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Opening Day

This weekend marked the official “opening” of trout season here in Rhode Island. RIDEM released 80,000 trout into ponds, rivers and streams through the area. Having been fishing for carp the night before, there was no way I was getting up Saturday morning.

Signs of the impending death of many trout were everywhere this past week. While looking for a suitable shelter to sit under while fishing in this gnarly weather we’ve been having, I spotted fathers and sons buying Power Bait and bobbers. During the week, I received several text messages from friends wondering what my plans were for opening day. Google Alerts emailed me stories from local news stations highlighting the virtues of opening day, “A day when families come together to connect with nature…”

Last year on opening day, I was carp fishing at one of my “spots” when a fella arrived and began unloading an inflatable boat. “I was at Lincoln Woods and I couldn’t find anywhere to park, it was really crowded”, he explained. Eventually he got his boat into the water then proceeded to fall out of it. Luckily the water wasn’t very deep and after changing his clothes and adjusting the cooler he was using as a seat, he was off. I believe he caught a turtle that day which was way more than I caught.

This gentleman has been fishing for pike in the Blackstone since the 90s.

I often wonder what becomes of the trout that get released in Rhode Island. Do they die off? Do they all get caught and eaten? Is there a magical pool along the Blackstone where they live and thrive? Who knows? I have a theory that they get eaten by some very large pike and that the pike fishery in Rhode Island is a lot better than we imagine.

The weather has been on the fritz, I’m sure you’ve noticed. I’ve been getting out whenever I can, this week it was Thursday, Friday and Sunday. These opportunistic sessions mean that there hasn’t been much in the way of prebaiting. Never the less you can still “build up” your swim gradually during your session by casting your pack bait, method ball or in my case yummy parti-mix wrapped in PVA, to the same spot. Having fished this way for most of last year, I know it works and it doesn’t kill my confidence to fish without prebaiting.

I tie rigs during meetings when I work from home. This means I'm ready to fish if the opportunity arises.

Thursday’s session yielded a blank, though I have to admit I felt pretty confident in catching that night. It had rained all day but by the time I had gotten home from work it had let up.

Refilling the PVA mesh dispenser in the rain under the rain poncho.

Friday was pretty windy making the water pretty choppy. The wind was blowing across my lines and I suspected that it was causing the Delkims to give false indications. The bobbins danced up and down all night but nothing materialized. To my surprise, when I reeled in my 2nd rod for the night, I found a teeniest little bullhead had been hooked on the rig I had so cleverly chosen to avoid them.

Surely they can't fit this 20mm boilie in their mouths!

The rig in the picture above is called a “Multi Rig”. I’ve been trying to avoid incorporating these sort of “fancy” rigs in my fishing but it seems as though I am in a place where am willing to experiment a bit. I was on the canal last year when I ran into a British man who noticed my 42-inch net and asked me, “What are you fishing for?” I said “Carp”. “What do you catch them on?” he asked. “I’m using a method feeder and a piece of boilie tipped with fake corn on a hair rig. Do you fish for carp?” I’ll be honest; I was excited to meet a Brit who was into carp in the U.S. He told me that he used cat food and no hair rig as he thought the fish here weren’t that clever. I felt a little self-conscious about the seemingly complex set up of I was using. Nevertheless, I lost a fish and landed a fish that day.

Carp fishing can be as complicated or simple as you like. Plenty of people catch carp on all sorts of wacky mixtures of bait and homespun rigs. For me, it’s important to know that my rig is presented as I expect it to be. There is nothing worse than reeling in you line to find that your rig has been tangled up for an hour or that you casted it straight into thick weed. These are the reasons why I go through the trouble I go through to tie up “fancy” rigs. People have been catching carp for a long time, in all sorts of conditions. It makes sense to borrow from their ideas and incorporate then into our fishing even if it seems overly complicated.

So, I started writing this blog post Sunday afternoon, during my daughter’s nap. I’d been dying to get on the bank all day and I got the go ahead to have a night session after she was down for the night, around 8pm. After some negotiating, I managed to get out at 7, which put me on the bank by 7:20pm. That’s right single people, when you get married, you must consider your spouse’s needs before your own fishy addictions. Once I arrived, I began executing the plan I had come up with on the drive to the swim. A fallen tree was one target and as close to the opposite bank as I could get was the other. After having a few casts around with the lead on I realized both of those spots were super weedy. Hmm… I started casting closer to the bank I was on and found that about half way between me and the opposite bank was clearer, but not perfect. Rig and small pva bag of parti-mix now attached, I cast rod one to the spot I had found. The second rod went to a spot I had fished before though I wasn’t 100% sure it was completely weedless. I was out of daylight.

About an hour into the session, I was in! It was the rod cast to the middle of the pond, a tigernut and a piece of plastic corn on the hair. After an arm tiring battle, I had in the net what would become my new PB, a 25lb common.

Here I am now, Sunday night, finishing up this blog post. That fish sure made my week. I have a feeling more big ones will be making their way to the bank this week. Till we meet again, Carpe Diem!