Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Carp Story

Fishing lately has been average at best. We've still been catching average numbers of bass but no big ones worth noting. Catfishing has been slow, we've caught a few but definitely not the numbers or size we are expecting.  So with lack of anything worth reporting I thought I'd tell the story of the day I caught my biggest fish, a 32lb carp, which is pictured in the left of our banner.

It was August 2010. That year we had discovered how effective corn could be when fishing for carp. We would throw out half a can for chum and bait a bluegill hook with corn and toss it out weightless in the chum. We would then attach a piece of styrofoam to our line and leave the reel in free spool. When a carp picks up the bait the styrofoam takes off towards the water.

Earlier in the year I was bass fishing solo at a small lake and noticed some carp jumping. I decided to go back soon thereafter with some corn to do some carp fishing. I believe I ended up catching 2 carp that day, an 8lb and a 20lb, and broke off a nice one in some logs. The 20lb carp was the biggest carp any of us had ever caught and I was thrilled. The battles were epic on my Zepco Omega spincast reel with 8lb line and I didn't have a net so I had to pull them out of the water by hand.
20lb Carp
Later in August I was carp fishing solo once more at the same lake. It was a hot sunny day, peaceful with nobody else to be seen on the lake. I waited patiently for a couple hours with no bites in hopes for another monster carp. Eventually something took off fast with my corn. I picked up my rod and set the hook and it just kept going, not even phased. I knew I had a decent fish but I didn't know how decent for some time. I struggled with the fish for minutes, drag ripping run after drag ripping run. It was all the 8lb line on my Browning Medallion GT spinning reel could handle.

Finally the fish broke surface about 20 yards off the bank. By this time I was wading in the water and had moved about 30ft down the bank trying to keep the fish out of the snags. Several more minutes passed before I finally got the fish close enough to get a good look. My adrenaline skyrocketed  as I saw the goliath on the end of my line. At this point I was wading in thigh deep water and was pulling the fish within 10ft of me. I didn't know how I was ever going to get this thing out of the water as I feared the hook might soon pop free or my line break from the extreme stress. For what seemed like forever I struggled with the fish in 2 to 4ft of water as It still continued to surge out into the depths on occasion. Eventually I started nearing the bank and I didn't have a net with me this time either. I manage to get the fish between me and the bank. I got the fish close enough to feel comfortable enough to make an attempt to lift it out of the water. I struggled to grab the extremely slippery fish and carry it onto land. Finally I succeeded. I can only guess at the time it took to land the fish as I was so focused the entire time I had no grasp of time but my best guess would be 10-15 minutes, by far the longest battle of my life.

With the fish landed I let out a scream of excitement. It was one of the best moments of fishing in my life. I quickly removed the hook and got out my tape measure. The carp measured about 40 inches. I then weighed the beast with my Rapala digital scale. The scale fluctuated between 32 and 33lbs so I've always just called it a modest 32lbs. 
32lb Carp
Thankfully I had a timer on my digital camera which I setup on a fallen tree. This picture really shows the pure excitement I had.
32lb Carp
Since carp don't have much to hold on to, the only way I could hold it up was by propping it on my knee. I actually got a picture of the fish mid flop which really shows off the girth of the fish. Notice how tiny my leg is in comparison.
32lb Carp
After taking my pictures I was worried that through the stress of the fight, the carp might not make it. I took plenty of time to revive the fish before watching it swim off to fight another day.

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