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Carp 101 - The First 2 Weeks
07-19-2013, 12:15 AM
Post: #1
Carp 101 - The First 2 Weeks
This Article is meant for beginner carp fishing.

I've been trying to catch carp ever since my first catch two weeks ago. Since then I've tried a variety of techniques and thought I'd share what I found to be successful so far. I've caught a dozen, sometimes within 5 minutes of starting out, and others taking a couple hours.

Carp fishing to me at this point is about 3 things:
1 - Location
2 - Baits
3 - Technique

Carp Location

Many tributaries of Lake Ontario hold countless carp. Check near sunken trees in shallow areas, I've seen many groups of carp congregate in such places and return daily.

Many ponds in Ontario have carp. Stagnant ponds are where I've spotted the most carp, there is a place I call carp heaven where you can easily spot 100 carp when the weather is right.

Boat Launches (Lakes)
The boat launches like the ones for Lake Ontario usually have a resident group of carp feeding on scraps from people feeding the birds. I find that these areas hold the largest size carp and the ramp for the boats is a convenient place to land a huge fish.

Carp Baits

Try using a very small piece of nightcrawler and thread it on a hook hiding all but the tip and barb. A short leader from a snap swivel with a small sinker to get it to the bottom is a simple rig that can produce fickle carp.

Try these when other baits are being attacked by panfish, goby, etc. Boilies are usually hard and can withstand longer casts and pecking fish. Thread one on a hair rig and try using a high visible colour like yellow. If you are fishing where the bottom is full of leaves and debris, a floating variety can help present your bait where the carp can see it. A short leader to a slip sinker works great.

Soft/Dough Baits
These baits work really well in murky water where the clarity is low. Carp are feeding but relying more on their sense of smell to detect food. Try using a high visible colour like yellow, I've also found they prefer pineapple flavour over strawberry. Shape the soft bait over a treble hook that has a spring on the shaft, also known as a dough bait hook. This will help keep the bait on longer. A short leader to a swivel and slip sinker works well. The biggest carps I've caught have been on dough baits.

By far the best bait for carp. Stacked on a plain hook or on a hair rig, it's what catches carp of all sizes. Try using a feeder spring on your line filled with carp mix and corn. Corn is also great for chumming or baiting the area you are fishing in. However, corn has been proven to work even in a non-baited area.

Carp Technique

The best places to fish for carp are ones where you can clearly see them. In clear conditions, carp should be visible cruising around, they like to keep near the surface when swimming around. They may even poke their heads out of the water for some air or you might see and hear them jumping. Try scouting your spots on a clear day so when the weather isn't so nice or the water clarity is poor, you'll still know that there's carp there. When carp are feeding, you will see a stream of small bubbles on the surface that linger for a while before they pop. Locate the bubbles and you know where a carp might be.

Carp Behavior
I've noticed that carp are always doing two things: swimming and eating. In any condition I've fished in the last 2 weeks, be it cold or hot, night or day, raining or sunshine, the carp will bite. They basically swim in circles, and travel in a group of fish called a pod. The carp pod will usually have what is called a run, which is a routine course of swimming. I've been tracking a few pods in the spots I fish and it's definitely been paying off. I can even correctly predict the location of the pod at certain times of the day, so the fishing has been pretty successful.

Carp Baiting
Throwing corn and carp mix in a spot where carp are will keep them there and hopefully get them feeding. Carp mix can be made up of rolled oats, cornmeal, and cream of corn. Keep the consistency sticky and thick if you plan to use feeder springs. Cover a smaller area where you plan to present your bait and wait for feeding bubbles. If you start seeing streams of bubbles, your in for a great time!

Carp Baits
Choose a bait based on the conditions. In most cases you should present your bait on the bottom as they suck up their food from the bottom. Other times when you see them constantly surfacing, you might try to float your bait on the surface. In fast current like in a river, try to free line the bait directly into the carp pod.

Carp Rod
A longer rod will help control the carp more than a short one. It will also have more give so when the carp wants to take a run, you won't rip the hook out of it's mouth. A medium power or higher is what's needed to confidently fight a carp, anything lighter should only be attempted by experienced anglers as the power of a carp can break your rod and your line.

Carp Reel
Carp take long runs when they are hooked so a drag set looser than typical can help you fight it. A smooth drag is crucial as you want to give them room to run without weighing down on the pressure. Using a line that doesn't stretch is best as it will have the fastest response when detecting bites. 10lb-25lb braid is great for carp. Also, make sure your reel has a big spool capacity as a carp can strip your line in under a minute. When they go on a run, they can go for a while.

Setting Up
After casting your bait into a desired location, set your rod down on a rod pod or rod holder. If you don't have one, fashion one using sticks found at the shore. Reel up the slack in your line and have it somewhat taught. Don't put so much pressure as to add resistance to the bait. If your line gives too much resistance, the carp will spit out your bait or get spooked. Once your rod is set up, loosen your drag on the reel until a light pull will let line go freely. This will help prevent your rod being pulled into the water when it strikes and runs. Once the fish is on you can adjust your drag appropriately. A baitrunner function negates the action of loosening your drag. I would not suggest leaving your spool open as a carp run could end up in line tangles and bird nests.

Carp Bites
A bite will look like a thump on your line. Don't move the rod or reel in yet. Carp like to taste the bait and may spit out the bait a couple times before committing to it. Wait until the carp runs with your bait before you set the hook. A simple sweep with your rod tip facing up is enough to hook a carp. If you set the hook hard like in bass fishing, you will simple rip the hook out of their soft mouth. If you are using a hair rig, the moment the carp runs, the hook is pretty much set as it is facing down and into the fish's mouth. Hearing your drag go should be a guarantee that a carp is on your line.

Fighting Carp
Carp take long runs, so adjust your drag accordingly. You want to let the fish have some give so as not to put excess pressure on the hook. Too much pressure can rip the hook out, break your leader, break your line, or break your rod. Playing the fish is key, and tiring him out is your best bet at landing a trophy carp. Always keep even pressure on your line, and try not to horse it in. Enjoy the fight as it lasts longer than other species. A 20-30lb carp can keep you going for 15-20 minutes.

Landing Carp
Use a net for smaller carp and the larger ones if you have the ability to. I've caught a few carp that would definitely not fit in the size net I typically carry. To land a fish on shore without a net, try guiding it to a spot where you have direct access to the water. When the carp is tired out and ready to be handled, it will be laying on it's side giving you the opportunity to pick it up. With one hand under the belly and one controlling the tail, gently lift the fish out of the water for a picture and to take the hook out. Be as gentle as possible and make sure not to put it down on a hard surface where he could damage it's scales. When being held with a firm pressure, the carp will not flop around uncontrollably. Resist grabbing it's gills, as you can hurt it, plus you should be able to lift him up with two hands fine. Gently return it to the water by slowly lowering him head first and let it swim out of your hands. Larger fish might need to be revived first. They should slowly swim away healthy to live another day and be caught and enjoyed by another angler.

Carp fishing has proven to be a heap of fun for me the past 2 weeks, and I think I am becoming addicted! They fight hard and really put you to work! Also hearing that drag go can be one of the most exciting feelings in the world. Carp fishing, known as a boring type of fishing, can also be very exciting and rewarding. Everyone I've brought out and caught carp with found it a blast! And when the carp aren't biting, have a conversation with your fishing buddies and have a great time.

Mcfly's Carp Fishing Tip

Fish for carp at a public boat launch where families go to feed the ducks. I find carp will always follow the birds as they eat the scraps that fall below. However, I would not recommend feeding birds as most parks have signs that ask you not to. But if someone is feeding the birds, ask them to do it close to where you are fishing. If you've baited the area and set your lines before the birds get there, you'll be ready for when the carp hits. I used to hate the people feeding flocks of birds… now they are my best friends!

Now here's some pics of Carp caught in the GTA in the last 2 weeks:

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[Image: IMG_00001076.jpg]
[Image: IMG_00001084.jpg]
[Image: IMG_0433.jpg]
[Image: IMG_0445.jpg]
[Image: IMG_0435.jpg]
[Image: IMG_0443.jpg]
[Image: IMG_0449.jpg]
[Image: IMG_0461-1.jpg]
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Carp 101 - The First 2 Weeks - mcfly - 07-19-2013 12:15 AM

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