A longtime fisherman, I tried carp fishing for the first time... and LOVED it!
Carp have somewhat of a bad rap in the fishing world. Thought of as a 'garbage fish' or 'bottom feeder,' many anglers turn their backs on these big golden goldfish, preferring to chase species they deem more 'sporting.' That's a real shame. Truthfully, though, I was one of those skeptics. That all changed May 28.
I set off from my home in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, bright and early Sunday morning. With an invite from good friends Ashley Rae and Eric Riley for a day of carp fishing, I eagerly drove to the shore of Lake Ontario to see what all the fuss about these fish was. Ten minutes from my arrival, my cell phone rings. It's Ashley, checking in to see where I am. Before I can reply, she exclaims "Gotta go, fish on!"
I knew right then I was in for a good day.
I arrive to a non-descript shoreline spot. What first strikes me is the high-tech. gear this twosome own. Specialized rods, strike detectors, rod pod, baiting gear, landing net, and mat are scattered about. I marvel at the equipment and eagerly ask questions. This is far from being a 'worm dunking' kind of fish.
Ashley and Eric have already landed two fish prior to my arrival, and both are swimming in a special keep sack net that is tethered to the shore. "When you get your first fish, we can all pose for a picture together," Ashley says. Now the pressure is on.
We use two types of bait on this day - canned corn and artificial boilies. Boilies are sweet-smelling balls around the size of a nickel. Baits are anchored with 3.5 ounce lead weights and small, but extremely sharp hooks. Eric mentions that in carp fishing there's no need to set the hook. "They'll hook themselves when they take the bait."
Baiting the area is also important when carp fishing, both to attract fish to the area and to keep them around. Periodically, Eric will fling a mixture of corn, oatmeal, syrup and other goodness out into our swim, with a specialized rod and bait-holding system.
We each have an assigned rod, but due to an unforeseen accident involving a hook and Eric's finger, that is all about to change. With Eric struggling with said hook, a rod alarm suddenly rings out. It's Eric's rod. He looks at me and yells "grab it!" I don't need to be told twice. If you've never done battle with a carp, let me tell you, these fish are strong. Immediately this one pulls line - and a lot of it. I struggle to keep up, merely holding on at a point or two. Slowly but surely I gain line, and within a minute or two, this big boy is in the net. It's a feeling of elation. My first carp ever, and what a fight it gave. It's now time to get that group shot.
My fish weighed 16.9 pounds. A big fish in my mind, but just an average one when it comes to carp. Only weeks earlier, Ashley had landed a brute of a fish that weighed 32 pounds. Can you imagine that?
One thing I love about carp fishing is the social aspect of it all. Either sitting on the shore, or in a comfy deck chair, it's a chance to share laughter, stories, and good times with friends. That in itself is such a positive thing. (And if you're like us, we even ordered a delivery pizza! It doesn't get much better than that!)
We ended the day with six fish. The bite tapered off in the afternoon, but really, the fun never stopped. I can definitely say I'm hooked on carp. That first fish ignited a passion.
As I sit here writing this, my mind is wandering. I'm heading back carp fishing tomorrow and boy I can't wait.
Give carp fishing a try this season. I can guarantee, you won't be disappointed.
Interested in following along on Ashley and Eric's fishing adventures? Be sure to check out Rae's website blog HERE.
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