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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Carp Explosion

Carp Explosion

By: Jeff Helsdon
Asian carp are at the gates leading to the Great Lakes, threatening its ecosystem and $7 billion fishery.

At press time, DNA testing indicates the invasive species, already established in the Mississippi and Missouri River systems, has breached the latest electronic barriers installed in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. If true, only one navigational lock stands between them and Lake Michigan.

A concerted joint effort between the U.S. and Canada is underway. Rotenone, a lethal toxicant, was to be used in early December to kill fish in the section of canal by the electronic barrier, which will be closed for maintenance. The purpose is to drive fish back several miles until the barrier is operational again.

Approximately 20 Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean staff have been committed to dispense neutralizing chemicals. Technical support staff from Ontario are also being made available to assist cleanup. Quebec provided financial support.

Marc Gaden, communications director and legislative liaison with the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, says this is an important step to assess how many fish are in the vicinity, but notes that this treatment is below the area where the latest carp DNA has been detected.

"That begs the question what happens next?" He says the only way to definitively stop the advance is to achieve "a permanent biological separation" by barriers such as lift locks or closure of access.

Gaden notes Asian carp were also detected in the adjacent Des Plaines River, which parallels the canal for 14 miles. As a result, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has been authorized to build a wall between the two waterbodies to prevent crossover during floods. Sand bags will be used temporarily. A study on how to obtain permanent separation is in process.

The consequences of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes are worrisome. Greg Conover of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they reproduce quickly, often becoming the dominant biomass in waterbodies they inhabit.

Gaden also pointed out that their presence would make recreational boating unsafe. Silver carp, one species of Asian carp, which easily reach weights of 30 pounds, are agitated by the sound of motors and leap out of the water. In one instance, a person knocked off a jet ski by a silver carp would have drowned if nearby boaters hadn't come to the rescue. Asian carp were brought into the U. S. in the 1970s to reduce algae in fish farms. It's believed they escaped during subsequent floods.

Carp Advanced Ledger Rigs

Carp Advanced Ledger Rigs

By: Lonnie King
"I love carp fishing!" I felt like a kid who blurted out something he wasn't supposed to say. Looking sheepishly at my partner, I paused momentarily, before the reel started to scream again. On its first sprint the fish had torn off enough line to retire most medium-sized spinning reels, but thanks to my oversized spool, I wasn't concerned. The steady runs dulled gradually to a throbbing pulse, and eventually the big fish turned.
It was a good sign, but with more than 100 yards of weed clumps and zebra-mussel-coated boulders between us, it was still anyone's game. As the carp angled towards me, my line lagged behind, slicing and sawing through one clump of vegetation to the next. Mats of floating greenery appeared on the water's surface, adding yet another obstacle to the playing field. From a spectator's vantage, the odds appeared to be in the fish's favour, but I remained confident that the battle was nearing a turning point. On occasion, I lost all contact with the fish, likely too entangled in weeds to move. Each time I responded with steady, even pressure and waited for telltale headshakes to signal the fish was free again. It was a drawn-out affair, but with a bit of luck and a great deal of patience, I worked the fish closer to shore and finally guided it into my waiting net.
At 32 pounds, it was an impressive specimen. A shining example of a great fish that's overlooked in many Ontario waters, it was also a testament to applying the right rigging solutions to difficult fishing conditions. Since starting to angle for carp, I've caught them on an array of artificial lures and natural baits. But, by far, the most consistent approach involves anchoring bait on bottom - a term referred to as ledgering.
Most commonly used is the free-sliding confidence rig. It allows a fish to move off without feeling resistance that might prompt it to prematurely eject the bait. It's the rig of choice when carp are sluggish, such as in cold water, or are being picky. But, it places emphasis on the angler setting hook, often at the slightest movement of the line. The confidence rig is often fished with delicate bite indicators, such as electronic beepers and/or weighted clips that attach to the line.
The bolt rig, however, has revolutionized carp fishing. It capitalizes on the fish's basic nature to dart away when it senses danger. A heavy weight is fixed on the line above the hook. When a fish "'bolts" away, it sets the hook itself. This is an exciting rig to use, because most times there's little warning before line starts peeling off the reel. As good as the basic bolt rig is, it's not without rough edges, one of which is a tendency to tangle. This is no trivial concern, considering that serious carp anglers might leave baits in the water for hours without checking on them.
One solution, devised by European anglers, is to put a short section of thin rubber tubing over the main line. When most hook-and-sinker rigs fly through the air, the heavier sinker leads the way, with the hook length flapping along behind and up against the main line. A limp leader and a thin main line have a high probability of becoming tangled. Rubber tubing reduces tangles by increasing the thickness and rigidity of the main line. Tangles can be further reduced by using semi-rigid hook lengths. These have a multi-strand core coated with plastic, which can be peeled back to expose a limp section near the hook. Unable to find any in Canada, I order mine from U.K. carp-tackle specialty outlets.
Anti-tangle tubing can also be combined with other gadgetry to further improve on the bolt rig's effectiveness. A clip, teamed with a rubber sleeve, can be used to produce a semi-fixed safety rig. The clip holds an eyed weight, such as a standard bell sinker, and allows for easy sinker changes without the need for retying. The clip slides over and holds the barrel swivel, which connects the leader and main line. A rubber sleeve slides over the clip and holds the lead and rubber tubing in place. This set-up offers hook-setting efficiencies of the bolt rig, while allowing the sinker-holding clip to pull away from the barrel swivel and slide up the line in extreme circumstances.
For instance, if a fixed bolt rig becomes snagged, a fish could escape by either breaking the leader or having the hook tear free. A worse scenario would be to have the main line break, leaving a fish tethered to a snag, to die. Simply crimping the eye of a bell sinker onto the rubber tubing is one way of achieving the desired effect, but the specialized clips and sleeves offer a more consistent solution.
A popular modification to either the bolt- or safety rig is to replace the lead weight with a method feeder or a swim feeder. A method feeder has a weighted rigid frame. It's often intended to be fished in a sliding fashion, much like an egg sinker. A swim feeder is a weighted light-wire cage or plastic cylinder riddled with holes. It's attached to the line like a bell sinker.
Both of these feeders are meant to be packed with a mixture of food particles(trout pellets, hemp seed, maggots, and the like), often using bread crumbs as a base. Depending on how hard you pack the feeder, the food particles can either release on impact with the water or settle to the bottom with the bait. Both approaches can be effective. In either case, the feeder chums an area adjacent to your hook bait, offering considerably more fish attraction and holding power than a hook bait alone. It's especially effective when fishing at long range, where other chumming methods are more difficult to use. When fishing with feeders, packing your hook bait inside the chum ball eliminates any chance of the hook tangling on the line during the cast.
With either type of feeder, you need a rod with backbone. A loaded method feeder can top 8 ounces. Rod length is also important, because it allows for longer casts and improves an angler's ability to manoeuvre big carp to shore. A standard carp rod runs about 12 to 13 feet in length and costs between $100 and $300. If the number of fish hooked and landed is your measure of success, then they're well worth the price.
The hair rig is another carp-centricity developed by Europeans. Rather than placing bait directly on the hook, it's threaded onto a small tail of line. This allows carp to taste or otherwise inspect a bait without the risk of it detecting the hook. When the fish decides to inhale the bait, destined for powerful grinding teeth at the back of the throat, the hook follows behind. With the hook's gap and point fully exposed, ejecting it is difficult for fish.
Specialized carp hooks can further increase your hooking percentage. They're strong, sticky sharp, and have plain finishes, so as not to alarm carp. My favourite is the Kamasan B725. It has an extended shank, which is ideal for tying hair rigs, yet sports a proportionally smaller gap, to offer less resistance when a fish sucks it in. Use hooks sized appropriately for your bait. A string of corn kernels fits best on a No. 4 hook, while a stack of boilies calls for nothing less than a No. 1 or 2.
Hooking a big carp is one thing, but playing and landing it is an entirely separate discussion. The first reality about landing carp is they have a soft mouth, compared with many Ontario gamefish. A common mistake is to apply too much pressure when playing a fish, causing the hook to tear free. Big fish are even more susceptible to this, due to extended fighting times and long runs, which are often complicated with weed, wood, or boulder interference. This calls for light drags and high-capacity reels. While monofilament lines are the most popular choice, a growing number of carp anglers insist that braided superlines offer improved casting distance and superior abrasion resistance. To compensate for the superline's low strech, anglers set the reel's drag even more lightly than they do when using mono.
Most local waters are teeming with fish that have never been caught and released. It's inevitable, however, that as interest in carp fishing grows, so too will the level of expertise required to catch them. These fish learn quickly to avoid what gets them into trouble. Rigging for carp is not complicated, but small details can have a dramatic effect on hooking and landing percentages.

Carp European Style

Carp European Style

By: Luigi de Rose
Charlie Kalocsa and Nick Nikolov of Toronto have chased carp throughout eastern Europe and Canada for decades, mainly in deep holes of rivers.
Two popular eastern-European carping techniques they use are a two-hook bait rig and a feeder. The two-hook system uses a 1/4 to 3/4-ounce sliding egg or bell sinker. Weights vary according to current, depth fished, and desired distance of cast. A free-sliding sinker is essential when carp are wary and unnatural weight results in dropped baits. The two-hook rig also lets anglers offer two different baits to fish.
The first hook is moulded into a loonie-sized "doughball," the second sports a pearl corn. Popular in Hungary and neighbouring countries, it looks like a dime-sized popped corn kernel. Rigged, it floats for hours just off bottom, where it's more visible to carp. I get pearl corn from friends in Europe. I'm not aware of it being sold in Ontario, but there's an option. You can use a few kernels of canned sweet corn on each hook and add small pieces of Styrofoam for flotation on the hook shanks. If you don't want to make your own doughballs, try Berkley's Trout Bait or Uncle Josh's carp bait moulded into a ball. Often, the scent of a doughball attracts carp and catches the biggest fish, although the corn draws the most hits. When fishing a new area, start with a two-hook rig to determine which bait interests carp that day.
The feeder rig resembles a large metal spring with three or four single hooks dangling from 2- to 3-inch strands of braided line. Each hook shank is threaded with slivers of Styrofoam, which permit them to hover above the feeder resting on bottom. Globs of cooked cornmeal or a combination of cornmeal and bread are squished around the feeder until it's a mass of food. The hooks are pushed firmly into its edges. The feeder is heavy enough to cast and sink to bottom without additional weight.
In rivers, as the bait disintegrater, current scatters the particles downstream in a chum line. The feeder works best in large holes with moderate to slow current. It attracts and concentrates carp around your fishing area, much as pre-baiting does in a lake, but with the added advantage of quickly drawing fish in from long distances. As they suck up the feeder's food, they take in the floating hooks, which will have come free from the bait ball. The key to this rig is that the hooks must float. Without Styrofoam, they rest on bottom, lessening your chances of hooking carp.
The only disadvantage to a feeder is that it requires a lot of bait. During a day, you can easily go through a half-gallon(2-l)container. Rod position, strike indicators, and a tight line between bait and rod tip are essential. Nick cautions, "If the rod and the line are not pointed at the bait, slack forms, making detecting strikes difficult."
Charlie and Nick lay their rods horizontally on rests pointing toward the bait. Excess line is reeled taut. Fancy carp bank-stands, which can run you several hundred dollars, are available through specialty outlets and mail order, but two simple stakes can serve the purpose. Nick uses a metal pole and brackets attached to wooden stakes. Charlie favours two thin metal poles bent to form a fork at the top.
"Always loop a string around the reel handle and tie the other end to something heavy," laughs Charlie. He's had to make a flying leap more than a few times to rescue his rod from being dragged into the river by a feisty carp.
Similarly, there are high-tech electronic strike indicators and other gadgets for carp fishing, but a simple device placed on the line between the rod guides can also alert you of a hit. If the indicator moves, a carp is munching on your bait. Charlie and Nick always use a strike indicator. Charlie prefers a bright pink plastic ball or a 35-mm film canister with a wire hook coming from the lid. But a float and paper clip, a bell sinker attached to a snap, and even a downrigger release are all fine.
The first time I fished with Charlie, I stubbornly refused to use a strike indicator. After two hours, he had three carp on the bank, and my line never moved. Frustrated, I asked what he was doing differently. With a grin, he stated I probably had hits, but couldn't tell. Out of desperation, I put on a strike indicator. After some time, I noticed the indicator had dropped about four inches from where I had set it. Leaving the rod in its supports, I turned the reel handle slowly and realized I was into a fish. After beaching the carp, I re-rigged and placed the rod in the holders and reattached the indicator. Soon it seesawed up and down several inches, and I hooked into another carp. Without the indicator, neither hit would have been detected.
Some carp specialists prefer long rods and large-capacity reels for their power and ability to launch long casts, but they're not needed to enjoy a day of carp fishing. Most anglers have either a spinning or casting outfit that will do the job. Charlie and Nick tote 6 1/2-foot medium-action spinning rods matched with reels and either 10 or 12-pound-test line. Charlie favours a collapsible fishing rod, popular among European anglers, whereas Nick uses a two-piecer.
Regardless of whether you use a spinning or a baitcasting outfit, the reel's drag must be smooth. Long runs are common before any carp will submit. A few years ago, I set the hook into what appeared to be a giant. It ripped out at least 80 yards(73 m)of line. I had already caught two carp weighing about 15 pounds(6.8 kg)each, but this fish out-fought them both. After many tense minutes I finally subdued it and, to my surprise, it only weighed about 8 pounds(3.6 kg). The little fish confirmed that carp are fantastic fighters regardless of size.
Get hooked on carp and, like any other type of angling, you'll want to become more specialized with gear, baits, and techniques. But considering that Charlie and Nick have more than 100 years of successful carp fishing between them, adopting their proven tactics will improve your success right off the bat, at little cost.
This year, search along the banks of your favourite river or lake to determine where there are carp. You might see them splashing, rolling, or cruising near the surface, or see bubbles rising as they feed on bottom. Set up and get ready for action.

Where to fish
River carp are more predictable than in lakes. Anglers can find carp throughout a river, but two of the best locations are below dams and in deep holes just downstream. Below dams is best for numbers of carp in late spring and early summer, because they stop fish from moving farther upstream during their spawning run. A hot spring can trigger an early run in late April, but usually May and June are best. Hit a carp run during its peak and you'll find hundreds of fish along current breaks and in eddies. Fishing can be phenomenal, but there's a catch.
"Dams often receive considerable fishing pressure and the fast current can make fishing tricky," said Charlie. He usually fishes the first large hole downstream from a dam. These areas are rarely pressured and dandy carp seem to be present all year. There's no shortage of rivers holding carp. Any flow into the Great Lakes is a possible gold mine, and the Great Lakes themselves team with giant carp. Large river systems like the Ottawa, Thames, Grand, and the Trent-Severn Waterway are also full of carp. It just takes some exploring to find the hotspots.
Lake fishing is a bit trickier. Shallow bays, points, warm-water discharges, creek mouths, and canals all collect pods of roaming carp. Heavily chum likely spots, ideally the night before you fish, then prepare for superb action.
Bait details
Baits for carp fishing vary widely, but many are grain-based and scented. Carp seem to have a sweet tooth. Again, prepared carp baits are not available widely in Ontario, but you can make your own. Each carper has a "secret" doughball recipe. Experimentation is the name of the game. Here's an easy recipe to get you started. In a frying pan, Charlie heats up a mixture of water and cornmeal, stirring it with a spoon until it becomes doughy. He adds a heap of honey, but brown sugar or corn syrup can be substituted. Once the dough is made, Nick adds pieces of bread as filler, especially when he's using a feeder rig.
Corn is another favourite. Canned sweet corn is readily available at food stores. If you can get pearl corn, by all means use it. Other anglers buy feed corn and boil it until soft. It can be used as hook bait and to pre-bait.
The rigs
Carp-specific gear is not available at all tackle stores, so you might have to make your own rigs. A feeder is constructed easily from copper wire or welding solder. Simply coil the wire into the shape and size shown here. Ensure that the wire is solid enough to maintain the shape of the feeder. Create a loop with the wire at one end or connect the wire to a large split ring. Attach each of the hooks to the loop or split ring with 2 to 3 inches of strong braided fishing line. For especially deep rivers or long casts, you can add a sinker inside the feeder.
The two-hook rig is made with readily available tackle. Add a slip-sinker to your line, then place a split shot below it to stop the weight from sliding down. If you favour a barrel swivel for a stopper, tie it to your line below the sinker and then add a monofilament leader with the hooks below it. Tie the first hook 6 to 10 inches from the stopper, the second 18 to 30 inches below it on the end of the line. This rig works well with two No. 2 or 1 super-sharp bait-holder hooks, but a new one I'm starting to favour is the circle hook. Popular in saltwater, smaller versions have recently made the transition inland. Both hook styles, however, pierce quickly and have excellent holding power.

Tips and Tricks for Refined Carping

Tips and Tricks for Refined Carping
Boost your catch of giant carp. Big, strong, and wary, these fish offer a superb angling challenge.

By: Lonnie King
Carp fishing in its simplest form is inexpensive. Yet, for those who wish to, there's a lifetime of refinements to be made and all kinds of gadgetry to collect.  Regardless of where you are on the carp-fishing spectrum, here's a pail full of strategies that are sure to help you catch more of the big bruisers this season.
Pre-baiting is probably the single most important step you can take to increase your carp-fishing success. Pre-baiting involves tossing bait around the area you plan to fish a day or so ahead of time. If done correctly, you will have carp waiting for you when you show up at your spot. Not only does this draw in fish and hold them in an area, it can also get them accustomed to the baits you plan to fish.
Just about anything a carp will eat can be used as chum. Examples include noodles, grains, and pelleted chicken feed. One of the most readily available chums and the least expensive is field corn, also called maize. While opinions vary on how to prepare it, I'm a strong believer in boiling it until it expands and is soft enough to break apart with your fingers. Otherwise, there's a chance the corn will expand after a carp eats it, potentially harming the fish if it over-feeds.
Use a Feeder
Becoming accustomed to one style of fishing and overlooking situations that call for a different approach is all too easy for anglers. For example, using method feeders is often a great strategy, especially for flowing-water situations, where you would otherwise have trouble getting chum close to your hook bait.
A feeder device allows you to pack a ball of chum onto your line. The mix of particles you apply to the feeder needs to be sticky enough to be formed into a ball, but loose enough to break apart and disperse in the water. To prevent your hook from tangling on the cast, work your hook bait directly into the ball when forming it.
Paul Almanza from Cornwall, who distributes Top Mix chum additives, suggests that when making ground bait to be packed into a feeder, start with an inexpensive base mix such as instant oatmeal and cracked corn, then add more specialized ingredients such as flavours, larger particles, and binders to refine your mixture and get just the
right consistency.
Boost Your Baits
If ever a case could be made for the use of scents and f lavours, it would have to be for carp fishing. You're dealing with a fish that makes its living sniffing, rooting, and tasting along bottom for small food items. So, it only stands to reason the taste and scent of your bait will inf luence a carp's ability to find your offering and encourage it to eat it when it does. Applying scent directly to your hook bait is also a great way of making it stand out from other particles you might also have tossed into the water.
Many common ingredients found in your kitchen cupboard can be used to add f lavour or scent to carp baits and chum, while more and more commercial dips and sprays are also showing up on store shelves. Some common home additives include vanilla, honey, and molasses. Top commerical f lavours include Scopex, banana, tutti fritti, and tiger nut. Most of these appeal to the carp's sweet tooth, but some scents such as mussel mimic a common natural carp food. This is particularly relevant to the Great Lakes, where invasive zebra mussels can be a big part of a carp's diet.
Boilies for Biggies
Many serious carp anglers fish with boilies. These are hardened round bait balls, which carp love to eat and which most other fish seem to ignore. Carp have no trouble breaking them up with their strong pharyngeal teeth. Boilies are incredibly durable, though, lasting for days on a rig, and are capable of withstanding the most energetic longdistance cast.

Boilies can be used in a number of ways that most conventional soft baits can't, such as threaded onto dissolvable PVA string or to chum an area at incredible distance out by using a boilie thrower. Since boilies are made from wholesome ingredients, such as grains, there appears to be no consequences to feeding these baits over prolonged periods. In fact, the theory is that the regular application of boilies by anglers into European waters contributes in part to the great size fish there tend to reach, even in small waterbodies.
There are sinking and pop-up boilies. As the name implies, popups float. Fished on a bolt rig, they float off bottom, rising above sediments or low-lying aquatic vegetation. Although this might seem to look unnatural, pop-ups can help your hook bait stand out from the rest. A good strategy when fishing with a partner is to have one angler fish with a standard boilie, while the other uses a pop-up, in order to see if the fish have a preference.
Although you can make boilies, when you factor in the time and the cost of ingredients, buying boilies is less expensive and easier. Even serious carpers tend to only make thier own if they're striving for a specific flavour, colour, or size that's unavailable in stores. As for boilie colours, "Yellow, yellow, and yellow," said Mike Dragone, chairman of the Connecticut Chapter of the Carp Anglers Group and a field tester for Boilie manufacturer Concept-4-You Baits. This is based on the fact yellow is one of the most visible colours when lying on bottom and that carp readily accept a yellow boilie as food, especially when fished over or to the side of a bed of maize.
Tricked-Out Hair Rig
The bolt rig capitalizes on the carp's natural tendency to "bolt" away once it feels the hook or line. The rig consists of a heavy sinker held fast to the line, so when a fish bolts, it sets the hook by itself.
This set-up is most often used in combination with a hair rig, a small line trailing from the hook on which the bait, such as a boilie, is threaded. This allows the hook point to remain fully exposed. When a carp inhales the bait, it inadvertently draws the hook into its mouth.
To prevent tangling during the cast, a short section of plastic tubing is added to the main line. A small rubber sleeve, which covers the barrel swivel and runs a short distance up the hooklength (leader), and a stiffened hook-length also reduce the chance of tangling and make ejecting the inhaled bait more difficult for fish. The rubber sleeve protects the knot from abrasion when the weight makes contact with bottom.
To prevent fish from becoming snagged on bottom, virtually all refined carp rigs are designed so the weight will pull free if the main line breaks.
Ed Jarvis from Long Sault on the St. Lawrence River catches many 30-pound carp each year. He advises that after making a long cast, be sure to drag the bait back a foot or so to straighten out the rig and dislodge the sinker from soft bottoms. Pay attention as the sinker drags along bottom, as this can tell you what kind of substrate you're fishing and whether you've inadvertently landed in a patch of dense vegetation.
Lighten Up
The lighter or more neutrally buoyant your hook bait, the easier it is for a fish to inhale. Envision a carp swimming across a bed of chum and randomly grabbing pieces on its way by. If your bait hesitates or is heavier than the rest of the baits, there's a chance the fish might miss it and just keep moving along to the next one. Also, the lighter bait should enter farther into the fish's  mouth, preventing short takes.
A few ways to lighten your baits include using using smaller baits, lighter hooks, and adding floaters on the hair along with your bait. Various companies offer corn-shaped foam floaters. You can also create a snowman rig by threading both a sinking and floating boilie onto the same hair. If a two-boilie rig is too big, cut each one in half.
The Night Shift
Carp feed readily at night, and there are many reasons to fish for them then. It should be one of your first options whenever the daytime bite is not panning out or if you're unable to find time to fish during the day. This is particularly relevant when fishing ultra-clear water such as the Great Lakes, where wary carp are able to scrutinize every detail of your terminal tackle.
An electronic bite indicator is invaluable for detecting bites at night. These gizmos attach to the head of a bank stick or rod pod and signal bites by way of audible beepers and flashing lights. More advanced models come with transmitters that can even send a text message to your cell phone.
Don't Miss Drop-backs
When fishing a bolt rig, most bites are signalled by a fish instantly tearing off line from your reel. Drop-back bites, however, occur when the fish runs towards the rod. Slack line is the only indication of a bite. This can be hard to detect unless you're looking specifically for it, which is why most carp anglers attach a drop-back indicator to their line. These devices hold the line tight, in spite of wind, waves, and current. When fished in combination with an electronic bite indicator, these gadgets pull slack line through the electronic sensor, causing it to send out an audible signal, as well.
Maximum Distance
Texan Scott Townson recently won the American Carp Society's Northeastern Divisional tournament in Baldwinsville, New York. Townson and his partner landed more than 2,800 pounds of carp over a 50-hour period. His secret was making long casts. He spooled his reels with 15-pound-test monofilament, combined with a 25-foot "shock" leader of either 80-pound braided line or 50-pond mono.
"The leader (long enough to put a few wraps on the reel when you're ready to cast) is needed to absorb the shock of powerful casts and provide greater abrasion resistance than light monofilament," said Townson. "The lighter main-line monofilament, on the other hand, casts much farther than you could if the entire reel was spooled with heavy line."
The stigma of carp fishing being a lacklustre affair is being replaced quickly by refined gadgetry and a keen awareness of the sporting qualities of these big fish, which not too long ago many considered invasive pests in North America. But, a revolution is taking place here, as more and more anglers discover how challenging big carp can be. Try refined carp fishing and see what all the buzz is about.
Issue: Fishing Annual 2009


Sunday, March 27, 2011

World Record Striped Bass

World Record Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass and Bluefish

Everyone wants to know what the record is, for the species of fish for which they are fishing. We will show you. However, we support a catch and release policy for striped bass, especially the larger ones. Female striped bass grow larger than the males If you catch a striped bass over 30 pounds it is probably a female, with the potential for producing up to three million eggs each spring. Don't take her out of circulation. Take a picture, and gently release her. Let your photograph be your trophy.
Al McReynold's World Record Striped Bass
Al McReynolds

World Record Striped Bass

The world record striped bass was caught off the Vermont Ave. Jetty in Atlantic City, during a storm on Sept. 21, 1982 by Albert McReynolds. It was caught on a 5 ½ inch black-back silver Rebel plug. It weighed 78 pounds 8 ounces, and had a length of 53 inches. This fish was estimated to be about 36 years old.
Although the striper was hooked while fishing from the jetty, Al somehow scrambled off the jetty and landed the fish on the beach to the side of the jetty. The Vermont Ave. Jetty is relatively short.
Link to photos of the: Vermont Ave Jetty.
Al and his world record striped bass are shown at the right.
To see the second largest striped bass ever caught on rod and reel follow this link: Peter Vican
To see a photo of the mount of Albert McReynolds world record striped bass follow this link:
World Record Striper Mount
Hank Ferguson's World Record Freshwater Striped Bass
Hank Ferguson

World Record Freshwater Striped Bass

The world record freshwater striped bass was caught by Hank Ferguson in O'Neill Forebay, San Luis California, on May 7, 1992. It weighed 67 pounds 8 ounces.
O'Neill Forebay is a 2250 acre freshwater reservoir in Merced County, that is part of the California Aqueduct System.
To find out how striped bass got to be in the California Aqueduct System follow this link: California Striped Bass.
 World Record Hybrid Striped Bass
Jerald Shaum

World Record Hybrid Striped Bass

The world record hybrid striped bass was caught by Jerald C. Shaum in Greers Ferry Lake, Arkansas on April 24th, 1997. It weighed 27 pounds 5 ounces.
51 pound striper caught on a fly rod
Richie Keatley

World Record Striper Caught on a Fly Rod

On December 17th, 2009 Richie Keatley of Norfolk VA caught a 51 pound, 5 ounce striped bass on a fly rod while fishing around the piers of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. He caught the striper on a blue-tinted 3/0 clouser fly while fishing from a 22 foot boat. His striped bass is a IGFA world record for the 20-pound tippet Male Fly Rod Class.

92 Pound Striped Bass
92 Pound Striper

92 Pound Striped Bass

Since 1982 there apparently has been only one striped bass caught and verified that exceeded Albert McReynolds 78.5 pound world record. This fish weighed 92 pounds, and is shown at the right. This fish now hangs on the wall of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in Annapolis Maryland.
This 92 pound striper did not become the new IGFA record because it was caught in a net by the Maryland DNR during a research project in 1995.

Link to other image of: 92 Pound Striper

World Record Bluefish
James Hussey

World Record Bluefish

The world record bluefish was caught by James M. Hussey on Jan. 30, 1972 at Hatteras, North Carolina. It weighed
31 pounds, 12 ounces.
Link to larger image: Bluefish
World Record weakfish
David Alu's Weakfish

World Record Weakfish

Om May 7, 2008 at at 2:30 AM, David Alu
of Jackson NJ, caught a 19 pound 12 ounce weakfish while surf fishing for striped bass on the shores of Raritan Bay. He caught it on a bunker head. The weakfish was 37 inches long and had a girth of 23 inches.
This weakfish is a IGFA world record. David was guided in his efforts by Rich Swisstack, of the Shore Catch Guide Service.
David Alu is at the right in the photo.
Link to larger image: Weakfish

World Record Largemouth Bass

World Record Largemouth Bass
George Perry
George W. Perry holds the world record for catching the the largest Largemouth Bass. George caught his record bass on June 2, 1932 in Lake Montgomery, Telfar County Georgia. His bass weighed
22 pounds and 4 ounces. He caught it on a Fintail Shiner plug made by the Creek Chub Co.

World Record Largemouth Bass - Tie

Manabu Kurita's Largemouth Bass
On July 2nd, 2009 Manabu Kurita caught the 22 pound, 5 ounce Largemouth Bass, shown above, in Lake Biwa in Japan. The bass measured 29 inches in length. It was caught on a live bluegill. This bass weighs one ounce more than the existing world record. Photo courtesy of Manabu Kurita.

Fishing at Victoria Falls

drunk fisherman

fishing prank

Mean Fishing Prank

Amazing Bird Fishes Like A Human

McDonalds Fishing Commercial

Duct Tape Story

Another Amazing Duct Tape Story


Duct tape is one of the most important inventions of the 20th century.
During a private "fly-in" fishing excursion in the Alaskan wilderness, the chartered pilot and fishermen left bait in the plane.
And a bear smelled it. This is what he did to the plane.
The pilot used his radio and had another pilot bring him 2 new tires, 3 cases of duct tape, and a supply of sheet plastic.
He patched the plane together, and FLEW IT HOME!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ice fishing


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Make your own effective fishing tackle while you save money and recycle scrap

Make your own effective fishing tackle while you save money and recycle scrap

By Rev. J.D. Hooker

My long time friend Hearold Ruby passed away. Death came as sort of a reprieve. He’d been terribly sick and utterly miserable for years and he was worn clear out. He was ready to go on home to rest.

Hearold never made much money in his life and he never was much of a hand when it came to hunting, shooting, or a hundred other important things. But he was the most fantastic fisherman I ever met. He was a live, walking, talking fishing encyclopedia, able to “read the water” of any lake, river, pond, or stream, far easier than you can read this page. The man was a fishing marvel and he was always happy to share his treasury of angling lore, knowledge, and experience with anyone. But he’s gone, so I won’t get the opportunity to ask him anything else.

Split shot sinkers: Cast round lead balls in the sizes you need, then split them with a knife and mallet. Split shot sinkers: Cast round lead balls in the sizes you need, then split them with a knife and mallet.
But most of what I do know about catching fish, including making much of my own fishing tackle, consists of bits of information gleaned from Hearold over the years. And though BHM’s readers were never fortunate enough to have met Hearold Ruby, if you try your hand at making and using a few of these self-manufactured tackle varieties, you’ll be glad that I did.
Let’s start off with something really simple—producing your own lead fishing sinkers. At one time or another I’ve used almost every imaginable sort of scrap lead for this: used wheel weights, scrap lead plumbing pipe, broken battery cable ends, scrap linotype, and even used X-ray room shielding plates from a remodeled hospital. You name it, I’ve pretty well used it all, and all with equal success.

Drilled bullet sinker
Drilled bullet sinker
Making your own split shot is really simple, especially since I already have several different sizes of round ball molds for use with muzzle-loaders and hunting guns (.25" for #4 buck, .311" for 00 buck and a squirrel rifle, .440" for a Kentucky style rifle, .490" for a .50 cal. muzzle loader, etc.). I simply cast extra round balls in varying sizes, then use an old butcher knife and a wooden mallet to make a slice nearly through some of the lead balls. Through others, I drill a tiny hole all the way through and these I use as sliding sinkers.
Bullet style sinkers are just about as easy to make. I drill a small hole through a bullet I’ve cast using any sort of regular bullet mold. Many times I’ll even deliberately under-fill the mold to provide an even larger range of weights to choose from.

Use a spoon bowl as a mold to cast lead sinkers. Barely touch the spoon to the water to cool it. Use a spoon bowl as a mold to cast lead sinkers. Barely touch the spoon to the water to cool it.
I think, however, that my favorite method for manufacturing lead fishing sinkers is to use a standard set of metal measuring spoons. I simply fill the desired sized measuring spoon with molten lead and then carefully touch the base of the spoon to the water in a bowl. Dump out the hardened chunk of lead, wipe the spoon dry, and repeat the procedure. Once you’ve cast a sufficient quantity of sinkers in this manner, drill a small hole near the edge of each one for affixing to a line.
I also learned to keep a small spool of regular solid core solder in my tackle box from which I can snip short sections for instant wrap-on style sinkers of any size.

Stick bobbers, plain and slip-style Stick bobbers, plain and slip-style
Floats and bobbers
Floats and bobbers in any size are also readily fashioned by any angler with a minimum of DIY inclination. The simplest float is nothing more than a piece of twig tied in place on your line. Drill a hole near an end of a twig, or bind it on a wire loop, and add some high visibility paint, then thread a button onto your line as a bobber stop. This makes for a handy slip style float for easier casting.
My own favorite type of user-built fishing bobber has to be what I call the “Hoosier Farm Cork Float.” It is readily fashioned from a piece of dried corn cob. In fact, these floats work so well, and have such an unusual yet attractive appearance, that I’ve never understood why no one has started producing them commercially.

The 'Hoosier Farm Cork Float' made from a corncob
The “Hoosier Farm Cork Float” made from a corncob

A braided worm A braided worm
To make up a few of these for yourself, use a piece of extra coarse sandpaper to smooth up the rough cob a little. (Smoothing up the cob on a belt sander will leave you with an appearance very like those commercially made corn-cob pipes and give you some really nice looking floats.) Then saw the corn cob into appropriate lengths. Drill 1/4" to 3/8" holes through the corn cob’s center, then slot one end of a piece of dowel or smooth stick and insert this through the hole. Occasionally I’ll use one of these “corks” without its dowel center as a slip type bobber.

A rattling lure, made with shot or BBs inside plumbing fittings
A rattling lure, made with shot or BBs inside plumbing fittings
Unless you apply some sort of finish, these corn cob “corks” will gradually become water-logged and useless as you fish. So when I make up a batch of these, I just dip each one in any sort of exterior paint or varnish, and hang them up to dry—instant water proofing.
Of course, if for some odd reason you found corn cobs unobtainable, pieces of 3/4" dowel or suitably sized sticks will work just as well, though they will be slightly less buoyant than the corn cobs.
Besides floats and sinkers, a whole slew of different lures can also be very easily user-manufactured. These lures have the additional benefit of being tailored to specific requirements. This allows most, if not all, of your hand-crafted tackle to out-produce anything you could purchase.

Using a nail to form an “eye” in the end of a wire
Using a nail to form an “eye” in the end of a wire
Artificial worms
For bass fishing I used to buy a lot of relatively inexpensive plastic worms. Now, I braid my own artificial worms in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, from bulky acrylic yarn. While I’ll admit that using a loose braid to produce fake worms probably doesn’t end up saving me any money, I do catch more fish with them.
One method that really seems to work well is to add an extra color. For example, adding one strand of red and another of yellow, when braiding together a purple worm, makes it more effective.

Skirted treble hook with a slip sinker
Skirted treble hook with a slip sinker
Of course these braided worms can be rigged and fished in exactly the same manner as regular artificial worms and they perform at least as well as the purchased varieties.
Another home-built lure that I’ve come to like adds sound as an extra attractant. This lure is easily put together from plumbing fittings and a few buckshot or BBs. You can use either copper or plastic plumbing supplies, depending on the particular size and action you prefer as well as whatever it is you have available.

Cartridge case lure
Cartridge case lure
Drill small holes in the centers of a pair of end caps, then glue or solder one cap in place. Run a length of copper or stainless steel wire through the hole and make an eye, as shown in the illustration. Drop in a few BBs or buckshot, run the wire out through the other end cap, and glue or solder the second end cap in place. Fashion another eye in this end of the wire.
Now, attach a treble hook and tie on a “skirt” of horsehair, yarn, feathers, or whatever you prefer. Use paint or left-over nail polish (with a wife and four daughters, there’s always plenty of that around here) to add some color and you’re ready to reel in some fish.

You can turn a single deer antler into a collection of nice lures and bobber stops, using the points and sawn slices.
You can turn a single deer antler into a collection of nice lures and bobber stops,
using the points and sawn slices.
Even more easily fashioned is another home-built lure that I’ve had plenty of success with. I just tie a skirt of brightly colored yarn onto a treble hook, then affix this to the line right behind a brightly painted slip-style round-ball sinker. A lot of times this will turn out to be my most productive panfish lure.

Bullet sinker with treble hooks and yarn streamers
Bullet sinker with treble hooks and yarn streamers
I also often use a bullet sinker and a long “streamer” of yarn, put together in the same fashion, to bring in largemouth or walleye with similar excellent results.
Eventually, even most empty cartridge cases usually end up being recycled into fishing lures at our house. Centerfire cartridges, that have outlived their reloadable life spans simply have their primers punched out at the loading bench. For spent rimfire cases, I use a hammer and nail to punch holes through the base. Then I paint a couple of bright eye spots onto the case and thread this empty case onto a line ahead of a yarn skirted treble hook. This very quickly produces another lure that catches fish.

Setting a hook into a cast spoon-mold lure
Setting a hook into a cast spoon-mold lure
With the aid of a drill, hacksaw, and some sandpaper, a whole bunch of really nice lures can be produced from a single deer antler. First, saw off all of the tines (or points). These are drilled through, painted, and have treble hooks attached to produce the torpedo-shaped lures illustrated.
Now, diagonal slices of varying thickness can be sawn off the remaining antler. These are sanded smooth (maybe even buffed and polished), painted in differing patterns, and drilled as shown. With skirted hooks attached, these are usually very productive lures. Leftover antler pieces, too small to make into lures, can be sawn into thin slices and drilled button fashion to be used as bobber stops.

Lure made from a thrift store spoon: cut off the handle and file smooth.
Lure made from a thrift store spoon: cut off the handle and file smooth.
While you’re using your metal measuring spoons to cast sinkers anyway, it’s not a bad idea to occasionally insert a hook into the molten metal, as shown, and hold it in place with pliers until the lead solidifies. Paint these spoon-type lures in varying color combinations. I also produce spoon type lures from thrift shop silverware by cutting off the handle and filing the lure smooth.
Many top water lures, or plugs, can be simply fashioned out of wood by even a mediocre whittler. Just about every lure I’ve ever made in this manner has done a good job of catching fish. For your very first attempt, you might want to try turning an ordinary clothespin into a fine floating bass lure, as shown, just to give you a sense of how well this can work.

Plug-type top water lure made by setting a large single hook into a wooden clothespin
Plug-type top water lure made by setting a large single hook into a wooden clothespin
Possibly my very favorite wooden lure, though, is a copy of the ancient Devon Minnow, one of the first successful artificials ever recorded. To fashion this lure, you’ll first need to carve one piece of wood into a nice tapered cigar sort of shape, then sand this lure body real nice and smooth.
Now, take a piece of dowel about half the diameter, and two-thirds the length of the lure body. Trim the ends of this dowel so that each end forms a flat section at approximately 90° to each other. Drill an appropriate sized hole crosswise through the body of the lure and glue the dowel in place through this hole. Insert a small screw eye at each end of the lure. Attach a treble hook (with or without a skirt) at one end, with the opposite eye serving to attach your line.

The Devon Minnow lure
The Devon Minnow lure
Paint each side of the lure with a different color, and paint on eye spots. This lure spins much like a rifle bullet as you retrieve it through the water, producing just as many catches today as when it was originated hundreds of years ago.
A couple of other carved wooden lures are also illustrated to help add a little inspiration as you begin thinking up your own styles and designs for producing these sorts of lures.

Carved wooden lures
Carved wooden lures
I’ve also learned to keep a sharp eye out at our area thrift stores for cheap costume jewelry. Until you get some experience of your own, you just can’t believe how many fine quality “fish catchers” you can produce from a 50¢ “junk” necklace. Sometimes you might need to add a short length of polished copper tube, a spoon blade, or some other extra to the beads and baubles you string on your line. But junk shop jewelry always seems to be even more attractive to fish than it was to its original wearer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fish Tattoo