Recently I had the pleasure of joining two young fishermen who have a great talent for catching fish and large fish at that. Austin and Brendan of Allen Park, MI are two brothers who have found a common bond that is more than just fishing, but is their love for fishing Carp. Yes you read that right “Carp!”
The scene for this fishing trip was Pointe Mouillee Game Area. Pointe Mouillee sits at the mouth of the Huron River just south of where the Detroit River drains out into Lake Erie. We would be fishing the delta area of the Huron river this day. The carp were just starting to move into the marsh areas for their annual spring migration to spawn, so the carp still were in the mood to feed.
I meet up with the brothers at 8am and they where already setup and hauling fish when I pulled into the parking lot. So I rushed to grab my gear and get over there for the 1st of many photo ops that I would have with them. When I finally got over to them I saw that they had a triple! Austin, Brendan and their friend who they where fishing with all had carp in hand. After a few quick photos and some video commentary for the brother’s Youtube video the fish where release back into the water unharmed and ready to fight another day. It was time to find room for myself and get setup and start doing a little catching myself.
Now I am fairly new to this style of carp angling, the brothers use the same techniques that their fellow carp anglers from across the pond use. The Euro style of carp fishing is highly refined and is maybe the most popular form of recreational fishing world-wide. Their weapon of choice for the day was a hair rig and packbait. The hair rig is a special rig using a short piece of line with a loop tied into it dangling behind the hook. This short section of line or “hair” is where they impale their hookbait with the help of a bait needle, creating a skewer of tasty bait hanging behind the hook. The hookbait for today was homemade flavored sweet corn, and sweetened tiger nut (I have no clue what they are but they are not the nuts of a tiger, its a seed of some sort).
If you follow the line up from the hook you come to a sliding weight called a method weight. This weight is designed to be placed inside a round baseball sized bait ball. The best way to think of this is as a ball of chum or castable bait-pile. The packbait falls away from the weight and loosens up once submerged, so that the carp can come in and feed on the packbait where the hookbait has been hidden in. As the carp feed they end up picking up the hair rig and sucking it deep into their mouth. They then spit it back out once they feel the hook in their mouth. The hook then pretty much sticks into their lips and when the fish turns to run away from the weird feeling on its lip it begins the hooking process. I will cover the rigging euro style of carp fishing further in future blogs to come.
Once getting a few tips from Austin on getting my packbait to stay on during the cast, I was finally fishing. It didn’t take long for me to get a few fish, but soon my swim went cold on me. So I took the time to talk with Austin and Brendan to try and learn more about what makes these two tick and why they love carp fishing so much.
I asked the brothers what got them into carp fishing:
Austin- Well since I was little I went camping every year and loved fishing down at the ponds there for bluegill and sunfish. As I was doing that I would see fish 2-5 pounds swimming right next to the shore; at the time I though that was huge!. I would try to catch them by throwing a worm in front of them but had no luck. As I got older I learned that those fish were carp and I still had never caught one yet, but I met a kid out there who could catch them. He told me to just tie on a sinker with a hook underneath with a chunk of hotdog as bait. I decided to try it and ended up catching three carp around only 2 lbs each, but it was the biggest fish I had ever caught at the time. Since I caught those carp I looked into it more, learned new rigs and baits and just basically didn’t fish for anything else afterwards.
Brendan– I got into carp fishing because Austin was always saying how hard the fish fight on a rod and reel. I used to muskie fish while my brother was carp fishing, he was always catching fish and could not stop talking about carp. One time we went fishing and I thought I would give it a try. I hooked into my first carp and could not believe the fight and how strong they were and how big. Ever since then I would carp fish.
Soon after asking this we were interrupted by a run on a rod. The action began to pick up again and Brendan, Austin, their friend and myself traded off fighting fish for the next couple of hours.
I then asked them what is it about carp fishing you like, is it the fight of the fish or is it something else?
Austin– There are so many reasons to why I like carp fishing. They are a bigger fish compared to anything else I used to catch and bigger than a lot of other fish in freshwater. They have an incredible fight in them, even a real small carp. They can fight and its just the sport of catching them I find fun. I know a lot of other species fight hard and get big also but I just cant find any other fish like carp. Most people would think of carp as an ugly fish, but I really think they are an amazing looking fish with the gold, orange, and red colors on them. Lastly, there is just something about them, I love carp, but I’m not even sure what it is.
Brendan– I like carp fishing because of how big they can get, the fight is huge part of it for me. I also like helping other people learn how to carp. I like to go to different places to carp fish because they are almost every were. In some places there might be more mirror carp than other places, or there might be bigger fish in a certain lake than another. I also like fishing with people I know. I think carp fishing is just a thrill and a very family friendly type of fishing.
After hauling in some more carp, I had to ask the brothers what their favorite baits for carp fishing are. The brothers had all kinds of hookbaits and flavoring for the packbait that we where using so I had to find out.
Brendan– There are a lot of baits to choose from, but I would have to say boiled corn. It is a year round bait, it comes in different flavors or you can make your own flavors, corn is basically good at any lake or river and boiled corn keeps its flavor for a long time, and it is easy to keep on your hook or hair rig.
Austin– There are so many baits and flavors for carp fishing but for hook bait I would have to say my favorite is Tiger nuts. They are my favorite bait because on some days I have completely hauled fish on them and they may not work all the time but on the days they do its unbelievable fishing. They will work most places you fish, plus they have a high sugar content which attracts the carp extremely well because they will take anything that is sweet.
It was soon time for me to call it a day due to some prior commitments, but the brothers kept on fishing the rest of the day and continued catching fish. They even hooked into a Mirror Carp and a bonus wild Goldfish.
Here is the video from the boys Youtube video. Make sure to check out all the other ones. This guys can really haul some carp!
Carp Brothers in Action!