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Tony here...a Brit that has lived in Europe, Africa and now here

Just joined...should have done so years ago.

I live in Atlanta and fish pretty much exclusively on the'Hooch for carp as well as "anything with fins".

Anybody out there also do this?

Is it that I am useless or do others struggle to catch 20lb + carp from this area? In 2014 I have managed a mighty 3 of this size up to 22lb along with 30 "doubles"....and this has been a good year for me!

Obviously I am more than happy to share info with anybody. I keep an accurate diary of what I caught,where I caught it and river conditions on the day. Of course I am also hoping to gather info from others as well ..



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Welcome aboard, Tony !!!

Our state record common carp is only 35-12, and was caught 42 years ago.

If you've caught 3 carp over 20 pounds this year, you've done a lot better than 99% of the carp anglers in Georgia. Congratulations !

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So, guys, why are there so few big carp caught in GA? The GA record has stood for so long it suggests that they are not usually growing to this size, yet everything seems ideal for them. We have lakes that look ideal...I like the look of Sweetwater State Park lake..never fished it mind, but the shallow area on the west side looks good. I fished the creek and caught carp in the mid -double range.

We also have the lake/river system, which for me is Bull Sluice Lake and the 'Hooch above Atlanta. My records show that the best time to catch a 20lb carp is in early March... I presume they leave the lake to spawn in the river.

Has anybody else kept detailed records? My records show that the weight of the average carp I catch is steadily climbing...but that could be just that I am getting better at locating them and knowing when and where to fish.


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So, guys, why are there so few big carp caught in GA?

This is just my opinion, but I think it has at least some basis in fact and logic. Like Tony, I would be glad to hear other ideas on the subject.

I believe there are at least two factors involved. First, despite all the great habitat, Georgia doesn't have very many carp fishermen. This is a state known mainly for largemouth bass (probably because the world record was caught here, which garnered a lot of positive publicity). Most of the anglers in Georgia target other species -- bass, trout, crappie, and catfish all have a big following. The huge influence of BASS in the 1960s and 70s helped promote bass angling, but it also introduced the concept of tournament fishing, which was adopted by anglers of other species -- including crappie and catfish, which already had a following in the state. Bottom line, a lot of Georgia anglers just aren't interested in learning to fish for another species (carp) -- possibly because they have a lot of time and/or money invested in their own species of choice. Therefore, we may have some larger fish out there swimming free in our state waters, but there simply aren't many people trying to catch them.

The other factor is the fact that bow-fishing for carp is legal in the state. The bowfishers also have tournaments, and their payoff is usually based on the weight of their kills. That means that they will be targeting the biggest (and heaviest) fish they can find. Not only does that reduce the overall numbers of our biggest carp, but it prevents other big -- but slightly smaller -- carp from ever getting any bigger. Further, it removes those biggest carp from the gene pool, reducing the probability that future generations will grow as large.

On the Georgia Outdoor News forum, I've seen photos posted of bow-killed carp that were in excess of 40 pounds, so I know that carp larger than our state record are still out there, waiting to be caught. I also suspect that the bow guys do most of their stalking in the shallower areas of our lakes, which means that any really big carp living in the deeper sections should pretty much be safe from being killed by an arrow. But those deeper sections are also the ones most difficult to fish effectively. That, coupled with the overall low number of carp anglers, further reduces the probability of catching those biggest fish. I believe that many Georgia carp anglers look at carping as a social activity almost as much as they view it as a "fishing" event. For that reason, they (we) are about as happy catching numbers of smaller fish as they (we) are catching fewer but bigger fish. In other words, few of us actually target trophy carp, but instead, fish for "whatever carp might happen along". That also helps to explain why we don't see many reports of bigger carp being caught.

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the Columbus/ phenix city area of the hooch got me a personal best of 41 and some change. lake hardin just up stream has lots of 20's but is bowfished at the upper end.

Good information, Hullstuffer. Thanks for sharing.

The 40's I saw on the GON bowfishing forum were killed several years ago, either in Lake Russell or Clark Hill Lake (both in the Savannah River system on the South Carolina border). There may also be some big-uns in Lake Hartwell, which lies just upriver from Russell.

To me, this suggests that the entire Chattahoochee River system (at least from Bull Sluice Lake downstream through most of middle GA), as well as most of the Savannah River system, should have enough big carp to make things interesting.

Lake Lanier (on the upper section of the Hooch) could have some big ones, but it's such a deep lake in most spots (some well over 100 feet), and it gets so much boating traffic and other recreational access, that it can often not be a pleasant place to fish. Lanier is (or was) the most heavily used Corps of Engineers lake in the USA for recreation. Also, its upper end gets a fair amount of use by the bowfishermen.

The Oconee River, including Lake Oconnee and Lake Sinclair, system has a lot of carp as well, but I haven't heard reports of any big ones. Lake Jackson is where the state record common was caught, so I would expect the Ocmulgee River below Jackson to hold some good fish. And several years ago I heard reports of a number of "big carp" sighted in Lake Juliette, north of Macon (but "big" is a relative term, so a 10 pound fish would look big to a bass fisherman).

Keep in mind that Georgia is the largest state in area east of the Mississippi. There is a LOT of water in the state, and much of it goes unfished. Bottom line, except in those areas that are heavily used by the bow guys, I suspect that the main problem in finding big carp would be the one we bank fishermen face almost everywhere -- limited access to fishable areas because of private property. But for someone who wants to dedicate the time and effort to catching some of the state's bigger carp, I firmly believe the big carp are there -- just not many of them in places close to home, or with easy access.

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