Author: Brad Fromma

St. Lawrence Carp Marathon: An Experience Like No Other

The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon: On Monday July 19th 2021 some of the most highly skilled anglers from all over the country gathered in Waddington, NY to draw pegs for what would be the longest and one of most challenging carp fishing tournaments ever held on the mighty St. Lawrence River.

The first annual St. Lawrence Carp Marathon ran for 6 days starting on Monday at 8am and ending Saturday at 6pm. For many of the teams this was their first time fishing the St. Lawrence, but even the most seasoned local anglers had no idea just how much they’d be tested in the days ahead.

The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon: History

Before I get into that story, here’s a little background on how this tournament came to be. The first annual St. Lawrence Carp Marathon was organized by Ogdensburg local Colin Peters. Making the move from England to New York well over a decade ago, it wasn’t long before Colin fell in love with the St. Lawrence and eventually settled in Ogdensburg, NY where he’s been living ever since. After competing in a number of tournaments over the years including The Wild Carp Classic and The Ed French Open on the Seneca River, the CT Open on the Connecticut River, and of course, The Seaway Sixpack on the St. Lawrence, Colin had plenty of opportunity to learn the ins and outs of tournament fishing for carp. Then the year 2020 happened…with Covid restrictions putting a dampener on just about every aspect of our lives, the annual carp fishing tournaments were just another casualty of those unfortunate times. The WCC and Ed French were both canceled. Leaving anglers from all over the country with a void to fill, but all hope was not lost.

The Seaway Sixpack on the St. Lawrence, normally held in the fall, would be held in July. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Bob Giordano and his fellow local anglers they were able to get the tournament approved by the local board and department of health. As long as they agreed to follow guidelines such as wearing masks in groups and using hand sanitizer when needed. The Sixpack was a big success. A lot of fish were caught and many of the teams put their 6 qualifying fish on the board, and they did it while following the necessary guidelines. All teams were challenged a fair amount by the elements especially. They were faced with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees most days, and heavy rain about halfway through the event. This was only a preview of what they’d go through a year later.

Later that year, with the Ed French being canceled, Colin decided to take things into his own hands and organize a new tournament dubbed “The St. Lawrence Invitational Showdown”. Just like with Bob’s tournament, Colin worked together with other local anglers and managed to get the event approved and organized within a few short months. The Showdown was another great success and allowed those who would normally compete in the Ed French to compete in a whole new tournament on the most incredible river in the northeast. The St. Lawrence Invitational Showdown would be held again the following spring, immediately following the WCC in Baldwinsville, which was given the green light to proceed after Covid restrictions were no longer as strict.

After the success of The Showdown, Colin had an idea for another tournament. One that would be completely different from those held in the past. A tournament that would prove to be the ultimate test of not only skill, but physical and mental stamina.

Thus, “The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon” was born. This was a 6-day “Big 10” event, meaning anglers needed the largest combined weight of their ten biggest fish to win, with 20lbs being the minimum weight for a fish to qualify. Anglers came from all over the country to compete. From Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and nearly half the teams competing were from North or South Carolina.

Many of the teams were new to the St. Lawrence, and were blown away by the rivers massiveness and beauty. They arrived at their pegs Monday morning fully loaded and ready to take on this immense challenge. Day one was quiet. Some teams started catching fish right out of the gate, while others took time to evaluate their swim and formulate a plan. The 20lb minimum weight turned out to be a challenge in itself with a high number of fish in the 16lb-19lb range being caught throughout the week. Overall, the first day wasn’t much different than any other day on the river.

The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon
Chris Jackson and Scott Russell Peg 1c

On day two, anglers woke up to an incredible sunrise that led to a clear sunny morning but a thunderstorm was predicted to hit in the late afternoon or early evening. I use the term “thunderstorm” lightly.

A lot of teams were catching fish somewhat consistently throughout the first half of the day, with a handful of qualifying fish hitting the board before noon. Every peg came with its own set of challenges. Whether it be thick weeds, snags, zebra muscles, boaters, wildlife, or all of the above, there wasn’t a single team that didn’t have to work around some type of obstacle in order to put fish on the mat.

As the hours passed dark clouds filled the sky and the wind began to pick up. One team received a call from a friend up river with a stark and straightforward warning..”get ready.”

Peg 21a during the storm

Within minutes anglers were slammed with heavy rain and extreme wind. Pods were blown over, rods were broken, shelters were collapsed, and a number of canvas canopies were destroyed. One team reported that their canopy was blow 30 feet into the air and 40 yards into the woods, taking everything nearby with it.

The storm was gone as fast as it arrived, leaving behind an apocalyptic scene at most of the pegs. Nevertheless, teams still caught a handful of fish in the middle of the storm and the weigh marshals were getting calls immediately after it cleared up. Anglers were now faced with having to salvage what was left and to rebuild their pegs. The tournament had only just begun, and despite the sudden devastation, teams picked themselves up, hung their clothes out to dry, and persisted onwards.

Peg 8 after the storm
Peg 18 after the storm

Later in the week anglers were beginning to show signs of exhaustion, evidence of just how taxing this tournament would prove to be. Most teams were putting in long hours and finding little time to get any rest. Anglers were persistently baiting their swims, checking their rigs, and constantly adapting to their environment and the carps feeding habits. By Thursday there was a handful of teams with their 10 qualifying fish on the board, and many weren’t far behind. For the teams with little to no fish on the board the feeling of hopelessness started to set in.

Many found it difficult to stay positive, and one team even decided they’d had enough and went home by that afternoon. But even for the teams with little chance of getting their 10, there was still a considerable amount of money on the table for Biggest Fish. With only two days left anglers put the pedal to the floor, and the race to the finish began.

Norbert Samok and Zoltan Marton Peg 17

Friday was very slow. It was another hot summer day, but with no wind. The lack of wind seemed to shut the fish down for a while and the only thing teams could do is wait until dusk with hopes that the fish would tilt their heads down and start to feed again. Some caught fish that night, some didn’t. Some alarms went screaming at 3am, and some were silent. Saturday was another slow day with a handful of fish hitting the board in the morning, and some stragglers throughout the day.

The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon: The race to the finish was extremely close with some teams mere ounces away from surpassing another. The teams in first and second place were neck and neck right up until the end. When the tournament came to a close that night and anglers gathered for the award ceremony it was evident that most of them were more than ready to go home and get some sleep. After the prizes were awarded to the winning teams they mingled with each other and slowly started to disperse from the pavilion where the ceremony was held, with no shortage of memories to bring home and tell their friends and family. In a recent Facebook post by Colin he reflected on the tournament and asked himself “will their be another Marathon?” he followed up by saying “let me have some rest and think about it.”

A day later he posted provisional dates for the 2nd annual The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon.

Team Hawkins at Peg 8 and myself posing with the biggest overall fish of the tournament 32lb 2oz

On a personal note, I started working these tournaments as a weigh marshal last summer with The Seaway Sixpack being my first, and The Marathon being my fourth. I’ve made some incredible memories and even more incredible friends along the way. I’ve learned more from anglers in these tournaments than I could have ever learned on my own, but this tournament in particular was special. Not only did I make a lot of new friends, but I had the opportunity to get to know anglers from a different side of the carp fishing world and I learned that we have a lot more in common than originally perceived. We swapped stories and shared a lot of laughs, I got to try Cheerwine for the first time, and I received countless offers to come fish down in the Carolinas. The friendships that were kindled as a result of this event far outweigh any monetary payment for my time spent on the river, and I am forever grateful for that.

Peg 2 – Mark Metzger, Jake Downing and myself posing with their 9th fish on the board

A big shoutout to those that made this tournament happen. Colin and everyone that helped him plan it out, Jevonnah Foster and her team of marshals, and of course all of the anglers that travelled many miles to truly make this event what it was. This was a week I’ll never forget. Can’t wait to see everyone again next year!

Having some fun at Peg 1b on the final day

Keep scrolling to see more pictures from The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon!

The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon
The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon

The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon
The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon


The St. Lawrence Carp Marathon





The Journey To Thirty

The Journey To Thirty – No, I’m not talking about my age, although I am getting close to 30..I’m talking about the elusive 30lb+ carp. It seems that, depending on where you live, catching and landing a 30lb carp is a goal most of strive for, and for some of us, it takes years to make that goal a reality.

The Journey To Thirty
The Journey To Thirty

The image above was my first big carp at 26lbs 12oz caught in September of 2018. I was running with minimal gear at the time. I didn’t even have a proper carp net. But I’d been fishing this newly discovered swim for a few days and had a really good feeling about it. On day 3 one of my rods went off about an hour into the session. After a long fight I finally got the fish into the net and onto the mat. I was blown away. This was the biggest fish I’d ever seen at the time and it left me wanting more. This is where the hunt truly began.

Fast forward to June 10th of this year (2021). I’m fishing one of my go-to local swims. This spot has always produced a lot of fish but nothing of any substantial size. I was lucky to get one in the low 20’s from here on occasion.

Something was different about this day. The weather was perfect, it was quiet, and the carp were showing. I casted my middle rod to the far side of the bank, a risky move due to snags but I knew that’s where the fish were. Nearly 2 hours into the sessions my middle rod went screaming! When I picked it up I felt an incredible force on the end of my line. “This is definitely a big one” I said to myself as I attempted to steer it away from a downed tree close to the swim to no avail.

This crafty carp buried itself deep in the tree branches, leaving me with a tight line and potentially no fish on the other end. Moments before this happened my right hand rod started ripping. I set the middle rod down with the drag loose and tended to the left hand rod. It was a small carp, maybe around 12 pounds, so I quickly let it go while watching for the other line to start moving..which it did! By some miracle this carp managed to free itself from the snag! Now it’s back on! The fish nearly got snagged again but managed to free itself a second time. After a really intense fight the fish was in the net. 29lbs 12oz. Exactly 3 pounds heavier than my previous PB, but not quite 30lbs. The hunt continues..

Fast forward again, but this time only one month to July 10th. I took a ride to another favorite local swim for a 24hr session. This spot is great for longer sessions because you can fish right out of the car. When I arrived I was on the phone with a friend so my initial setup was a bit sloppy being that I was distracted. I put a salty-pineapple flavored tiger nut topped with a single pop-up corn on each rig. I casted one to the left, about 10ft off the bank, and the other to the right also 10ft off the bank. No method mix or pack-bait, but I did throw a few handfuls of range pellets over each rig. The fishing here is always slow, I usually only average one fish per session and they never EVER bite in the middle of the afternoon. Well apparently today was different. I saw a few fish jump while sitting in the passenger seat of my car, but nothing too crazy. I wasn’t even sure if they were carp or not. I couldn’t have been here for more than 45 minutes when the left hand rod took off.

I ran over and swiftly picked it up, the fight was on. Oh, and not to mention, I was at a bit of a disadvantage in this situation because I was using my new 8ft stalker rods instead of my usual 12ft rods…making this a much bigger challenge than usual. The fish ran to the right for what felt like forever, just pulling line like it was nobody’s business. For a moment I thought it was gonna spool me out. Eventually it slowed down and I was able to start carefully walking it back up the bank. It’s hard to say exactly how long it took to land it but it sure felt like a while. Now I’m standing in the water with my heart beating out of chest looking over the fish in total disbelief. “This might just be..”

I thought to myself as I lifted the fish from the water and carried it over to the mat. This carp was long, and mint. Not so much as a missing scale from this one. Now ready to weigh the fish I lifted the scales and watched the dial wobble until it settled at 30lbs 8oz. Finally, I got my 30, and in my home state of New York no less. Upon release the fish swam away calmly while I sat on the bank still sweaty and shaking from the adrenaline rush. This is what we live for isn’t it? Whats next? 40? Only time will tell.

I’m using a handful of products from Forge Tackle during most of my sessions now and so far everything has greatly exceeded my expectations. The end tackle is of great quality and comes in eco-friendly packaging, my unhooking mat does a great job of keeping the fish safe while taking pictures, and the stink sack is a lifesaver if you’re riding in the car with a wet net and sling like I usually do. Click here to view the full range of products currently offered by Forge Tackle.



Forge Tackle 12ft Rod Bag Review

Forge Tackle 12ft Rod Bag – To the majority of anglers our rods and reels are amongst the most valuable assets in our collection of gear.

Thats why it’s smart to invest in some form of storage to protect our beloved rods. The Forge Tackle 12ft Rod Bag offers ample protection and storage that will surely fit the needs of todays carp anglers. Lets take a look.

Forge Tackle 12ft Rod Bag

Right on par with the rest of the luggage available from Forge, this rod bag is made to withstand any amount of abuse we could possibly throw at it. Manufactured from high quality 600D rip stop polyester fabric, equipped with solid metallic clips, heavy duty 10mm zippers, and a reinforced coated bottom, the 12ft rod bag from Forge is as durable as they come.

Forge Tackle 12ft Rod Bag

On the outside of the bag you’ll find two velcro straps on each side providing storage for landing nets, spot/marker rods, or whatever you can fit on there.

Inside you’ll find a generously padded interior with a middle divider to keep your rods safe and separated, the divider is also padded. I really like the divider as it keeps you’re rods from banging against each other and getting tangled together in transit. This particular rod bag is designed to hold three 12ft rods.

The padded shoulder strap is also a nice feature.

All in all this is undeniably one of the best quality rod bags you’ll find in this price range. You’ll have no issue transporting all three rods and a lot more with this bag. If protecting you’re rods is something you take seriously, the 12ft Rod Bag from Forge Tackle is something to strongly consider. There is also a 10ft variant of this bag.

The items seen here are available now over as  Big Carp Tackle via the links below.

Click here to see more products offered from Forge Tackle.

First Impressions: Forge Tackle Multi Ruckbag

Forge Tackle Multi Ruckbag – Newly available at Big Carp Tackle is the Forge Tackle Multi Ruckbag. A rucksack, carryall, and barrow bag all in one package. I recently obtained one of these Multi Ruckbags and upon unboxing I was immediately impressed by what this bit of luggage has to offer.

Forge Tackle Multi Ruckbag Versatility.

I’ve been using a standard carryall for a few years now and I often say to myself, “I wish I could wear this thing like a backpack rather than over my shoulder”. The padded shoulder straps included with the Forge Multi Ruckbag instantly transform this carryall into a rucksack making it easier to transport gear while keeping you’re hands free to carry well, more gear.

While the hardened bottom and two removable inner boxes give this bag enough rigidity to serve as a stackable barrow bag..

..and when that barrow bag gets heavy, these padded handles will make for easy transport.

Forge Tackle Multi Ruckbag – Exceptional build quality.

I’m pretty hard on my luggage. Often tossing it around, setting it down in wet grass or mud, stacking too much stuff on top of it, overfilling it, etc. So its extremely important for me to have a carryall that will withstand such abuse. Judging by the feel of this bag it’ll surely take anything I can throw at it.

The 600D rip-stop fabric and heavy duty 10mm zippers further exemplify the build quality of this carryall.


Inside the Multi Ruckbag I found an assortment of Forge Tackles tailor made “Easy Pouches”. Making life a lot easier for the angler that likes to stay organized. Included are 4 small pouches, 2 medium pouches (one insulated), and 2 Large pouches. My old carryall didn’t come with any additional storage so I used what any other budget conscious angler would use to organize the miscellanious bits, ziplock bags. Not anymore.

Overall this Multi Ruckbag has a lot to offer at an affordable price. I’ll post a real review after I’ve had a chance to thoroughly use it, but from what I can tell its perfect for any angler in need of a multi-use carryall/rucksack.

Available now at

Click here to see the full range of Forge Tackle products!

Google Maps Is Your Best Friend

That’s right, everyones favorite navigation app can also be a valuable asset to the carp angler, and all anglers alike. According to Wikipedia, Google Maps is the fourth most popular app in the United States, and with good reason. It’s your trusty sidekick, your guide to the unknown, and if you end up lost, it’s your North Star. Something Google Maps isn’t necessarily designed to do, however, is to help us anglers find our next swim, and to assist us with gaining the knowledge needed to better access, and approach these new swims, which it very much does. Here are three simple ways you can better utilize Google Maps as an angler.

1. Find access points

So you’ve noticed a local body of water that screams carp, but there’s one small hurdle you’ll need to overcome. How do you get to the water? Public access points? What if there are none? Well, aside from searching for marked locations on the map like public boat launches, fishing access, and so on, you can use Google Maps satellite view to do some in-depth investigating, and find those precious, quiet, isolated swims we all love.

You’ll want to start by identifying the water you’re trying to explore. Scan the shoreline and look for unmarked access roads and pull-offs. You’ll likely be intrigued by your findings. I’ve fished a few local waters near me with unknown access points right under my nose. Some of which have produced some stunning fish since discovering.

Things like tire marks in the grass and worn out spots near the waters edge are dead giveaways that people fish that spot, and that it’s likely accessible.

Here is a perfect example of a spot near me that took a while to find. It’s quite difficult to access and I haven’t fished here yet it but it certainly has potential. From the sky it’s hard to see much of anything..

…but upon further inspection I noticed a spot that appeared to be a parking area with a few large rocks clearly placed intentionally. After scanning the map I found an unmarked access road leading in the direction of the parking area. Naturally, I dropped a ping on the map and made plans to attempt to visit this carpy looking swim at a later date, which brings me to my next tip.

2. Save pinged locations and take notes

It’s important while you’re finding these new spots that you drop a ping and save the locations before moving on. Otherwise you may find yourself wasting time scanning the map again later and losing track of which one was where. The only thing you need is a Google account to access this feature. Simply tap the location you want to save to drop a ping and the above options become available.

From here just click ‘save’ and you’ll be prompted to a menu asking which list you’d like to save your ping in. You can use an existing list such as “Favorites” or “Want to go”. Or simply create a new list titled however you feel appropriate. This will give you the option to leave some notes about the swim as well which really comes in handy before and after you’ve physically been there. Tip number three talks about one of the most critical variables to take note of when fishing any swim, structure.

3. View structure you can’t see from shore

Incredibly, given the right circumstances, you can see an unbelievable amount of structure in the water using the satellite view on Google Maps. Structure such as fallen trees, weed beds, sand flats, changes in depth, inlets/outlets, the list goes on. This is wildly beneficial to us carp anglers because it can give us an idea of what we may be getting ourselves into before we even cast our first lead to feel out the bottom. Also, it can lead us to more remote swims such as ones only accessible by boat. You can spend hours mapping out places to visit in the future, and if you live in an area where winter forces you away from the bank for a few months, this is a great way pass the time and hype yourself up for what’s possible come spring. As you’ll see below, I’ve spent quite a bit of time mapping out swims across my entire home state of New York.

So while you’re trapped inside with cabin fever pull out your phone and get to searching! You never know what may be right around the corner teeming with massive carp waiting to be caught. But most importantly don’t forget to take action on those findings come spring and get out on the bank!

Thank you for reading, Tight lines everyone!