Lazy Sunday Carpin’
The last carp I “caught” took a Mepps Muskie Spinner the hard way—right in the back. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the half-dollar-sized scales and dopey whiskered face instead of the dragon-like maw of what I was certain was my first muskie. That was more than 10 years ago.
Since then, I haven’t bothered targeting carp. The whole muskie fake-out had soured me on the species, and, when I moved to Cape Cod, there were no carp conveniently close to my house. Nevertheless, this year, I wanted to catch a carp—the right way—once again.
Sunday seemed a good day to do it. I fished next to one of the bridges over the Sudbury River at a place some spray-paint-wielding locals had dubbed “The Bass Spot.” A few empty cans of Del Monte Sweet corn suggested I was in “The Carp Spot” too. I was packing two cans of Green Giant (hopefully carp aren’t too brand loyal) and had to improvise a can opener from the rocks around the bridge.
I know carp-fishing enthusiasts like Dave Pickering have bite alarms and horizontal rod holders and specialized carp rods, but having no carp-specific gear, I had to re-purpose the Fenwick Aetos rod that I use to fish finesse baits for largemouth and the St. Croix noodle rod I use for steelhead.
I pitched out a few handfuls of corn, threaded a bunch of kernals onto size 6 Gamakatsu octopus-style hooks and lobbed the egg-sinker rigs in the middle of the sweet-corn feast I’d laid out for the carp. After wedging the rod butts between the rocks, I found a big flat rock in the sun, grabbed a magazine from the car and kicked back.
The first hit came a few minutes in, but I think it was a bluegill or some small panfish. I missed it. The next hit, 10 minutes after that, felt much more substantial. I made a triumphant hookset and broke the leader. That was it for the next hour.
After flipping through most of my magazine, I decided to take out my camera and snap some shots of the Sudbury. As I was doing this, one of the rods started bouncing. By the time I got to it, the line was slack. I reeled in to check my bait, but soon discovered the fish was still there. It woke up when it felt the hook and took off on a big run down-river. It’s been a while since I heard my drag sing that loud for that long. Carp can fight.
I landed that fish and one more, missed a few and lost two. By the time the sun had set, the smaller bait-stealers had come out in force, and I couldn’t keep a bait in the water for more than a couple minutes (Pickering has a solution for dealing with these bait-stealers in his article in the May OTW). I tossed the rest of my Green Giant into the Sudbury and headed for home.