It’s taken me a while to get around to finishing this blog post, but here it is, a little late!
Imagine this. You are taking a leisurely stroll down by your favorite pond or lake on a glorious late fall morning. As you make your way down to the bank you spot a small pathway you’ve never noticed before. You see, this path has been obscured from view by the thick greenery that has, up until now, been growing happily along the water’s edge. You make your way down this new path when out of the corner of your eye you spot something in the water, something familiar. As you make your way closer to the water, it becomes more apparent what have found. A small pod of carp are happily feeding in the edge on this unusually warm late fall afternoon. Doesn’t that just sound lovely?
The picture above is of a small koi pond at the Agway in Portsmouth, RI. Out of curiosity I asked the shop keeper what happened to these fish in the winter. She explained to me that they simply went dormant. I had some trouble wrapping my head around the idea that these fish could survive one of our winters in only about 2 feet of water, but they do. I imagine that fish throughout Rhode Island are beginning to feel the effects of the little cold spells we have been having. Soon they will begin to shoal up before finally going into their winter slumber. In a book written by the Minnesota Fish Commission in 1883, the writer describes the carp’s behavior as follows:
In a climate where the water freezes or becomes quite cold, they will hibernate by burrowing in the mud. This they generally do in groups of fifty or more. They select a deep place and force their heads down but their tails are visible above the surface of the mud, and sometimes they disappear entirely. They group in concentric circles and remain immovable, scarcely raising their gills for the process of breathing.
Can you imagine what 50+ shoaled carp up would look like?
We’ll I don’t know for certain if the carp where I fish are starting to do their disappearing act, but it certainly feels that way. In the past few weeks, I’ve had trouble positively locating fish. At the end of September I was really looking forward to fall fishing. Now, it’s nearing the end of November and things are really fizzling out. Like some other carp anglers I know, I too end my carp season at the end of this month. The idea of putting away my rods for nearly 5 months sounds absolutely dreadful and going out like this is less than ideal. It happens.
I leave you with this.
One of my carp angling heroes, Dave Lane, keeps a “vlog” type diary on YouTube. Unsure why he is blanking everywhere he goes, he kneels next to his rods and asks… “Maybe if I try praying? Please carp gods, please… just give me a bite.”
I hope you’ve had a fantastic November so far. Stay warm!