To fish all of Ontario, with its vast amount of water and freshwater fish species, would take about ten lifetimes to complete. So, the realistic thing to do is to take it location by location and species by species. For example, Lake Scugog is known as a warm, shallow waterbody synonymous with species like Bass, Walleye, Muskie, Crappie, etc. What it is not especially known for is Carp fishing. The reason being a lack of fishable shore-access points that are available to the public. Trust me; there are a ton of Carp in Lake Scugog. It’s getting to them that’s the tough part.
LAKE SCUGOG CARP
Recently, I got a call from Will Muschett, a Carp-fishing fanatic from Peterborough, Ontario. He told me he had access to some great Lake Scugog Carp water. This very much interested me. Will and I shot a past Fish’n Canada episode while fishing for Carp on the Otonabee River with great success—so my confidence in him finding fish and then executing tactics was high.
We ended up fishing the property of Lawrence Bendandi, a local angler that lives on Lake Scugog and is now catering to traveling Carp anglers. He rents out accommodations to Carpers and let me tell you: It’s an outstanding location and the perfect property for this type of fishing.
Will had most of the fishing gear set up when the camera crew and I arrived. (I like that; well done, Will.) So all we had to do was start catching Carp.
Within minutes the bite alarms were chirping off, and we had the start of an amazing day. When Lawrence was around, we would run three rods. When he had to leave, we’d simply pull one out and run only two. That’s the beauty of setting up rod pods. I’m always amazed by how simple-yet-complex Carp fishing is. After all, you just cast out your line and wait, right? Technically yes, that is the way it’s done. However, there is so much more to it. Carp experts have so many little tricks up their sleeves that it always leaves me speechless and boggled.
For this day’s fishing, Will fed the area with a special mix to attract the Carp to the area in front of Lawrence’s place. He then cast the hook-baits out to the same general area. Pop-up boilies were the bait of choice, set up on a little pop-up rig called a Withy Pool (Will taught me that one).
Let me explain to you what a boilie is. It’s a simple round ball of boiled paste, normally made with grains, certain proteins, fishmeal and eggs (binding agent) and then boiled to form round bait-balls. They are used as both hook baits and attractor baits (no hook involved). The flavours are endless.
Getting back to our bait setup, Will had us set up with pop-up Withy Pool rigs. In this configuration, the boilies are held in place by a tiny screw on the back of a specialty hook (pictured above). The more typical type of rig is called a Hair Rig. They both work extremely well in that the bait and the hook are separate from each other. So when a Carp sucks in the boilie and hook, it suddenly feels the bare hook with its sensitive mouth, then spits everything out and, in the process, the hook sticks the flesh on the way out. It’s brilliant!
LAKE SCUGOG: NOTHING SHORT OF OUTSTANDING
As for the remainder of the day’s fishing, it was nothing short of outstanding. The Carp bit consistently throughout the day with a couple of them being in the mid- to high-20 lb range. Not giants, but who cares? I don’t, that’s for sure. Catching any species of fish from 10 to 20-plus pounds all day long is a blast!
SOMETHING FOR THE KIDS, TOO
Carp fishing is a fantastic way to get kids involved in our great sport. Whether it’s catching the fish or simply helping to net, feeding with the catapult (slingshot), or taking videos and photos with their phones (trust me, they are better than most adults at that one), they all love it once they’re involved. On this trip, Lawrence had his young son Victor and his fishing-fanatic friend and neighbour Tyler.
Will tied into a small Carp with a BIG attitude. The entire fight—until we saw the fish, of course—reeked of a giant. It was back and forth in front of the dock numerous times with many drag-stripping moments. The highlight of that fight (and possibly the day) was when this little tugger forced Will to run the shoreline over to the neighbours’ dock. Here, he had to fight the fish from the opposite side of where we started, then follow the fish with the rod under the dock (he handed the rod to me as it was impossible to do by himself), and then finally landed the little speed demon. Here’s a glimpse of some of the great footage we caught of the struggle:
SWIMMING IN CIRCLES
Another strange happening was when I set hooks into a gorgeous fish but, upon closer inspection, we noticed a weird shape in its body which we quickly deemed to be a broken back from a long time ago. The fish literally had a small S-curve towards the tail end of its body. As a joke, I said to Will and the cameraman that with that curve the fish must swim in circles. As sure as Carp have big soft lips, upon its release, our S-curved Carp swam a complete 360-degree circle before it took off to deeper water. Sometimes clowning and joking around makes me look like a genius!
Subscribe to our official YouTube channel and stay tuned for the full online-exclusive episode coming soon…
THE BIG CHANGEOVER
Since I rarely get out Carp fishing in a typical fishing season, trips like this one really do up my all-around knowledge of fishing in general. Multi-species, many tactics, variable water bodies, etc. I’ve never hidden the fact that I, too (like the average angler who doesn’t know much about Carp), didn’t give a damn about Carp in my younger days. That has changed drastically, however. Once you catch your first Carp or two on a dedicated Carp-fishing rig, I honestly believe you, too, will make the big changeover in your mind and add this hard-pulling, muscle-bound, oddly-gorgeous fish species onto your hit list.
Remember, the Ontario Fishing Regulations (including a fishing license) need to be adhered to even when Carp Fishing. The more you go Carp fishing, the more you will want (and need) Carp-specific fishing tackle:
- Carp Fishing Net
- Carp Fishing Rod and Reel
- Bank Sticks or Rod Pod
- Boilies or Sweet Corn are the deal
- Hair Rigs and Pop-up Rigs
- A lot of Carp anglers go overnight camping in their “bivvies.”