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Ray Nickel

Reeling in a carp?

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The other day. I had a nice day fishing and caught 9 carp. With me being just a beginer still, this just adds up to me totalling 18 carp ever caught.

With all of these fish I have caught, I have played each one averaging about 15 minutes a catch. I have done this because I have heard SO MANY stories of people losing carp because of hooks tearing out there mouth. So I have pretty much put nothing but the lightest pressure of drag on when they run, and I still don't don't put much pressure on them while they are swimming.

SIMPLY PUT: I reel in line when I can, and basically wait until they tire out!

Is this they way to do it? I had a problem when they would shoot towards a big tree in the water. I had to put the pressure on, but I was too scared to pull to hard because of a hook tear happening. I ended up losing two fish to the snag.

I also had a #6 Korda Wide Gape bend inside of the bigger fish in it's teens. I be scared if I caught a twenty lber. and the hook pulling straight on me.

Just looking for some insight and and advice on these issues?

Thanks a ton everyone!

Ray

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You seem to be doing good, I'm my opinion.

Not an expert myself, and others will certainly jump in and provide guidance.

Time reeling in a carp varies depending on various conditions.

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If a fish is heading for a snag you might as well lean on them and try to turn them. If they reach the snag you are probably going to lose the fish(and probably your rig also), so go ahead and take your chances. At least if the hook pops you get your rig back.

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goatsdime,

Beginners luck man. But this river has always been a real big shipping and barge canal out of the Chicago river system which I'm not sure if it freezes over or not during the winter. Keeping the water open for most of the year to still fish. Carp were always here, because there was a very long time when carp were the only thing that COULD live there. It's pretty clean now though.

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I also had a THEORY. There was a carp tournament there the day before. So basically all those guys prebaited for me the day before. The next day I was the only one there.

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I also had a THEORY. There was a carp tournament there the day before. So basically all those guys prebaited for me the day before. The next day I was the only one there.

this is a great way to get on some fish!

As to playing the fish: it reay does depend on the situation. With few snags, by all means have fun playing the fish with a light touch.

I really don't get the allure of skiing a bass back across the top of the water.

Zirjacks makes a great point too. When I fish shaggy waters, I use heavier size 4 or 2 books to be able to put more pressure on the fish with less fear of a hook pull.

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Skiing a bass- remember that most of those guys are fishing for $$$$$$$ and prestige. Reeling in a fish would depend on the snags, rocks, etc.

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My opinion may not be very popular but here it is.

Most of my fishing is for coldwater species which may be considerably less hardy than carp, but the mindset is the same.

I believe that the quicker a fish is brought to hand and released, the better its chances for recovery and survival.

I am not a fan of babying the fish and prolonging the fight, battling it to exhaustion, having it lay on the bank while you take pictures and put them on facebook....

My two cents.

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I agree with Streeker. Sooner to shore the better. Even the biggest fish can be netted within a few minutes. ( most of the time). I like to play them slowly but firmly. But thats just me.......

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Guys this is the puzzling thing for me. The thing I love about catfish is I can set my drag fairly strong, allowing line out just enough so the line wont break and can heave back on the rod and muscle them in.

Can I do that with carp?

Everything that I have read seems to say if I do that, I will lose the fish to a hook pull or tear. With a Flathead or channel their mouth's are so tough I can do that with them without worry of losing the fish.

How much pressure can I put on a carp without worrying that I am horsing it too much for any danger to happen? Like I said above I was playing them till they tired out what seemed like 10-15 minutes.

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Hi Ray

A catfish's mouth is much tougher than a carp's mouth.

Even a sucker's mouth is tougher.

It really depends on a few things how secure a hooked carp is, but as an example:

When I first started catching carp, I tried swinging some of the smaller ones (5-8 #) onto the bank, using my trusty #6 hooks. With few exceptions, the hook would pull out of their lips leaving a bloody tear. I soon started netting all of them, including the small ones.

Not very scientific, but if you put much more than 8-10 lbs of pressure you run the risk of pulling.

Note that with larger very sharp hooks you can get a firmer hook hold and use more pressure, but it still leaves a big gash.

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Guys this is the puzzling thing for me. The thing I love about catfish is I can set my drag fairly strong, allowing line out just enough so the line wont break and can heave back on the rod and muscle them in.

Can I do that with carp?

Everything that I have read seems to say if I do that, I will lose the fish to a hook pull or tear. With a Flathead or channel their mouth's are so tough I can do that with them without worry of losing the fish.

How much pressure can I put on a carp without worrying that I am horsing it too much for any danger to happen? Like I said above I was playing them till they tired out what seemed like 10-15 minutes.

I fish primarily "paylake" style. 8' rods, 15lb mono and 2/0 hooks. I am able to lean on the fish and get them in fairly quickly. Never had a problem with hook pulls. On the occasion that I use a hair rig with a smaller hook(size 6), I am a little more conscious of the possibility of a hook pull so I will keep a lighter drag. I agree with trying your best to get the carp landed and PR'ed in the shortest time possible. This season I only weighed fish that were possible PBs(I weighed 1 fish, a grass carp haha) just to cut down on the fishes time out of water.

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Add me to the "get them in promptly" club. I use about two pounds of drag, measured at the rod tip by lifting a known weight (although I've become pretty comfortable with a seat-of thepants adjustment as well). I lift and reel when the drag's quiet, let them go when it buzzes. I don't pull many hooks, and when I do, I rethink my rig.

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Tight drag and a hook to fit the moutn. Bring him to the top and he is yours. I love to watch those with 60lb or better braid with their drag set on 5 lbs. Upsize your hook and tighten the drag. jmho

Tom.

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Thankyou for the solid advice Tom!

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One thing to mention is once you net the fish let them rest for a minute in the water before taking them out to photo. Think of it this way if you run a race and are out of breathe and someone dunks your head underwater will you be able to hold your breath the same? No, When you play a fish and net them the fish is tired, if you give them a small rest they will swim off a ton better then if you hurry up and take them out of the water after a battle.

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Great point Brian! Never thought about that, will do!

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I rarely even carry scales....photograph them even less....in a tournament environment I'll play a fish like its a $1000 in a wet paper bag....because, on a good day, it is....

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Thought I'd just share since this topic is open.Not an expert...

For me I kind of adjust the drag as I'm reeling her in.Sometimes 5 or more times depending on what the carp is trying to do.

In my own experience, on a very rare occasion some carp that will basically swim to you and have minimal resistance(it happens) Every carp has there own special behavior.Adapting to the environment your in at that time is probeley going to be different then the last place you fished.The drag on your reel and your knot is the ticket in my own opinion.

Every Carp has there own special behavior.Adjusting as I go seems to land more carp for me.Still lose plenty too.

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I agree! I'm a rookie at this game, so I don't now if it's right or not, but also do that. I'm sure people keep the drag the same the hole time, but I have to continuosly adjust it as they make different moves.

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Thought I'd just share since this topic is open.Not an expert...

For me I kind of adjust the drag as I'm reeling her in.Sometimes 5 or more times depending on what the carp is trying to do.

If I want a little more pressure, I can always palm the spool. This works better for me than fiddling with the drag. I lose fish on the retrieve infrequently enough that I'm very surprised when it happens.

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I use a lighter drag and palm the spool when I want to slow them down quickly. I also adjust the drag consistently. To me it's all about feeling the fish.

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