For this episode, we decided to do a show on Carp fishing. It’s not our first and it definitely won’t be our last. Although Ang and Pete wouldn’t call themselves experts by any means, they do feel they are gaining valuable knowledge with each season that passes. The beauty of Carp fishing is that it opens up a whole new world to them.
Pete takes the reins on this one as Ang was occupied setting up to do another species at another location.
Why carp, you ask? “Why not?” says Pete. “I love fishin’ ’em! I remember talking to Ang a long time ago and he said he had seen some huge Carp on the north side of the Duck Islands in eastern Lake Ontario when he was fishing a Bass tournament, like, twenty-plus years ago. He said it was loaded with fish. Sounds like a good place to check out since it should be untouched. And it’s definitely unique.”
It’s pre-spawn, so Pete figured that Carp behavior would probably be somewhat erratic. What he does know about Carp is that when they are in pre-spawn, they’re moving around in shallow water, and they’re congregating.
Pete approached Main Duck Island from the west and saw some fish, but they were scattered—not enough to stop and set up. He kept scanning the shoreline and suddenly came across an area of somewhat murky water. Here, he saw the biggest concentration of fish. He stopped the boat and began chumming the water with boiled corn.
“I made some casts but nothing was happening,” says Pete. “These are pre-spawn fish and they’re just not eating the way they normally do.”
With the fish not biting, Pete went on a scouting mission to Wapoos Island, Timber Island, and then finally found fish—a lot of fish.
I finally chose a fishing spot that had two key ingredients: lots of fish and a very fishable area. Looking for visible shallow fish is a no-brainer, but getting them to come to and feed in a specific spot? That’s not so easy.
“I chummed this area with boiled corn and then set up my hair rig with sweet corn, big scented kernels of corn, and pineapple scented boilies. My next step was to cast out and wait.”
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CHUMMING
By the way, it’s important to soak and boil your feed-corn before chumming an area. Dry corn, once submerged can swell up to four times its original size. If Carp ingest a pound of dry corn—which a big fish can do very easily—that wet corn could swell up to four pounds and tear the fish’s intestines.
Pre-boiling your feed corn makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.
Also, be sure to check your local fishing regulations to be sure it’s legal to use corn in the body of water you’re fishing.
“After what seemed like an eternity,” Pete says, “I get a hit… then… I lose it. Oh, but wait there’s more… I lose another one. Two in a row!”
THE CARP WORLD
This brings up an interesting fact about the Carp world. Early in the season, a Carp’s lips are soft and tender, but they become calloused and toughen up as the season progresses. This happens as the fish constantly feed on crustaceans, zebra mussels, snails, and so on.
Getting good penetration on hooksets early on is almost a guarantee. Having the hook hold in the soft mouth tissue with a tight drag, though? That’s when things get dicey. And it probably explains why Pete lost those two. The simple solution: loosen up the drag!
“After re-rigging, loosening my drag, and using scented corn, I was able to boat a couple of decent Common Carp.”
The wind started to pick up so Pete, being worried about a quick “Lake O blow-up”, went to the opposite side of the island.
HOPE FOR THE BEST
“My new area of this point on False Duck is very different from where I was just fishing. Instead of having a big flat with a gradual slope, it plunged down a fast drop off into the dark depths. I knew the Carp were here, so I figured what the heck, I’ll cast to what looks about twenty-five or thirty feet deep and hope for the best. This was a new experience for me; I’ve only ever fished for Carp in shallow water.”
Along with seeing all kinds of fish, Pete caught two more fantastic Common Carp from Lake Ontario’s depths.
The most interesting portion of the episode, though, is not the fishing, but, in fact, it’s a great piece that Pete and camera operator Justin Vandergaast documented on the Seagull and Cormorant population of False Duck Island.
If you think gulls are gluttons, you are right. But this time they do the angling world a favour… Got you thinking, right?