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About iCarp

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    scenic Hamilton-on-the-Lake
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    Tree fishing, advanced snag wrestling, watching everyone else catch...

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  1. Anyone familiar with scenic Hamilton-on-the-Lake knows just what a miracle it would be to haul carp up to the high 20s out of the Bay in the middle of December. But that is exactly what local carpers have been doing. Having heard a number of great catch reports this month, I headed out yesterday to have a go and see if the legendary iCarp luck would work in the cold. (It didn't, thankfully- I actually caught fish and didn't fall in the Bay). When I arrived it was calm and sunny- almost tropical in a cold Canadian December sort of way with the temp at least 6° on the Celsius scale. By the time I had made my way out to the point and gotten settled in, the wind was whipping up whitecaps and grey clouds scudded across the sky. 'Here, fishy...' I chattered through frosty lips. Within twenty minutes the first fish was on- a cute little slab of cold gold: It wasn't much of a scrapper, but I was ridiculously happy just to be catching a carp from the Bay in mid-December. Another twenty minutes or so passed and then I started to get beeps. Liners I assumed. And then there was one long beeeeep. Oh joy! And shortly afterwards one very puzzled carpsicle just over 17lb kissed the net: Unhooking and photographing my catch was a delightful challenge thanks to the wind and the rocks . The wind was wrestling with my unhooking mat and CWCL ticket, whilst the carp and gravity were battling it out on the flattish, but actually tilted rock where I had set up camp. After some fumbling and with very cold fingers, I got the tasks done and the carp released. At this point the mat blew across the rock and attached itself to my bum with a velcro strap. So I sat on it, which was much more comfortable than lounging on the cold hard rock with just my cold hard butt. The mat's padding was definitely an improvement. Out went another cast. Down, down, down my method feeder sank. And within a minute or so I was into my third, and largest fish: I continued to tough it out for the better part of an hour with nothing to show for it but red and rough cheeks from the wind. But at least I could enjoy the view as the time drifted past: Oops, wrong photo. Not that view, this view: Looking to the left was definitely a prettier sight than to the right. I suspect that I lucked into a group of carp passing through the neighbourhood. Initially, there were lots of liners and three fish in fairly quick order. This was followed by absolutely nothing for too long. I also suspect that some of the liners were actually carp lightly sampling the hookbait. If I had set on these I think I might have had more fish. Further frosty research is called for. All fish were caught on Monster Maize. I fished it with a flat feeder packed full of my favourite slightly fermented method mix and added a liberal spray of Mintzilla Monster Mist bait spray. My trusty Daiwa Infinity rod and TLX reel forgave me for ignoring them for the past year or so (I have been wed to my fly and float rods for carp for at least that long). All in all, it was a great way to spend a December afternoon. Originally, I was supposed to meet up with Tony Benham, author of Carp Fishing in Canada, at the Carp Cave yesterday. Sadly, he had to cancel and that left me with some free time to chase carpsicles. So, thank you very much Tony.
  2. I have to disagree with groovy. Bowfin have been one of the best fighting fish I've ever caught. They certainly put bass to shame, same for channels. I'd love to be able to target bowfin but every one I've caught has been a fluke. I've often heard that the Grand is good for them, and I would bet that quieter backwaters on that river might produce. Mknd you, every bowfin I've caught in the past five years has been from exactly the same spot- quite a coincidence I suppose, right here on Hamilton at Bayfront Park. Caught my latest about a week ago- bright green with that beautiful chocolate spot and a real fighter. Best of luck on your quest. And another coincidence- I just posted a link to my favourite gar fishing site and they also host a great site for the Bowfin Anglers Group: BAG
  3. iCarp

    Gar Pike

    Congrats, they are beautiful fish. I enjoy catching them on the fly on Lake Erie. And it just goes to show that you can catch just about anything at Beaverdams. Great gar fishing site: GASS
  4. A lot of carpers will use pop up baits to avoid getting fouled by algae and such. Since I only have 3-5g of weight at the bottom, though, I find that my hairrig or hooklink simply settles lightly on top of any algae or other nuisance. Dropped by EP again today and got a nice bunch of healthy and scrappy carp on the float.
  5. Thanks Shawn. A good time was definitely had. Rockfish, I use fairly long and slender floats (check NWC or Bill's for floats). All of the weight is put at the bottom of my line, usually 3-5g. I then attach a swivel and a very short hooklink, maybe 3". Usually I use a hairrig with Monster Maize. Some guys just tie on a size 6 short shank hook and hook the bait directly on to it. After casting, retrieve until the float is almost totally submerged and under firm tension (like drawing back a bowstring). This sort of set up is know as a lift bite rig (or lift up bite). It's probably the simplest way to set up a float and very deadly. As soon as the carp takes your bait, even just mouthing it for a quick taste before deciding to spit it out, the weight is moved and the float shoots up. The carp is usually hooked in the upper lip as a result with little or no effort on my part required. I only have to put down my breakfast pizza in order to reach for the net. There are a good number of spots that are producing carp around the Hamilton Harbour these days, including Pier 4 and Pier 8. Lots to choose from.
  6. I love fly fishing for carp. I love float fishing for carp. Heck, I love fishing, plain and simple. But there's been too much work and very little play this year. Yesterday I realised that I've only fished one match this year and have had my float rod out exactly once. So, last evening I spent a couple of hours float fishing for carp here in scenic Hamilton-on-the-Lake. There were strong winds blowing from the west. At times there were whitecaps crashing around my knees and throwing spray over my head. Just what I needed to blow the heat, work, and cobwebs out of my head. But not ideal weather for fishing the float. In just over two hours I landed 6 out of 9. A hookpull caused by an overly tight drag cost me the first fish. Rusty reflexes lost my second one. And that was in the first 10 minutes... Things got better from there. Five in a row kissed the net. Here are the first three, the last weighing in at just under 15lb: Here are Number 4 and Number 5. Note how wet my shorts are. As I said, there was serious wave action last evening. Number 6 though, after rolling over the line a couple of minutes into the fight and wrapping it across her back, broke me off on the boulders. I watched one of my last and very precious Asian floats buffeted by the waves and slowly drifting along the shore. Just out of reach. Of course. The timer on my camera has a mind of its own: All of the fish were caught on Cranberry Monster Maize, likely my favourite summertime big carp bait. Good tasting and good for you, too! My float was rigged for lift bites, with all of the weight on the bottom- 5g on a 3g float. This way the float would shoot up out of the water if there was bite- very handy when there are waves. All in all, it was a fun and refreshing evening scrambling over the slippery boulders with scrappy carp on the end of my line. I really need to do it more often.
  7. I love it when I accidentally delete a post just before pressing the Post button... Anyway, I use barbless hooks almost exclusively- carp fishing, fly fishing, float fishing. I especially like them at matches when time is important and I want my hook in the water as often as possible, not stuck in a fish's mouth. I honestly don't feel that barbless hooks result in significantly fewer fish landed. And being clumsy be nature, and having impaled myself on more than one treble hook in the past, I appreciate that barbless hooks are not only safer for the fish but for this fisherman as well. This is a great topic and I've really enjoyed reading the posts. Like Denis, I've been appalled to see guys dragging their fish across ice, gravel, and concrete to get a photo and then kicking them back in the water at various winter hot spots around Niagara. One of the things that I admired about carp anglers when I started to chase the queen of freshwater fish was their concern for the the health and welfare of their quarry. They often set a great example for the rest of us. Fish can be frisky when you're trying to get them ready for a photo op. For this reason I usually kneel on the ground when holding a carp or larger fish. That way, if it makes a leap for freedom there is very little distance before it reaches the ground. This well fed beauty is about to do just that and plop down onto a padded unhooking mat. (Note the author's look of surprise.): Unhooking mat in use: Even a small jewel is precious and deserves respect:
  8. iCarp

    Carp On The Fly

    I find that channel cats tend to zig and zag. Carp will take the bait and then pull out in a straight line usually. So, that could be a clue to what you hooked into. Carp will follow and take a moving bait or lure, and they love worms. They don't usually stop after a run, but with your light tackle a carp might not have known it was still on your line after the first run. But there's a good chance that it was a channel cat.
  9. The season was off to a slow start for pretty much every species, including carp. That cold weather and rain just wouldn't go away. Whilst late April usually heralds the start of some excellent stalking for carp on the fly, it wasn't until mid May that I saw any carp at all moving into shallow water, either at Erie or Hamilton. Even then, whenever there was a bit of nice weather for flyfishing- calm and sunny- I had to work. Of course. And I sliced the tip of my thumb off which left me unable to do much for a fortnight or so. Finally, I had June 1 off, my thumb was reasonably healthy, the forecast was favourable, and I vowed that I would hit the water for a day's fishing. When I headed out that morning it was certainly bright and sunny. Sadly, though, there were gale force winds whipping across the harbour from the west- whitecaps rolling across the bay and crashing along Eastport Drive. There was no point in heading out to Erie in this wind and the Harbour was equally unfishable. Gosh darn it all to heck! Then I remembered a small tributary that usually has clear water, is sheltered from the wind by high banks and trees, and has never produced for me in the past. But it was the only option so off I went. When I got there the water was boiling with carp. Spawning time had arrived. Scores of carp were thrashing on the shallow and weedy ledge right off the bank, but spawners are only interested in one thing and that one thing is not inhaling my wooly bugger. But there were also carp cruising about and some idly munching around the bottom. I waded in to try my luck. And almost got knocked off my feet. Up to my knees in water I was surrounded by spawners that bashed against my legs, hitting me from all sides. It was a very unique sensation, being assaulted by large and frisky carp. I moved to the edge of the shelf verging on deeper water and escaped the orgy. With so many fish about, targeting any single carp was a challenge. I would pick out a nice and plump beauty mooching along the bottom. I would cast, strip and drop my fly in front of her. Six other carp would swim past and pull my line, block my sight, or otherwise annoy me. Most casts, therefore, were ruined one way or another, but I did manage to get into a couple of fish. The first carp took the fly on the second cast, having ignored it the first time but not spooking. It didn't run, but it definitely wouldn't come in. It just stubbornly and slowly pulled line. After about five minutes I got it within reach and tried to put a lip lock on it. Wow, did my thumb hurt! No callus there anymore, just raw new skin. The carp headed back out. I eventually hauled it back in, tried the lip lock again, watched it shake me off and head back out. Well, third time's the charm. I got the beauty in again- maybe 18-20lb- bent down carefully at the knees and grabbed her lip. My left foot, perched on the edge of the shelf, slipped and then slid down into deeper water. Naturally, I flipped onto my back, hit the water, and dropped the carp on my chest. Boy, was I wet all of a sudden. Fat lot of good these waders were doing when I was horizontal- they definitely work better on the vertical. I don't know which one of us was more surprised. I do know that the carp obviously thought that it would be too embarrassing if her friends saw her with a dolt like me and decided to bugger off. Which she did. A not uncommon feeling amongst the ladies in my life... Oh well, I'm not one to let my own ineptitude hold me back and so I persisted for another half hour or so at which point the carp all headed out to deeper water. During that time I cast to a dozen or more, but had the interference problems or met with indifference from my chosen target. I did manage to catch this little beauty. She was about 31" long and very broad across the beam.
  10. I spent most of last summer targeting carp on the fly and it is challenging and a heck of a lot of fun. Here are some smaller carp taken with orangey scud/shrimp flies on a 3wt: And there's nothing like stalking big carp in the 15-30lb range. They'll have you down to your backing in seconds. I'd definitely recommend sight fishing as the most challenging, thrilling, and satisfying way to chase carp on the fly. Tom Barry is the local guru and I give him full credit for sharing his years of experience to help me hone my presentation and tactics. Here he is with a nice goldfish hybrid: I sell a couple of very good DVDs by Barry Reynolds, the angler who first promoted carp on the fly back in the 80s. His latest, Urban Warfare, is a great introduction to the sport. If you ever want to get together for a session feel free to drop me a PM or contact me through my site.
  11. So, we're meeting tomorrow morning on the RBR for a good old winter time carpfest... If you are a good natured angler who loves to fish and loves good company please come by and join us. As of 9am tomorrow morn down by the totem pole. There's always room for one more...
  12. Ah, now that's a key question. It's a great idea you've developed here, Luvevolution. It is getting a bit frosty now and the carp will soon be dormant but you've laid the foundation for next year.
  13. Interesting topic and photo... I shouldn't say anything, but I've personally landed largies over 20" out of the Harbour. Five years ago or so I used to drop by every morning during the summer to catch 6 or 8 before work. Hamilton Harbour has a diverse range of fish- everything from too many bullheads and gobies to gar pike. Over the past week I've been enjoying the odd hour after work with the fly rod at the Cootes end of the Harbour. Pretty much a bite every cast, mostly small bass, perch, bluegills, and the odd scrappy crappie.
  14. 'Huge striped fish' eh? Could have been one of those Welland River jumbo perch. Hard to tell without a photo.
  15. Beauty carp. There are lots of fish that survived last year's work at Firemans and I had some great hauls this summer including channel cats up to around 8lb, carp to the mid 20s, lots o' gills, and too many snappers... If you don't mind me asking, what did you catch your carp on?
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