 515-west swim, a

popular peg that produced extremely well in both Texas 44 carp and buffalo challenges. Jon, Josef, and Brid had already begun to bait up their swims so I stopped by to visit until Mirko showed up with the boat needed to get out to the Land of the Mirror Carp. I paid in for the big fish side pot and helped the guys bait up their swims before Mirko and I headed off to our own swim. Loading the gear on the boat took a long time as always, especially in the Texas heat we were facing. It was already beginning to get dark

The Mirrors just keep coming

when we arrived at the Island at last. We unloaded the remaining gear as quickly as we could and got started baiting up. I mixed up a ¾ full 5-gallon bucket full of maize, chili hemp, tigers, mixed boilies, and robin red. Along with a bucket of range cubes, we loaded up the boat and Mirko and I began to shovel the bait into the swim over where we were going to fish. We put about half of what I had prepped. Enough to fend off the catfish and turtles and then some. We felt confident. I set my rod pod up and got my rods sorted sort of quickly. I opted to put my tips into the air again to try to force the fish out of the snags before they could drive me into them. I made up a quick method mix and got my rods cast out with their respective hookbaits and rigs. I launched about 20 balls over that lot to try to get the fish on the feed quickly. Mirko did the same and we soon had our rigs sorted out confidently. The quick baiting must have worked because I immediately attracted the attention of a couple catfish, catching four within about 15 minutes of casting. Everything settled down quickly after that and I began quietly milling around, moving gear and organizing stuff the best I could. Not easy in the pitch dark!

About eleven we heard the first crash. Being close in, it was expectedly loud but it sounded really big. Like someone dropped a small car in the water. It was a typical nighttime big buffalo crash, right over our rods. The loud VRRROOOSSSHHHH echoed through the nighttime air. Our confidence rose but no takes. Another miserable night of no sleep and squadrons of mosquitoes. I decided to have a 2am brew in my lucky Obsessive Carp Disorder cup. Half way through it I realized, “You dumbass that has loads of caffeine in it!” and I basically screwed my thoughts of sleep for the entire night. About 4:50 I had a screaming take. I lifted into the fish, which felt solid, and surprise, it snagged me up within a couple seconds. I broke everything off and it was already time for my first rig change of the session. Something prompted me to put on one of the Mulberry Scopex boilies I’d rolled. Within about a minute I had landed a fat catfish. Fantastic! One more try before going back to a less sweet hookbait. I launched more baits out, carefully casted a ball of pack connected to the rig, and sat in wait.


snag free to attempt to land it myself, but the fish wanted otherwise and resisted, taking a heart wrenching run on a tight clutch right for some more snags. I kept the rod high and kept reeling until I saw the fish break the surface. It was another Mirror! I shouted back behind me “Mirko! Mirror!” and Mirko stumbled toward me and helped me net the fish. Success!! Two sessions in a row! I couldn’t

Lake Fork commons often fill the time between monster buffs and mirrors Sure enough, a couple minutes later I had a screaming take on the boilie. I could tell instantly that this was no cat. I cranked the drag all the way down and began to force the fish up and surprisingly it cooperated. I steered the fish the best I could over to an area that was relatively

ACE X-Tenda Net Review Austin Anderson I’m hard on landing nets. No lie, I’ve broken every one I’ve ever owned in some way. I was getting fed up with breaking nets in all of the same places. I received my ACE Carbon X-Tenda net this week. Initially I was pretty amazed wondering how a guy as small as I am was supposed to use a 50” landing net but upon using it I was blown away. The handle is made of woven 3K carbon so it is light but rock solid. And it has an integral twist lock system that allows the net to be extended and locked at any length from 6ft to 10ft. It’s not like flimsy nets that bend and flex so much that you can’t get it moving through the water, the ACE net handle has some backbone to it so I was able to actually lift it even when wet instead of forcing it around. The net arms are stiff enough to maneuver the net through the water,

even with the the dual mesh system that adds a fin-friendly micro-mesh to the base of the net. The micro-mesh also moves well through the water pretty well and doesn’t seem to hold as much water once you lift it out either. The stainless net retaining clip is strong enough to hold the net and move it through the water but something in the design causes it to unclip the second you lift quickly. Once you get the fish in and it unclips, that extra net room confuses them and I haven't had any issues at all of fish trying to power out of the net. I never thought that could even make a difference, it's perfect! The best of any clip I've ever seen on a net. Everything is extremely well thought out, from the easy twist lock mechanism that extends the handle anywhere from 6 to 10 feet, to the

One piece Spreader block with a float

Quick release net clip

Light weight but strong extendable carbon fiber handle

super strong mono cord, the robust net arms and the stainless clip on the mesh. I’m glad to finally have a net that I feel sure will accommodate anything I could wish to catch without sacrificing any maneuverability.

Available at $270 + tax + shipping

This is a high-end net, that’s for sure, and not for every pocketbook, but it is extremely well thought out in every way and I expect I’m going to be using it for a very long time.

California Pro Miguel Ruiz has also been testing the net “best I’ve ever used, difficult to imagine how it could be improved” he says!


believe what I was looking at, another apple slice-scaled Israeli strain mirror, absolutely stunning fish. She went 15lb 4oz on the scales and I slipped her back after taking a couple pictures. Spot on. I recast the rig and went back to catching catfish for a couple hours. The sun had barely peaked over the horizon and the day had instantly taken a turn for the better. I texted a picture to the guys via a group message we had going and quickly got the reply that Jon had already topped me with a 16lb common. Shortly after I had another on the bank. This time a small common that I played hard enough to almost bend the hook out. It was an immaculate fish, and I snapped a pic due to it’s perfect scaling and slipped her back. That morning I lost a lot of fish. I landed a couple small commons but I lost a good 4 or 5 fish plus a couple more rigs. It was just plain brutal, and I was feeling that the fish had the upper hand. All I could really do was tie rigs, keep bait in the water, and hope the next chance I got would be a fish that I could land. I ended up in the yak a couple times fighting fish but was never able to land any of them. It

was just taking too much time. Mirko was getting into them too, but he has been having some recurring trouble with his reels and they kept locking up on him, losing him fish. It was extremely disheartening. The guys on the other bridge reported that Rick Wilson’s son, Lil Ricky, had lost a big buff at the net. I felt gutted for him losing a fish that was certainly way above his PB. There had also been a bunch of small commons landed on the other swim but nothing of any size apart from the currently leading 16lb common. The day wore on and it just got hotter and hotter. I decided to fish one of my favorite plastic rigs, a KD variation that hooks fish extremely well when coupled with a 10mm plastic boilie or a single kernel of artificial corn or maize. I opted for a size 8 hook so I’d have a shot at hooking a buff if one came by my swim, my usual 7 inch stiff hooklink, and I was ready to go. I baited up with single kernels of artificial maize and wrapped them in paste from the mulberry scopex boilies. I was looking down when Mirko exclaimed “Big Big Crash!” I looked up just in time to see a huge buff crash over my middle rod. My heart

was in my throat. I trickled a bit more bait in with the catapult and about 20 minutes later my middle indicator jumped up, settled, then dropped back a bit. I sat above it watching as the line moved a couple times slightly up then down. Suddenly, the indicator dropped back all the way. I grabbed the rod, lifted, palmed the spool, and slowly applied tension. Fish on!

up big in every way. I removed the tiny KD from the fish’s mouth and moved her carefully into the sling. The dial swung around past 45… 46…47…48, and finally settled on 49 even. I thrust my fists in the air. I was now in the lead by a huge margin. I snapped a couple pictures of the scale for official confirmation and moved the fish back to the mat.

I could already tell from the take that this fish was a buffalo. The fish was laying low, moving extremely slowly and planing from side to side. I played the fish slowly as it plodded and made a couple slow runs. I could tell already this was a big fish and I was seriously being careful. After what felt like an eternity the fish started moving up and I caught a glimpse of the massively proportioned buffalo. The fish lazily cooperated as Mirko waded out and slowly pushed the net under it. After a couple thrusts, the fish calmed back down and she was in the net. I had captured a fish that had long been on my list, a big summer buffalo.

The pictures happened quickly as we wanted to get her back in the water. Lifting buffalo this size is extremely difficult, they are like cows with fins and they are extremely hard to get righted without flopping back over the other way. I struggled to hold her up for a couple minutes as Mirko hurried around me to get a couple pictures. I also posed for a few water shots with her and took quite a bit of time reviving the tired fish in the hot water. I gently moved the fish side to side until she finally kicked her tail a couple times and swam off.

Mirko held the net in the water while I quickly got everything sorted out. We slowly slid the sling under the net and hoisted it to the unhooking mat. It was a beast. A very long fish that was just straight

Not ten minutes later, Mirko’s middle rod shot off and he lost the fish in a snag. Then my left rod went...another fish lost in a snag. Just when I thought enough chaos had taken place, Mirko’s right rod took off, slowly running. I knew this was going to be a big fish again, so


“I struggled to hold her up!”


I was extremely nervous while Mirko played this one, praying that his reel wouldn’t lock. After several long runs, lots of plodding, and getting snagged twice, it broke the surface and we were astounded. It was a rare, summertime big common. Mirko played it for a couple more minutes before the

We didn’t have any fish all night and only had one small common in the morning that fell to Mirko’s traps. At noon I was officially crowned the winner of our little tournament. We soon had everything loaded back into the boat and were motoring

Austin & Mirko will be fishing the Carolina Cup - keep up with them here!

fish slipped in the net. I knew Mirko had broken his PB. Sure enough, the fish broke Mirko’s PB, going 30lb even. I took some pictures and we slipped her back. We landed a couple more fish and lost a lot more but the trip had already been made before the second evening even came. The night was quiet and we got plenty of sleep, a rarity on almost all sessions I fish in the summer.

back to the boat ramp ready for our journey home. Josef met us at the ramp and handed me my winnings, a $100 bill and a pat on the back. The island had proved to be another ass kicker but we had emerged with an amazing result yet again. I feel sure that, though it is snag filled and extremely hard to fish, it’s going to remain very close to my heart...especially this winter when Fork really kicks in!


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CARPPRO $$ 2013

JP is back in da house

No one wants to suffer a casualty, or the unthinkable, a KIA or MIA while out on shore patrol. The carp flats can be a very unforgiving theater for the warrior who comes ill-equipped. Don’t be sending your flies off with a 21gun salute, or worse, ship home with a toe tag in a body bag. Trying to engage your opponent when your ammo is not up to snuff has got to be one of the most frustrating experiences. Fishing with too light of a round can be the difference between a missed target and positive engagement. Bead chain isn’t always the proper ordnance when fishing in current, wind, or in knee deep water; armor yourself with some lead eyes. But beware, go too heavy, and your cover is blown when your projectile enters the water with a large report and muzzle flash. Buffering your round with a marabou tail, rubber legs, and soft hackle collar is not only the perfect kill flash, but imparts enough positive movement once in the

water to engage your target effectively. Recently a friend told me, “You carp anglers are amazing to me! You have absolutely no "rules" to your tying. No hackle this way, tail that way. It's free style. And this brings out the most odd flies I have ever seen. Completely crazy!” Though intended as a compliment, my friend was both right and wrong. While it is true that a carp angler and fly tyer generally do not have to follow protocol and the rules of engagement (which were originally drafted for trout) it is not a complete free-for-all either. Alchemy at the vise is not beguiling from chaos and anarchy, but rather from an objective, a mission where the tyer follows the principles of improvise, adapt, and overcome. Inspired by the Ruffian, the Carpocalypse is a fly borne of necessity. There was a need identified out on the battlefield for


CARPPRO $$ 2013

Carpocalypse Hook:

Umpqua U401, Size 4


Wapsi Painted Lead Eyes, Small Gold


Hareline Grizzly Marabou, Tan


Roughfisher’s UV Dub, Dark Tan

Thorax: Hen Ringneck Pheasant, Tan Throat: Rabbit, Tan Legs:

Sili Legs Nymph, Sand Barred and


Pumpkin/Green-Orange Barred; Speckled Leggs, Olive/Green Roughfisher’s UV Dub, Dark Tan


a small, dense, high profile fly, equipped with rubber legs and a hook point protecting throat. Fishing with flies not designed to ride hook point up almost always results in a casualty, with the hook point snagging bottom, dulling or even bending the tip outward. Anyone who has been deployed to the flats knows that rocks out on the flats are like fishing in a minefield, it’s not a matter of if you detonate one, it’s when. Concealment of your fly is of lesser concern when determining the coloration of your fly’s camouflage. While still important, stealth of the angler, along with the presentation and accurate delivery of your fly are the most crucial elements when approaching your target. Finding the perfect ammunition for your service weapon takes a little effort on your part. Know the limitations of your line and rod, and your casting ability. Spend

CARPPRO $$ 2013

time at the range, working on your cast; become consistent. Practice your range-finding skills and know what a true fifteen yard target truly looks like from a distance. Or a thirty. Observe and monitor environmental conditions; be able to account for windage and know how to effectively counter its effect. Most important of all, learn how to read carp and react to their behavior. Selecting the right fly for the situation is sometimes a matter of trial and error. However, understanding your opponent and your theater of engagement can help you narrow down the possibilities, enabling you to easily identify a fly appropriate for the mission. Rely on instinct, adaptive behavior, and muscle memory, rather than operating without any decent restraint. When you find your target, infiltrate it by whatever means available and terminate the carp’s command. Terminate with extreme prejudice.

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