Monster quest: Prepping to out cast for carp
Over the past couple of summers, I have been on a quest. The challenge is simple -- to hook and land a river monster. I define a river monster as being large and ugly with extraordinary and daunting size. The species of fish that fits the bill is a carp. Not just any carp, a monster carp.
I have written about this quest many times in the last few years and I even received some very useful advice from fellow monster hunters out there. Although I have caught a few dandy carp, I have not reached my goal of landing a true monster. With the state record for common carp in West Virginia being 41 inches for length and 47 pounds for weight, my sights are set high indeed.
The WVDNR lists a carp more than 31 inches or weighing 15 pounds as a trophy fish and one that would qualify for their trophy fish citation program. My goal? I want to hold up a 40-incher and grin as the flash goes off.
I started this season's quest similar to prior seasons by researching techniques, tips and tactics for finding and fishing for big carp and by looking at my notes on past water levels and weather patterns. My notes indicate I generally start the quest later into the summer but this year is different. With the water levels low and temperatures high, the conditions are right.
After watching more YouTube videos than I care to mention, I have begun the process of preparing the perfect bait for catching the monster.
It seems everyone in the carp fishing world has their own special blend of bait. A little research reveals such dandy baits as dough balls sweetened with everything from peanut butter to strawberry Jell-O, several breakfast cereal based mixtures and of course the old standby, canned corn. I decided to try a recipe I borrowed from a fishing editor friend of mine -- whole kernel corn marinated in pineapple flavored ice cream. Sounds too good not to work.
I have also begun the process of readying my rods and perfecting the perfect rig for big carp. If you thought researching carp baits was fun and interesting, you should spend an afternoon researching carp fishing rigs. Again, it seems everyone in the carp fishing world has their own proper version of the perfect rig. I have decided to scale down my rigs this year in hopes not to spook the wary trophy. Small hooks on heavy line seems to make the most sense to me.
Now all that is left to do is to cast my lines in the swirly waters and wait. Over the next few weeks, I will be hunting for the monsters and be jumping head-first into the madness of my quest. If you happen to see a crazed angler with a cart-full of canned corn and ice cream at your local grocery store, just let him slide on by. He is on a mission.
Chris Ellis of Fayetteville, W.Va., an outdoorsman and Marshall University graduate, is owner of Ellis Communications, a public relations agency serving the outdoor industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.