As your new Editor-in-chief of NACA magazine I have to say that it has been an honor and a privilege to assume the roll from Dean Brookes, who has done fantastic work in past issues. I am a dedicated and passionate bigriver carp angler residing in Connecticut, and my goal is to spread awareness of catch and release carp fishing, along with proper carp care in the United States. This magazine has given me the opportunity to meet and work with some very talented anglers from all parts of the world. With that being said I hope you enjoy this issue which contains a number of great summer session stories, complimented with excellent photography.
Recent events: CAG Spring Big 4 This year saw one of the best ever supported Spring Big 4 competitions. A huge thank you to Barry Howard for organizing this popular event. You can find the list of winners by following the link:
CCC 2017 As we go to press Barry Howard is finalizing details for this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CAG Carp Classic (CCC) 2017. It will be held over the weekend of Sept 23 & 24 on the Hudson River in NY state. For more information please visit the CAG website at the following link. http://www.carpanglersgroup.com/forum/index.php?/forum/380ccc-2017/ As always please contact me if you have any stories and photos you would like to be considered for publishing in a future NACA.
Edwin Stackhouse Editor-in-chief
Letter from CAG president
to learn fishing can be demanding rp ca of cts pe as ny ma t ars tha A good I have learned over the ye r hand and foot placement. pe pro e uir req l wil st ca ct e perfe but rewarding to master. Th uires great the perfect method mix req ke ma to w Ho . gh ou thr follow starting point and proper g site will ecial flavors. The perfect pe sp d an rn co am cre ts, oa ce of ow flat . ingredients, the right balan nice drop, that is by a shall a n, su the in e ad sh s, ag to no sn have a good current, little aft so it will ough wraps around the sh en t jus ve ha , ter wa the o nd int The perfect hair rig will ble . Masterskills that we will all acquire all are e es Th . ted tes en nd wh turn nicely and hook your ha experience more enjoyable. ing them make our fishing r requires demanding of all but it neve st mo the be y ma t tha g fishin There is one aspect of carp hing. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ure of our group and carp fis fut the to nt rta po im ly me is extre you to become a master. It s that it can g! I know with our busy live rin tee lun vo d lle ca It . ing ard fishing. time consuming but very rew finding the time to take a kid ing nd ma de be n ca It n. h-i al fis be demanding to host a loc State Chair manding to volunteer as a de be n ca It s. on cti fun b end clu It can be demanding to att be just as that being a volunteer will e nc rie pe ex l na rso pe m l you fro or BOD member. I can tel d mix and it the perfect batch of metho like ile sm u yo ke ma l wil st. It rewarding as the perfect ca ct hair rig. will hook you like the perfe mmunity or prove an organization, a co im n ca s ort eff ur yo d an ed Volunteers are always need you will be le time and give us a call, litt a d fin So e. fac rs gle ung an simply put a smile on a yo happy you did!
North American Carp Angler
Conte n ts
Short session river fishing Page 7
Seven flooded states (and more)
An Unforgettable Session Page 88
CAG MIDWEST REGIONALS Page 105
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Short session river fishing By Olivier Ganzadi Although we would all like to stay on the river nonstop, day and night, it is not always practical. So, I would like to give you a few basic tips on what to look for in a river to succeed in a short session. Whether you fish a regular spot that you live near, or exploring a new area, the tips I want to present are good for both situations. I would however like to place some emphasis on the area near you as you will have more time there to observe the natural elements that can affect your fishing session. A good knowledge of the river is a priority, cur-
The barges are a great offering as they provide
rent, structure, depth and nature of the bottom.
security for the carps.The weed beds are like a
This is everything that you need to know to
fridge full of larvae and different micro life that the
achieve some satisfactory results during a short
carps feed on, and a nice shady area during the
summer. A rocky drop off will be perfect at night bringing the carps in the margin to feed on some
An example of structure: a footbridge will always
crayfish or muscle attached to a submerge wall.
have carp going around it, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a break in the cur-
A dock is always a good spot especially setting
rent and the food will get stuck on those big con-
up at the end of it will allow you to fish in the sense
crete piling so the carps can rest and find some
of the current.
North American Carp Angler
Foot Bridge Fish light, I believe two rods are enough.
Carp are not line shy in this type of environment,
If you can avoid the rod pod do it, as a bank stick
so donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hesitate to fish heavy 50lb braid or a 25
and tripod will be quicker to set up, and pack up if
to 50lb mono. If you choose braided line donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t
you need to change spots.
forget to use a thick mono as a shock leader that
A good reel with a quick drag equipped with braid or mono will do the job.
will give more elasticity and abrasion resistance during a fight for example, in between obstacles.
As for the rigs keep it simple and solid a regular bolt rig or a method feeder rig will do the job. I like heavy leads even in the margin (4 to 8oz) size 4 to 1 wide gap hooks will fit all the situation and the size of bait selected. For the hook length, I prefer stiff material like coated braid or fluorocarbon. In regard to bait you will not need a lot, don’t forget that it’s a quick session. PVA bags stringer or method mix sticks are your main weapons, a little bit of free offering around your presentation is all you need.
Basic Method mix rig
Method balls and pellets leaves a lot of scent in the water without over feeding the carps, and will trigger their appetite.
The faster you can get activity on your spot the better, even if it’s not carp right away it won’t be too long beBolt Rig
fore they show up attracted by what is happening on your swim. In this case, nothing better to start the session by baiting up 8 to 10 method balls charged with particles like cooked bird seed, hemp, sweetcorn, micro pellets and crushed boilies. The micro particles keep the carp busy swimming around the spot and can easily trigger a feeding frenzy.
best way to get fast action on your spot North American Carp Angler
In those short sessions pay close attention to your rod tips, they will be the first indication on your swim activity level. Little bumps, line bite, jumps, and suddenly it gets quiet, the golden lady is here. Be ready for the take that you patiently build through your light baiting using the current as a scent carrier in the river. I hope one of these tips can help somebody out there, good luck on the bank.
North American Carp Angler
e m a G p
by Younes Gonzalez
r a #C
It is true that quite a lot of carpers have difficulty to change destination and is regularly found on the
same banks, and I was one of them. This is also because this class of fishermen are obliged to exploit to the maximum a body of water before passing to another. We all have in mind a favorite playground where we feel good, and especially where we know the background and attitude of the herd enough to regularly catch nice fish. Places where one feels confident and generally the bite alarms goes off more than once in a session, which I call “sure values”. But to discover new waters is an equally attractive challenge, full of uncertainty which multiplies the pleas-
ure in cases of success, this type of discovery is what this narrative is about.
It is the end of October, and I am fishing this
The end of the afternoon will be essentially
gravel pit near my home. I have already caught
dedicated to understanding the bottom of my spot
the biggest fish in this venue so I’ve been a bit
(measuring depth, structure, platforms, holes
bored. However, all this would change when a
friend came by, telling me rumors of a stretch of
The bottom is largely linear and varies from four
river where large fish could be found. Intrigued by
to ten feet maximum, and only the bed of the river
these rumors, I decide to pack up and check it out
presents some irregularity and unevenness that I
myself that very same day.
decide to explore. I find a random place to set up, to get this experiment under way.
Once I arrived there, I was immediately seduced by the quiet and shady aspect of this part
So, I’ll start my session. My four rods will
of the river. Very little current, plenty of room to
be baited with my homemade fish meal boilies.
set up the camp, and almost no traffic on the river.
I spread out handfuls of boilies and particles for
In short; perfect. And seeing that I was left some
each rod. As the night began I got comfortable
hours before dark, I decided to settle down and
on my bed chair, watching mobile tv, waiting for
have a 24-hour session to get a feel of the river.
some action. North American Carp Angler
Over the course of the night I caught a
I returned to the spot once during the week,
single twenty-two-pound common, waiting until
to spread some more boilies and watch for any
morning to photograph it, before returning it to
activity. I saw some movement, but whether it was
its natural environment. As I begin to pack up an
carp or catfish I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell. All I knew was that
idea crosses through my mind. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still early so I
there were some fish.
should use this time to scout out the area. So, I begin to head upstream.
Finally, the day arrived and I headed off to
After an hour of analysis, I find a satisfying
the spot during the mid-afternoon. The weather
enough spot. It is on a curve in the river and a little
had gotten bad over the course of the week, and
deeper than the area I had fished the night be-
I feared that it might affect my fishing. Thankfully
fore. Deciding that this is where I wanted to fish, I
the water temperature had only gone down one
spread twenty pounds of particles and boilies, as
degree, nothing that could negatively impact my
I planned to come back the following weekend.
I set up three of my rods in varying depths along the opposing bank, since this stretch wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t very wide. The fourth rod would be set up in front of me in the margin. I spread out a little bit of particles for every rig. I had a few bumps on my rods due to little fish activity, meaning my spot was alive. I replaced the particles for Tiger nuts, so the little fish would leave them alone, leaving some food for the carp.
North American Carp Angler
Around ten o’clock that night, under the rain, my bite alarm went off. My first real run. I jumped into my boat and felt the power and the weight of the fish. I knew I was dealing with a big carp. Very excited and cautious at the same time, I managed the fight. It pulled me around like I was nothing. After a while I saw the fish’s side under the water, and the next thing I knew it was in my net. A big catch of a size I didn’t expect.
After bringing it back on the bank, and putting it on my landing mat, I realized how big the fish was. I was excited to weight it, but the needle on my scale was blocked at forty-five pounds. The fish was heavier than that so I wouldn’t know its exact weight until the day after, when I contacted a friend who could bring me the correct equipment to weight this monster.
Another common would join my landing mat. A twenty-pounder that fought with a lot of strength. I would later fall asleep, exhausted but satisfied.
I was awakened by the sound of my bite alarm.
During the fight, my friends made fun of me,
My margin rod was going off. The fish was swim-
thinking that I’m over exaggerating the fish’s
ming dangerously close to some branches. I had
strength. But after a few splashes from the fish,
to get into the water to keep the fish from getting
they realized I was being serious. It was a long
fight, very slow, heavy, hugging the bottom, all the
Two men then showed up, one recognizing me
characteristics of river fish. After the long strug-
by the clothes I was wearing, my very own brand
gle of landing of the fish, and carrying it back up
“Karp’Attitud wear”. It’s a streetwear brand, popu-
the slippery bank, I realized that the fish was big-
lar amongst carpers in my area.
ger than the first monster that I caught during the night. North American Carp Angler
Now it was time of the verdict. My friend came over and helped me weight the fish, bringing the right scale with him. The first one weighed in at fifty-two pounds, and the second one a whopping sixty pounds. I had beat my personal best twice. What a session. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m full of emotions, excited, tired, and happy.
The day before I had bought myself a new reflex camera, and I had the chance to use it on my two personal bests today. What a blessing. My friend photographed the fish for me and the pictures turned out great, so Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll let you guys enjoy them.
North American Carp Angler
Sometimes it’s good to try new spots even if you don’t feel confident right away. Just stay persistent and get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you’ll end up with incredible results, like I did.
North American Carp Angler
North American Carp Angler
North American Carp Angler
Seven flooded states By Jérôme Moisand
In the past few years, having much more time available for myself, I became quite fond of doing long road & fishing trips across the country. Last year, as recounted in those pages, I traveled from MA to GA and back, and I really wanted to try again some of the areas I fished while doing something new the rest of the time. This year, the plan was to go from
When recounting such big trip, it is tempting to
MA to MO (Boston to Saint Louis)
focus on the successes, while not saying much
and back, while fishing in PA, WV, KY,
about the inevitable struggles, and make as many
TN, MO and IN (then back through KY, WV and PA). As it turned out, I also fished in OH and MD, and even a couple of hours in IL. A full month of fishing (and a good deal of driving, plus some sightseeing), leaving on April 20th and coming back on May 25th.
people as possible jealous of your big catches! Ok, I’ll admit that I am going to brag a bit, but the general approach of this article is to put in perspective those successes while also being straight about various challenges and misfortunes, and the fact that it isn’t quite easy to make such adventure work. Two types of ‘misfortunes’ will be pervasive in this story: ‘flooded rivers’ and the ‘missing grass carp’.
Flooded Rivers and Floodwall
Pennsylvania Part 1
Last year, I really struggled with the Susquehanna River in the Wilkes-Barre area. I found a great spot the last day (a big bend of the river with a giant eddy), and I swore to myself to come back and try again. North American Carp Angler 27
After a good deal of driving on my day of departure, I parked my car, very eager to go throw a
very muddy or the water was moving too fast, and I blanked again the next day.
bucket of maize in there and catch a bunch of fish the day after. Er, wait a minute, it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look as I
I tweaked a bit my plans for the following day,
remembered, most of the shore was underwater
drove southwest along the river, trying to find a
as the river was quite flooded. It was still fishable
suitable tributary, painfully identified two nice
though, so I went through my plan.
spots and royally blanked again. Not a good start for the trip. More about PA later!
Results of the following day: three catfish, and no sign of carp whatsoever. I tried a couple of more areas I had scouted last year, but it was either
Skunked at the Susquehanna River
West Virginia I spent half a day visiting the town of Hershey (PA) and the related chocolate factory, this was quite fun, then drove to West Virginia. I wanted to explore a mountain lake I heard of last year, possibly hosting big fish. Access turned out to be rather limited besides a busy marina, and local maps were incomplete if not flawed. I found a decommissioned boat ramp, where an old dude swore that he hooked a 60lb carp many years ago! The day after, I fished another area of the same lake with Rob (Possum) and Doug (Dunkel), two local CAG members. Weather was miserable, and we blanked. I did notice a few encouraging jumps though. The following day, we fished two other venues, the first one full of small
hungry carp (so I didn’t blank!), and the second one (a reservoir) only delivered a nice 20lber for Doug. Rather meager results, but I told myself that I would work harder on those big fish venues on my way back. This was the point of those few days, explore and make a plan. Let’s fast forward near the end of my trip. I had replenished my buckets of maize by cooking a bunch of it in KY. The WV plan was to spend two days at the reservoir and three days at the lake, while throwing a full bucket of bait in the water every night. The reservoir worked ok the first day (seven fish up to 26lb) while the second day proved on and off (a 30 pounder to begin with, nothing for looong hours, then a 25lb fully scaled at the end of the day). I saw really big jumps though…
Releasing a 30+ in West Virginia North American Carp Angler
Onto the larger lake. Darn, lots of catfish anglers when I arrived at dusk and the water level was much lower, displaying this interesting feature of WV lakes, the ‘attractor trees’ (some local DNR biologist decided that dead Christmas trees should be thrown in the water and create habitat for various fish – the guy never considered snags, quite obviously).
fish jumping over my bait right when I was done, hmpf. I drove to the old boat ramp, hoping for churchgoers to still be busy. It looked different with the lower water level, but definitely fishable. I saw a couple of fish jump at range while I was setting
I found a nice pier, chummed a good deal and came back the day after. This was a Saturday, the weather was very nice and I painfully discovered that this lake is used for various recreational purposes, most very noisy and disturbing for both fish (saw a few jumps early in the day, then no more) and carp anglers.
I wrapped up, and rolled my eyes at an annoying
up, so I cast out there, and… it worked! It worked great, actually, as the second fish I landed was a magnificent common, at 29-12 pounds. Whoah, that really made my day. I had quite a few challenges with snags though. You can guess, I heavily prebaited that evening, and was back in the morning for one more day. Well, this proved frustrating. Snags were really everywhere. I got 8 runs. I lost six rigs and landed two decent but not special fish. Still, I was definitely onto something
I spent long hours of
with this lake. Will be back at some point!
misery in the heat, hoping that things would get better near dusk. The disturbance did eventually subside, but carp didn’t come back. I decided to stick to the plan, prebaited again, and came back VERY early the next day. The morning turned out much more quiet (something to be said for church on Sunday morning!), but no bite.
29 pounder in a brand new lake in West Virginia
Ohio My next stop was the Ohio River in Huntington (WV), near the border of Kentucky and Ohio. I drove towards the big river and hit a wall. Literally. I mean, a BIG wall.
I drove around and finally figured out that the always amazing US Army Corps of Engineers built floodwalls to protect the local town against the varying moods of the river. Some of those walls had beautiful mural paintings (on the town side!) and I really enjoyed walking along such great historical representations displaying life along the river.
Mural painting on floodwall (near Huntington, WV) Finding access was another story though. The
I chatted for a while with a couple who were
river was high, but the banks remained steep and
fishing there, and discovered that I was actually
access scarce. I finally located a boat ramp with a
in Ohio (I had crossed the river). I wet a line for
small park along a tributary, and this looked per-
an hour, then chummed with my usual bucket of
maize. North American Carp Angler
I came back the day after, and had a blast. I caught an army of smallmouth buffalos and multiple healthy carp, including a couple of upper teens, this was fun. The day after, I drove a bit further (in KY), found a bigger tributary where I could see the big barges manoeuver (those captains are impressively skilled!), didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it work, found another tributary on the OH side and caught a nice 15 pounder right away. I finally came back to the boat ramp, and had good fun again.
Ohio River near Huntington, WV- Ohio side
Any misfortune in Ohio, then? Well, I quickly be-
She made me promise to send pictures of my
friended Cara, the lady angler I met the first day,
adventures on Facebook as I was traveling fur-
who seemed a little frail. She told me about her
ther. I dutifully did, and will certainly continue to
life, and let’s just say that nice and generous peo-
ple can sometimes get an awfully hard time in life. More generally, this area of KY and WV is reMisfortune isn’t quite the right word here, and Cara’s story broke my heart a little bit.
ally struggling with poverty, heroin is ravaging the local towns, and it was rather distressing to see such environment.
Tennessee I spent a night in Cave City (KY) and visited a couple of caverns. I was quite impressed by the second one, with an underground river flowing deep underground. Some aptly named cavefish live in there, I didn’t see one, but my guide spotted a white spider with long antennas, this was quite fascinating. Mid-day, I drove towards this gem of a lake, the stunningly beautiful Dale Hollow, and made it to a marina. I waited a little bit, and saw a cool houseboat
The captain was my old buddy Gilbert Huxley, who organizes houseboat fishing trips on Dale Hollow islands. I was NOT going to miss that, and had lined up a few carp anglers (Jim, Tim and Bob) from GA earlier this year to share the adventure with a few other fellows. Gilbert expertly navigated to the island, and I got a warm welcome from everybody. Unfortunately, we left Bigbird at the marina, the poor guy couldn’t stay due to some health issue.
coming my way with some giant waving at me from the boat. Bigbird (Mike) himself! I never met him before, and yeah, he’s an impressive fellow and I had to cheat a bit to get a picture of us both on the same level!
North American Carp Angler
I am taller than Bigbird himself, right? The fishing space was actually rather tight for
Since I was the only one fishing at night, I did
such a large crew, but they were kind enough to
quite well, with two 30+ and a good number of
give me the best swim, from the back of the boat,
20s, while the other folks struggled (they did much
10 feet from my bed bunk!
better before I arrived, hmm).
I proceeded to prebait at range, andâ&#x20AC;Ś didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get any sleep that night, getting runs every hour or
I stayed there 3 days and 4 nights and had a
so. Overall, it was slow during the day (except for
blast, an excellent time with great people in a
the BIG one, a 35lber Terry caught mid-afternoon)
and more active at night.
Terry and his big mirror (35lb) at Dale Hollow
Dale Hollow sunset and houseboat North American Carp Angler
Tim was fishing with me at the back of the boat,
for the entire time, and for whatever reason, carp
and was a little stuck on small-ish fish. As I wan-
never visited it. The last night, I told him to set up
dered farther away on the island to chat with an-
close to me at the back of the boat, and promised
other angler (another Tim), I saw him playing a
to drag him out of bed when needs be. Well, nei-
big fish. Those Dale Hollow fish are very powerful
ther his alarms nor mine made a peep that night.
for sure. The fish was over the net when it did a daring escape, and lost the hook in the process…
After breakfast though, he got an unexpected
Poor Tim was floored. The word ‘misfortune’ ac-
run and… his swivel broke and the fish was gone.
tually came from him, commenting on his tough loss. That’s fishing for you, always a learning opportunity, but that can be harsh.
AAARG. We had a silver lining though, as I got a last minute run on one of my rods, I unceremoniously pushed John towards it, pestered him with
Another unfortunate fellow was John (the CAG newsletter editor) who fished a good-looking cove
unnecessary advice while he was playing the fish, and he did land a nice 20+.
John with his last minute 20+ at Dale Hollow (with Jim and Bob)
After the boat trip, I spent three days in Nashville, fishing in the morning, sightseeing in the afternoon/ evening. My plan was to fish Marrowbone Lake, a very scenic managed lake, where really big grassies have been caught. Long story short, my alarms didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t beep once, not even for a catfish. Sigh.
In order to see some fish, I had to resort to visit the local Bass Pro Shops, a giant store near Nashville and the usual neat aquarium displaying various species, and yes, this included a nice carp. The highlight though was to visit Nashville, enjoying the live music bars (ahem, I did go to the Coyote Ugly, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell my wife!). And even better I booked tickets for the Grand Ole Opry at the last minute, without a clue of who would play and the show included
from Charles Esten and Brad Paisley, incredible!
Brad Paisley at the Grand Ole Opry North American Carp Angler
Mural painting on floodwall (Paducah, KY)
Kentucky My grass carp plan was two-fold, Marrowbone first, then a section of the Ohio River near Pad-
but gave me a local tour and plenty of terrific advices on where I might have a chance. He warned me though that the state of the river (badly flooded) was really not conducive to success.
ucah (KY) where grassies vastly outnumber other
And he was right. I tried really hard for two full
species. After driving along the giant Lake Barkley
days, even venturing in Illinois for a couple of
(where bow hunters seem to have a blast killing
hours (crossing the river), and nothing worked,
various types of fish and leaving them to rot on
the shore), I stumbled again on those incredible floodwalls and beautiful murals. I was greeted by Niall (Carp_Addict), a very experienced CAG member who couldn’t really fish with me (this annoying thing called ‘work’),
This was tough, my two best grass carp plans falling apart. I did enjoy fishing the main river from Paducah though, kind of a St Lawrence experience with the big boats passing by.
I wasn’t exactly happy about blanking for 5 days
No driving around trying to find a fishing spot,
in a row, with nothing to show in Kentucky. I hadn’t
just enjoy the cabin and fish the Little Sandy riv-
planned yet my return trip besides Indiana, and I
er (which wasn’t so small due to the state of the
came up with an idea. Most of the time, I stayed in
main river!), and hope that fish were stacked up
cheap Airbnb apartments and/or rooms.
in this tributary. The cabin itself was truly spectacular and very
Well, I splurged a bit, and rented a very intriguing cabin for 2 nights in Greenup (KY), sitting on
comfy, and the ‘Dragonfly Adventures’ hosts were very friendly (thank you, Myra and Kelsey!).
a tributary of the Ohio river, not very far from Hun-
My plan delivered with flying colors, with an in-
tington. The plan was to go to MO and IN, and
creasing number of cats, buffs and commons as I
then return to KY, which I did.
was piling up more bait. I also did some kayaking to explore the river, and this all turned out very relaxing and enjoyable, compared to the stressful failure in Paducah…
My spectacular cabin in Greenup, KY
My spectacular cabin in Greenup, KY North American Carp Angler
Missouri I always wanted to fish the mighty Mississippi river. This was another key part of my plan. I arrived in Saint-Louis early afternoon, quickly marveled at the Gateway Arch, and started to explore. Well, the Mississippi is of course a giant river, but finding shore access is though. Notably where the river is flooded and access roads are blocked all over the place. And when you do succeed to get close to the water, you find ten yards covered in very slippery mud, and you completely lose any marker since the river is way over its normal shore. This gave me a lot of grief. I finally found a very promising spot, two old bridges over a tributary near the historic town of Kimmswick (which is really worth a visit in itself, by the way). I baited and fished it hard, notably after some young guys (ahem, bow hunters) told me that big grassies were roaming around. No luck. One of those guys did shoot and kill a few silvery fish right in front of me, he was quite proud of himselfâ&#x20AC;Ś The flooded tributary was 8 to 15 feet deep (while there are only a few feet of water in normal times). This was a good opportunity to use the Deeper Pro+ sonar I received right before my trip. I actually played with it in many occasions during the trip, this definitely helped quickly mapping areas I was exploring.
This is a pretty neat tool, with a great design, that you can cast pretty far away, and see the depth, water temperature and get fish signals on your smartphone.
North American Carp Angler
I also tried to find access to the River Des Peres inside Saint Louis, and… this one wasn’t flooded enough! The very steep banks just weren’t suitable for fishing anywhere I went. I swear, I tried everything for 2 days and a half, and ran out of options. As a side note, this was right after my 5 days of blanking in TN and KY, so morale was inversely proportional to the water level… I still had hopes to catch a fish in every state I stayed, and I was being defeated by the Mississippi at my primary U-turn point. Well, desperate measures were required, so I went fishing a local pond in a park. Yeah, lame, I know. And I blanked for hours. And I moved to another similar pond I prebaited in the morning. And got a pull. And didn’t get the fish, and thought ‘stupid catfish’. I was swapping messages with a friend I made in Texas at the ATC and… I got a real run. A couple of heart-pounding minutes, and I landed my first Missouri carp, not big but it made my day for sure. And four more followed. Alessandra, you were my lucky charm! The next morning, I took a bit more time to go check the Gateway Arch and was soon on my way to Indiana. Gateway Arch – Saint Louis
Indiana The original plan was to go to Indianapolis and fish with Rick Slinker. Alas, due to an unfortunate schedule conflict, this didn’t work out. But Rick came up with a brilliant idea and hooked me up with the famous Dot and Richard, both long-time CAG members. I’ve seen pictures of Dot in many occasions, and she might very well be the most dedicated female carp angler we have in the US! They readily agreed to take care of me, and invited me to stay at Richard’s house. No need to say that the couple of days I spent out there proved very welcoming and ended up with quite a few carp from their favorite local lake. Richard kept acting as a CAG state chair without the title, not only by hosting me but also assisting multiple local anglers in discovering carp fishing. Unfortunately Dot couldn’t fish with us for most of the time (work), but she did come at the end of the second day, and immediately proceeded to outfish everybody, number-wise and size-wise. Another very relaxing time after the Missouri stressful days, and CAG working at its best.
The famous Dot and the Apprentice (Indiana) North American Carp Angler
Since we fished a lake, the flooding situation
Doug caught a sizeable catfish right away, which
didn’t impact us, but while I was driving in Illinois
told me that my chum was long gone. We saw
(towards Indiana), I noticed a giant expense of
a couple of fish jump on the other shore, things
water on both sides of the road.
I finally stopped to take pictures, and saw a farm
After a few hours, I caught exactly nothing and
building right in the middle of an ocean of water.
Doug wasn’t doing much better. I finally realized
Those were flooded fields! The Little Wabash Riv-
that although the river was fairly wide, I was fish-
er wasn’t so little, no floodwalls in this area, and
ing a very shallow area. After all those flooded riv-
I was glad that no section of the road ended up
ers, this just didn’t cross my mind! I decided to
extend my stay till 5pm, as I noticed a couple of more jumps, and set up my rods in slightly deeper water, two of them at range.
Maryland After Indiana, I drove back to KY and WV, we already covered that. I was getting a bit greedy by then, and wanted to claim carp caught in 8 states. Doug (Dunkel) had referenced a good spot in Maryland while we were fishing together in West Virginia, and I carelessly scheduled half a day of fishing out there, thinking that with Doug prebaiting the area, it would be a breeze to catch a few carp, and then move on. I made it out there in the evening, found the spot on the South Potomac river, and threw a bucket of chum in there without seeing much of what I was doing. I spent the night at an interesting Airbnb home in Frostburg (near Cumberland), back to my cheap ways, but it turned out to be a house full of antiques, tastefully arranged as a lively house from a century ago, very cool. I met Doug on the bank in the morning, and we proceeded to fish.
While reeling in, I discovered a fall fish on my hook, not what I wanted, but a new species in my book. Doug had to leave early afternoon, I stubbornly kept going, and YES, I got a run at 4:30pm. URG, this was a freaking catfish, with very dark moustaches.
And that was it. This is the
second time I made a quick
stop in Maryland, the second
time I did not catch a carp, and the second time I caught such a dark catfish.
The Maryland curse. But hey, it wasn’t a flooded state, so in a perverse
way, maybe it makes sense that I didn’t succeed out there while I did pull it off everywhere else.
The Maryland Curse
Back to Pennsylvania
I contacted Jim, he readily agreed, and I rented yet another Airbnb room near Morgantown PA. After Maryland, I drove long hours on the PA turnpike, nearly running out of gas on this poorly
After my annoying failure with the Susquehanna,
designed highway (those narrow lanes!), full of
I was wary of trying this river again. About one
trucks and endlessly meandering through the
third of the way on my trip, I read a post by Carp-
woods and hills of PA, not fun.
ncat (Jim) on the CAG forum, showcasing some amazing fish he caught in a pond with his friend
The next morning, Jim picked me up bright and
Bob. And I thought that it would be cool to meet
early, and we were on our way to a fairly sizable
those two folks, and finish my trip out there.
(~130 acres) private pond. North American Carp Angler
We set up, Jim got the first fish, an incredible fantail (I never caught a fantail in my life)! Then I got a run and landed a very cool mirror, quickly followed by a koi. Now I didn’t catch a koi in the past 10 years, after this record of mine (pure luck!). Where am I? Did I get in an accident on this dreaded highway and moved straight to carp paradise? I quickly decided to extend my stay and fish this pond one more day, and I couldn’t care less that the weatherman predicted rain… We kept going with a lot of catfish and more beautiful mirrors.
Jim’s magnificent fantail (Pennsylvania) The day after, it was just Jim and me and the weatherman wasn’t joking, we got seriously soaked all morning. Poor Jim was obviously sticking to it because of me, and I was feeling bad about it. Plus we weren’t catching very much. He was telling me stories about Alan Kowaleski, one of the most iconic CAG members who passed away a few years ago, and who helped Jim get started with serious carp fishing. The rain thankfully stopped before noon, but biting didn’t quite pick up.
Then Jim got a run, and I saw a big roll 50 yards away. The fish darted towards the shore, then made a giant splash, I got a solid glimpse of a very thick fish, I opened my mouth to tell Jim to get easy with the drag and… didn’t have time to say anything, the line pulled and the fish was gone. This was a BIG grass carp, I mean, in the 60+ pounds range (the owner of the pond told us earlier that there are a few like that in there).
The missing grass carp syndrome struck again.
I called the pondâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owner (Dick), asking him to
Jim left a little afterwards while I wanted to stay as
come to take pictures, and as he was coming to-
long as possible.
wards me with his grandson, I got another run.
I got a couple of catfish, another nice mirror, then
Which turned out to be an even more unique fish,
nothing for two hours. I had 90 minutes left before
a magnificent koi, mixing dark purple, orange and
the pondâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s closing time. Then I got a slow run and
I could feel solid weight at the end of the line, and played it very carefully.
Caught less than an hour before my finish line. Absolutely mind-boggling. We took pictures, I re-
It turned out to be the biggest fish of my entire
leased the fish, got another small mirror and fin-
trip, a 34-8lb mirror carp, with a very unique shape
ished the day, of course, with a catfish. Oh, and
with a giant smile over my face!
The biggest carp of the trip (34lb, PA) North American Carp Angler
Last words Let’s be clear, this wasn’t easy and multiple aspects of my plan fell apart. But at the end, the good memories remain and the more difficult ones fade away, or just become part of what lead to success. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without a bunch of great people, in the order of appearance: Rob and Doug (WV); Gilbert, Mike, Jim, Tim & Tim, Bob, Terry, John (TN); Niall (KY); Rick, Dot and Richard (IN); Doug again (MD); and last but not least Jim, Bob and Dick (PA). Also some very
nice folks I met while fishing or via Airbnb (Sally, Cara, Myra, Kelsey, Tyler, etc.). And ‘lucky charm’ Alessandra. And my wife for being so patient with the crazy carp angler leaving home for more than a month in a row, and… already planning to do it again! I just would like to add one final thought for Skammer (James Skamarakus). I contacted him at the end of 2016 while preparing for this trip, I had planned to fish with him near Wilkes-Barre (PA). James unfortunately suddenly passed away before the beginning of my trip. I hope he found a lot of great fishing wherever he is now.
North American Carp Angler
The Hatch Session By Wayne Boon
The night was mostly clear with a large full moon
super sized crash of a serious lump making it’s
and what seemed like a million stars lighting up
presence heard. The carp seemed to be danc-
the sky. It was such a bright light-show that I eas-
ing along to the verse and chorus of the Frogs.
ily found the size 4 hook I dropped whilst tying rigs earlier. The tree branches above my head were
There was a serious hatch happening and eve-
casting vivid, finger like shadows over my bivvy
ry creature in and around the lake seemed to be
and all down the bank to the water’s edge.
taking advantage of it… I’d never experienced a
The line in the sand where the water met the shoreline was brought alive, rippling and glisten-
hatch as intense as the one I had infant of me tonight.
ing with the dancing star-spangled moonlight reflections - An absolutely gorgeous evening!
There was no wind and no boats, but the water wasn’t calm and glass like, as you’d expect! For the last several hours, the Carp had been hitting the surface of my swim at an amazing rate, sometimes two or three every few seconds. From experience, I’d say most were ranging from good teens up to the mid 20s mark and the action of them whacking the surface made deep Ka-plunk and thwock sounds that echoed across the water, bouncing back off of the far bank a split second later. At times throughout the evening, the show was absolutely amazing with the occasional
North American Carp Angler
I could hear the coyotes yapping in the distance, competing with the roosting gulls and squabbling cormorants somewhere off on
Butâ&#x20AC;Śover-shadowing everything else by far was a chorus of thousands of croaking frogs, each vying for attention.
the far side of the lake. The ducks had postponed their sleep and were noisily jockeying for pole po-
With the Moon shining through the tree branches
sition with heads low, beaks down parallel to the
above my head, lighting the main stage, Mother
surface of the water, quaffing their fair share of
Nature was in the midst of producing a stunningly
the hatch soup.
beautiful, yet eerie and mysterious evening and I felt extremely privileged to be in possession of front row tickets...
It was 3am, a damp/dewy 50 degrees; chilly, but
I cracked a couple of warmers and stuffed them
not cold. Well, let me qualify that, it was chilly for
down into the bottom of my sleeping bag, then
this part of the world during the Spring. The buds
snuggled down. Must have gone out like a light
were just starting to sprout on the deciduous trees
because the next thing I remember is being awak-
that were intermingled with the beetle damaged
en by a screamer of a run!!
pine trees in the woods just behind me. I was biv-
It was a high pitched alarm with a blinding Blue
vied up on the 2,600 acre lake in a swim that I’d
led light! So that meant that it was my left hand
discovered just a few days earlier during one of
rod! Now, all this happened in an instant!!
my road trips about a day and a half drive from my home in Los Angeles.
You know how conditioned you get to hearing one of the alarms? I was out in front of the rod in the blink of an eye lid, bare foot and bleary eyed,
By this time I was well into the session that had
bag and blankets scattered all over the bank. The
already seen plenty of fish on the mat. So many
adrenaline pumping, ready for anything, hoping
in fact, that I felt absolutely beat up and shattered;
for that elusive lump!
my right shoulder, bicep and right side of groin were really bruised…The fish seemed to have an
So…I’m there in front of my pod in the usual ‘bent
extra gear and propelled with a high octane fuel
knees, hands out in front hovering over the reel’
tonight! They really fought hard!!
kind of pose, trying at the same time to shake my
Fishing right handed, reeling with my left, I’d
fuzzy/sleepy head into first gear... and then it hit
been alternating between #1 supporting the butt
me….Wait a minute...there is no alarm, no blue
of the rod with the underneath of my right forearm,
led light, just the chorus of
helped out occasionally by my left hand giving support to the rod and # 2 resorting to sticking the
frogs and a few yapping Coyotes in the background.
butt into my groin and using the now rather tender
My hook lengths and method feeders were neat-
area as pivot point! That’s the way I got by for the
ly placed on the bank by the side of my Pod........
last 6 hours of the now 15 hour old session.
Argggh, damn and blast! I’d had another “false
Originally, I’d managed time to fish this swim for
alarm” dream, the second one in as many weeks!
just a 24 hour reconnaissance session before
I was really quite relieved that no one was here
starting the drive home to get some work done but
to see and record this episode for banter ammuni-
for reasons I’ll get into later, that timeframe, un-
tion down the road lol…
fortunately ended up being reduced somewhat… After photographing and releasing a couple more
I’d been driving Rachel, my wife nutz at home:
fish, I made the decision to risk missing a few fish
The last episode (as she calls them) found me
and reeled both rods in to get a couple of hours of
jumping around the bedroom on one foot shouting
“Ow! Ow! my toe, I’ve whacked me toe, might be broken!!?” North American Carp Angler
As the bedside light went on, I was sat on the
Having previously worked a couple of swims like
bottom corner of the bed holding a quickly swell-
this with my very good friend and American Carp
ing, red and pulsating big toe looking for sympa-
Society partner, Sean Manning a few years ear-
thy……..None was received! Lol…
lier, I knew I could make it work.
I’d had the “false alarm” dream, jumped out of
I’d fish 7 or 8 yards from the nearest stump at
bed to get to the rods and whacked my big toe on
the mouth of the trench with the bait runner’s set
the dressing table located about 6 feet from my
drags quite tight whilst never being further than
side of the bed! Its still purple from the bruising
a few feet from the rods even when in the bivvy.
here during the session... hilarious I know but I
This would enable me to connect with the bolting
could have knocked myself out had I bent down
fish early and hopefully, keep it from entering the
to the rods just two feet to the right where the bed-
cut tree grove.
ding chest was! The right hand side of the swim was clear of the Anyway, that’s enough back story for now… I’ll
tree stumps, had a sandy bottom with pebbles
get back to the session ‘cos it ended up being a
and small rocks with patches of algae growing
corker of a haul, one of my most enjoyable to date.
on them. In places, clumps of weed were starting to spring up at the 10 foot depth mark. There
I’ll take you back a week or so when I came
was also reed bed about 50 yards further a long
through this area on my way to another early sea-
the shoreline to the right but that wasn’t really ac-
son location up in Idaho. I spent the best part of a
cessible from the bank due to the over growth;
day scouting and decided on preparing this swim
it looked really good though and definitely worth
because there was very obviously fish attracting
taking a good look at sometime in the future…
structure; namely a submerged tree grove at 55 yards that had been cut down, probably before
The shore is absolutely littered with empty mol-
the valley had been flooded to form the lake’s cur-
lusk shells ranging in size from an 1/8” up to about
rent water level back in the early 70’s.
an inch and a quarter. The large variety of birds that inhabit this lake must be very happy and con-
They’d left 3 to 4 foot high stumps and the rest of
tented on the food front here. The resident Carp
the trees were left laying horizontally on the lake
would no doubt also feed on these shellfish big
bed where they had fallen, next to the stumps.
time! Another good clue for future sessions using
Great terrain if you’re a Bass fisherman fishing
custom made boilies!
from a Bass Rocket but not so hot for us bank/ shoreline based Carp anglers.
All across the peg I had a gentle slope from shore to about 40 yards out where it plumbed in at 14
spill up over the lip of the trench onto both sides of the peg. What a great swim!!
feet. The next 10 yards is where it got interesting because it then dropped relatively steeply to 24
Bait prep consisted of 10 gallon of soaked and
feet but only on the left side of the swim where the
boiled Pigeon seed mix with 20lb of soaked, rolled
stumps and tree carcasses were;
maize flavored with Vanilla and liquid molasses.
this appeared to be a trench or channel that ran in from the deep.
Ten kg of 20 mm boilies was also scattered far and wide as more of an area baiting program,
The channel didn’t exist on the right of the swim
rather than perhaps what would be the more ob-
just 20 yards away, it rose to the center of the
vious feature baiting thought process I’d usually
peg and then leveled out. (note: Since this ses-
deploy here in this sort of situation.
sion, I’ve been back in a boat and using a fish finder sonar figured out exactly what happens on
I did this as I knew I wouldn’t be returning for another 6 days or so to fish…
the bottom out there. That trench is actually an
There was another Pigeon feed mix set back in
old dirt service trail that runs along the edge of
the truck ready for preparation with bread crumb
that I would use as my method mix when I re-
The fish migrate up that trail from the deep and
turned for the session. North American Carp Angler
I made a “bait runway” that took the fish off of the trench, through the middle of the peg over to the right hand side of the swim. This effectively carpet baited up both sides of the swim in the shape of a dog bone and in theory, I could fish the right side if the Carp got spooked on the left or vice versa. Three or four nice sized Carp broke surface, showing themselves while I was there. That always being a welcome sign, I remember thinking to myself, “I hope there is enough bait in there to hold them and maybe even attract one or two of the bigger girls during my time away…”
Back to the full moon session here: On the morning of departure from the main Idaho session, I guess my 4am alarm just didn’t go off? Maybe it was pilot error during the alarm setting or maybe I just slept right through it, who knows, it’d been a busy session with long days and nights, so…? Either way, I woke in a panic ‘cos it was already light and the clock said 7am Arrrggggh! I shot out of the bed chair, dropped the bivvy, finished loading the truck and in next to no time at all, I was sipping on a Starbucks coffee and chewing on an oatmeal raisin cookie stuck in what was by now, the height of morning rush hour traffic.
And off I went to fish my main session in Idaho; it was a great week with plenty of Mirrors but that is for another story down the road sometime?…
There are 3 lanes going in my direction and I was ‘speeding’ along at twen…..ty.......fi......ve...... miles....an.... hour....... My mind started working overtime, you know like it does; what if someone was already set-up in the pre-baited swim and was enjoying the rewards of my efforts?
me, this was a very unlikely scenario on the lake i was heading too but never the less, that thought alone made the nearly five hour drive all the more frustrating.
The traffic eventually thinned out through the high desert section of the drive and I arrived at the Ranger Station near the lake just before 1pm and paid my $14 camping fee. You are allowed to fish over night but only if you purchase a camp space in the State Park campground first. Unfortunately, getting from the campground to the swim entailed a brisk 15 minute walk along a black-top footpath, followed by a right turn and another 5 minute battle with the barrow negotiating a lightly worn trail through a wooded area. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lovely walk butâ&#x20AC;Ś
North American Carp Angler
After a long, arduous and very sweaty trip to the swim pushing all the kit on the barrow, I was relieved to find that there were no shore fishermen within sight at all and only four or five bass fishermen on boats on the whole lake. This was the main advantage of a mid week session. First job was to get the marker rod out to remind myself of the forward edge of the trench again and to throw a few freebies out which consisted of about a dozen 50mm balls of my method mix and 2kg of my 20mm boilies. This done, I set up camp, put the kettle on and sat down for a few minutes to relax, watch the water and to gain some focusâ&#x20AC;Ś North American Carp Angler
In contrast, the swim was very un-freeway like, a peaceful place with just the relaxing sound of the lake gently lapping upon the shoreline, inquisitive waterfowl and an occasional Bass boat passing by with an acknowledging nod of the head or a raised hand. The weather was forecast to be warm and occasion cloud bursts passing through for the next 24 hours which suited me just fineâ&#x20AC;Ś
North American Carp Angler
I’d just finished my tea when the phone rang, it
So until then, I threaded 4 pieces of Maize onto
was Sean, “Had anything yet mate?” “Nope, not
the hair, packed the feeder with mix and dipped
got my lines in yet.... errr... I over slept.”
the Maize in my favorite “not so secret” secret
“Ya noddy! Come on get them in mate!” came the reply with a giggle.
glug; thick brown treacle Molasses. My offerings were cast to the left of my marker float, about 40 yards out into 14 foot of water, just this side of the
We chatted for a few minutes about tactics and
drop off into the trench.
some pending carp angling business before Sean finished with “I get another break in a couple of hours, I’ll give you a call then, good luck matey!…” I could hear Sean’s frustration of not being here himself but I felt very good about the chances of us pairing up back at this location in the very near future…Things here just felt right! With that I thought it might me a good idea to actually put a baited line in the water to see if there was any fish in the swim, as come to think of it, there had been no indications of fish anywhere since I arrived....umm?! I set up the alarms and Pod, blue on the left and yellow on the right. Pulled out the first of the rods from the quiver bag, it was still set up from the night before. This rod had the method feeder which was inturn connected thru the bottom of the feeder via
The placement felt good so I set the drag and line tension, engaged the alarm, hanger and then reeled in the clipped marker float. The bait was just below the reflection of some light colored rock in a “V” shaped valley on the mountain top, so it should be easy to place the bait in the same spot at night.
a 5” hook length of my beloved Kryston 25lb Super Mantis Gold to a size 4 hook. This rig was to be my 1st choice on this session, fishing the left hand side of the swim just in front of the trench. Once I’d caught a few and taken the pressure off of myself, I’d probably go with a single 20mm boilie on this rod but that would depend on how things panned out over the following few hours…
The second rod was similarly rigged but with a PVA bag filled with small pieces of white bread, Calf mana pellets and powered milk; this makes a great cloudy attractant both on the bottom and up into the water column when the bag dissolves. The hook bait was double 20mm boilies balanced with a 14mm pop-up.
After a little more thought, I changed my mind about fishing both rods to the left and using the right side of the swim only when I felt the fish on the left had been spooked because I thought that I’d better cover as much ground as possible. This was after all, the “guinea pig” session for the swim. I tossed the marker float 20 yards to the right just to make sure nothing had been missed last week but there were still no major features, just a gentle slope off from the bank to 14 feet at 40 yards with some sparse patches of shallow weed. I cast out to the marker float and lightly baited up two areas, one around my hook bait and another in 8 feet of water about 15 yards out just beyond some branches that dipped into the water from one of the overhanging pine trees. This one will hopefully hook something hefty when they come into the margins later on tonight. It was now 2 pm and finally both baits were in the water, all that was missing now was Mr. Cyprinus Carpio. I was hoping that he and his many mates would be busy feeding in the swims just waiting for my arrival but that wonderful scenario didn’t seem to be the case unfortunately Just then, beep.... beeeeep went the blue lights on the left hand alarm. I don’t remember actually getting to the rods, I was just there! North American Carp Angler
There was no follow on run though, missed it!
across my swim, all the time flinging their lures in
Hmmm… either I’d just been ‘done’ or they were
every direction without thought for me or anyone
nudging the method cage or maybe, were closer
in and the alarm was triggered by a liner, a fish swimming by and hitting the line?
I dropped the rod tips but even so, I was surprised that the trolling motor didn’t snag both my lines, never mind their lures!
A big almighty crash followed by a couple of smaller surface breaks at about 30 yards, dead
I just couldn’t believe it, just when I had begun to see some movement in the swim....
center of the swim.... YESSSSSS! Cyprinus Carpio was in the house!! Brilliant news!!
“Excuse me! you’re over both my baits!!” “Just passing through buddy!
A very rude and unfortunately, not all that un-
common intrusion followed. Two guys on a Bass Rocket (boat) came into the peg just to the right of
Well.... what can you say to such ignorance?
me at a fair old rate of knots with the radio blaring
They had all that bloody lake to pass through and
full blast, cool tunes but there is a time and place
they just had to choose this area?
I guess, in hindsight and to be somewhat fair,
The resultant wake petered out just short of soak-
they must have known about the felled trees in
ing my bivvy ground sheet and tackle box etc. The
this area. Still, it was definitely the case that I was
noise they made clambering about on the boat,
laughing and hollering, lifting the outboard and
Anyways, I just let it slide, ignored them and they
deploying the trolling motor was bordering on
trolled away to the swims on the left...probably
the ridiculous! I have no idea how it must have
thinking that I was the ignorant one.
sounded under water? Hopefully the fish were used to such intrusions - I suppose I should have
Of course, it was very quiet for most of the next
counted my blessings because at least the radio
hour, so I just sat back and enjoyed my surround-
got turned off.
ings while sipping a cup of Coffee and dunking some cookies.
Although I have encountered boat fishermen with much common sense and some considera-
Although there were plenty of cotton wool clouds
tion and understanding of the shore based angler.
floating by, the spring sunshine had warmed
These two fell firmly outside of any such
things up nicely. The sunlight is very intense up at
categorization; in fact, they bordered on being
altitude and the temps were now in the mid to high
insensitive morons! We’ll call them Richard Head
70’s with a refreshing, gentle breeze occasion-
#1 and Richard Head #2. They proceeded to troll
ally gusting from no particular direction. As the
15/20 yards offshore from right to left straight
sun was now up in front of me, my bivvy provided
some welcomed full-time shade taking over the duties the pine trees behind me had performed
You may ask, what the heck is he talking about now?
just a few hours ago. Well... let me put it this way... There was NO The water temperature in the margins was up to
61°F, really nice for this time of year up here and I was just thinking about peeling another layer of
Argh! it was still in my rod quiver, how stupid!
clothes off when the ‘blue’ left hand rod started screaming, no warning, it just took off! Everything else was exactly where it should be I jumped up, skidded 3 foot, bent down, grabbed
including the unhooking mat, pan of lake water,
the rod which was now threatening to launch it-
Klin-ik, weighing sling, scales and camera and
self off of the pod and lifted into the run while dis-
video on tripods... even a bank stick in the ground
engaging the bait runner. I immediately felt the
to rest the net handle on... Just no bloody net!!
fury of a fish that was obviously very displeased with its present predicament!
So, very quickly, I slackened off the drag to let the fish take a little line while at the same time walking
I’m terrible at gaging how much line is stripped from the reel in moments like these but it must
a backward up the bank to where my quiver was leaning against a tree.
have been about 15 seconds before I could do
I stabbed the butt of the rod in the sand and
anything about slowing the fish down and chang-
turned round to face the quiver, rested the rod
ing it’s direction. I have no idea how the fish didn’t
complete with a very lively double figure Carp
find one of the stumps out in front there?
pulling and bumping like crazy on my right shoulder. This freed up both hands and like a fumbling
My heart was beating double time and I felt that excitement...a euphoric high if you like, that only this kind of battle with a ‘bolting’ Carp can give.
fool, I clumsily assembled the net. Thinking back, I wish someone could have video’d the whole comedy sketch, I’d have won one of those Funniest Videos TV shows I’m sure.
A couple more minutes saw the Carp hit the surface for the first time about 15 yards out, it looked
Anyways... at 2:40 pm I landed, weighed, photo-
like a nice double. About the same time I reached
graphed and safely released a scale perfect, very
back for the net and......
nicely proportioned Common of 16lb 4oz. Great!
embarrassment, shame…you name it, it followed
After a little comedy relief, I was off the mark.
and I felt it... What a bloody plonker I was! North American Carp Angler
Quickly, I reloaded the method feeder, replaced a couple of the pieces of maize on the hair and dunked them in the Molasses before casting out to the baited spot just in front of the trench. It all felt very good as I sat down to wait with much anticipation for the next Carp to find my sticky brown and yellow offeringsâ&#x20AC;Ś
I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have long to wait for more action because at 3:25 pm everything went slack, a serious drop back on the blue rod again! I grabbed the rod wound in as much as I felt I dare before hitting the fish.... nothing!! I again spun the double handle on the mature but extremely trusty Shimano aero 8000 as fast as I could and then finally, a dramatic halt to the reel spin and the rod just doubled with the drag kicking in to save the day. I felt the fish and he/she felt me!! Off it bolted, shwoooosh like a bat out of hell! Back out towards the trench, nose in the sand trying to find one of those pesky tree stumps or anything to hide behind. Felt like a decent fish, it took me over my right hand rod and back a couple of times giving me a fair old battle before passing over the draw string of the net. This one weighed in at 17 lb 6 oz, definitely a pound or so in the right direction.
North American Carp Angler
Cutting a long story a little shorter here, the left hand “blue” rod was busy for the next few hours with a 12 lb 3 oz at 3:50 pm, a very nice 26 lb 4 oz screamer at 4:05pm that received some very sincere, complimentary comments from some nearby Bass Anglers on a boat.
Its always nice to hear comments like “beautiful fish buddy,” and “Man, I wish that was mine! Great seeing you pull in something that size, you had many others?” from dedicated Bass fisherman.
A 17 lb 9 oz came in at 4:45 pm, again the Blue rod and gave me another great scrap.
I did have a quick knock on the yellow rod but it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t develop
around 5 pm. I decided to leave it where it was for another hour, then Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have a little tactical rethink about the right hand swim. Two more beautiful fish came in on the blue rod plus a hook pull, 27 lb 2 oz at 5:05 pm and the first 30 of the day, 30 lb 13 oz at 5:15 pm. Both bruising fights, long.... long... runs off to the right that took some retrieving!
North American Carp Angler
My arms were beginning to tire, I suspect that the
I must admit there was a little bit of a wicked
Carp porter ‘stroll’ to the swim this morning with
smile on my face…Let’s make a term up here and
all the kit had something to do with the fatigue. It
call it “friendly, professional ‘competitism’…” lol…
couldn’t be down to just the fishing….right? That woodside service trail or what I thought at the time was a trench, probably an old stream bed was a wonderful find! I gave Sean a call, “Hey Mate, I think we’ve cracked it here!” “OH man, that’s awesome!!” came the reply. I gave him a run down of the fish so far and there was no signs of the day’s sport slowing. “You’ve got photos to prove it, right?” he teased me. “Yes, every single fish thus far has been photographed and video’d! I’ve shot this session a little differently to emphasize the catch and release aspect of our sport; lots of ‘artsy” head, flank, tail, fish on the mat and release kind of snaps with the camera. Videoing everything for use later…” I could hear the cogs turning in his head turning in unison with mine... A new carp water, new videos and eventually, new tournaments… “We’ve got to get up there together in the near future mate, yeah we’re crazy busy but we just have too carve the time out to make it work!” Sean finished with, “Good luck Wayne, talk to you again in the morning.” His voice trailing off towards the end of his sentence. I felt sorry for him, I personally knew all too well the pain he felt not being able to fish a session due to work commitments but at the same time,
At the same time, it also felt kind of strange, it was like being shaved, showered and dressed to the hilt, ready to go out on the town with a wallet full of cash and there being no-one to share the fun with. Anyways, I brought the yellow, right hand rod in, filled a new PVA bag with powdered milk, calf mana pellets and bread, re-dipped the boilies and was just about to cast out when an idea materialized from the grey matter wastelands between my ears. I’ll switch the rods around, the blue alarm will have the PVA bag on it and the yellow, right hand side alarm will be fished with the method. Lets see if the catch rate changes on either side... So at 5:50 pm I recast both rods to accommodate the new plan, I didn’t have to wait long for results either! I’d just sat down when the yellow alarm started screaming, the first real action of any kind over there on the right. Looks like the method feeder was ruling today.
I landed a beautiful looking 21 lb 14 oz Common
This change of tactics came about because hav-
at 5:55 and at 6:20, the PVA/boilie rod finally got
ing had time to check my notes, I was up to just
some action in front of the trench; a drop back and
short of 170lb of Carp so far for the day and I had
a decent tug for a few seconds before the hook
this crazy notion of possibly passing the 300lb
mark before noon tomorrow! That would be my 24hr hauling record by far!
This was followed by a period of total inactivity, so at 7:30pm I took a chance and spodded anoth-
Unusually for me, this session had turned out
er 2 gallons of mix around the mouth and edges
to be a numbers game. Slightly embarrassed, I
of the trench to top things off. I also finally buckled
promised myself that the next time here, would be
under self imposed pressure and although stay-
a lengthy affair and a boilies all the way approach,
ing with the boilies, the PVA rig was changed to a
holding out for the bigger fish kind of session.
method feeder. Both baits were recast; the “yellow” rod just 3 or 4 yards to the right of “blue” rod. North American Carp Angler
The sun was now setting spectacularly over the
I was aware of being surrounded by an extreme-
lake with masses of bugs clouding over the water,
ly loud chorus of croaking frogs, arguing ducks
the hatch was obviously on big time!!
and I think, Cormorants or maybe Herons barking and squabbling in the background.
Everything stayed quiet for the next couple of hours and with no breeze to talk of at all, the only movement on the lake since the boats had gone were the ducks. Its quite something to see a 2600
Although I couldn’t see even one of them, there must have been literally thousands of frogs! The collective sounds was the most amazing and quite eerie “lake music” I have ever heard.
acre lake flat calm, illuminated only by the now, distant glow of the setting sun to the west.
For a minute, I wasn’t fully concentrating on the fish I was fighting, it was way over to the left
It was 8:15 pm when the right hand rod came alive, a low pitched screamer of a run echoed
somewhere when I felt the main line scraping and juddering around a sodden tree stump.
around the lake, accompanied by the yellow light
An all too familiar and usually terminal situation
show of the alarm and hanger slamming up to the
in other swims I’d fished back home in Los Ange-
rod.I hit into the fish and as if by magic with a tap
les. Sean and myself had learned that there was
of the wand,
only one thing to do in these situations.
With no boat available to go out to it, I tightened the drag down and started pumping hard to try and turn or drag the fish back around the stump. I got lucky, the fish came back around the large snag relatively easily into clear water. A couple more minutes of hard graft on both sides of the line saw the fish on my unhooking mat, tail flapping to the frog chorus. This one weighed in at 23 lb 4 oz bringing the number of fish to 9 and total weight to just short of 193 lbs.
The full Moon was just poking up above the
was here with me to witness this outstanding au-
mountains over my left shoulder, the light being
dio & visual show that was being orchestrated by
bounced and scattered on the floor of the swim
through the tree branches as I re-baited and cast out. It was going to be an extremely bright night
There were still no runs by 9:30 pm as I lay on
and I was more than a little concerned that it might
the bed chair watching and listening to natures
affect the bite rate! I’ve had it go both ways on a
marvels. As time went on, more and more Carp
full Moon bite, probably for reasons that I haven’t
were rolling over my baits and I was toying with
even began to think about or consider…
the idea of putting a zig rig out. But then again, I reasoned, there was way enough seed carpeted
By 9 pm the Carp were hitting the surface regu-
on the lake bed with a really good sprinkling of
larly, probably 3 or 4 a minute with just as many
boilies… I decided to wait it out, enjoy the show
line bites too but I wasn’t getting any runs. I re-
and see what happened…
member thinking they’re definitely pre-occupied on the hatch and that I really wish someone else North American Carp Angler
By 10 pm they were going absolutely crazy, reminding me of high summer time spawning in the reed bedsâ&#x20AC;Śbut these Carp were in open water, 30 to 40 yards out and many of them were clearing the water, making huge crashes and ka-plunks seriously rippling the water. This continued for the next 20 minutes or so and then something very strange happened, the frogs just quit! Silence!... In fact, no sounds what so ever. Had some higher being just flipped the switch? and if so, why?
At the same time, the Carp pretty much stopped rolling too except for the odd tail swoosh. Such a contrast, just really spooky though! Never experienced anything like it! All the creatures seemed synchronized to one another via some extra sense that we humans were lacking or had lost many millenniums ago…I felt somewhat meek and left out of the equation…Kind of put things into perspective for me…….. Yet another twenty minutes or so later, it all switched back on again, Swooosh! Just as intense and marvelous as before. I even got the Video camera out to record the sounds while focusing the lens on the craters of the Moon through the cotton wool looking cloud banks that were quickly passing by… Man! it gave me goose bumps, all that was missing now were some runs.
North American Carp Angler
This phenomenon lasted another 10 minutes be-
The alarms on both rods were doing similar for
fore the eerie silence again pushed it’s way to the
the next couple of hours. Of course that meant
front of the stage.
that I too was doing my little dance from the bed
Then at last! The blue rod took off again, right in the middle of the silence, it startled me actu-
chair to the rods and back every few minutes. It was mental, absolutely crazy!!
ally! Within a couple of minutes the Frogs chorus was back in full swing again and it was really
By this time, the carp seemed a lot more timid.
hard to keep my concentration on the Carp I’d just
Tons of beeps that didn’t develop into runs, I even
hooked, although it soon weighed in at exactly 10
tried “sitting on the rods” and hitting any move-
lb which was the smallest fish so far of the ses-
ment of the line, altered hair lengths, size of hooks
and placed back leads on the lines, nothing made
I’d just put him back when the other rod went,
any difference. Probably liners?
this time 22 lb 9 oz at 10:55 pm. During the next 2 hours or so I did manage to The Carp were hitting the surface almost constantly the rest of the night as if dancing to the improvisations of the frog chorus. Mysteriously, only resting when the frogs piped down.
connect with and bank commons that really fought as hard as any fish I’d ever hooked! Definitely something about tonight that was different, very special! The fish went 21 lb 4 oz, 11 lb 2 oz, 7 lb 10 oz, 17 lb 11 oz, 22 lb 11 oz, 21lb 6oz and a fine specimen of 31lb 3oz.
A fine night’s fishing in anybody’s book.
I woke up feeling groggy and if truth be known, feeling pretty darned awful at around 5:15am. I
Well, this brings us back to where I started this
made a cup of tea and soon realized that I hadn’t
article, 3am, cold, bruised, tired and resorting to
eaten except for a few cookies and the odd piece
bringing both rods in to get a couple of hours of
of fruit since I arrived. Just been too busy!
The swim just didn’t feel the same, the magic had gone.
A thick mist had formed with the setting Moon just a faint glow in front of me, there were no frogs croaking, no Carp breaking the surface and the first of the day’s Bass anglers was producing a huge rooster tail across the far bank of the lake. It wouldn’t be long before the Sun showed its self fully and another day starts. I went for a quick stroll with the camera to try and take in the all the morning’s glory and if I’m honest, to clear my head before putting both rods out. I was looking and waiting for a sign of carp movement but I just didn’t have that feeling of optimism. The swim just felt dead, the show had run it’s course and it’s players had just plain exhausted themselves though the night. North American Carp Angler
Sunrise came and went
cially when viewed through the clearing mist but it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t until 7:20 am that I saw any action again. The blue rod produced a
of exactly 5lb on a Tigernut, a gorgeous looking fish that I left in the net while I checked the cameraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s settings.
North American Carp Angler
Photo’s done, I cooked some breakfast and
We talked for the best part of the next hour while
hadn’t two mouthfuls of food, when the phone
I grabbed a spoonful of breakfast whenever a
rang, it was Sean wondering up on how the night
break in the conversation and good manners al-
had gone. I put the lid on the breakfast pan and
lowed. We just chilled on the phone chatting and
spent some time trying to put evening’s magical
planning the follow up sessions…
show into words…
Three more fish came in before the 10 am tear down. A 15 lb 3 oz, 10 lb 13 oz and an 8 lb 1 oz
“Wow! That’s absolutely awesome mate! Very
which brought the total weight to over 396 lb in
nice…very nice indeed, sounds amazing!!” Sean
under 21 hours of magnificent, even magical fish-
exclaimed and we both agreed that this swim defi-
ing. The whole session was such a pleasurable
nitely has the potential to bring the larger fish to
experience and one I will no-doubt remember un-
us. Just needs us to put some serious hours in
til my last day on this wonderful planet….
over the rest of the Summer and Fall between us.
North American Carp Angler
A few last thoughts to ponder over here:
Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not
knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…
-Guilda Radner 1946-89
North American Carp Angler
And so it is in my fishing exploits…Right there folks, is the reason I believe so many of us are so thrilled to be independent thinking Anglers of Carp. Even after 27 plus years of carp angling here in the USA, I still sometimes have to pinch myself mid-session just to make sure I’m not Dreaming… I hope some of my words managed to convey the very special essence of this session for you and that you enjoyed reading them. Also hope you didn’t mind the fact that the lake’s specific details were not revealed here, this was written for the story’s entertainment value, not for the smoke and mirror’s sake. Please be assured the water will be fully exposed via an article somewhere in the near future when it all been sussed out…I’ll finish my ramblings right here for today…
North American Carp Angler
Best wishes to you and your families, tight lines and good luck out there!!
Wayne “Soniq” Boon
Baits for Anglers By Anglers
North American Carp Angler
An Unforgettable Session The annual summer social was almost upon us, weeks of planning and preparing between ourselves had arrived. The destination was finally decided and we both settled on the Richworth Linear Fisheries complex located in Witney Oxfordshire. The complex has certainly cemented itself as the
St Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is 18 acres in size and slightly longer
premier fishery in the United Kingdom and con-
in shape, and straight away we spotted activity in
sists of eight day ticket lakes and three syndicate
one of the corners of the lake.
waters, all well stocked with carp to 52.14 pounds and with most lakes holding a good head of 20s, 30s and even a few 40s.
The three pegs that commanded the corner where all taken and with the anglers on for the next 48 hours we headed to the opposite end of
It seemed as good a choice as any. The complex
the lake where the wind was pushing, a warm
had been kind to us both in the past so seemed a
south-westerly breeze was trickling into a bay
good choice as we had a good understanding of
alongside the road bank, with the odd few trails of
most of the lakes there. With low pressures and
bubbles catching our attention and a decent fish
south-westerly winds forecast we were full of opti-
crashing out 40 yards to our left on the social bank
mism as we made our way south on the motorway
as its named, it was decided we would spend the
for the three hour journey.
first night in swims 9, 10 and 11.
Arriving at the gravel pits we were met in the car
We were all full of energy and raring to go with
park by a close friend Tom Maker to join us on the
no time to be wasted, the barrows loaded off
weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s session, we headed to the office for a chat
we went. Arriving at the swims a bare lead was
with the bailiff about the past weeks captures and
flicked around by each us till we were all happy
activity, most of the lakes had been fishing fairly
with a spot. A bar runs most of the length of the
lake with around 10-12 wraps between each of
We wasted no time in grabbing a bucket each
the swims we all placed our rigs on or just beyond
and set off for a walk around manor farm lake
into the silt and deposited 15 spombs over the top
closest to the car park. Manor farm is 14 acres in
to start, 3 rods were fished tight as possible on
size and after a slow lap with nothing to be seen,
various rigs between us and we settled in and got
we headed to the lake next door.
the shelters up.
There was no action the first night for any of us, it was a very quiet night with the odd liner. With fish showing out in front we wanted to hold them long enough to induce a bite, so the spots
stood mesmerised as they glided by without a care in the world. The heat of the sun was beaming down and they didn’t look like they were in the mood for a feed.
were topped up again with 15 spombs around 2kg of mixed bait consisting of corn, hemp and boil-
We waited till the coast was clear and quietly de-
ies in 12mm and 14mm, and a good helping of
ployed a few handfuls of the spod mix into the
matching liquid glug.
margin. Making our way back to the swim to set up we decided to fish the double swim with just
The second night passed without a bleep for us all, alarms were set for first light to watch for any
2 rods each, Tom was to set up in the swim next door to the right.
signs of life cup of Yorkshire tea in hand. Perhaps
When making our way around the corner to check
we’d disturbed the swim too much the day be-
on the bait it was obvious the fish were clearly up
fore? Or maybe we introduced too much bait all at
for a munch and had totally wiped the spot clear,
once? I’m not too sure, but this was a sure tactic
a couple more handfuls over the spot and quickly
which had worked in past visits.
back to the swim to cast a rig on the spot. It was decided Neil would fish the left side of the
With one fish to be reported from through the
swim and Ian to the right. Neil wasted no time in
night from an angler further down the other end of
getting a rod together a size 4 fox international
the lake it was decided to take a drive to another
SSBP hook tied with camotex soft coated hook
lake we knew very well. Rods were reeled in and
link in 25lb with a tiny piece of hook silicone, set
we jumped in the van to go for a lap around Ox-
up on a lead clip system coupled with 2.5 foot of
rig tubing to camouflage everything together. Bait was a single yellow piece of fake corn with a
At 26 acres with a large island down one end of
1cm piece of yellow zig foam underneath to criti-
the lake, and with a few reports of catches from
cally balance everything nicely. Ian’s plan of at-
speaking to some of the other anglers, the deci-
tack was to fish two rods out in front on zig rigs at
sion was made to up sticks and make the move. It
depths of 12 feet in 15 feet of water using Fox In-
was now dinner time and we headed to the corner
ternational zig aligners and matching foam dipped
double swim which was known as the disabled
in Hinders betalin and blackcurrant.
swim. Walking round to the left of the swim in the bait-
The left hand spot was 15.5 wraps with a care-
ing up area only, we suddenly spotted large dark
ful cast down the reed lined margin into the over-
shapes weaving amongst the weed in the shal-
hanging trees, Neil’s 4oz lead hit the clip and went
lows, it was impressive to see the fish at such
down with a firm donk.
close quarters through polaroid glasses, we all North American Carp Angler
Thankfully we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to wait long before his left hand rod pulled up tight; he was on it quickly and after a brief tussle was staring down at a lovely mid double common. Before photographing the fish he unhooked her in the net,clipped a fresh rig on and soon had the rod back on the spot, Ian then done the honours with the camera and the fish was safely returned.
At 7pm Ianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right hand burst into life and he
A few quick photographs and a fresh zig cast
soon found himself attached to his first carp of the
straight back out in front of the swim we finished
session, after a very spirited battle a mid to upper-
the first night with 4 fish a piece Neil with a further
double mirror slipped over the net cord and he
three fish up to 19.12lb and Ian landing three fish
was off the mark.
through the night the biggest being 21.06lb.
North American Carp Angler
The following morning we decided to switch
Neil got to work tying up some fresh black and
sides on the swim both adopting similar tactics
yellow zigs and set one rod at 13ft and the oth-
as the day previous, Ian wasted no time in head-
er at 14ft. Ian’s left hand rod ripped off and after
ing to the baiting up only corner to introduce a
carefully guiding the fish around a large weed bed
few handfuls of the mix into the gin clear mar-
out in front he was soon looking down at his prize
gin, as the sun shone it certainly was a beauti-
a lovely dark mirror of 17.10lb. We finished the
ful morning we had an inkling that the increased
night with a further 7 fish between us Ian with 4
light levels might make the carp rise up in the
fish to 22.08lb and Neil with 3 fish to 18lb all fall-
water column to take advantage of the sun’s
ing to zigs.
The next day we had to vacate the swim as being
to have half of the lake’s inhabitants still out in
the disabled swim priority is given to wheelchair
front of us. Tom stayed in his swim and we made
users, we made the decision to fish the opposite
the move, the fishing was slow to begin with fish-
bank as the fish were clearly still out in front, a
ing 3 rods each two on zigs and one rod on the
well-known fact about Oxlease is that when the
bottom fished snowman style with a 12mm pop
fish move they move in numbers and we seemed
up on top.
We both sat watching the water rigorously with
At 11.30pm Neilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s middle rod was away quickly
a cup of tea in hand when a short burst of bleeps
jumping out the sleeping bag and slipping on his
from one of the buzzers caught our attention the
boots he was rewarded with a lovely scaly mirror
right hand rod tip pulled over, line sprung from the
carp of 18lb a nice end to a good days fishing.
clip and the clutch started screaming, Ian jumped out the chair and carefully played the fish slowly back towards the bank, the fish stayed low in the deep margins and after a spirited fight scooped her up in the net first time. As he lifted the net to clasp eyes on his prize we knew she was big, on the scales she went 32lb and a new personal best ecstatic and overjoyed we took the necessary photographs fired up the stove and celebrated with a brew.
We had a further fish each through the night and spent a further 24 hours in the swim with 5 more fish landed to 21lb taking the tally to 20 this was certainly turning out to be a memorable session.
North American Carp Angler
The final morning by 9am the anglers in the disa-
swim it was decided Tom would have the first fish
bled swim had departed and a joint decision was
followed by Neil then Ian. Tom expertly made the
made to spend the final night back on the oppo-
awkward cast look easy with a nice firm donk from
site side of the lake the 3rd move of the session.
the lead the trap was set, within minutes the rod was away and a lovely dark mirror graced the net
We all agreed being the final night we would
spend it together and take turns a piece fishing the one rod only on the banker spot in the bay. A
As the fish rested in the net working as a team
quick trip to the supermarket for some much need-
Ian walked down to the bay while Neil got the rod
ed supplies for the barbeque and some beers.
back out in position followed by a further 4 handfuls of bait over the top. Minutes later the bobbin
Quickly making our way back to the lake and feel-
pulled tight and while lifting the rod and walking
ing confident of a few takes we headed around to
backwards the fish kited right out from danger, the
the bay to look for signs of fish.
fish headed straight to a weed bed and applying
The spot was rocking and the fish clearly visible waiting for the right moment we carefully baited up with 4 handfuls of the mix, quickly back to the
steady pressure, it kicked out the weed and started coming straight in.
North American Carp Angler
Ten yards out everything ground to a halt as the fish had managed to go through some dying pads, try as I may I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t budge him as I stood wondering what to do Tom made the decision to don the waders and make his way slowly toward the fish, feeling the line down till he was above it with one big scoop of the net and an almighty ball of weed he reached in to take a look at the prize and knew it was a goodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;un.
On the scales it went 34lb and a new pb for Neil the perfect end to a perfect week. We went on to land a further 18 fish that day with 3 x 30s using over 20kg bait. With 70 bites between the 3 of us and 60 fish landed that week this truly memorable session will live in our hearts forever. Tight lines Neil and Ian capturing memories,
By Robert Pass
Never in my wildest dreams did I think Carp fishing would take me to the places I have been. I grew up the youngest and only boy in a household full of women, my mother, grandmother, four sisters and a father that was rarely home due to working two jobs. Although my father hunted and fished, those passions were not passed down.
Probably, more from fishing and hunting not
Nonetheless it provided great childhood
holding much interest for me, they seemed to
memories. This is where the extent of my
slow paced and boring for me. I was more in-
fishing was using a Kmart bought Zebco rod
terested in playing sports. As kids my mother
and reel with a bobber and a worm thinking
would take us to a place called Camp Dear-
I was going to catch a monster fish, only to
born with my Aunt and cousins, it was more of
be brought back to reality when I reeled in a
what I call â&#x20AC;&#x153;city-fiedâ&#x20AC;? camping.
North American Carp Angler
Fast forward 30+ years later where I am now
and much to my surprise, he did.
bringing my sons Austin and Brendan to Camp
Later that day he came running up to me hold-
Dearborn as small kids and where I passed
ing that Carp in both hands like he was holding
down to them my vast fishing knowledge of
a sandwich, yelling “dad I caught it, I caught it”.
these very same man-made lakes. Bobber and worm, and yes still yielding the same 4-inch Bluegill.
Almost immediately upon returning home from Camp Dearborn Austin set out on a mission to
As the boys got older, Austin one morning
finding out more about this fascinating fish that
while at Camp Dearborn saw a bigger fish than
took another technique to lure it in than the typ-
he was used to seeing in these waters swim-
ical bobber and worm.
ming around and asked “dad, what kind of fish is that”? I said “it’s a Carp”. “How do I catch that”, I said “I don’t know”. All I knew about Carp is that they were a garbage fish and my dad hated them. With his curiosity piqued, Austin set out to catch that Carp
From that moment on, little did we know of the journey we were about to take.
During Austin’s early research for his new found passion, he came across CAG and its forums. Now as a concerned and skeptical parent I wanted to know who my son was talking to online and him now wanting to go to these things called “fish-ins” where you catch fish, take a picture and then throw it back.
So, I figured I better start going to these fish-ins and see who these people are. They were not like I pictured, they seemed like really cool guys and treated my son’s very well.
While there were other influential guys
that helped foster this new passion, one man in particular, by the name of Andy Sprinkle (former owner of The Bait Stop and Carp bait extraordi-
This was so foreign to me, all I knew was you
naire) stood out.
caught a fish and took it home to clean it and
Without his knowing or asking he became a
cook it. By this time my youngest son Brendan
mentor to them. All these guys were very re-
has jumped into Carp fishing with both feet as
spectful and truly seemed happy to see a couple
well. Unlike some of the interests the kids have
young boys that wanted to join their group and
had in the past, this new one did not seem to be
learn about Carp fishing.
fizzling out, but was only getting stronger. North American Carp Angler
At this point I really must give the boy’s grandma credit and a huge thank you as well.
supported the boy’s passion for Carp fishing without question or complaining. While
watched them during the summer months and weekends while I worked. She would take them fishing and exploring
ters and buying bait and gear, sometimes without mine or their mother’s knowledge. As I attended more of the fish-ins and a couple CAG fundraisers, I found myself really enjoying just being around the guys and the fishing, even though
thought about Carp or what I grew up know-
I did not fish. I just loved seeing Austin and
ing about Carp (which was nothing). This was
Brendan growing in their knowledge of Carp
about two young boys and their passion, which
angling and seeing the size of fish they caught
as parents we tend to forget. I now started
increase with that knowledge.
seeing Carp through their eyes and I have
Looking back, I remember asking Austin
come to appreciate Carp. I really started notic-
one time, “why Carp”? His reply was, “I don’t
ing the distinctions between each one that they
know dad, I just think they look cool”. So from
caught. The reds, yellows, scale patterns and
that point on I realized it was not about what I
different species of Carp.
Some years have passed now and the gear
A little unconventional, but just like any High
has gotten bigger and better. Social media is
School sport, there are travel, equipment and
in full-swing to where Brendan and Austin are
competition costs. To be upfront here, I can-
now conversing with other Carp Anglers across
not take credit for being at every event or lake
they fished due to custody arrangements, their Mother also shared in their achievements and
They have progressed from the local fish-
experiences as well.
ins to the St. Lawrence Jr. Tournament, Dale
But because they were still young teens and
Hollow for spring break, instead of the typical
unable to drive or allowed to go alone to every
Florida sun and fun. Meeting up with guys in
event or lake, it afforded me the opportunity to
Ohio, the CCC, ATC in Texas. I am not trying
be a part of these experiences as well.
to impress anyone here, just trying to put into perspective of their opportunity in meeting and
So instead of two young boys adopting a fa-
making friends and building on their knowledge
therâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion, a father was adopting his sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
from a vast array of other Carp anglers.
passion into his own. Which brings us to the next phase of my journey.
I guess as a parent I saw this as being no different than them playing a sport in High School.
North American Carp Angler
Born in the summer of 2014 while standing in
Austin has just graduated High School, and
the kitchen talking about fishing, which there is
still unsure of what he was going to pursue in
rarely any other type of conversation.
college. So, as a fallback, he would just go for
The boys were talking about Andy Sprinkleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
a 2-year business degree in the hopes of find-
bait and how much they and many other an-
ing something that would interest him. Here is
glers still love and wish his baits were still avail-
where I saw THE opportunity.
able. Austin and Brendan literally after 2 years still had some of Andyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bait. They would do their best to keep it hydrated, and if they still had a kernel or two left over from a fishing session they would put it back into the tub instead of tossing it on the ground. Because by now Andy has closed up shop on The Bait Stop due to career advancement and a young and growing family, which we all know is priority in our lives. As I mentioned earlier, Andy is more than an acquaintance to us, but as I saw it, a mentor. Plus, he is just a very charismatic person and we really enjoyed his company.
This is where Trilogy
Baits was born. This may seem hard for some to believe unless you have children,
making money was not even a consideration for what was to come out of my mouth. It was more about giving two young men a direction in life while reviving another manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion for designing and providing Carp anglers with quality baits.
My proposal to my sons was: “How about if we start a company to where we sell Andy’s baits, but WE run the company”. My thinking was, this way I can hopefully help give my sons some direction in life by incorporating business with their passion of Carp fishing while giving them real world experiences at the same time. This way Andy can still realize his dream and passion of creating quality Carp Baits without the burden of running a business and sacrificing all his time with his family to run that business all while working his day job as well.
To make a long story a little shorter, Andy liked the idea, because it allowed him to do what he did best. But mostly he thought highly enough of Austin and Brendan and wanted to see them at one point take it over and run with it. Being that if Carp fishing here in the USA was to grow and be recognized as a great sport fish, it would be up to the younger generation to build it. The third aspect of this proposal was perhaps a little selfish, but it also provided me with the opportunity to stay involved in Brendan and Austin’s lives at a time when they are growing into men and where life may take them in unforeseen directions, career wise or geographically.
North American Carp Angler
a series of
meeting so many people literally worldwide
THREE DRAMAS or literary works or some-
who share the same passion for a fish that I
times three musical compositions that are
only knew growing up as a garbage fish.
Hence the name TRILOGY:
CLOSELY RELATED and develop a SINGLE
I have a few friends that are very passionate
theme…. two young angler’s passion for Carp
anglers for other species such as Bass, Trout
fishing, a young father’s passion for creating
or Walleye and not sure if they would ever Carp
quality Carp baits, and another father’s desire
fish, but I know they have not had anywhere
in teaching his son’s life lessons and a way for
near the experiences with those fish than we
him to stay involved in their lives through Carp
have had with Carp.
With all that being said, I also have to say thank you to my wife Kathleen, which does not
For a man with VERY limited fishing knowl-
truly express my appreciation, love and grati-
edge to ever be successful at it, let alone pass
tude for her. She never once complained or
down to his son’s, I never in my wildest dreams
discouraged me in any way and has always
thought Carp fishing would take us to the plac-
supported us and has probably made as much
es we have been.
of a sacrifice if not more than me in unseen
Not just in travel, magazines, newspapers and
ways. Last, but not least I must also say thank
T.V. spots, but having the great opportunity in
you to all those who have played a part in our UNEXPECTED JOURNEY!
MIDWEST REGIONALS It was a cold and blustery Friday morning when my alarm went off at 5am. Today was the big day. We had been working on this in our group chat for months. Within a few hours I started getting messages from the guys already there that that river was in rough shape. Water levels were near flood stage, north east winds were in the 20mph range the water temp was 51 degrees and most of the Peg spots had whitecaps. The conditions were not looking ideal for big carp. Next up was peg draw. the order of the draw was Ohio then Indiana and last was Michigan getting whatever peg was not selected. Ohio drew first and picked Bigelow park. Indiana picked the Deep Swim and that left the Marina Swim for Michigan. This was a rematch of the final day from last years really close match up. New for this year teams would be able to bait up their swim and fish it for the next two days.
North American Carp Angler
Day one started off with fish scattered all over
Park and that they needed me to come out and
the team Michigan swim. Slowly Team Michi-
weigh fish ASAP as keep sacks were getting
gan added fish to our top ten. To my left Robert
filled up fast. When I pulled up to Vince Shif-
Pass broke his PB with a nice 22lb 10 oz com-
fletâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Swim I could immediately tell I was about
mon fishing the margins.
to be a busy weigh marshal based on his gi-
After a slow start at my spot my alarms finally
gantic smile and full keep sacks. Next I was
ripped off and I landed my first fish of the event
headed to see Craig Welch who I was told had
which also turned out to be my biggest of the
the biggest fish of the afternoon.
event at 23lbs and 9oz.
Once again I was greeted by a man with a gi-
We continued to add fish to the leader board
gantic smile. When he puled the keep sack out
and at 1pm, halfway through day , Michigan
I could immediately tell it was a special fish and
was in the lead of Ohio 127lbs to 61lbs and
was going to be 30lbs. A beautiful dark chest-
Indiana was struggling with the whitecaps and
nut colored common. When it hit the scales it
settled down at 31lbs 8oz and won Craig the Big Common trophy.
Things were about to change and in a big
Brian Pearcy and Daniel Slaby added fish late
way. A few hours later I began hearing from a
in the day to regain the lead for Michigan. Day
Ohio guys that big fished moved into Bigelow
one final results were Team Michigan 221lbs team Ohio 215lbs and Team Indiana 75lbs.
Heading into day two team Michigan knew we
Jathan Imhausen was landing mirrors left and
had to have a great day to hold on as team
right and ended up with the Big Mirror at 18lb
Ohio had plenty of smaller fish on the board to
15oz. Destinie Vaugh broke her PB common
go with their giants. We could feel the pressure
with a 27lb 4oz common. Steven Brandenburg
of needing a few big fish .We did not have to
added a 26.14, 26, and a 24 and Tony Lett
wait to long as Brian Daugherty landed a 29lb
added the Biggest for team Indiana with a 30.0
1ozc ommon one hour after rods went in.
A half hour later Brendan Pass landed team
Team Indiana was now determined to try to
Michigan’s big Fish with a 31lb 1 oz ôBay-fishö
get one or two more big fish to get them to the
common. It was shortly after when team Indi-
top. Team Ohio added a number of fish to their
ana Caught fire. Fish were coming in severe
top ten fish on day two. Would it be enough to
numbers for Team Indiana, every swim I went
vault them to the top.
to weigh fish at was having multiple runs and adding fish to be weighed to the cue.
North American Carp Angler
The Final Results were in teams were all
Team Ohio added a lot of fish day two but just
in the dark as who the winner was as it was a
came short in second place with 242lbs 4oz.
matter of lbs that separated the teams. Team
Team Michigan pulled it off again and Finished
Indiana gave everything they had and built up
in First Place with 249lbs 15oz.
their swim in the harshest of weather for all the swims and finished in 3rd place with 235lbs 2oz.
It was such a pleasure having the honor to run the Carp Anglers Group Midwest Regionals. I look forward to many more years of fishing with all of you. A big thanks to Andrew Sprinkle, Craig Welch, Vince Shifflet, Shawn Woerlein, Amos Behanna and Steven Brandenburg as they all assisted in planning this event and making it such a success. Thank you to Magdalena and World Classic Baits for once again donating the trophies and Trilogy Baits for Donating a wonderful prize pack. We are always looking for ideas and suggestions to improve the tournament so please feel free to join the facebook group Cag Midwest Regionals or PM me. As we already have some great ideas for 2018!!
April 11, 2017
Calling all Carpers and Supporters of Carp Fisher-people! The 15th Annual St. Lawrence International Jr. Carp Tournament is scheduled for Thursday – Saturday, August 17 – 19, 2017. Attached is the Registration Form, showing the rates, who to make your check payable to, and where to mail it. Our 2016 participants reeled in, and released, over one ton of carp. To be exact, the 175 carp caught totaled 2,593 lbs. 5 oz., with our 15 - 18 years of age boys, hauling in the most with 999 lbs. We’re not sure why, but we’ve heard from many folks they felt the 2015 tournament was the best yet, so we’re on a mission to make this year’s event, the 15th Annual even better. The Carp Angler’s Group continues to be a valuable lead on this tournament, with Bob Giordano, CAG President, and many of their members, having a lot to do with the success. Kids learned a lot from them, and they, in turn, learned a lot from our tournament which they plan to bring to other towns and regions across the United States. We hope you’ll join us for our 15th Annual this year, to make many fun memories while on the riverbank. I’ve included the contact information for both Bob Giordano and myself below. Feel free to contact either one of us should you have any questions. Thanks! Jo Ann Roberts Events & Promotions Manager St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce firstname.lastname@example.org 315 386-4000 315 244-1909 cell
Bob Giordano President Carp Angler’s Group (CAG) email@example.com 315 323-4632 cell North American Carp Angler
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