A Tennessee carp not from Dale Hollow? They are out there. Maybe not as many, or as big, or as lacking in scales. But it is closer to home.
This year I decided I would make it a point to put time in on some local waters to myself, after not fishing for carp at all in 2017. I started out a week ago hitting up a local huge lake. We are talking average depth of 75 ft, 200 miles long, 800+ miles of shoreline, high clarity in the water, etc. Well that lake was not kind to me. After baiting it up, I went there to see my bait was untouched. Now I know the lake has carp in it, a bass fisherman caught one on a crankbait that went 27lbs. Well after a few hours of nothing, and knowing they ignored the corn I prepared was so much love and care, I packed up and went to a fall back location. An unbaited spot that I would hopefully catch a low double digit fish or 2. I had fished the spot 1 or 2 other times for carp, and they are in there. But I wanted something big.
So to the new location I go, using my panko pack. This is Panko I had left over in a bucket since I last fished Baldwinsville in 2013 I guess. It even had some added protein of grain weevils from the great grain beetle infestation of 2017.
After setting up, it was not long until fish started to show. Clearly this "secondary spot" was going to be worth a bit more of my time. All in all on this day, I would have 7 fish, 4 over 15lbs. 1 that was 18lbs 8oz and another 21lb 8oz. These numbers are close to their weights as I did not have my tripod so things get a tad bit shakey.
Here is the 21lb 8oz fish and its attempt at flopping away.
This is the fish that went 18lbs 8oz. I am still working on my GoPro pictures, but having the Hero5 Black that has voice command for burst is great on a solo trip when no bystanders take a picture for me.
So clearly after the success of this trip, I knew that for the Big 4 contest I would be returning, and that I would also need my weighing tripod! I had always assumed this lake was all 8 to 15lb fish, and with luck I might hit 20lbs every so often. This one trip I hit 20 and came close on another.
So yesterday to kick off the Big 4, I took a day off work. I was going to fish this lake from 8am until around 4pm. Yard work still has to be done, dinner, etc. But I had high hopes. I started the day rather quickly with an 11lb 2oz common. Not huge, but it was a quick start. Then nothing. Nothing for a long time. I lost 2 fish close together, they never really had the hook set on their runs and the turtles attacked the coconut crème boilies with ferocity. I had also forgotten my paylake stands at home and much like when running euro style, everything has a purpose, the same for a paylake style. Free running baitcasters with the clicker on does not function the same as a fixed stand that the rod stays in when the fish hits, and the weight of the rod helps drive it home. Luckily my wonderful wife brought me the stands around 1pm, and the day took off. I would have a double run with a 19lb 14oz carp coming on grits flavored with RW Red Peach and vanilla butternut corn topped with 2 fake pieces, and another fish at 15lbs on the grits and a puff.
The rest of the day, the mighty puff and paylake stand would prove to be the method needed to bank the fish. I will have to tinker with euro rigs to see if I need a flexible hook link, stiff, no boilies, etc, but for the time, why mess with what is working.
The final fish of the day came around 3:50 pm. My grits were running low and I did not want to mix a new batch just to toss it out soon. As I gathered and consolidated my gear, my right hand paylake rod rose in its stand, let out a few clicks, then a screaming run. When I hooked this fish, I had spectators. They were gathering to see what I had. As I got it to the shallows it rolled broadside and I knew it was over 20lbs. I thought it may even be high 20s. Upon landing and lifted it out in the new, I knew I had a solid fish. It would weigh in at 25lbs 10oz.
It was a great day on this rather new water for me. I am excited with the possibilities this lake holds. I will be back to it. forget the huge lake nearby, this one will have my focus.
Most of these fish brought to you by the mighty puff and grits.