Competing In the St. Lawrence JR. Carp Tournament by Austin Pass

Competing In the St. Lawrence JR. Carp Tournament

Just this Past August Brendan and I competed in the St. Lawrence Junior Carp Tournament. A couple months before the tourney Brendan and I were doing everything possible to get ready to fish it. We knew it would be a lot different fishing compared to what we were used to back home with strong current, sharp zebra mussels, lots of snags. We bought all kinds of stuff ranging from heavy leads, heavy line, heavier rods, some new baits, and end tackle. Once we got all of our equipment prepared we just had to wait until August to fish the mighty St. Lawrence River!

Brendan and myself in Waddington.
Brendan and myself in Waddington.

Fast Forwarding to August it was time to leave for New York. After a ten hour driver we arrived in Waddington, New York two days before the Tournament was supposed to start, we got our hotel and took it easy the first night as we had a lot to do the next couple days. The next morning we woke up and stopped by the river just to see what it was like and it was absolutely amazing! We walked out onto some boat docks and were shocked when we saw how crystal clear this water was! We even got to see a few carp swimming around under the boat docks which got us very excited! A little while later we met up with our sponsor Munenori who graciously gave us a lot of awesome stuff from Marukyu for the tournament. The last thing we did that day was pick up an envelope with our pegs for day one and two in them. Day one we were located in Waddington and day two it was Ogdensburg. That night before the tournament I hardly slept wondering what the next two days would bring!Day one of the tournament found us in the middle pegs in Waddington, which is a peg known for its smaller fish. They gave us an hour to set up and bait our area, which people sure were taking advantage of baiting wise. There were about five people throwing ridiculous amounts of corn in the water, far too much in my mind. Brendan and I both threw out only a couple method balls, being careful not to over bait like the majority. As far as hook bait and rigs I went with a 16 ml pineapple mainline boilie with a size four curve shank hook. We were using six ounces of lead to hold bottom at this swim.

Sitting and waiting.
Sitting and waiting.

We were fairly confident we would do well because Brendan got a run quickly, but unfortunately struck into thin air. Oh well, nothing to do except get the rod back in the water. That’s when our confidence slowly went away as it started to rain and nobody had  hooked into anything within four hours. Then a girl  three pegs to my left got a screaming run and landed a little 10lber. She continued to hook three more around the same size then it fell silent again. It was time for lunch now and as I started eating I got a bleep along with a small drop on the indicator, within  ten minutes it shot off! I picked up the rod and was so thrilled to have hooked my first St. Larry carp! After a really tough battle through a ton of thick weed she was finally mine! Nothing of any size weighing in around 11lb but I broke the ice at least.

Stunning Larry fish.
Stunning Larry fish.

An hour or two went by and it was  Brendan’s turn as he got a screaming run and landed one around the 10lb mark after a lengthy battle through all of the weeds. Brendan managed to land one more before losing the third run. The biggest to come out of all 112 pegs that day was 24lbs. Not the start I was looking for, but there is always day two.Day two of the tournament found me in peg one and Brendan in peg two. I could not be more happy with this peg draw as you are about to find out. It is located in a slower area of the river in a nice bay. As for tactics I switched down to a size six hook and used a four ounce lead but kept the same bait as day one. I got my rod casted out at around 70 yards and all I had to do was wait. A little girl about six pegs to my left caught a smaller carp after about 30 minutes. Only a half hour after that I got a full out screamer and when I picked it up it was like I hooked a freight train, this fish just wouldn’t quit! As I started to bring him in I started feeling him swimming through a lot of thick weed and snags. Eventually he snagged me up solid; I patiently tried to free him and did so after about ten minutes to only have him snag me up for good a little later. I ended up losing what felt like a very good fish. I was so upset I couldn’t tell you in words how I felt. Brendan also hooked up as I was fighting that fish and lost a good one to snags as well.

My brother got in on the action too.
My brother got in on the action too.

After lunch I added some betaine powder to my method mix and catapulted a pound or two of method balls out there. This proved to be effective as i hooked into another fish 45 minutes later. Unfortunately I lost him due to a hook pull. My luck was about to change though. I got another run and when I lifted into him I was astonished at how fast he was running! After turning him the fight got nerve-racking when I felt him swimming around in the snags. Eventually I got him to the top and kept him there until the net. Success I landed one finally and a big one at that. He was a torpedo of a fish that weighed in at 32lb 2oz my new PB common and the biggest fish caught out of the whole tournament! Brendan got one fish that day at 14lb and I hooked one more very big fish to lose it about five feet from the net.  After the fishing was done we went to the awards ceremony and had a great time meeting all the anglers. Overall it was a great trip and now we know what we can expect when we come to fish it in 2013!

Beast of a 32lb common, and new PB.
Beast of a 32lb common, and new PB.