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The carp has a bad rap in the United States with the common perception being that it is an invasive species and worse that it needs removing from our waterways. I hope the spring finds everyone well and raring to get out and spend some time on the banks chasing your quarry. Here in the North East of America we endured record snow amounts over the winter and fishing opportunities were few and far between. In warmer parts of the country we have seen some great captures with Arizona popping up on the radar with a couple of 40lb commons and the ATC throwing up some excellent fish once again. Personally, I managed to get away from the winter weather with a trip to Texas which was just what the doctor ordered. In this edition we once again feature many of our CAG competitions and events with the ATC, and Spring Big Four highlighted. We also look forward to Junior Carp Anglers Championships and the CCC. I’m also excited to continue the ‘Around the Globe’ feature and we have some excellent contributors in this Edition with Nick Shattock, Mark Watson, Mark Pitchers and Harry Charrington. Finally, I am proud to commence a new section which focuses on our own Carp Anglers Group members and their efforts to promote the positive aspects of carp fishing. We have several CAG members who work diligently behind the scenes with their local State Fishery Departments in an attempt to both change rules and also change perceptions.

The fact that it was introduced over 120 years ago by the US Government is not commonly known, but with more and more anglers experiencing the qualities of carp fishing we are starting to see a bigger push in a positive direction. Hopefully, as we highlight the great work being done by some of our members it will inspire others to pull in the same direction. Dean Brookes Editor In Chief


Conten ts

CAG CLUB NEWS:

Junior Carp Championships Information_________________ 6 Carp of the Month____________________________________ 8

Breaking Down Boilies (part 3)_________________________ 11 ATC Pictures – Winners______________________________ 30

Experiencing the ATC________________________________ 32

AROUND T H E GLOBE Zwolle Carp Show ___________________________________ 46 The river Ebro_____________ _________________________ 58 Solid bag fishing____________________________________ 72

Carp Cast__________________________________________ 84

GUEST ARTICLE

Q&A with Harry Charrington_________________________ 93

CAG members section Short session tips _________________________________ 105 American Grass Carp_______________________________ 110 CAG Members Gallery _____________________________ 114

Spring Echoes From The Past________________________ 121

CARP CONSERVATION CORNER

Advancing Carping in your State________________________ 133

Colorado Carp Quest__________________________________ 141 Flea Market__________________________________________ 147


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CLUB NEWS

the country. rp bite is picking up across ca the d an US the s ros ac er The weather is getting warm York’ people, ould too; The, ‘I love New sh is Th . ed cit ex ry ve ers mb That makes a lot of our me have requested erest in carp fishing. They int w ne a ve ha rk Yo w Ne of who work for the Governor across the ation on major carp events orm inf ing lud inc e, rop Eu d an economic data for the US our thoughts They also wanted to know g. hin fis rp ca d an s kid on on country as well as informati carp management. on carp as a sport fish and

gement. Now mote carp fishing and mana pro to s cie en ag te sta h wit Our BOD is actively working ss to promote raise money and awarene to ed ne We G. CA of er mb is the time to become a me w our memexciting time, we need to gro an is is Th e. lov we h fis y ph our sport and protect the tro d front of all me together as one. A unite co d an s up gro rp ca er oth h ber base, mend fences wit sport! ke positive change for our carp anglers can and will ma Thank You,

Bob Giordano

North American Carp Angler

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CALLING ALL CARPERS AND SUPPORTERS OF CARP FISHER-PEOPLE! The 13th Annual St. Lawrence International Jr. Carp Tournament is scheduled for Thursday – Saturday, August 20 – 22, 2015. Attached is the Registration Form, showing the Special Loyalty rate of $ 75, if submitted and paid by 1/31/15.

Our 2014 participants reeled in, and released, 1,919 lbs. of carp over the two day tournament; and we continue to hear stories of fun and laughter shared along the riverbank. Because of their expertise in Carp Fishing, and their support of this tournament over the years, the Chamber is passing the torch for hosting this tournament to the national organization, Carp Angler’s Group (CAG), of which Bob Giordano is the current President. Because this is the largest and longest running kid’s carp tournament in

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of us; contact information noted below.

Join us in 2015, and make more memories with your fellow carpers!

the United States, our goal is to raise awareness amongst other CAG members in the hopes of bringing more participants and volunteers into St. Lawrence County. Although your registration fees will be made payable to the ‘Carp Angler’s Group’ this year, as noted on the Registration Form, the Chamber will continue to play an active role in this year’s tournament, to ensure a smooth transition. Bottom line, you won’t notice much change, as we’ve worked side by side in organizing this tournament for many years now.

Jo Ann Roberts Events & Promotions Manager St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce jroberts@stlawrencecountychamber.org 315 386-4000


P R A C

CARP

CARP OF THE MONTH CONTEST 2015 Carp of the Month continues in 2015 with a new focus.

As we head into the New Years we are bringing over the

Carp of the Month contest from The Carp Anglers Group to our Facebook page. The full rules will be listed below but

OF THE

MONT

E H T F O H

all entries must be posted below here.

H

Sharing and Likes are appreciated!

Sponsored by:

- A short paragraph giving details/tactics when

T N O M

Big Carp Tackle www.bigcarptackle.com Big Carp News www.bigcarpnews.com Hosted by Big Carp Tackle FB Page www.facebook.com/BigCarpTackle

This contest is open to everyone in the USA

Rules to submit Carp (Cyprinus Carpio only) Common, mirror, leather, koi, etc

- Deadline is midnight last day of the month. Carp needs to be caught the same month as submitted. If it’s close to the end of the month it may be submitted the following month but only if it had not be submitted in the previous contest. (3 day exception from original photo date) Fish can only be submitted ONE TIME. - Quality photo of the Angler holding the fish (As this is a most important) with proper carp care used. - Anglers are encouraged to share the contest and their photos from the contest. Likes & Shares may increase your chances but final word is up to the judges.

you submit your photo to the Big Carp Tackle Facebook Page . At the end of the month photos will be judged from the panel of judges and the award given.

- Judges decision is final. Any submission that

seems strange or the angler has a past history of questionable entries will most likely be overlooked by the panel of judges which are selected Big Carp News Contributors. Pictures posted on Big Carp Tackle FB original contest post are the only ones eligible for entries. - Quality photo of the Angler holding the fish (As this is a most important) with a date/time stamp of capture date. If no date stamp is on the photo then the angler will have to provide the original photo so the original photo date can be verified.


P R A C

Monthly winners will win a previously announced prize worth

$100 BIG CARP TACKLE VOUCHER

E H T F O H

All monthly winters will be entered into a Grand Champion Winner for a prize January 2015 voted on by the Judges for a prize determined by BCT which will be announced at a later date. Winners are responsible for shipping expenses to receive any prizes

Now, the winners:

T N O M

JANUARY

Sean Stredwick

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FEBRUARY Christian Torres

Alex Combs

MARCH


BREAKING DOWN BOILIES RECAP

RECIPES AND EDGES

By Dean Brookes

In parts I and II we explored the origins of the boilie and why they were developed. We also looked at the various types available to the modern carp angler and also some specific examples of how to apply them with various fishing aids. Finally, we looked at a few different sessions where boilies had been used to gain good results. If you have not read the first two installments then they are available at the following links: carpanglersgroup.com/naca/2014Q3NACA/

(Pages 77-87)

carpanglersgroup.com/naca/2015Q1NACA/

(Pages 21-35)

Home-Made Baits Having outlined all of the commercially available boilie options in the previous articles I would like to now offer some basic methods and recipes for making your own baits. Before I go into the specifics I would like to emphasize that all of these recipes and methods are pulled from my own experiences. I have not gone online and picked out recipes at random, rather these are baits that I have made from scratch and more importantly they have been successful and caught me fish; the true test of a bait.

In general I only make my own baits if I am either looking to use a food bait in large quantities or if I want to make up some fresh bait for a specific session. Usually, I am quite happy to purchase regular shelf life boilies from any of the major manufacturers for most of my fishing, but there are occasions when I like nothing better than to tinker in the kitchen. Having made most of my own baits when I started carp fishing, I have found that unless I am making a big batch of baits where exact measurements are required, I usually do things on the fly and add ingredients as I see fit. If the mix is too sticky, I’ll add extra dry ingredients and if it is too stiff, I’ll add some oil or liquids. It’s all a very personal process and part of the fun.

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Adding powders to the liquids ensures a thoroughly mixed bait

Basics You can split up the boilie making ingredients into 4 basic areas:

Quantities of each will depend on the mix you want to make and what you are trying to achieve. You do not need to include every area, but as a rule of thumb I usually have at least one ingredi-

Dry Ingredients

Liquid Ingredients

Additives

Binders and Oils

ent from each area. Let’s start with the dry ingredients first.

Dry Ingredients As the description implies these are all of the dry elements of the base mix. Again, to be basic you are generally looking at fishmeals, bird-foods, milk proteins and semolina or soy based base mixes.


Some of the most popular dry ingredients are easy to source with others much, much harder to purchase in the USA. Here are some of the dry ingredients I use regularly in my own base mixes:

All the ingredients for a quality ‘food’ bait

A late Fall fish taken over a bed of boilies

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FISHMEALS

Tackle Store bought

Sardine/herring based or pre-digested fishmeal powders

Cat Biscuits

Available from the grocery store in large 20kg bags and then put in a grinder

Purina Aqua Chow

to form a powder (Look for white fish or fish blends) Available from farmers supply stores; again ground into a powder

Trout Pellets/Powder Available from farmers supply stores Krill Meal

BIRDSEEDS

Tackle store

Tackle Store bought

Generally you are purchasing a specific brand and make of boilie base mix

Birdseed mixes

Available from farmers supply stores or from pet shops. Look for brands with

a heavier millet content as they are easier to grind down. I also do an initial

grind and then sieve out the bigger particles before regrinding. This helps

massively when rolling baits.

Deer Feeds

Perfect straight out of the bag but I would suggest sieving the bigger particles out first.

Robin Red

Tackle store

Tiger Nut Flour

Tackle store

MILK PROTEINS Milk powders

Available from grocery stores

Egg albumen

Grocery stores or health food stores

Lamblac Milk powder

Tackle store

Calcium Caseinate

Tackle store

Whey Protein

Tackle store

Egg Powder

Tackle store

SEMO’S AND SOYS Semolina

Most Health food stores and groceries stock this.

Soy meal or Soy Flour

Health food store or grocery store

Maize meal

Grocery store

Maize or corn flour

Grocery store

Garbanzo bean flour

Health food store

Rice flour

Grocery store (if you want a harder boilie)


You can also use various method, ground bait

Experience will help you decide which ingre-

and stick mixes to either create a base mix or to

dients work best together. One mistake I have

add some attraction. For instance, I have made a

seen a lot of people make is to add TOO MANY

tiger nut boilie with Dynamite Tiger Nut stick mix

INGREDIENTS into a base mix. Try and decide

as the base, which I rounded out with soy flour

what food signal or flavor you want to achieve

and added a little flavor and some hemp oil to

and then pick a few ingredients to deliver this.

complete the mix.

Sometimes a bait made with lots and lots of different elements will be inferior to a bait made with cheaper and less ingredients.

Deer Feeds – An easy alternative to a base mix or method mix

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LIQUID INGREDIENTS Flavors Essential Oils

Available from many Tackle stores. If you want a boilie for colder water I would suggest an ethyl alcohol based flavor which will be more soluble. Tackle stores or health food stores. A few drops go a long, long way.

Nutritional liquids Mostly tackle stores. Amino’s, Corn Steep Liquor, molasses, liquid fish proteins,

liver proteins, talin, sweeteners, emulsifiers, tiger nut extract

ADDITIVES Powders

Available on tackle stores; hemp powder, Green Lipped muscle extract, liver

powder, robin red, chilli powder, spices and curry powders, yeast, spirulina, kelp

powder, coconut products

Dyes and color

Available from the grocery store

Preservatives

Tackle stores

Salts

Grocery store

Drink Mixes

Ovaltine and malted milk powders, Cool Aid

Fish products

Belachan and fermented soy pastes

Extras

Tackle stores; oyster shells, krill meal, CLO, insect meal, molasses meal

Additives are readily available from many US Suppliers


BINDERS AND OILS Eggs

Grocery store

Karo Syrup

Grocery store

Jello mixes

Grocery store (mixed with boilie water)

Basic oils

Grocery store; corn, sunflower, peanut, asian fish oils and flavor infused oils

High End Oils

Tackle store; hemp, tiger nut, salmon, chilli

Some of the ingredients for a soluble boilie

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Mixing and Rolling

Ingredients and paddle whisk ready for a big bait making session!!

Once you have all of your ingredients on hand

You will want to get a paste together that is not

the next step is to bind them all together and make

too dry or too sticky, although I prefer my mixes to

up a paste. This is much like baking and you can

be a little wetter if they are going to be standing

either do it by hand, use a food processor or mixer

around for a while. Once rolled, you will want to

or if you are making bigger batches add a paddle

work with a batch at a time and wrap the rest of

whisk to a drill and mix in a large bucket!!

the paste in seran wrap so it doesn’t dry out.


Now we are ready to prepare the paste mix into boilies. At this point you can go in multiple directions. You may have a sausage gun and rolling tables, in which case it is simply a matter of loading the paste in the gun and squeezing it out onto the rolling table. Without the sausage gun you can hand roll the paste into sausages (the size of the sausage depends on the size of the boilie you want) on any flat work surface and then either roll them on a table or by hand into boilies. With practice you will be able to roll a couple of baits in the palms of the hand with speed. If you own none of the boilie making equipment then it can be all be done by hand, although it’s definitely worth purchasing a sausage gun and rolling tables if you intend to make larger quantities of bait. Once the paste is made into boilies or even boilie chops (just chop the sausages rather than rolling them) you will then want to decide on how to next prepare them. The most common and simplest way is to boil your baits. Generally, you will want to add 20-50 baits to boiling water and leave them for 1-2 minutes depending on how hard you want them to be (longer boiling results in harder baits but also takes a lot of the attractants out).

Finished paste, ready to be rolled

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Paste, sausages and hand rolled baits all ready for the next stage Steaming is also a common method and you can do this in the same way, adding 20-50 baits to the steamer for 1-2 minutes. If you want to make unusually shaped or bigger baits then you can also take large pieces of paste and roll them into sausages or blocks. Wrap these blocks tightly in seran wrap and then boil in water for 20-30 minutes. Once cooled you simply cut them to size.

Large sausages wrapped in Seran, ready for steaming


If you want to keep all of the attractants and are

Now we have covered the boilie making basics,

not bothered by other species or the need to use

here are a few recipes that I have used over the

a throwing stick then you may simply air dry your

last few years. Some are food based with a fish-

baits.

meal or bird food base and others are designed

In effect you will be using these boilies in paste

for either winter use or short sessions where at-

form and they will break down much quicker once

traction and breakdown is the key. I am not going

in the water. However, air drying for 2-4 days will

to give exact measurements as that is not how I

give you a workable product and these boilies will

make my baits. I generally get my wet ingredients

be very effective as short session baits and also

together and mix my dry ingredients separately.

for added attraction. You can also air dry regularly boiled or steamed baits which will aid to their resistance to other species and also preserve them to some extent.

I then add the dry to the wet until I get the consistency of paste I am looking for. Sometimes I need to add extra dry ingredients and sometimes I have dry ingredients left over. If I was to make a big batch of the same bait then

Once my baits are prepared I will freeze them,

I’ll start with an exact measurement of liquids and

making sure they are well protected to avoid

weigh out the dry ingredients it takes to make the

freezer burn. I may also add some flavors or ad-

paste. That way all of the bait is the same make-

ditives into the bag which will then be soaked into

up. Usually, this will not be the case as I am mak-

the bait when the thawing process takes place.

ing smaller batches of bait in the 1-5kg ranges.

Returning a fish that took a liking for fishmeal boilies

North American Carp Angler

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FISHMEAL TUNA AND SWEET CHILLI 70% Fishmeal (ground cat food biscuits – seafood blend) 10% Maize Meal 20% Soy Flour Tuna in Oil (1 can per 6 eggs) Liquids – Sweet Chilli sauce (20ml per 6 eggs), Fish Sauce (10 ml per 6 eggs)

BIRD FOOD SPECIAL – SCOPEX OR CORN AND HEMP (10Ml of scopex flavor or 5ml of both corn and hemp flavor per 6 eggs) 70% Birdfood blend (ground bird food mix or brand name company base mix) 15% Maize meal 15% Soy flour Flavors (scopex or hemp/corn as above – both wacker baits flavors) Sweetener – liquid cane sugar (10 ml per 6 eggs)

The St. Lawrence carp liked my Corn and Hemp boilies


MILK BIRD FOOD 50/50 50% Birdfood Blend 20% Milk Protein (Brand or Milk Powder; not dairy creamer) 10% Semolina Flour 20% Soy Flour Flavors (You choice but my favorite mix is 2 separate flavors combine; Cornish Ice Cream and Strawberry Jam with 3-5ml per 6 eggs) Liquids – Minaminno (20ml per 6 egs) Sweetener of choice

DEER FEED MIX(ES)

Good baits work across the decades!

80 % Deer Feed Mix (Acorn Rage, Sweet Beets or Sweet Corn Crush; Sieved to take out bigger particles) 20% Semolina or Soy Flour Liquids – Dependent on Deer Feed Mix that is used.

SEMOLINA/SOY INSTANT 50% Soy Flour 30% Semolina Flour 20% Maize Meal Liquids – Flavor(s) of Choice (5-10ml per 6 eggs), Sweeteners (inclusion rate depends on sweetener used)

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First fish of 1992 that fell to a Honey Yucatan Instant


SOLUBLE JELLO MIX Base Mix – Usually a mixture of birdfood and Semolina/Soy flour Jello Mix – Add a small amount of boiling water to the jello powder, just enough to mix it Eggs – Add 3 eggs (the jello accounts for the other liquids) to the jello liquid as it cools, add a little bit at a time otherwise you will cook the eggs! Other Liquids – You do not need a flavor as the Jello will be the flavor but to concentrate it or make it stronger you can add a matching or complementing flavor ie. mango jelly with a peach flavor *Do not boil the boilies once rolled; instead allow to air dry for 1-3 days*

SOLUBLE KARO MIX Base Mix – Choose whatever Base Mix you like 1 bottle of Light Karo Liquids – Flavor(s) and sweetener of choice *Do not boil the boilies once rolled; instead allow to air dry for 1-3 days* North American Carp Angler

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EDGES AND SPECIALS Once you get into the addictive nature of making your own baits you may then start to delve deeper into the process in order to tailor make your own special concoctions. Some of the most common ways to do this are by making hook baits which differ from the baits you are using to feed. When making these hook-baits you will generally be looking to add more color or flavors to the mix in order for it to stand out and also because the fish will not be feeding on them. FLURO’S

WAFTERS

Most commonly available as pop-ups you can

These take a little longer to perfect as you will

purchase these from most of the major bait sup-

want to balance these with cork before you boil

pliers. However, you can also purchase pop-up

them. You can also microwave baits without cork,

mixes, cork dust or cork balls and make your own.

in order to get them to pop-up or balance but this

Minstral baits sell a fluro pop-up mix that you can

is a much harder process

add your own flavors to and is very easy to work with.

A balanced wafter fooled this upper thirty mirror


I was using ‘cultured’ baits a long time before they became in vogue

PASTE Simply keep some of your boilie mix to the side once you have the dough made. Freeze until you require it for use and then wrap the paste around a boilie or particles to achieve a faster leak off and give more attraction around your hookbait. CURED Made popular in recent months this has been an edge for many years, to people in the know.

to take on salt content. Not all salts are created equal for this process and you will want to use specific ‘curing’ salt, which is usually available in most grocery stores. Take a tub and fill it with 15-20 hookbaits and then cover them in the curing salt. You will want to allow them to cure for several weeks so make sure you do this well in advance.

Typically used in the spring when carp are looking for vital minerals it consists of ‘curing’ your baits to preserve them and also to allow them

North American Carp Angler 27


CULTURED

GLUGGED

Again, another in vogue term but used for many

You can use specific brand name glugs or mix

years, typically after carp have spawned and in

your own. The idea is to soak either the free baits

warmer water. This is a process that will take reg-

or hook baits in a liquid to increase their attrac-

ular work and consists of taking your hookbaits

tiveness. Adding a glug to hookbaits is extremely

and applying a light coating of oil before apply-

effective but remember the longer you glug your

ing a light coating of powder (oils and powders of

baits the harder they will become! I also use this

your own choosing).

method when fishing areas with crayfish as it allows the bait to be much harder to attack!

Once thoroughly coated you will leave for a few hours to dry and then repeat the process several

OILS

times over a 24-48 hour period. The result will be

Similar to glugging adding an oil will allow for

a layered hook bait that constantly leaks off fla-

greater attraction. Personally, I will use oils much

vors and attractants.

more in warmer water conditions with hemp oil being my favorite.

I am sure I have missed some things out, but I have tried to include most of the methods I use over the course of a season. I view boilie making just like cooking. Yes, there are recipes are specific ingredient quantities that should be followed, but I like to experiment and think for myself. I have my favorite mixes and methods but with the vast amount of ingredients available to us, the world really is your oyster. I encourage you all to experiment for yourself and see how effective boilies can be. Good luck and tight lines

BREAKING DOWN BOILIES


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Once again the ATC was an exciting affair. The

Everyone else seemed to be in their wake, until

Austin Carp Anglers did a lot of work prior to the

the peg draw on Day 2. While the fish produc-

event not only securing pegs and making them

ing pegs of Day 1 were quickly taken, everyone

all fishable but also arranging for the anglers to

seemed to ignore or put back the Gazebo Swim

have daily lunches and an excellent post fishing

that in the past has produced some stunning

banquet.

catches!

The first day saw the Texas locals, the Wells

The SoCal team of Christian Torres and Cesar

brothers pulling a hot peg. The 1st Bridge nearly

Espinoza took the risk and it paid off in spectacu-

always produces a good day and this was no ex-

lar fashion as they came from behind and not only

ception with the brothers taking over 291lb’s of

won the first place prizes, but also cleaned up in

carp.

all of the side pot bets. Well done to all of the teams that took part and we hope 2016 will be bigger and better.


Cesar Espinoza - SoCal Carpers

Christian Torres - SoCal Carpers

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EXPERIENCING THE ATC

by Brian Wingard

It has been about a month since the ATC has taken place in Austin, Texas. This has been an event I have always wanted to attend ever since joining CAG many years ago. Every year I would see pictures of all of fun taking place and also of course all of the great fishing being caught. Finally the time came in 2015 when I would get to experience it all for myself in person.


The adventure began early morning on the drive to the airport. On the way there I kept watching the outside temperate gauge and at the coldest point it was -18F. It was definitely a cold morning and was really looking forward to Texas to say the least. As the plane took off the anticipation of the tournament was exciting for me as this was my first tournament but most importantly this would be the first time in meeting a ton of anglers that I have talked to for years and years on CAG and online in general. As I sat back on the plane and enjoyed the view the time quickly went by. I had to laugh because as we approached Denver airport our plane had severe turbulence and we were shaking all over the place. The lights were flickering and it almost felt like a Final Destination movie about to take place. After I had laughed to myself we began our decent and boarded another plane to Oklahoma. I was meeting up with my partner David Moore and we were going to drive down to Texas.

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The trip to Big Carp Tackle Headquarters was really eye opening as to just how large of a shop it is and also it felt like a kid at Christmas with so much carp gear to be had, all in one location. After getting a good night’s rest we packed up the gear and began our trip south to Texas.


After leaving Pennsylvania I was just excited to see green grass again. We have been snow covered for months and it felt nice to just get away from it all. As we drove along I just sat back and took it all in with so many different things to see along the way. I always think of what the residents see every day may be a first experience for someone else. I saw my first armadillo as we entered into Texas and just a variety of stores and shops I would not see back home.

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After grabbing a bite to eat we made it to Emma

One big thing that I liked was all the state parks

Long near nightfall and knowing how packed we

you pay a fee to enter them. Back home they are

had the truck we decided to just hang out and re-

all free to visit and one thing I noticed was how

lax. The first stop of the trip we were greeted by

nicely taken care of the Texas parks are and just

Wayne and Rachel Boon.

a peaceful environment.

I have talked to Wayne for years so it was finally

The stay was pleasant except for the fact that I

great to meet what would be my first carper of

forgot the sleeping bag back at Big Carp Tackle.

many in person. While there I had the pleasure of

I woke up in the morning and my blanket had a

seeing him land a few fish and enjoy a few laughs

heavy frost on it from the night before. I swear it

and stories with him and his wife. A few campsites

felt like back home on a fall night but in reality I

down was Rick Slinker and the WCB crew.

was definitely in Texas.

I remember seeing on facebook on my way down that he had caught some awesome fish beforehand so I was definitely pumped on seeing some more come out.


As we packed up the gear we made our way over

We just stayed briefly and then made our way

to Decker to see if anyone was fishing. We had

to the hotel to check in and get things sorted. As

just missed Paul Hunt landing a 50lb buffalo and

soon as we pulled into the parking lot I kept see-

got to meet Nik Williams and Brendan Pass also.

ing carper after carper and found myself talking for a good hour or so outside with a variety of an-

It seemed like everywhere we went I was meet-

glers from all over.

ing carpers I have talked to or seen online forever.

We finally checked into the hotel and took a nice

It was almost like a family reunion of sorts and

long awaited hot shower and got ready for the

that is one thing that stood out to me over every-

Corn Boil later in the evening.

thing.

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I must say one thing I did not mention is the fact that the weather had dropped and I was really not expecting it to be this cold in Texas. It was in the low 40’s and I was so glad I brought extra warm clothes. The best advice I can give is come overly prepared because you can expect the unexpected. As the corn boil was starting again more and more carpers from all over kept popping up.

I hung out with Tony Stout and Ciprian Muresan for a while. The both of them I have talked to for the past year and was glad to meet them both. Tony is as tall as his photos look online! Lol I am 6’ 1� and he towered above me. Sometimes when you see a photo online you never know what to expect. We all headed over to the boil and I must say another huge thank you to the ACA for putting together some really great food. This was my first time eating Texas Brisket and it was amazing! I kept eating it and eating it. We just do not have good like that back home so experience after experience other than fishing for me. As the good times ended at the corn boil the only thing I regret was not having more time to talk. With meeting so many anglers for the first time in person I found myself talking briefly to many anglers and I would have like to have a lot more time to talk with everyone.


We awoke for the first day peg draw and it is always amazing to me how easy I can wake up for

My arms were burning until I made it back and this is one time I wish I had my barrow with me.

something I want to do but waking up for work is a nightmare.

We found our peg and both of us had not fished

I was ready to go early in the morning and both

in a while so getting the gear sorted took a little

David and I made our way to get our peg assign-

longer than usual. Once we finally got the rods in

ment. Once we grabbed our peg we headed over

the water we reorganized everything and kicked

to the area. I had looked at the map wrong so

back some.

once we got to the spot I made a left instead of the right and walked about a Âź mile with gear in the wrong direction!

North American Carp Angler

39


It was not warming up at all that day and I think

A few hours into it we had the row team go in

the highs were in the mid to upper 30s which for

front of us and do a few circles and leave. It was

me was crazy for Texas. I was expecting to show

slightly annoying especially when you were wait-

up in shorts and a t-shirt and it felt more like Penn-

ing to cast but we waited patiently.

sylvania March weather. I was surprised at how many runners Texas has even at 5am in the morning. All day long runner after runner was going by and that is just something we do not see much of back home.


After not having bites for a while we switched

As the day went on it began to rain some and get

over to chod rigs and started to have some suc-

colder so that made it harder to keep my head in

cess. Dave had the first fish and then lost another

the game as the wind was going through my gear.

one in the snags. I had a fish shortly after his and was very excited to get my first Texas carp.

Ashleigh was kind enough to grab us some hot

The smile on my face says it all and was enjoy-

chocolate and that definitely helped things out so

ing the experience. I had a few small beeps and

a big thank you to her! As the day ended we only

thought nothing of it.

had a few fish on the board and saw a lot of the other teams doing really well.

Well I waited a few hours to check and low and behold my first Texas channel cat of roughly 8-9 pounds. Usually our channel cats back home run with it but I guess they are a little lazier down there and it did not want to move much.

North American Carp Angler

41


That night we pretty much relaxed and prepared

The day seemed to drag on but just the scen-

for day two. At the peg draw we got the peg we

ery in this spot made it all worth it. I kept look-

wanted near the bridge and were confident when

ing around at the beauty that surrounded me and

we got there and had a fish right away.

hope to make it back again someday.

We cast in a variety of locations and used vari-

Near the end of the day Scott Ferguson showed

ous baits but just could not get any extra fish

up and I have talk to him for a very long time so it

even though the team on day one had hauled

was great to meet him. He also gave some great

there. I did have a very hard pull but no hook up.

history of peg we were at and some knowledge

This day was even colder but we were fortunate

as well.

enough to have a shelter to keep us dry so that helped things out a lot. One thing is even though we are competing other teams still help out and Kristina Thompson hooked us up with some propane to make some tea and hot chocolate to keep ourselves warm especially since it was colder yet.


After he left the day came to a close with the par-

anglers had PB’s during the tournament and

ty barge going by and how part of me just wanted

this is a regular occurrence that takes place eve-

to hop on for a few drinks to finish the day. Af-

ry year here. This body of water has some re-

ter loading up the truck to full capacity again we

ally great fish in it and really makes a lot of great

made our way to the banquet.

memories. As the night drew to a close we said our good-

I must say the banquet was very nice and it was great to sit back and relax with all the carpers and enjoy a good meal. I really enjoyed the awards ceremony and one thing that stood out was the fact that so many

byes and part of me just wanted to stay there because I enjoyed it so much. I must say the companionship of the fellow carpers made this event for me and I truly enjoyed meeting everyone.

North American Carp Angler

43


On the flight back home I was looking through some of the photos that captured a memory that would last me a lifetime. For anyone on the fence of whether to attend the ATC I would highly suggest going as it is something that I hope to do again someday. Hope you enjoyed my ATC experience!


AROUND

THE

GLOBE I

In this edition of Around the Globe we have some excellent contributions.

First up, Iain Sorrell visited Zwolle for one of Europe’s biggest Carp Shows. While there he met up with several well known carpers and also got to get a peak at lots of new carp innovations. Next we have Nick Shattock from Ebro Carp Fishing. Nick spent several years living on the St. Lawrence River before he moved to Spain where he know operates a very successful guiding service. In his article he gives us a glimpse of his experiences fishing the majestic River Ebro. We also have another article from Fox International angler Mark Pitchers, who gives us some great tips on fishing solid PVA bags, a deadly method in the spring. Finally, I’m excited to get an interview with Mark Watson, who along with Jamie Clossick is responsible for the new and exciting Carp Cast. This is a podcast based on all things carpy and they have had several top class guests on already. They have also highlighted the US Carp scene several times, talking about us in a very positive light.

North American Carp Angler

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On 7th and 8th of February, 2015 Carp Zwolle took place. Fisherman from all over Europe made their way to the biggest and best European Carp Fishing show. CARP ZWOLLE 2015, took place at IJsselhallen-Zwolle in the Netherlands and CAG Member Iain Sorrell was in attendance with 15,000 other anglers to take pictures and experience the atmosphere.


15,000 Attendees in 2 Days

Boilies, boilies, boilies!

North American Carp Angler

47


Bait boats - Not everyones cup of tea!!

Course fish


Another Goo

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Delkim Close-up


Flavored Tigers

Frank Warwick Book

North American Carp Angler

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Got Pellets


Marker Beacon - Not for secretive anglers

North American Carp Angler

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More bait


New Age Baiting approach

New PB

North American Carp Angler

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The crunch


Oozing Pop-up

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The River Ebro: My F ortun e, my Fate (A brief insight into some of my greatest moments of cat and carp fishing on the Ebro River) By Nick Shattock

North American Carp Angler

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It seems like a lifetime ago when l lived and

I spent most of my time nestled along her beauti-

fished the mighty St. Lawrence River in Northern

ful banks probing her waters for her hidden treas-

New York. Its expansive beauty and crystal wa-

ures thinking to myself that life just couldn’t get

ters holds some of my most memorable moments

any better. I could have easily seen myself spend-

as well as some of the largest, and most fiercely

ing the rest of my life in this pristine paradise.

fighting, wild river carp in the world. It was here, whilst on a working holiday, that I met my wife and within some years had started a family.

Fate, it would seem had made other plans for me and after a few years I had found myself relocated across the Atlantic to the Catalonian Moun-

Things were going great and I really enjoyed the

tain range in Northern Spain and to her stunning

American way of life. I had made a lot of good

crown jewel, the River Ebro. It was here, in spite

friends and did my part to help spread my fever

of this, that my fishing expectations were all but

for fishing the fierce fish that plagued those parts.

shattered within just a few years. I would like to share with you some of my most extraordinary catches.

My 52 lb common, one of the most beautiful fish i have seen


This River was no stranger to me as I had a hand

In the 1970s some German scientists stocked

in trying to tame her years ago during a different

the river with a small amount of the Wels catfish

chapter in my life and now, as fate would have it, I

strain and the catfish thrived in the warm environ-

was back for more, for good this time.

ment and have grown on to immense proportions.

I had once co owned a company on the river with

The carp, on the other hand, have been here for

my father, so when in search for a new beginning,

centuries and there are some true wild beasts in

it did not take too much persuading to return to

her depths.

her and the seductive allure of her wild beauty and abundance.

My first time in Spain I caught plenty of carp in the 30lb bracket and had a handful of 40lb fish but I knew there were a lot of bigger fish in higher

The Ebro, based near Barcelona in the northern

stretches of the river. I was restricted on that first

part of Spain, has been one of the premier big

occasion but this time I planned on widening my

fish rivers in Europe with massive catfish to over

horizons and fishing further afield to find some of

260lbs and carp nearly reaching 80lbs.

the lumps that I knew lurked within the river.

For the first year I attempted to earn a living doing daytrips, guiding eager anglers in the attempt of getting them hooked on the wild River specimens, hoping that they would turn into weeklong bookings for the future of my new business “Ebro Carp Fishing”. It was tough, when out before there were just a handful of other company’s contending for the water’s edge, now there were hundreds and it had fast become a ruthless competitive market, a far cry from the quiet life I was living in the states. I knew , if I was to succeed here, I would have to dedicate all of myself to my fishing and get the most out of the Ebro and her surrounding waters.

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My family knew my passion and understood the

It was wild how on it they were, you would barely

desire I had to catch the best, the biggest and

get one rod in the water, and the other would rip

most beautiful fish the river had in stock. Even

off, but even with that marathon seasonal ses-

if that meant dedicating most of my time on the

sion, in the end only 6 of those caught ever broke

bank.

30lbs and I knew that if I were going to make a name of myself I would have to go bigger even if

Initially, I caught plenty of beautiful carp up to

that meant venturing further away from home.

46lbs, but the majority were smaller fish that didn’t match the high expectations I had held for my-

I had heard rumours of carp over 50lbs coming

self, so putting it all on the line that first winter I

out regularly further up river. It would be a risk

camped out in one spot where, I knew the fish

but with a family to support I knew I had to try, so

would be holding up. This profound feat proved

with spring just over the horizon I made plans to

to be prosperous as day after day the carp were

set out and explore new prospects if nothing more

slamming, I must have pulled over 1000 carp.

than to expand my possibilities.

My 41 lb fully scaled mirror


A beautiful 48lb Ebro common By this time I had been Cat fishing a bit as well

Just 30 minutes in, while enjoying a bit of Lor-

and had caught some nice fish to over 100lbs, a

enzo’s locally made wine and watching the sun

respectable size but not nearly the 200 lb+ speci-

go down, my rod ripped off and tore away on a

mens that this river was famous for.

sweeping run which had me stumbling on the

It was whilst out exploring when I had come

rocks trying to reach my gear.

across a friend of mine who was fishing just down

Eventually I had managed to impede the first

below the dam not far from home. I had not seen

sprint but only after the beast had taken off with

him in a while and so decided to join him for a

over 150 yards of my line.

quick social. Impulsively I threw out around 10 spods of pel-

At that point it’s just you versus the fish and you

lets into a weed bed and quickly chucked a rod

have to heave with all your worth just to main-

over the top. Tough gear is needed for these cats.

tain control. I continued to pull through a couple

I had an up tide boat rod, a big pit bait runner with

of weed beds and after a few smaller runs the fish

100lb power pro line.

started to come closer to the bank as the night eventually set in.

The Ebro cats are massive, as I explained, and

My friend caught a glimpse of the beast and be-

are incredibly powerful creatures that enjoy noth-

gan to shout Blanco! Blanco! (Spanish for white).

ing more than hauling out your entire spool of

My heart raced. It surfaced again, this time right

string.

under our feet. North American Carp Angler

63


A massive lump presented itself to us and in-

Once safe on the bank we put our headlights on

deed Lorenzo was right. Its body glowed as the

for a better look and were spellbound by this su-

low light accentuated its bright yellow skin. I was

preme specimen with its captivating colour and

blown away. Without hesitation my awestricken

piercing blue eyes, a true gem of the Ebro.

friend latched onto its massive Jaw and pulled it into the sling.

On the scales it went 150lbs, a new PB and a truly unforgettable fish.

Me and my 150 lb manderine caught the first time


The Following week, still reeling and with a re-

Over the next few weeks I managed to catch

newed sense of excitement, I drove upriver on

some nice carp to 39lbs but it was during a daytrip

the hunt for a new haunt nearly two hours from

when I managed to catch a client his first 40lber

home. I had seen a few photos of the area that

from this stretch, though it was nothing compared

had initially enticed me to venture this far out, but

to what the River had in store over the impending

it was only throgh some good luck that I managed

weeks to come. Session after session led to ever

to find it on my first jaunt, unfortunately it was un-

more remarkable moments. Landing five 40lb fish

der water.

within 24hrs, and a week long haul with nine, 40’s

Undeterred, I eventually found alternative swims

hitting 45lbs, I had never experienced fishing like

close by. It was evening by the time I had arrived

this, even in the states to catch a 40lb carp from

and with night close in hand I made camp and

the St Lawrence was a hard process.

nestled in.

At first light I arose to find that the

river was alive with carp crashing all around me,

I only ever managed to land five, 40lb carp dur-

large, virile specimens bounding free from the wa-

ing the entire stint of my stay. And yet it would

ter everywhere at once. It took my breath away.

prove only to be but a taste of what my future had

It was then I knew my instinct had been correct, I

in store as it wasn’t until the winters return when I

had hit the carp jackpot.

saw the rivers true potential.

Ebro Lump for client North American Carp Angler

65


A client with the repeat catch of my 150 lb manderine


Fishing legend Steve Briggs and a beautiful carp during a great session with us a truly great moment for me whilst fishing the Ebro January was soon upon me and the temperature

that this was not the typical large fish that I had

of the water had dropped significantly with a load

predicted, if fact it was unlike anything I had dared

more 40’s still coming out. A group of four anglers

to imagine. More than massive this fish was im-

had booked with me for the week which I took on

mense. With arms shaking, I struggled as I lifted

in great confidence now knowing the rivers poten-

the scales revealing the exact enormity of this

tial to produce.

59lb monster. It was the biggest carp I had ever

On one night as we sat shivering around a large

seen in the flesh and what a sight to behold.

camp fire wearing off the winter cold, one of their

A true beast. The lads went on to catch yet an-

rods went off. An epic battle quickly ensued, and

other 50 going 51lbs and eight, 40s on that cold

true to form a massive carp soon showed itself.

winter week, securing enough fishing memories that would last for a life time and leaving me long-

Before too long but not without a good fight it

ing for a 50 of my own.

was finally into the awaiting net. As I pulled it up off the bank I knew straight away by its weight North American Carp Angler

67


The following week I was keen to return. A group of friends joined me as I chose to fish a swim with my dad that I had pre-baited around the corner. It had been left alone for 3 weeks and I was keen to see how it would produce. My friend Lee and his wife Lisa were fishing, what we now call the big fish swim. Not long after we had arrived, I could hear him shouting. Anxious, I bolted, eager to see what he had caught only to witness him swimming around in the cold Jan water latched onto a 140lb cat. I knew, if this was anything to go by, we were in for another fruitful week.

Once the photos were taken we stood around talking about our great start when we heard a faint cry on the wind. My dad was shouting, again I was on the run. By the time I arrived he had a fish approaching the margins. I quickly grabbed the net. It was only then that I realised that it was my rod that my dad had played the fish on. On the scales it went 54lbs 7oz, and I was overjoyed for him as he too has managed to join the ranks with his 50 carp.


Two hours later, cries rang out from round the corner, “Lisa had a big carp”, was all I could make out. Once again I ran only to witness yet another beast had emerged. This time it was a 54lb 9oz carp that sat cradled in Lisa’s arms. It was getting ridiculous. I knew that it had to be my turn next. That night I managed landed ten carp over 30lb and I was starting to feel quite exhausted when my rods went off again this time producing a 41lb fish. Too tired and too dark to take any good photos I sacked it up and crawled into bed completely shattered from the days prolific bounty.

Upon first light I arose excitedly remembering my gift still tucked away in the margins. I unzipped the prize only to be taken aback by the large shimmering scales that glistened exquisitely within the early morning sun. It was a beautiful and rare 41lb fully scaled mirror and the week had only just began. The following days would yield three more 40’s the largest, a jet black 48lb belter, breaking my old PB. At weeks end we left the bank and headed home with two 50s, loads of 40s and all of with personal bests under our belts, it truly was an amazing weeks fishing.


This would prove to be just the beginning for me upon my extraordinary Ebro Adventure.

I have also caught a new PB catfish of 199lb during a break between clients, and not forgetting the memorable repeat captures such as the man-

I could go on forever about the amazing sessions

darin by one of my clients, or the 34lb mirror that I

we have had since over the past few years, like

christened Heidi after my daughter to name a few.

the nineteen 40lb carp in 12 days, catfishing that

But like I said, I could go on forever and I have a

is so frantic it cripples you by the end of the day,

lot more fishing to do before I’ve reached the end.

the five cats over 100lbs in a 90 minute session. I have met some great people over the years and I myself have since caught three carp over 50lbs

created a life for myself and my family along the

with my biggest being 56lbs. My favourite being

banks of this remarkable river. She never ceases

the 52lb beauty I caught last year which, in my

to amaze not only me but all who has chosen to

opinion, was the most beautiful carp I have ever

join me on my many adventures and I look forward

seen.

to the many years to come and all the treasures that the extraordinary Ebro still has yet to share.

Me and my 199 lb cat


If you would like to learn more please feel free to visit my website:

shattock.wix.com/ebrocarpfishing

www.joincag.com North American Carp Angler

71


SOLID BAG FISHING

By Mark Pitchers

Over the years Mark Pitchers has mastered a number of tactics for catching carp from some of the most pressured waters around, the solid PVA bag and inline lead approach is one of his favourites.


Due to the nature of my fishing I have quite an

ing of dry groundbait in the bottom of the bag,

array of rigs and tactics in my armoury. These in-

this just adds the compacting of the bag and

clude 360 rigs, Zigs, Chods, Hinged Stiff Links,

then I use some really small pellets and that’s

surface fishing and of course one of my real fa-

about it. There isn’t a carp alive that can resist

vourites – solid PVA bags. I have lost count of the

a small pile of pellets and so I see little point is

sheer number of carp I have banked on solid bags

changing something that has worked well for me

and I really cannot speak highly enough of them.

for years.

Previously they were quite fiddly to tie so many

Rig

anglers shied away from the tactic, however, in

As I have said I like to use inline leads with my

recent years the release of the Rapide Load Sys-

solid bags and tend to fish these on leaders. Al-

tem from Fox has now made solid bag fishing ac-

though it may sound quite lazy I have been us-

cessible to all, so if you haven’t tried them before I

ing ready-tied leaders of late as they are tied to

strongly recommend you do – they can be a mas-

my same high standards and just save a lot of

sive edge!

hassle and time on the bank, I can simply have

Advantages

a load of leaders tied up ready with leads and rigs on and even have them tied up inside the

The reason I like solid PVA bags so much is two-

solid bags ready to go (just make sure you keep

fold. Firstly as the rig is coiled up inside the bag

them dry!). The leader material I like a lot is the

along with the inline lead I know my rig cannot

lead-free Submerge; it is very supple and sinks

tangle, which is not only great for the confidence

like a brick. The beauty of the Submerge ready-

but also means that I am always fishing effective-

tied leaders is that they have loops at both ends

ly, which is vital. The second reason I love them

and the swivels are attached loop-to-loop style.

so much is that I feel they offer perfect presentation pretty much no matter what they land on – including weed.

This means I can quickly chance my swivel to an Edges Inline Drop-Off Swivel if I want to swap

Once the bag has melted I am left with a little pile

from a standard inline setup to a drop-off inline

of pellets and my small bright hookbait sat on top

on weedy and snaggy venues. The weight of

like a cherry on a cake! The carp comes in sucks

my inline lead will vary depending on the range

up the little mouthful then the short braid rig will

I am fishing, but 3oz is a pretty good average

straighten, and the weight and resistance of my

size.

lead will then help to set the hook home. Finally the hooklink part of my rig varies again

Bait

but will always be tied from supple Reflex Camo

I am not really one for using fancy concoctions

braid with a small balanced bright hookbait.

inside my solids. Instead I opt for just a small dustNorth American Carp Angler

73


(SEQUENCE) CREATE THE PERFECT RIG FOR SOLID BAGGING

Above are all of the components required – ready-tied leaders help save time!


Start by unlooping the standard swivel supplied on the ready-tied Submerge leader.

Now loop on a Quick-Change Drop-Off Swivel and attach your chosen hooklink. North American Carp Angler

75


Take a 3oz inline lead and remove the rubber insert from inside it.

Take a pair of scissors and carefully trim off the thin tail from the insert.


Next, place the rubber ‘grommet’ from the insert over the swivel, as shown.

Thread an insert from the Inline Drop-Off Kit onto the Submerge leader. North American Carp Angler

77


Place the rubber grommet up inside the front of the lead.

Add some moisture to the insert and then place it into the back of the lead.


Your Submerge leader will now run around the outside of the inline lead like so.

A supple braided hooklink is essential for perfect presentation.

North American Carp Angler

79


Micro pellets are perfect for fishing inside a solid PVA bag.


The Rapide Load System makes tying solid bags...

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81


...easier than ever before!


In Closing Well hopefully my ramblings have given you a few things to think about and maybe just encouraged you to give solid PVA bags a go over the coming weeks. They really are a great ‘cast anywhere’ rig and can often work far better than a Chod Rig when casting to showing fish – give them a go and let me know how you get on through my Twitter and Facebook pages – good luck.

Solid bag success – they can be a massive edge!

North American Carp Angler

83


CARP CAST

Q & A with Mark Watson

NACA: Hi Mark, thanks for taking the time to

NACA: Looking at your resume, you have fished

speak to us here at North American Carp Angler.

some iconic waters, including Elstow Pits, St.

With the explosion of the digital age and technol-

Ives, The Woolpack and Bundy’s to name a few.

ogy being available to us all at a rate only 5 years

Can you give us an idea of what kind of fishing

ago, seemed improbable you are now starting a

you enjoy and what kind of waters interest you?

project that is at the forefront of this new age. Before we talk about your new podcast venture let’s get some background information so our readers can get to know you.

NACA: Firstly, where did fishing and carp angling start for you?

Mark Watson: I was a match angler before the carp bug took hold but it was a progression rather than a straight swap. I started ignoring the small silver fish (roach, rudd, skimmer bream) then fishing for chub in the canals and rivers and tench in a couple of lakes. A few friends had got into carping and I tagged along, became obsessed and haven’t looked back.

Mark Watson: I enjoy any kind of fishing but need a challenge to really get me going. The waters you’ve mentioned all offer that with very big carp but the great thing is when you fish the well know venues you get to hear about the waters not so well known with equally big fish. Right next to st ives are another two lakes which both have 45lb+ fish in them and just up the road from Elstow is Willington lake which held a mid 40 mirror and a common just under 40lb and was a very cheap ticket. There is Hykeham which is a gravel pit of about 180 acres near Lincoln that I keep going back to when I need a bit of sanctuary. The fish only go to low 30s but I feel right at home there and have some great friends it’s always fun to see.


A 38lb+ common from the st ives area.

NACA: I see you also are a qualified carp in-

Away from carp fishing I occasionally help out a

structor. Can you tell us what this entails and what

local club with their youth coaching scheme which

services you offer?

is great fun and very rewarding seeing the next

Mark Watson: I’m a coarse angling coach

generation become hooked. For carpers I offer 1 to 1 tuitions which are tailored to each individual’s

qualified with first4sport and the Angling trust. I

needs. I’ve had lots of fun doing them and met

completed the level 1 and 2 courses to get there.

some wonderful people.

North American Carp Angler

85


A tuition client battling a common


NACA: How did the idea of running a podcast come about? Mark Watson: Over the past year I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts myself like The Steve

NACA: What are your aims for the podcast? Mark Watson: It started off as something to do for a bit of fun but after four episodes it has really built some momentum.

Austin Show, The Joe Rogan Experience and oth-

A lot more than we expected. It’s also a lot more

ers so I searched for fishing pod casts and none

work than we anticipated but it’s all enjoyable.

covered carping.

We’re just going to try our best to keep it growing

My friend Jamie Clossick is a DJ and producer

and give our audience something they like.

amongst other things so I gave him a call and after the usual carpy chat I said carp fishing needs a pod cast. He laughed, he’d already started a face book page but not done anything else about it being so busy with other projects. We got together and the Carp Cast was born.

Nice scaley park lake fish

North American Carp Angler

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Another tuition client with his first 20lb+ common


NACA: I’ve listened to the first few with Kevin

We are also keeping our eye on what’s current

Nash and Ali Hamidi and it’s obvious you have a

and where we can, we’ll get a guest who is in the

good relationship within the industry. Do you think

spotlight at the time.

more and more well know carpers will want to feature? NACA: Your podcasts seem to be a mixture of Mark Watson: I know they will. We are both well connected, especially Jamie who runs the North-

interviews, conversation and up to date news. Is this the format you hope to keep?

ern Angling show. Episodes 3 and 4 feature Rob Hughes and Mark Pitchers and we have had quite

Mark Watson: We’re keeping this format for

a lot of interest from many other big names. We

now but we will adapt and evolve. We’ll listen to

have a long wish list of potential guests which we

feedback and if people like what we’re doing we’ll

are working through.

carry one. If not we’ll change.

Jamie with Cluster form the woolpack at 45lb+ North American Carp Angler

89


NACA: Carping is now definitely a worldwide ac-

NACA: America is still a relatively untapped

tivity. Any plans in the works to expand this format

market due to several factors but we are starting

and interview European and International carp-

to see more and more bait and tackle companies

ers?

taking an interest. Apart from the St. Lawrence River, I had little

Mark Watson: There certainly is.

The Rob

knowledge of the carping opportunities available

Hughes interview certainly opened my eyes to

until I moved here permanently. What do you think

the reach of carp angling nowadays, as has the

the perception is of American Carping in England?

downloads of the podcast. Mark Watson: I’ve know there is a relatively Over 20% are from the US and we’ve also had

small but growing carp scene in America because

downloads from as far away as Chile and Iraq!

I read quite a few magazines, some of which have

We intend to cover everywhere and everything to

carried features on American carping.

do with carp fishing. It’s a massive task but we have plenty of time to do it.

You’ve also had a few big carp matches over there that have been covered over here.

The carving from the woolpack at 40lb 4oz


The Starburst mirror from Willington as discussed on Carp Cast 3. 45lb 6oz

I currently work in a tackle shop so I posed this

NACA: Mark, thanks for talking to us and we

question to the fella I work with. “Don’t they just

wish you the best of luck with the podcasts.

shoot em with bows and arrows?” was his reply

Hopefully, we can see a few American Carper’s

which I’m sure would be the reply from many brits.

featured in the future.

It’s good to see some of the progress you are making with catch and release.

Mark Watson: Thanks Dean, there are a couple of American carpers on our guest wish list so I’m sure you will sooner or later. Thanks for the chat, it’s been fun.

North American Carp Angler

91


10

s n o i t Ques

y r r a H with

Gue st Ar t i c l e

n o t g n Charri

Introduction: Harry currently works for Fox International and has featured on many magazine covers as well as writing articles on a number of topics. In 2014 Harry had an unbelievable season, not only winning Eric’s Carp Championship, but also finishing 2nd in the UK Carp Cup and well as winning a number of other qualifying events during the year. Harry also had time to catch a new PB during the year as well as being voted, ‘Carp Angler of the Year’ by Angling Times, receiving over 50% of the vote!!

My new PB at 40lb 12oz

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1)

One of 77 fish, from Barston whilst fishing on my own in the BCAC Semi Final. Harry, thanks for taking the time

out of your busy schedule to speak to us. What an amazing year 2014 was for you! Before we delve into some of this, can we get a bit of background information on you for our American readers who may not be familiar with you? Firstly, how did you get into angling and specifically carp fishing? Thanks very much for having me! I first cast a rod and line aged 4 at a little pond in Devon with my Dad. Before that I had always loved being beside the water and had been catching minnows in a jar from the stream running through my Gran’s orchard since I was probably 2 years old.

My father has always been into his Fly fishing but wanted to get me into coarse fishing first to see if I enjoyed it and quite obviously I did. Fast forward till I was about 11 or 12. I really liked river fishing and I would spend whole summers with my friends chasing chub and barbel on the rivers in Surrey. It became apparent that there was some quite sizeable carp in those rivers, so we kitted ourselves out and began to target them and I have never looked back since. I still hugely enjoy all forms of angling and if I had more time I would target a wider variety of species, but carp do tend to get under my skin more than any other.


2)

Gue st Ar t i c l e Now we know a little more, can

When I was 15 I did quite well in the Junior Brit-

you tell us what it’s like to work for

ish Carp Champs and from there I was in good

one of the biggest Tackle Compa-

contact with the guys from Angling Publications

nies in the world, in Fox International. What

and they asked me to do some articles for them.

led you down the path and into the fishing industry?

It was the following year when I eventually went out to shoot my first one and that was when I met

In short coming to Fox was the best decision I

my now manager Lewis Porter who, at the time

ever made. It really is a great company to work for

was an editorial assistant for Crafty Carper Maga-

and I am exceptionally proud to say I work here.

zine. I remained in contact and continued to do

Everyone is so passionate about what they do

the odd article for them and various other titles.

and are very ambitious so we are constantly driving forward, striving to produce the best gear pos-

After I finished 6th form aged 18 I went to read

sible and in my case, the best marketing material

Theatre Studies at University, in the summer be-

that not just sells the products but helps the end

tween terms Lewis asked me to help out on the

user and provides some quality entertainment.

magazine and stay with him and Scott Day at their flat in Sheffield. It was a great opportunity for me

Ending up at Fox is a bit of a long story really, I

so I took him up on it.

never had intended on getting a job in the industry, it is so small with very few opportunities that I hadn’t even considered it as an option.

Glory! £30,000 to share between us!

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Two fish that got us over the line in the Erics Champs final.

Once I had finished my 3 year course at university I had a teaching job lined up, but on the week of my graduation Lewis called me up and told me that there was a possibility of a role for me to work with him at Fox and if I was up for it I could go in for an interview. I didn’t take much convincing and in the September I moved to Essex and began my new role at Fox, I have been here now a little over three and a half years and I still feel incredibly lucky to be in the position I am.

Most guys who work in the industry will tell you that they get very little time for their own fishing and I definitely fall into that category. At the time of writing this we are three months into the year and I have done one night! I am very lucky to be a member of a quiet little 15 man syndicate that I can escape to when I have the time, the lake is absolutely stunning, its about 10 acres in side with about 130 carp in including a number of 40lbers to go at, I love it down there.

3)

As a Fox employee I imagine you are kept very busy! Can you give us a few details as to where you like to fish in your own time, as I know this must be precious to you.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum, which is my competition fishing, this can be really hectic and a lot of hard work. I spend most of the time I have in the summer on competitions but I do enjoy it equally to the syndicate fishing.


Gue st Ar t i c l e

4)

Let’s move onto your amazing

All I knew at the time was that my best mate and

year in 2014. What drove you

myself would regularly catch more than any of the

to enter the competitive fishing

older guys at our local venues, so a national com-

arena?

petition would be a good test. I am a very competitive person and believe I

Like I mentioned when I was 15 I fished in the

thrive under pressure, after that first competition

Junior British Carp Champs. I entered because

I got such a buzz that I just had to keep doing it.

I wanted to know what sort of standard I was in

I really wanted to win one of the real big competi-

relation to other kids my age.

tions.

Part of our World Record haul at Drayton North American Carp Angler

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5)

Can you give us an idea of what

All of these competitions are run with the same

competitions you entered into

format; Qualifiers, Semi Final and Final. I man-

in 2014 and your results? Per-

aged to reach each final at the first time of asking

sonally, I was following some

which nobody had achieved before, this meant I

of it and was particularly impressed with your

ended up fishing 9 individual matches.

Drayton Lake total, your solo win at the British Carp Championship Semi-finals as well as

Out of those I had one 4th place finish, two sec-

being jealous seeing you hold some stunning

onds and 6 firsts. With my fishing partner Alexei

fish from the iconic Wraysbury complex.

Bygrave we won the biggest prize in carp fishing £30,000 at the Erics Carp Champs and broke

There are lots of carp matches that you can enter

venue records at every stage, it was quite an in-

in the UK but because of my limited time I enter

credible year and at the end of it all I was honored

the 3 biggest ones, The UK Carp Cup which is a

to be voted “Carp Angler of the Year”.

singles event and then the British Carp Championships and the Erics Carp Championships which are both pairs events.

If you have a plan and are prepared for anything, your match will go smoothly.


Gue st Ar t i c l e That Drayton result was incredible, a 48hr carp

Wraysbury followed that match, the final of “The

match world record weight of 3132lb. We caught

British� it was the very first time I had set foot on

277 carp through the day and night every single

the historic venue.

one was off the surface, it was the most punish-

The match was two weeks after the Erics Carp

ing fishing I have ever endured, we both had zero

Champs win and I was not at all surprised that I

sleep and were completely battered and bruised

came out 2nd last in the draw. I was in a little cor-

by the end of it. I never knew carp fishing could be

ner, but luckily there were a few fish about, on the

such hard work!

first night I managed two bites including one of the venues Originals, a common of 32lbs!

I have really fond memories of that BCAC semi final, it was a pairs match but I had entered on

To be honest I was absolutely buzzing to have

my own, I won my qualifier but had a really bad

caught such an incredible fish from Wraysbury

draw in that Semi. After 24hrs I was over 100lbs

and having already won a big competition I was

behind where I needed to be to qualify, eventually

content with my results for the year, but in the

I drew the fish in and got them really going, the

morning I found myself in first place! Unfortunate-

final 24hrs was hectic and once again I fished the

ly that was the only action I had for the weekend

whole match with no sleep I ended up winning the

and I slipped back down to 4th, but it was a very

Semi with over 700lbs.

surreal experience.

After many people had said I would struggle fishing on my own at that venue the victory was particularly sweet!

My biggest ever carp in a competition, 36lb in the UK Carp Cup Final where I finished 2nd. North American Carp Angler

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6)

We have a very active competition angling scene in the USA. If you could offer a couple of key pointers, what would you

The lakes that host carp matches in the UK are really varied so you have to be adaptable in your approach to be able to compete consistently at a high level.

suggest makes a good competi-

tive angler? Obviously, we all know a good

Every match I fish I will have a very specific plan

draw is crucial but looking at your results it

of attack that will be based on research and prior

has to be much more than you being lucky!

knowledge of the venue, however I will also be

How do you approach a competition? Is your

prepared for a number of other scenarios.

approach similar for all venues? The last thing I want is to be perfectly prepared to fish on the bottom and I arrive to the lake with It sounds like a bit of a contradiction but you have

carp all over the surface and I have no means of

to approach each competition open minded but

catching them. I have seen It happen so many

with a well thought out plan. My tactical approach

times before when anglers are simply not well

will change from venue to venue.

enough prepared and it has cost them big time!

One of the Wraysbury Originals at 32lb


Gue st Ar t i c l e

7)

Are you planning to fish competitions again in the future? If so would you ever consider other countries? The USA has several big prize money tournaments. Would you ever be

8)

I imagine it was a massive honor to be voted ‘Carp Angler of the Year’? You were in with some esteemed anglers, including Dave Lane. How do you feel about this award?

tempted to cross the ocean? A few months on and it still feels really strange I am indeed; I will be taking part in all the same

when people say you’re ‘Carp Angler Of the Year’,

competitions as last year so hopefully I can start

to me. I’m just a normal guy who works a normal

where I left off! I have actually fished matches

job and I love going fishing. For that many people

in Serbia and Romania over the last few years.

to vote for me, above legends like Dave is incred-

These Eastern European countries are absolutely

ible. Growing up I read his books and followed his

crazy about carp competitions, far more so than in

articles, to be mentioned in the same breath as

the UK. The competitors take it very seriously and

him is unreal.

they have some incredible anglers over there. It also proves that carp angling is about so much I have never faired well in the draws over there

more than just catching big carp, something I and

but in 2013 I managed an equal 3rd place and a

many others have been promoting for some time

section win whilst fishing with Rob Hughes which

now and its not just big individual captures that

I was really pleased about after the locals told us

get praised in the press. Which is how it should

we stood no chance in the peg we were in.

be, I believe.

I would love to visit the USA full stop; I have never been over there before and have always wanted to go. If I could tie a visit in with taking part in a competition then why not? I know that some of the venues can be really hectic, which is my kind of fishing!

Catching boatloads is the task I relish!

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9)

With all of the competition re-

I got down to the venue a couple of times in the

sults it’s easy to forget you also

week leading up to the session and put some bait

caught a new PB, your 2nd Eng-

in on a few spots I had found earlier in the year.

lish 40lber I believe. Can you give us a few details of the capture.

After all the priming I had done and a new lowpressure weather system working its way across

It is! Nobody ever asks me about that, only about

the country everything looked spot on. However,

the money! It was on my syndicate lake I men-

after my first night I had received no action what-

tioned earlier.

soever. Scratching my head a little, I decided to

Once the competitions slowed

down in the Autumn I managed to spare a few nights in the middle of October. I had an idea where the fish were going to be judging by the previous form of one specific area at that time for the last few years.

reel in and go for a walk. It was not long before I realized I had made a mistake, there was an area of heavy weed a little further up the lake. That weed had all started to break down for winter and it was obviously releasing a load of natural food and the carp were having a field day! I saw an awful lot of fish, so the decision was made to up sticks and move onto them. I baited a clear area just off the weed that had produced bites for me in the past. A mixture of pellet, corn and S-core boilies went onto the spot followed by a couple of pink pop-ups. I had to wait until 3am for the bite and it weeded me up fairly quickly. After steady pressure I got it moving and more or less dragged the big ball of weed all the way in and scooped it up. I had no idea it was a big fish until I tried to lift it out of the water! But there it was 40lb 12oz of brutish old mirror carp. A new PB and a perfect way to cap off my year!


Gue st Ar t i c l e

10)

Finally, to wrap up. I know it’s a hard question, but what was the most memorable moment of 2014?

That took more effort and endurance than almost all the other matches put together and catching boatloads of carp like we did then really is my forte so for me that was just about as good as it gets as a carp match angler. Thanks Harry, we appreciate you taking the

Now that is hard, I have enough fond memories

time to talk to us. Good luck in 2015.

of 2014 to last a lifetime. Winning the ÂŁ30,000 was cool and that match was great, but money is

Many thanks!

not the reason I fish these competitions. I think breaking the World Record would have to be number 1.

I still enjoy fishing for other species when I get the time. North American Carp Angler

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CAG Members Section In this Edition we have a couple of articles from our CAG Members which give us an insight into their fishing. We also focus the spot light on the iconic mirror carp water in Tennessee, that is Dale Hollow. Lots of anglers make the yearly trip to try and tempt some pre-spawn wackers and we have some stunning pictures from several CAG members who made the trip. Finally, we highlight CAG members catch and scenic shots. As always, keep the member contributions coming in.


Short Session Tips

By Evan Cartabiano

When you have no time: a few tips and ideas for catching on short sessions:

Fishing for has been an important part of my life for all my life, but while my obsession has not dwindled, the amount of time I can fish has taken a hit in recent years. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest is kids and parental responsibility that is a part of having them. This has lead to very short sessions being the norm, with my average time on the bank being only a few hours. Due to my situation I am luckily able to fish fairly often however and this allows me to do some things to boost my success. While my short sessions are driven by my family life, these methods will work for anyone who has a limited amount of time to spend on the bank.

Swim Selection:

The river is the closest, but is hit or miss without pre baiting and some walking is involved to get to

Carp anglers are often restricted in their normal habit of fishing over night by waters that don’t allow camping (even though carp fishing is not camping, law enforcement often does not see it that way!). This is not a problem for anglers that can only fish for a few hours. I look for swims that are a close drive to my house as driving time is for some reason counted in with my fishing time! Once I narrow it down to waters that are close enough, then I start ranking the fish-ability of the spot. There is one lake, two ponds, and a river that can be fished that are within range. The lake is huge and the dam is the only area that is close enough and there is a small entry fee to park there – it is not ideal as I have never seen a carp there. One of the ponds is private but they don’t seem to have a problem with fishing there, and the other is a catfish pay pond that has carp in it as well.

an area that is fishable. So that’s my options for swims. The next part is what are my chances of catching and the size of the fish. The lake has a very low chance of catching by the dam so it’s out most of the time. The first pond has only produced fish under 20, and there are very few fish in there. The pay pond is just that – you have to pay $10. It’s really close and has fish up to 25 at least and no one fishes for carp in it so fishing is really good. The river is hit or miss. If I have time to pre-bait then my chances go way up, and there are some larger fish, but if the water comes up quickly my bait gets washed away and I lose everything. So that’s the layout. How I have been dealing with this is to fish the pay pond if there is a chance the river might come up between when I start baiting and when I can fish, and fish the river if the weather looks like it’s going to hold. North American Carp Angler

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Tactics: Get the hooks in the water! You will not catch fish with your hooks on dry land so the first thing I do is get my lines out. The bite indication can wait a few minutes as can setting up the net. If you get a fish so quick the net is still in the bag it is ok to look like a fool trying to set it up while fighting a fish. It can be done. I keeps my rods rigged at all times so that as soon as I get on the bank they are ready to be cast. I tend to use artificial corn or boilies that have been soaked in Betalin since this allows me to hook on a PVA bag, put on some pack bait or method and cast without having to mess with putting bait on the hair. If I decide I don’t want to use artificial baits I can always recast after I have gotten everything set up. Only after I have gotten my rods out and am happy with where the baits are do I set up my net and alarms. Remember: time is of the essence when you have to be home in 2 hrs!

Starting them Young

Maize - A cheap and effective bait


Bait: If you are not pre-baiting think instant baits. What is “instant” on your water may vary but most of the time this means white bread and sweet corn. A very simple PVA bag/stick mix is to take a loaf of white bread and blend it up in a food processer and mix it with some sweet corn having first removed all the excess water by draining and patting dry with a paper towel. If you want to use PVA safe flavor add it to the corn after it is dry. This bait can also be used on a method feeder. I really like it as it has lots of color and gets other species interested as well which in turn can attract the carp.

Another, even simpler bait, is take the cheapest loaf of white bread you can find and grind it up fine. That’s it. This can be used as a pack, on a method feeder, or makes an excellent PVA stick. Other pack bait recipes are well suited to this type of fishing as well, but the best part of the bread is as long as you keep it dry and in a sealed bucket or bag it will keep for months (makes me think twice about eating too much of it!). As I mentioned above, I most often use fake corn or boilies on the hair as they keep me from having to mess with baiting the hair and can be recast multiple times. However, one of the best overlooked instant baits is worms. Cut a night crawler up into sections and hair rig it – the results are often out perform more “normal” baits. North American Carp Angler

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So, these are some of the things I have been do-

While it is tempting to just not go if you have only

ing to make the most of my short sessions. I have

a short amount of time simply getting out on the

been lucky to catch some good fish using them

water and watching the fish will make you a bet-

and of course continue to refine and perfect them.

ter angler and sometimes you can get lucky and

The take home message is to get you baits out as

catch a new PB on a session of only an hour.

soon as you get there as fish are in the water, and use baits that the fish will eat right off unless you have had the time to pre-bait.

Double Up


n a c i Amer p r a C Grass

By Ken Wasnorowicz

The American grass carp is one of the newest

The larger venues including reservoirs and riv-

and best angling opportunities available to the

ers have documented fish topping 70+ lbs and in

American angler. With fish known to top over 80+

the past three years , in local reservoirs a State

lbs, and with numerous ways to catch them they

Record of 65lb 14 ozs was taken along with two

can be an exciting new challenge to anglers, both

other 65’s and a handful of 50’s not to mention

amateur and highly skilled alike. In my local area

loads of 40’s . If you are a big fish buff, the amount

there are countless venues with monster grass

of big grassers is mind boggling.

carp and even small 1 acre farm ponds can contain fish an excess of 40 lbs .


The grass carp is native to North Vietnam

The “camel back” or “Quasimodo” fish which

and the Amur River in Siberia on China border.

has a pronounced hump on its’ back, then an

It is cultivated in China for food. In America and

extremely lean almost tubular type and then my

Europe it is utilized for weed control. Fish grow

personal favorite, the fatter version torpedo type

quickly and a 7.9” fish can make 18” at the end of

fish. Those aren’t scientific names just personal

their first year.

names for the types I most often come across.

The average length is 24” to 39” and a maximum length of 4’ 9” is possible. The grass carp is also

Out of the three types named, the biggest ones are usually the torpedo variety.

known as the White Amur. They can achieve a maximum weight of 90lbs

So with the introduction given, what are the

and live an average of 9 years, with some surviv-

best methods to catch the grass carp? I find there

ing to the 11th year. They can also consume up to

is no one best method for grassers. With every

three times their body weight per day.

approach from surface to bottom fishing to float,

Grass Carp Come in a few different varieties, Triploid and Duploid. One is a sterile variety and

and even from a boat or shore; it all depends on the water you are fishing.

one can reproduce. As for looks there are three different types that you will most often come across.

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Bait choice:

The Rigging:

For ALL waters and campaigns I would go with

For surface fishing and bottom fishing (freelining)

fermented maize, unless I’m surface fishing. If it’s

try a 3 ft fluro carbon leader. 6lb test to a small

a surface venue then your shredded bread is your

swivel. For hookS, either size 2 or 4 Gammakatsu

best choice for the top water. As for maize, fresh

finnese wide gape hook.

works but a little fermented is much better. For bottom fishing a standard carp rig does well I remember reading an In Fisherman article back

with hair rigs and bolt rigs working just as well

in 2000, and the anglers would only use corn that

as running rigs. The only modification would be

sat out for seven or more days! Mainly though,

shorter hair with the bait tight to hook.

for small ponds my go to is bread crust on top or white chunks on the bottom that is free lined.

For my bottom rig I would recommend a lead clip, 2 to 4 ozs sinker with 6” to 12” Power Pro leader of 50lbs test. A Kammasan Power Carp hook B775 (size 4), or Gammakatsu livebait size 2, with one piece real,one piece fake maize.


Finding Grass Carp: This can be a simple task, as Grass Carp are

With my polarized glasses I saw the 1st fish pass

usually very visible. Often times they will bub-

by, an 8lber, then a 2nd a 12lber, then the 3rd, a

ble, finning and tailing are also common. Stalking

20 lber. Not yet, the 4th fish I glimpsed a massive

small ponds with a good pair of polarized glasses

tail, bingo she’s the one. I pitched my crust and

is a great method but in the larger Lakes it’s not

tempted a lovely 34.08 fish.

always as simple as that. In that scenario you will have to rely more on trusting your bait campaign.

You may find obtaining a 40+lb fish is easier than you thought. In the next ten years I foresee

I was faced with a situation last summer where

numerous State records being broken and with

I was fortunate enough to be able to choose my

the New York record at 65lb, and net caught fish

fish.

documented to 79lbs it’s all too much a reality.

I could see fish roaming in the shallows and I could select the particular one I wanted to catch.

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Featuring scenic images and catch pictures

S ’ R E B MEM

from our very own CAG Members.

Y R E L GAL

David Moore - 30lb fully scaled


David Moore - 30lb fully scaled (2)

Another 30lb fully scaled

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Winter fish by Daphne Forster


Denise Fox - 35lb+ mirror

Rick Slinker - 35lb+ fully scaled

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Tim Creque - 30lb+ mirror

Tim Creque - 30lb+ fully scaled


Tim Creque - 35lb+ mirror

Tim Creque - 40lb mirror

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S E O H C E SPRING T S A P E H OF T

emorable m a t a s son e a few sea k c a hat mad t b s s k d r o a lo w re es raig Park ctics and C a , t g , s in e h g s n g fi lle on Sprin f the cha s o u e c o m f o e s h hts With t e highlig H . n ig a amp spring c s. a succes n o s a e s from December until around April. Then a busy the In November 2012 Barrack Obama was involved in a political campaign which would see him defeat Mit Romney, and serve a second four year term as President of the United States of America. At the same time, in the same country, I was coming to the end of my most successful carp season ever, taking both commons and mirrors over 40lb, another 10x fish over 30lb and breaking my PB six times. I had been driving some extreme distances to target the rare big mirrors that resided over 450 miles away from where I lived, and being so successful in the fall months I decided to do a season long campaign on my favorite body of water in 2013. The extremely cold weather conditions we get in the north east resulted in snow and frozen lakes

summer work schedule had me travelling across

the nation to coach soccer between June and August, meaning my spring fishing would conclude late May. I would restart again in September for a couple of months before the cold winter kicked in, so my campaign would be conducted in two intense spring and fall periods. Therefore, it was important that I drove the 16 hour - 900 mile round trip as often as I could and made the most of my 36 hours on the bank. After last year’s success I struggled to set any real personal targets for 2013, knowing it would be very hard to beat that previous years angling. However, my overall target was to just try and catch one fish that would increase my PB, and a few scaley 30’s along the way would also be very welcome indeed. North American Carp Angler

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First Session – Late April I was still unsure if the fish would be active in April because the winter had been such a harsh one. I had witnessed snow falling daily from late December until the middle of April, and water temperatures were still very low.

With my target water being a tidal river over 450 miles away (like driving from the Nash offices in Essex to Glasgow-Scotland) it was not like I could just pop down to see if the fish were active and drop a few kilos of bait in. I had to fully commit to driving there and hoping that the fish were active and ready to start feeding. Thankfully the fish were playing ball and the first night saw me bag a couple of nice twenties on chod rigs fished at range.

Rig components


Use the knot pulller to shape the loop on back of hook

Attach rig to a micro ring rig swivel using a palomar knot and use two knot pullers to straighten rig and bed knot down

I opted for chod rigs due to the amount of weed

It was certainly a good feeling landing that first

present in this location, which in places can al-

fish after four months of not being able to fish,

most come up to the surface. I used a 4ft leader

and not knowing if the 8 hour journey to the lake

with the top bead pushed a couple of inches from

was going to be productive or a waste of time and

the end with semi-slack line so baits were still pre-

petrol.

sentable over the more dense areas.

I decided that I would delay my journey home until the last possible moment on Sunday to give

A size 7 Twister hook was used for 15mm pop

myself a chance of a getting another fish, even

ups and a size 6 for 20mms. Each rig was cast out

though both runs had come during the hours of

to 100 yards and half a kilo of boilies were sticked

darkness.

over the top.

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Tie bait floss to ring using two granny knots then attach baits

Tie on a bait stop with two granny knots and blob bait floss tag ends


Attach rig to leader and add a diffusion 3mm bead

I was glad I did because an hour before I packed up I hooked into what felt like a better fish. The fish kited quite a long way down the left hand side of the swim and after chasing it down the bank I finally got it into the shallow margins where it rolled and revealed a beautiful line of huge linear scales.

The fish gave a few more powerful lunges but eventually ended up safely in the net, and what a stunner it was. The fish went 31lb 12oz on the scales, and is one of the prettiest fish I have ever landed. The long drive home that Sunday evening was certainly made a bit easier with that fish having graced my net.

North American Carp Angler

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31lb 12oz Scaley Carp

Second Session -First weekend of May

Knowing the carp were awake, I was excited to see if I could bag anymore of those big scaley residents. Normally a couple of fish in 24 hours is a pretty good result here. However, I was on a roll landing 5 fish to just under 32lb in the first 12 hours. The thirty was a beautiful heavily plated, almost

I was excited to get back down to the spot as soon as possible and fortunately for me my job as a university lecturer means I break up for the summer early May. The first weekend of May arrived and I was back on the road with four days planned on the water.

fully scaled stunner, and it was accompanied by a rare mid twenty two tone mirror. The fish were a lot easier than normal to catch being so heavily on the feed, and I had a few runs come within minutes of casting out.


This was clearly going to be one of those red

My head was telling me to go home to house hunt

letter days, or so I thought. A phone call from my

(and also score some brownie points), and my gut

wife soon ended my run of good luck. Unfortu-

was telling me to stay and catch some lumps.

nately, the house we were about to buy had fallen

I decided to call my wife and tell her that I would

through and we had already terminated the lease

be coming home immediately (even though she

on our apartment.

suggested I stay and fish bless her), and I knew

Our realtor had some time this weekend to show us a bunch of properties, but the house market

I had made the right decision. However, as I was packing away I landed a brace of twenties.

was moving so quickly that the houses would probably be sold by the time I came back from my trip.

This made me feel sick to my stomach, and to this day I know I was walking away from what could

Quite a dilemma indeed! I knew that if I stayed

have been a real special session. Thankfully we

on the bank I would more than likely have a great

went on to purchase a better house, in a much

session and possibly go on to land a few more

nicer location, for a much better price. However,

chunks. However, I also knew that we needed to

as I write this I still get that overwhelming feel-

find a house to buy quickly or we would end up

ing of disappointment and regret at walking away

with nowhere to live.

from a hot swim that day, especially knowing how my spring would end.

A nice spring Twenty

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Third Session - RIP Carp Wagon Two sessions down, two stunning 30’s landed and I still had two more sessions left to fish in May. I could not wait to get back down the swim as I knew the big girls would be starting to gain some weight ready to spawn late May/early June. With the car loaded for a three day trip I hit the road full of excitement.

However, within an hour I found myself sat in a layby waiting for a tow truck to come and take me home. Unfortunately my beloved carp wagon had died for the final time. I figured my spring sessions were now finished and that I would now have to wait 4 months to carry on the campaign. I was gutted to say the least and although the tow truck driver did not stop talking for the whole ride home I was just too distraught to carry on the conversation.

Scaley double


An awesome two-tone 24lb mirror

Session Four - The Dreaded “Meat Eaters”

I knew I married my wife for a reason. The rea-

son being that she saw how miserable I was with the broken down car situation, and offered to lend me her car to go fishing for two mid-week days while she was working from home. I was so happy I could have kissed her……..but I was far too busy loading the car for any hanky

It is a very silly rule and causes no end of problems, from members of the public calling me ‘”a homeless bum”, to police coming and moving me on as camping is not allowed. Therefore, most sessions I sleep in my car during the night as I can park right next to my rods. My old car (RIP Lincoln carp wagon) was a huge 7 seat 4x4, which I could get my bed chair in and still have room for all my gear. However, my wife’s 4 door saloon was going to make for quite an uncomfortable sleeping arrangement. But that did not stop me from once again heading out the door in a hurry. I arrived at the swim late afternoon to find no other anglers present, but the first evening went by without even a bleep.

panky. Now I must explain that here in America many of the states I fish in do not allow any type of bivvy/tent/shelter to be erected.

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The next day a bunch of anglers arrived and set

Plus fishing alone with all the expensive tackle

up literally on my lap. Not the type of anglers who

I had I did not really fancy being woke up in the

practice catch and release either, the type that

middle of the night for a kicking as my tackle was

like to take 30’s and 40’s home for their dinner.

being taken. So I decided the best thing to do was to leave, as they were causing so much distur-

I moved a bit further down the bank to ensure I had some space, and also I do not really like to converse with these anglers as clearly our reasons for fishing are very different.

bance that the fishing was probably going to suffer anyway. A great start to the spring campaign had ended with a broken car and a short swim invasion blank. It was not how I had envisioned it going,

I tried to keep my cool as they constantly got

but I knew that come autumn the cold weather

closer and closer to my pod. They were drinking

would mean the banks were quieter, and I had

quite heavily, and then started to cast over my

always found this to be the most productive time

lines, and all in all it was an uncomfortable fishing

in this part of the country.

situation.

Fully scaled 31lb 12oz


CARP

CONSERVATION CORNER C

arp fishing in America and Canada offers many challenges. The sheer vastness and size

of the water bodies can be intimidating and access to many areas hard to get. Add to that the fact that most fish have never seen an anglers bait and you will begin to understand that it offers a unique challenge. However, we also have to contend with the common belief that carp are a nuisance fish at best, with many believing that they are invasive trash fish and they should be removed from all waters. Due to this belief we commonly come into contact with people who take fish for the table, no matter what their size and also people armed with bows, attempting to shoot the carp. With that said, we have several CAG members who work behind the scenes with their local State Fisheries in an effort to first educate and then open up dialogue which will in time affect real change. In this new section we feature a few of these CAG members who are working hard to improve the fishing and regulations. First up is Mark Lowrie, who details an event he attended in an effort to highlight our sport. Next up we have John Finney, who gives us some of his experiences in Colorado and finally, we have Iain Sorrell who has been working with Connecticut Fisheries for several years with great success. We hope to continue to highlight our members successes statewide over the next few issues, so please get active, get involved and make a difference.


ADVANCING CARPING IN YOUR STATE By Iain Sorrell

Carp fishing in North America is growing year on year but there is always more we can do at a local level. Create a Positive Impression.

I always carry a couple of trash bags, plus a glove to remove any broken glass or unpleasant items, so that my swim is always cleaner than when I started. I’ve also been known to confront other folk when I see them leave trash around them and firmly but politely hand them a bag to clean up. And why not take a photo of you or a group of you ‘Spring Cleaning’ the waterside and send it in with a story to the local media?

Always be polite to fellow anglers especially those who might not share our views on catch & release carp fishing. There is a wealth of information on the CAG members forum together with past NACA issues that can help in presenting a balanced and more positive perspective on the status of the common carp in North America. An understanding of the history of carp and their spread to become a ‘naturalized’ rather than an invasive species (along with many others including brown trout, large mouth bass, muskie etc) together with the impact of pollution, dams & silting, agricultural run-off helps to educate more people. Clean up after you. Even if it is not yours it always helps to remove trash from where ever you have been fishing.

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Show & Tell When you hold a fish-in or other carp fishing

And don’t forget to invite local outdoor writers,

event be sure to invite members of your local

media folk and even fishing store owners to come

DNR or State Fishery folk to come see what carp

along as well.

angling is all about. While not all states are positive towards carp it is worth persevering. Always

If you have a CAG State representative get in

be polite and positive and hopefully you will find at

touch with them first. It is critically important to

least one person who takes an interest especially

coordinate efforts so that everyone is pulling to-

if they get a chance to actually catch a carp for

gether rather than wasting effort.

themselves.

CT Fisheries Biologist Bill Gerrish discovers how hard a carp fights with help from Nigel Barrow at a local fish-in.


DEEP Senior Fisheries Biologist Bill Gerish with a stunning 28lb common – a new PB

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Setting the Record Straight. In many states there is no distinction between rod & line caught carp records and those killed with a bow. If you are able to establish different record categories then that will be significant achievement. In Connecticut registering a prospective record once required a fish being taken to a certified weigh station or other certified scales (such as a tackle shop or deli). Even with careful transportation it might require a considerable journey to weigh a fish and no guarantee that it would survive. Fortunately CAG member Steve Clow was able to persuade the CT Fisheries folk that careful DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee & Middletown Mayor Daniel T. Drew learned about the carp fishing potential of the CT River from Iain Sorrell and fellow CAG members.

Give talks on carp fishing at local fishing stores, clubs, sportsmens shows etc.

weighing on a certified scale at the place of capture could be carried out and along with photographs and witness statements submitted for a record claim. As a result Nigel Griffin was able to claim a record of 41.12 in 2012 which was then beaten in May 2013 by Mike Hudak with a magnificent common of 43:12. In both of these instances the fish were safely released.

Take along some carp gear and CAG membership info as a show & tell. Certified Scales


Mike Hudak safely returns the CT Record that was independently witnessed & weighed on certified scales.

Follow the Leaders For many years Rhode Island’s very own CAG

Click to watch the video trailer of “In Search of Mirror Carp”.

State chair Dave Pickering has been one the most proactive & enthusiastic campaigners for carp fishing and sets a shining example for other states to follow. He organizes at least two Fish-Ins every year, sends email updates to members, gives talks at sportsmen shows and was also featured on a recent On The Water TV series “In Search of Mirror Carp”.

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RI State Chair Dave Pickering with Capt Jack Sprengel in the On The Water TV feature. When he’s not chasing giant tuna, sharks or bill fish Capt Jack Sprengel can be found carp fishing in his downtime… That’s a big surprise to many of his fellow charter captains and the sports he guides. It just goes to show that carp fever is incredibly infectious and once it strikes and you get the bug there is no turning back!

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COLORADO by John Finney

The “CarpQuest” story is a great example of the

Surprised at the negative local angler, but also

power of social media in today’s modern society.

Department of Wildlife attitudes towards carp in

How one man’s quest to change local attitudes

Colorado and the USA, he created his CarpQuest

towards carp fishing evolved into something with

with a simple goal, to showcase, via social media

a far greater message and a truly International

forums, one anglers journey fishing for carp for

reach.

all to see. In doing so, to promote and hopefully change attitudes, towards carp fishing in his local

In 2001, John Finney emigrated from the UK to

state of Colorado.

Colorado. In 2012, after a 25 year hiatus away from the sport. he returned to the passion of his youth, carp fishing.

To get people talking about carp, interested in carp, and most of all, out catch and release fishing for carp.

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So, how did John start the CarpQuest? It was a small beginning. He wrote about his sessions on FishExplorer, a local fishing forum. As he expected, the initial responses were not all favorable. However, with a non-stop barrage of posts, dialogue, open discussion, stunning capture photos and answering the steady stream of questions from readers he worked with a passion to dispel the more common negative carping “myths”. John joined the Carp Anglers Group and found a welcome community to offer support and advice as he rekindled his carp fishing passion.

As that first year progressed John always advocated that you do not need to spend a fortune to get out there and fish for carp. With but a little knowledge, and some basic tackle, you could still put carp on the bank. One of the common issues he faced was the misperception that an angler had to own $1000s in euro high end tackle to target carp - this simply, was not true! In 2013 John’s CarpQuest was to take on another medium. From the purely written message John took on the task of video blogging his sessions.


He filmed with an old Sony Camcorder and released his raw videos on YouTube for all to see.

It was a break-thru year for John and his CarpQuest. Not only did he passionately spread his

Those early videos were pretty rough yet John

carp fishing message but he had some real an-

was able to eventually find a format that suited

gling success, landing a new State Record com-

his style of fishing and personality. He allowed the

mon carp, at 37 lbs 5 oz for Colorado - a state

entertainer in him to shine and began to show-

approximately the size of England!

case his carp fishing in a more fun and relaxed way.

Being more passionate about catch & release fishing, than a name in a record book, this fish

He also began to take others with him on his

was returned to the waters after posing for pho-

CarpQuest - highlighting their endeavors, and

tographs and his video camera. Colorado, as do

success, often more than his own!

many other states, have a catch & kill requirement

Fishing with CarpQuest became a social event,

policy for record captures by weight.

being a time to talk, to share knowledge and to engage in the passion of carp fishing with others.

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Though always projecting a light hearted style

John decided to spread the CarpQuest message

John is still very serious about his fishing. He

across the nation, that carp fishing can not only

is constantly working to improve his skills and

be affordable, but a huge amount of fun for all –

knowledge. In turn he passes this information on

“fishing, family, friends and fun” being a common

to the next generation of carp anglers.

saying of his.

He can certainly put some fish on the bank! John

CarpQuest’s reach expanded to Google+, Twit-

also took on the role of the Colorado State Chair,

ter, Instagram and Facebook – becoming a so-

for the Carp Anglers Group.

cial media endeavor that took on a life of it’s own.

The following year was another of growth

for John and the CarpQuest.

With local success he was now a regular blogger on FishExplorer, his local fishing forum and joined the Big Carp News Team as a contributor.

Though the production quality of his session videos ramped up, with his typical “over the top style”, their entertainment value did not diminish, neither did his cups of “victory coffee” consumed!


There can be no denying that advocating and promoting carp fishing in his style is a lot of work,

2015 should be another great year for carp fishing in Colorado.

hours of effort and countless hours at the keyboard and on the bankside, fishing alone and with others.

A local outfitter in Colorado, Tightline Outdoors, will be hosting the first catch & release tournament for carp fishing in Colorado, aptly titled,

In 2014 John hosted a contest online for Colora-

“Don’t Bash the Trash!” in the Summer of 2015.

do’s carp anglers, the “CAG Colorado Challenge”.

With a $1000 winner take all prize this event is

For anglers to catch Master Angler qualifying fish,

milestone for carp in John’s local state and posi-

submit them to the Colorado Department of Wild-

tive sign of change.

life for an award. Not only have Colorado’s anglers come to see The largest fish released, by length, would win

the value in catch and release carp fishing but

a “Gold” medal provided by CAG and a day out

also a major local outdoor business. A few years

fishing with John. This simple contest was a huge

ago such an event would have been impossible!

success. Number of carp submitted to the MA program that year literally quadrupled and again

The latest Colorado Parks and Wildlife survey,

served to showcase to the local authorities that

in 2014, noted that carp are the fish that anglers

carp fishing in Colorado is very popular with the

spend the most hours fishing for each year in the

local anglers.

state!

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When asked for his thoughts about CarpQuest, John has this to say,

“CarpQuest is about getting anglers together, without an entry fee, the lure of big prizes or membership dues. It is for anglers to share their knowledge and passion as a community and with others. CarpQuest is about the people, the carp and their journey together. I would offer this challenge to all the readers of NACA, this year, take someone new to carp fishing out with you to the bank for a session. You can all make a difference and change attitudes, literally, one angler at a time!”

View all of John’s videos and CarpQuest’s adventures at: http://www.youtube.com/johnfinneycarping

CarpQuest’s social media community portals are: www.carpquest.org CarpQuest +CarpquestOrg @FinneyCarpQuest @Carpquest syndariol@gmail.com

From a simple beginning the attitudes towards carp fishing in one State here in the USA have been changed. Yes, it took a few years, a lot of patience, passion and effort. There is a long way still to go for carp in Colorado. Carp are no longer considered simply a trash fish. With more work, and a continued effort, one day carp will be recognized as the World’s Greatest Sports Fish they truly are.


I remembered there was a vendor there

A E FL

that I used to purchase lures from who had

THE

an extremely small selection of carp gear.

T E K R A M

I acquired my first ever boilies and basic carp fishing supplies from him. That’s when the idea came to me. I contacted the woman who was in charge of

By Mark Lowrie

the event and inquired about getting a table. I also contacted Barry Howard who

On March 25th I was on a quest. Not a Quest for

runs the CAG store and is also a good friend of

a PB or to catch my first carp of 2015. No I was

mine. Together we planned to get a table and pro-

on a quest to promote carp as the greatest sport

mote carp fishing and our organization.

fish that swims in our waters here in the United States.

There was a ton of prep work involved. I re-

The idea came to me months ago while I was

cently started a small carp tackle company called

sitting at my dining room table tying rigs getting

carpmart and had to get supplies ready to show

ready for the upcoming carp season. The winter

people how to tie rigs. I brought my rod pod and

blues were in full effect as I sat and tied rigs hop-

set it up with the alarms and a rod on it to demon-

ing for a bar of gold. I was formally a highly active

strate a run. Had a huge banner made that read

largemouth bass fisherman.

“carp anglers of New Jersey” with the CAG logo.

I remembered how I used to attend a fishing flea market every March and stock up on lures for my upcoming season.

I brought a fish tank and loaded it with rigs of all different sizes and presentations. I also brought my rolling table and sausage gun and gave boilie rolling presentations.

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The day of the show came fast and Barry and I along with his son-in-law Bob arrived and set up. I had everything set up on the tables for display. As soon as the show opened my booth was packed. I tied more hair rigs in those two days then I have in five years. We have a great response from the anglers in attendance. I also gained a ton of knowledge on places to fish for carp. People had no problem revealing carp filled honey holes which Barry quickly wrote in his notebook that he always carries. I handed out hundreds of CAG pamphlets and business cards. I was surprised how many people knew about boilies and European style carp fishing. The one thing that was tough was dealing with bow fisherman. I knew I was going to encounter them at the show and prepared myself for it. As much as it bothers us they aren’t breaking any laws. I don’t think it is right but they have every right to do what they want under the constraints of the law. When approached by one I spoke politely and in a professional manner.

Many actually spoke about how hard they fight on rod and reel and they started bow fishing because they were too hard to catch. Many ate them and that was their preferred way of harvesting food for the table. I may have converted a few to using rod and reel and releasing them. I even had a gentleman say he does not even know why he does it. All I knew was that arguing was not going to get me anywhere and promoting catch and release was my way of keeping my cool. At the end of the weekend I was exhausted. Standing for hours on end on top of howling winds and cold weather had taken its toll. I enjoyed promoting CAG and making new friends. I’m not sure if we gained any new members from it but I certainly peeked many peoples interest. I’m sure I will see some of the people I met at my next fish in. I plan on doing the show for many years to come and help promote CAG and promote carp as the best sport fish in the USA. Special thanks to Barry and Bob for their help in our “quest” to grow the sport


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Naca 2015 spring edition  

Now available, the 2015 spring edition of the North American Carp Angler Magazine