When I’m not trying to catch fish, I am mostly likely cooped up at work writing code and thinking about fishing. Before I was a carp nut, I was a programming nut obsessed with computers and the code that makes them work. My mom doesn’t really understand what exactly it is I do for a living. To her “programming” basically means I do something on a computer. It’s hard to explain exactly what I do to non programmers because it’s slightly abstract. In a nutshell, I tell computers what to do. These computers can be “programmed” to do various things using a special sort of language. For example, the computers that power Netflix, are programmed to send you video files as a progressive stream of “bytes”. These computers are actually managed by some more computers that are incidentally programmed by Amazon.com. All of them have special “code” on them written by slouchy nerds like myself to accomplish a certain task. If you are ever at a CVS, keep an eye out for the “sale” signs. Those signs are created using some code that me and a few other nerds wrote. It wasn’t a “sexy” project to work on but what you see in those stores is a direct result of a bunch of code telling a computer what to do.
It was only a matter of time before my old passion and my new passion came together. When I started fishing, I had just left a job where we took data and put it onto web maps (ex: Google Maps). It was this experience that gave me the idea to make my own fishing related map. I can’t remember how but I came across a dataset produced by RIGIS for RIDEM that contained pretty much every single body of fresh water in Rhode Island. I quickly hacked up the data on a map and soon I was exploring bodies of water in ways I could not with Google Maps. The data I found included things like: Which bodies of water had EVER been stocked with trout? What was kind of temperature was the water? Cold or warm? Is there a boat ramp? Is there public access? Wanna know where all the dams are in Rhode Island? Wanna know where all the “official” public access points are in RI? I can show you.
I can’t say I’ve caught more fish because of having this information but it has definitely helped me find places to fish. I’m currently working on the second iteration of my map project but you can actually use it if you’d like. Your mileage may vary. If you find it useful and you have questions, feel free to email me.
You will find this project at pondtuna.com/maps
Never in my life have I been so conscious of the weather. We all know weather affects fishing and the next project I’d like to tell you about is based on the idea that carp follow the wind. For example, let’s say a NE wind has been blowing for a couple days. If I was a carp (I WISH!), I’d probably like to get away from this cold air. In this case I, human man Angel, would probably try and fish a bank that is opposite that cold wind. Now if it was summer, it would be a different story. Carp Angel would be sat right facing that wind in an attempt to cool off. Angler Angel would be set up facing the wind as well hoping the fish where in the mood for a freshly prepared tiger nut feast.
Carp and the wind is not a new idea. Certainly not something I’ve come up with. Late this fall, as I was having trouble locating fish in my area, I really started considering the effect the wind could have on fish. We had a lot of cold days in November and the places I normally fished mostly had northerly facing access. Unsurprisingly, the fish were absent. Eventually I realized one of the waters I had visited in the summer had a sheltered SW facing bank and when I finally gave it a go, I indeed found fish there. I had a run on a tigernut (trout water) which I lost but it gave some credence to my thinking. I started paying attention to the wind more and more and I would only fish when it was seemed right.
Figuring out what the wind was doing was annoying via the usual weather apps so I made my own. An simple way to keep track of what is happening and what has happend with the wind. It’s a bit of a MVP (minimum viable product) but it gets the job done for me. Find it here weather.pondtuna.com.
One more thing I’ll mention about it, this “app” asks to use your location so it can get weather information for your area. I don’t personally store your location, however it does get logged by the webserver. Since I’m the only one who uses this tool, I don’t care that it does. It’s up to you whether or not you are ok with that. No one other than myself has access to that log and it requires a bit of work to even look at it which means, I won’t!
Given that the internet is a thing and we live in a global economy (for now), I shop around. This may be the case for you as well if you happen to buy a lot of what we know as “euro style” carp gear. Even with the vast array of carp tackle we have in the US now, it is still, in my experience, cheaper to buy from overseas. Yes, shipping can be expensive sometimes. Small things like baiting needles and PVA refills ship for a measly $3 to RI. The trade off is that it can take a couple weeks to get things but you can overcome that buy ordering in bulk ahead of time. Besides saving money, I find that I have a much large selection of products and brands to choose from.
Winter is time to stock up and with that in mind, instead of perusing every one of my favorite online tackle shops, I created a tool that searched them all at once. This allows me to search for a product and then sort them by prices. There are some questions I have to figure out regarding the methods in which I collect data so for now, I only update the products when I need to shop. You are welcome to search the catalog, but bear in mind that prices can potentially change everyday, so by the time you read this post, this information may be outdated. You can find this tool at pondtuna.com/aggregator
Well that is it. I won’t tell you about the time I tried to make my own bite alarm or the time I tried to make a feeder out of an old pill bottle. Till next time, happy wintering.