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Strange Week

Real life is pretty demanding at the moment and my obsession with catching carp is probably the most intense it’s ever been. These two forces are constantly at odds with each other, which can be extremely exhausting and overwhelming at times.

After dropping off my mother and sister at the airport on Sunday afternoon, I visited a shallow part of the Woonasquatucket near my house. I wasn’t really sure what to expect or even what I was looking for but I only had 2 hours and my options were limited. I’d heard this part of the river was “toxic” and I’d never considered fishing it. However, after visiting it earlier in the year I sent an email to the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council to get some facts. As it turns out, there is some work going on to clean up the remnants of some old factories that once operated on the river. The river is clean enough to fish in, though they don’t recommend you eating any fish or swimming in it. After receiving that positive reply, I told myself I would visit it whenever time permitted. Armed with an assortment of Rooster Tails and a light float set up, I made my way down a trail that ran parallel to the river.

My first stop was a tree that had fallen across this narrow stretch of the river. To my surprise I immediately spotted some very large fish hanging in the current. Coincidentally, the night before I had a dream that I had spotted some carp while eating an apple near some water. In my dream, I proceeded to quietly put my rod together and I was going to use some of the apple I was eating to try and catch these carp. After observing these fish for a few minutes, I realized they were not carp, instead, they were some very big sucker type fish though I’m not 100% sure what. I wanna say long nose suckers, but I’m not sure we have those here. Anyway, they were over a foot long and there were a whole bunch of them surfing the current. I tried free lining some compost worms I had collected to them, but the flow prevented the bait from reaching them. After adding a few more split shot and a few more attempts, I noticed my worms had caught the attention of another small fish. How is it that dropping worms into any body of water at any time of the day catches fish? Are worms randomly falling into lakes and rivers a naturally occurring event? Anyhow, I could see the small fish gobble up the worms and I struck. Upon reeling it in I realized it was a fallfish. I gave up on trying to catch those suckers for a little while and decided to explore the river further. A few cast with the float returned with more fallfish attached to the end of the line. I cast the Rooster Tail around and the result was the same. Toward the end of my time there, I hooked into something different. It was stronger than a fallfish and zig zagged all over the place. When it finally gave up, I saw that it was the biggest bluegill I have ever seen. I didn’t have scales on me but I would have liked to weigh it. I tried taking some pictures of it but the camera just didn’t do it any justice. The only way I can describe it is, it was a “proper big one”. I told my coworker about my big bluegill on Monday, to which he replied… “So what? It’s still just a bluegill”. He like most anglers I meet has what I call a bass/trout first mentality. You do yourself an injustice ignoring all the other freshwater species that inhabit our lakes and rivers. I guarantee you that those suckers would put a serious bend in your bass rod. Anyway, I digress. As I left the river, I thought to myself, wow that was fun.

The Hinged Stiff Rig

The rig in the picture is one I’ve been trying out this week. The idea is that you can cast these types of rigs into weedier places and not worry about the hook point getting buried. There are other solutions to this problem but this is one of the ways it’s typically overcome. My issue with them is that I don’t think wild carp associate the brightly colored pop ups usually used on these rigs as food as quickly as a piece of maize or something. I worry that they see it and think it’s a bobber, though I will contradict myself and say that I once had a carp try and eat a small round pink bobber I was using. Boilies in general just don’t inspire a ton of confidence for me, though I know people catch our “wild” carp on them. I’ve yet to catch one on a pop up or an intact boilie for that matter as the fish I’ve caught on boilies usually come to boilies I’ve chopped down.

Speaking of my beloved pond tuna, I had 2 carp outings this week, one on Thursday, one on Friday. Thursday’s was a little bit of a disaster as I was having trouble finding a spot to put rigs on that weren’t covered in weed. I found myself recasting more than I really ever do which I’ve noticed happens when I’m not feeling super confident. The result of all this foolishness was a blank.

I returned on Friday to the same location with a new strategy to overcome the weeds. Heck, I even brought some floating pellets to see if the fish would feed off the top. It sort of paid off, I had a nice 15lb common, but I still couldn’t help feeling like I was lacking in the motivation department and this was causing me fish poorly. To start off I had some zany drop backs that had nothing on the end of them. My first real run felt like a good fish. It kited right, then straight into some snags in the margin which led to the line getting cut off. It pains me to lose a fish but even more to know there is a fish out there potentially swimming around with a rig in its mouth. The lead will hopefully come off of the lead clip, they are designed to, but the rubber corn and tigernut may potentially be there for a long time. Let’s hope not.

I was convinced I was done for the night as I assumed the disturbance of playing a fish would have spooked the rest of them off, but I was proven wrong as I received another take about 30 minutes later. The fish didn’t put up much of a fight but did eventually wake up once it was in the net. The result of all it’s thrashing around was that the hook somehow got tangled in the net which made trying to unhook it in the dark a complete nightmare. I could tell the fish was full of spawn, which made me extra conscious of how long I had it out of the water. I ended up having to cut a hole in my net to get the hook untangled only to realize this fish had somehow managed to get the hook into the most awkward position ever. The pliers were nowhere to be found and as I looked around for them I realized I had dropped my phone under the fish. It was now dead and covered in pond water and slime. I gave up trying to get the hook out and decided my best course of action was to cut the hooklink off the hook as well as the hair and get the fish back in the water as soon as possible. After releasing the fish I felt exhausted and knowing my phone was dead, I decided to call it a night.

I can’t recall now why I started this post with the title “Strange Week”. I guess my schedule seems to be evolving yet again and I’m personally feeling a little strange. I don’t have a clear plan and not having a plan never feels good. I completely believe in the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. I don’t foresee it getting easier in the next few weeks.

Till we meet again, I leave you with this quote from Norman Maclean:

Many of us probably would be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect.

Ta ta.