Category: Other

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 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.

 

Cheers!

Summit Tackle – Colosseum Euro Pod Kit

 

Overview:

The euro pod kit has been designed and manufactured in the UK, The euro pod kit comes with,

1 x Colosseum pod and bag

2 x 9” twist lock banksticks

2 x 3rod adjustable buzz bars

2 x Ratch-it, 3/8 universal angel adaptor

2 x 20” front legs that will adjust to 32”

2 x mini pod points

2 x 19” F/S banksticks

1 x easy tight key

The Pod is fully adjustable for those difficult to fish swims. Ideal for many big waters on the Continent and for river fishing. Making this the most versatile adjustable pod kit available.

 

 

 

To buy and try the Summit Tackle – Colosseum Pod, for yourself. Follow the link over to Big Carp Tackle HERE.

You can check out more items in the range from Summit Tackle HERE.

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!  

 

Dean Brookes – Year in Review (Video)

After a challenging year in 2014 where my fishing time was severely shortened due to a new job, I found myself in the same position entering 2015 as once again work meant fishing had to take a backseat. I did manage to get out for an early session in January for a short session on one of my favorite winter locations, the Blackstone River. These are always fun sessions with plenty of small carp to go after which are usually willing to bite, even on the coldest of days.

As the winter bought a record amount of snowfall (nearly 100 inches in my county) I really felt the need to get away to warmer climes and a trip to Austin, Texas certainly fit the bill. I flew in on a Saturday expecting t-shirt weather, only to find a cool system moving through although I certainly wasn’t complaining as there was definitely no snow. I checked out a few places the first day before heading to Emma Long, a dammed section of the Colorado River. My first 36 hours were spent socializing and fishing a swim at the end of a productive area, due to half a dozen anglers also having the same idea. However, I managed several commons and my first Buffalo, a 35lb specimen.

As the other anglers were leaving to fish a Tournament I wasted no time in moving into what I felt was the best swim and spent the afternoon spombing plenty of bait out and getting ready for some hectic fishing! I was not disappointed as over the course of the next 36 hours I caught lots of commons, buffalo’s to 45lb and several grass carp to 43lb.

As the weather turned to high winds and a drop in temperatures I spent a night in a hotel before hitting Town Lake for a day session where I managed a few cracking commons in one of it’s iconic bridge swims.

Returning home to the snow and a busy job, meant I had little opportunity to get back out until June. I picked a day where the air pressure was dropping and went out for my first overnight session. The stars aligned and a had a great night catching several big fish, topped by my fifth capture of ‘The Pet’ and a common only a few ounces under the 40lb mark.

A change of jobs in early July, meant greater flexibility and a few summer day sessions kept me ticking over, with some nice tidal river fish and a low thirty to keep me happy.

I also got up to the Seneca River for two 24 hour sessions. Despite a 450 mile round trip my efforts were rewarded with over 60 carp, topped by a 30lb common.

What I was really waiting for was the start of the Fall. I managed to get to my venue a few times to pre-bait prior to fishing, which is a rarity for me and it certainly paid off. Over the course of six, one night sessions I managed several nice thirties and two more 40lb commons.

Moving into December I typically try and fit a session in on the Seneca River and this year it so happened that the weather stayed mild and my wife was working on Christmas Day. We decided to cook Christmas dinner a day early and open the presents. I left early morning for a traffic free drive of 5 hours and hoped that the carp would be where I thought they would be!! It only took a few hours before I was catching and I packed away by 10am the next morning having caught several nice twenties and another 30lb common.

Overall, despite not actually fishing that many sessions in 2015 I had some excellent results. This I put down to knowing my waters, being in the correct areas during good weather patterns and using tried and trusted tackle and bait. Looking back I caught over twenty 30lb fish and 5 forties with a few PB’s thrown into the mix.

I also managed to win the CAG Big 4 Fall Contest and also claim the Gold Pin for catch and release carp in Massachusetts as well as writing many articles, featuring on the Cover of North American Carp Angler and finally being interviewed as a guest on ‘The Carp Cast’.

I’m hoping 2016 can be just as productive.

Check out my Year in Review Video:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03ELsdXZnJg[/youtube]

 

 

 

Christmas in New York

It’s been a funny year, weather wise. After a brutal winter with over 100 inches of snow in the Northeast it’s an understatement to say I was not looking forward to the coming winter season. The Farmers’ Almanac prediction didn’t help but as November came to an end the weather stayed stable and mild. By the middle of December I found myself looking at the long term forecast to see if I could squeeze in a session in Upstate New York over the Christmas Break. As luck would have it, after consulting with my wife and finding out she was working we decided to hold the family Christmas on December 24th and I made plans for a 48 hour session on the Seneca River.

Catching a Christmas Day carp is something I had already ticked off the list so I set myself a target of catching a 20lb+ fish which I felt very confident of achieving even though the locals had informed me the area was not fishing particularly well.

Christmas Day Double
A Christmas Day carp from 2012

After enjoying festivities on Christmas Eve I set the alarm for 5am but have to admit I turned it off and got up at 8am. After a coffee I set out on the 290 mile journey and after only a brief bathroom stop I arrived just after 1pm and began slowly setting up. A little background information on the swim I had chosen as I have fished it a few times in prior years. It is a well known area and the carp are generally fished for regularly by a mixture of both serious carpers and the more casual anglers. As such the carp know they are being fished for and in my experience do not usually feed hard during the daylight hours unless you can get them into a competitive feeding mode.

A fish caught by creating competition
A fish caught by creating competition

Rather than rushing to set-up and get the rods cast out I first set about baiting up my swim. My approach was two fold. Firstly I made up a ground bait mix consisting of liquidized bread, beet deer feed, canned sweetcorn and creamed corn as a binder. I initially baited a spot in 9 feet of water with a dozen ground bait balls with my intention to see if this would attract the smaller fish. On this spot I fished one rod with a 10mm white chocolate pop-up.

Ground bait mix to attract active carp
Ground bait mix to attract active carp

My second spot would be a boilie only approach with an initial 100 baits spread out in a line between my remaining two rods. With this approach the key to getting a good hit of carp is to bait consistently and regularly after every take or capture. In this case my plan was to re-bait with 10-20 baits after every fish (if I was lucky enough to capture any carp). I was hoping to pick out the bigger fish by using only 20mm+ boilies with the only extra attraction being a high attract stick mix.

An attractive stick mix and boosted hook baits
An attractive stick mix and boosted hook baits

After baiting up my areas I slowly set-up my rods and tied up some new hook-links. I also set-up all of my carp safety and camera equipment as if I did catch I wanted to make sure that the carp had a short stay on the bank. All of the rods were cast out and after eating a nice chicken stew I retired to my car just before dark to try and grab a short nap which may seem strange but I was confident that once darkness had descended the carp would feed and sleep may be hard to come by. I only had to wait an hour or so before one of my boilie rods absolutely ripped off. After a decent scrap the first Christmas carp was in the net and at just over 23lb’s my goal was achieved with the first capture.

Christmas Day Twenty
Christmas Day Twenty

After sharpening the hook to a sticky point I recast the rod and deposited another 20 boilies over the top of the area. Another 30 minutes or so passed before the same rod signaled another carp and another nice low twenty. Using 20mm+ boilies and big hook baits seemed to be attracting the larger carp and as the ground bait rod was quiet I was hopeful the smaller, more numerous carp would not make an appearance.

Second fish.....second twenty
Second fish…..second twenty

Over the next few hours this process was repeated with several more solid twenties and a few doubles making an appearance. After each capture I would rebait with 15-20 boilies over each spot and would also make sure to check my leader and hook-link as usually the area had weed and zebra muscles which can easily damage your end tackle and result in lost fish. I would also check the hook point of the rigs and in most cases would spend a minute or two sharpening them to a fine point. It’s easy to miss out some of these steps when you are tired or catching lots of fish but it definitely results in more fish on the bank. In this session I had a total of 19 takes and due to the durability and quality of my tackle, combined with being meticulous with the hook points I landed every one of them.

A solid fish with lamprey damage
A solid fish with lamprey damage
A fat boilie eating maching
A fat boilie eating machine

The action continued through the night and only slowed down when the temperatures dropped into the 20’s resulting in frozen nets, mats and slings. During this time I unhooked many of the fish in the net and released them without pictures or weighing them, in an attempt to get back into my sleeping bag ASAP. Any pictures were taken with a self timer and only resulted in the fish being out of the water for a minute or two which is very important as the temperatures drop as the carp’s gills can freeze once the temperatures are below zero.

A picture before everything froze!!
A picture before everything froze!!

During all of the action there were times when I had double takes and in once case all three rods went in succession! It was during one of these occasions while I was netting a nice upper double fish when one of my other rods signaled a take. I quickly secured the net and picked up the other rod to connect with a fish that did not want to cooperate. After several minutes I finally got it into the net and it was a very long and lean common that looked around the thirty pound mark. I quickly released the other fish and weighed the bigger carp which pleasingly went 30lb 6oz. Happy days, a Christmas Day thirty.

Big carp equals happy angler
Big carp equals happy angler

Once the sunlight appeared the action stopped which is not uncommon during the winter on this particular section of the river. This gave me a chance to grab a few hours sleep and gather my thoughts. Originally I had planned to fish two nights but with the hectic action of the first night and rain scheduled for the second night I decided to pack up and head home to watch some Boxing Day Soccer. It might seem strange to drive nearly 600 miles to fish for only 20 hours but the Seneca River really is worth the travel, especially when you get it right.

Signs of Carnage
Signs of Carnage