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Discovery Month 2020- MOCarper Kirk Suedmeyer

All Who Wander Are Not Lost! 

            WOW, who could have imagined CAG Big Four Spring 2020 canceled? My sympathies and support to all affected by Covid. I write this today, Veterans Day, to all those who served to let us fish freely. This year presents so many challenges and I found myself continually expanding my fishing to include innumerable species. But I took more time not only looking for new venues for carp, but also varied my techniques, specifically modifying my boat into a carping boat and christening it “MOCarper” 😊. But I digress. Let’s categorize what I found; each is titled separately 😊

 The “MOCarper”

           I have a boat, rather small, that I purchased to primarily fish the Missouri river for catfish, drum and sturgeon but I lake fish for crappie, striper, white bass, etc. Took me a year- painted it and the trailer, refurbished the decking, obtained a new motor, sonar, rod holders, and researched river fishing in general. I have it in a slip on a nearby lake, which has a good population of carp, though none are very large after an outbreak of koi herpesvirus in 2012 which killed 16,000 carp. Hmmmm, how to fish for carp from a boat?- I searched through CAG, YouTube, and found……..not very many fish for carp from a boat. The Missouri is a tough river, so I started my boat carpin at the lake.  After much thought, I built two platforms to support my pod, using bungie cords to hold it in place.

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  I can sit just behind the rods-brilliant eh? Well, only to a point. I didn’t anticipate the subtle movement of the boat triggering each bite alarm every 10 seconds or so, no matter how tight I had the anchors or how calm it is. Just took some getting used to, as the movement triggered the alarms consistently but in rhythm.

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   I DID CATCH FISH!- lots of them, but all only 13-17lbs, so not Big Four quality, but very fun to catch these “lakers”. 

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 I fished exclusively at night to lessen boat traffic, which makes fishing impossible otherwise. My plan is to concentrate on carp on the Mo next year but I like the lakers and spring should bring more opportunities!!

 The Quiet Place

         I hike the innumerable creeks around Kansas City (the wanderer portion 😊), looking for deep pools below riffles and small waterfalls. This fall I found a nice, quiet, perfect spot- the riffles-actually two sets flowing into a large pool with no evidence of humans! I chummed a can of sweet corn into the riffles and set my rods-and waited. And waited. And waited. Not a hit, tap, bite, run, etc. Not even the little pestering catfish! Not sure why. I waded out, into a foot of water; the whole hole! And not a fish in sight. I waited, rebaited, cast short, far, against snags, etc. and not a fish. Most carpers would be upset, but I inhaled the peace it presented- no pressure, no meetings, deadlines, etc. I could just sit and watch the birds, frogs, a doe crossing the creek and bask in the sun and light breeze; no-one knew I was there! After a couple hours, I packed up and hiked out. Maybe I’ll try it on a different day………ya never know 😊

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 The New Pool

         While walking the creeks, my eyes are constantly looking for the right combination- riffles leading to a pool with a plateau of slower water. This works very well in the summer, but in the winter, I really need the deep pool that houses the entire stretch of carp. Sure, you will see carp in a foot or two of water in the warmer months, moving slowly forward, searching the bottom for the caddis, dragonfly, stonefly larvae, the blood worms, occasional earthworm, etc. but these are gone in the winter and the carp move to the deep holes. But not every hole holds carp, and I simply don’t know why- oxygen, temperatures, water flow, depth, lack of predators, sunlight, etc. Not sure, but you have to try each hole. In this case, a long, shallow, quarter mile stretch of shallow water ended in a deep (6-8ft) small hole under a bridge with a lot of snags along the far shore. Once again, I set up three ultralight poles with strawberry panko and an orange panko-as I set up the third rod, a double tap and hook-up on the first!- a strong fish that immediately torpedoed upstream then back again, back and forth for several minutes before I landed an average, but beautiful creek carp- at 7 lbs, a very typical fish. Then BOOM- another hit on the second rod and a second 4lb fish-before resetting rods, a THIRD fish, all in less than 15 minutes, took the bait but went into the deepest part of the pool and tried to go under the snags. I was able to turn it and brought it near, but it wrapped around a fallen maple branch, still with its brilliant red leaves on it, and escaped literally at my feet! A third hit and lost it. I didn’t want to catch out the hole, as I am looking to use this as a possible FFF spot and carp remember!! 😊

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  Surfin Carp

         Winter’s coming, no not like Game of Thrones and the White Walkers, just a shift in the carpin. I have difficulty finding winter carp in lakes- just too much water in too little time-leavin that to the pros! 😊. Here, creeks work well- the carp are there- they don’t climb out of the water in winter (I know, I check the woods all the time 😊). In winter, they move to the deepest holes, mostly, but not always below riffles. I find my most reliable spots in pools above riffles though- the carp are everywhere in the summer, but in the winter, you will seldom, if ever find carp in foot-deep water. Five days before the end of Discovery month, I was trying to find that deep hole, you know, the one that has every carp in the creek stacked on top of each other, starving for food. Well, walking along one of the public paths, I noted a wide, SHALLOW pool, just below riffles. I noted several carp literally surfin!- in and out of the riffles, about halfway out of the water because the water was only 12” deep at most and over a 6” bed of leaves!! This was going to be challenging! I baited up 30gram leads with either the strawberry panko/sweetcorn/birdseed mix or an orange jello base and cast-out. I hoped the hairs were long enough to be above the leaf litter. In this scenario I go with the light tackle- 8lb test, 5 ft ultralight rods and no bite alarms- just the subtle bite-most effective on slow moving, cautious winter carp.

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The temperature the day before was 70F and through the night a cold front bore in, bringing rain and very cold temperatures- 46F at the time of fishing ☹. Unbeknownst to me, there was enough rain to start TAP, TAP, WHAM!!- a run!!!!! -interesting and very exciting as the carp exploded in a wild run, back and forth, nearly all of it out of the water. Leaf after leaf piled on the line, weghing it down and the fish plowed through more, looking very much like a shark with its dorsal fin prominently cutting through the water! The carp quickly exhausted and I landed it on the first try. Taking a quick picture, I released the 5 lbr and looking back, the pod legs were under 1” of water!! I had set up on a dry bed of gravel- not a good sign.

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I packed immediately and headed home. Rising water-never a good situation and although it appeared to be making the carp feed, you just can’t predict how much water fell upstream, so you get out. A light rain had started falling again and the winds started kicking in-time to go, but what a month!- numerous, though small carp, but it sets up well for the FFF!- bring it on!!!

 PS- though I wandered, I did find my way home 😊

Stay Safe

Stay Healthy

Stay Covid-Free and;

Keep fightin for our country!!! We will get through this ! 

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MO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by (MO) MOCarper
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Mo,

Excellent write up!

As always, very interesting and informative.

 

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Awesome!

 

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I enjoyed the video.

I wish I had more 'creeks' locally to do this type of fishing.  It looks like a lot of fun and quite productive.

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Here's Joe Venable's story submission:

CAG Discovery Month: Salem Lake

 

My alarm was set for 4 AM, but I woke up about 3:45 and decided to get up so my wife Carolyn wouldn’t be awakened by my cell phone’s alarm.  Why so early, you ask, when sunrise wouldn’t transpire until around 7 AM?  My normal daily rise time is 5 AM; this allows me approximately an hour—from 5:30 to 6:30—for a little Bible study and prayer on a typical day.  When I’m fishing, I like to get on the bank close to sunup if possible; getting up an hour earlier allows me to follow the abovementioned routine without getting me on the bank too late.

 

Despite my well-laid plans, by the time I’d finished my morning oblations, dressed, put together my spod mix, and packed the car, it was pushing 7:30.  Knowing that I wouldn’t be eating until late afternoon following my session, Hardee’s is an obligatory stop prior to hitting the bank.  These days, since starting a keto lifestyle in January, I order the low-carb breakfast bowl—a nice mix of bacon, a sausage patty, scrambled eggs, melted cheese, and shredded cheddar cheese to top it off.  Delicious and filling—a fitting preparatory ritual prior to a day’s fishing!

 

I arrived at the lake around 8 AM to sunny skies and temps in the mid-50s.  Having previously scouted this lake and probed it with my Deeper Pro + castable sonar a month earlier, my goal this morning was to look for signs—breaches, bubbling, mudding, etc.—of active carp to help me decide exactly where to set up and fish.  The first thing I noticed was that the shoreline undergrowth, which had previously been allowed to grow unrestricted some 15’ back from the water’s edge—thereby severely limiting the accessible spots to fish—had been mowed so that almost all of the shoreline on the fishable area of this lake bordering a city park was open—a definite plus!  Another factor limiting easy bank access is the presence of rip-rap bordering the entire fishable shoreline, making the footing a bit dicey, to say the least. 

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Figure 1:the left cove, with rip-rap and mown undergrowth

There are two narrow coves in this part of the lake, one on each side, with a blunt point in the middle bordering a larger, more open section of the lake.

 

I started my observations on the left cove, closest to the parking area.  This arm of the lake was narrow—probably only 30’ or so across. On the opposite shore there was an abundance of overhanging trees, and on the near shore there was quite a bit of aquatic vegetation extending out several feet from the shore in places. 

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Figure 2: terminus of the left cove with overhanging trees and aquatic vegetation

Both features would provide cover to make cruising carp feel safe.  The water depth varied from about 3’ at the shallowest to 4-5’ where this arm joined the main, open part of the lake.  I spent 10 minutes or so surveying this area, but was unable to see any obvious carpy activity, and so I moved down toward the right to the larger, open area of the lake.

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Figure 3: The larger, open area of the lake

 

This area, too, had features that made it attractive to fish.  For one, being the confluence of the two long, narrow coves and the larger, main body of the lake meant that carp patrolling from any of three directions could potentially pass through this area.  For another, there was a good stiff breeze—cool, but not cold—blowing from the opposite end of the lake toward this point, and, generally, carp will follow the wind because of the foodstuffs it brings—unless it’s a cold one in winter.  Finally, while this point had none of the abundant overhanging trees found on the opposite side of both coves, it did have a good bit of aquatic vegetation jutting out 3-4’ from much of the shoreline over a surprisingly deep margin at about 4’.  While I stood there looking out across the windswept, open expanse of the main lake, I saw—several times—ripples from some unknown disturbance.  Could have been a breach or a turtle, but, since I never saw the cause of the ripples, but only its after effects, there was no way to be sure.  Once again, as with the cove to the left, ten minutes or so of observation didn’t yield anything concrete in the way of carp signs.

 

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Figure 4: the right-side cove, viewed from its terminus

Now it was time to check out the cove to the right, the only place where I’d seen any carp signs during my previous scouting trip; in one area there were a half-dozen bubble trails!  Of course, carp can cause bubbles, but so can seeping bottom sediments, snapping and other turtles, and other phenomena.  What I usually look for is a moving bubble trail versus one that’s stationary.  Generally, a moving bubble trail is more likely to be caused by an actively feeding carp as it slowly hoovers its way along, sifting the bottom sediments for edibles.  At the first open spot I came to on this cove, sure enough, a few moments’ observation revealed some obvious bubbling in the middle of the cove, about 10-15’ from where I was standing on the shoreline rip rap. 

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Figure 5: the area where I saw the bubbling

As I continued watching the bubbling, it appeared to be moving from my right to left—encouraging!  Not only so, but this spot was only 15 yards removed from where I’d seen the trails during my scouting trip.  The ripple caused by the wind made it harder to see the bubbling, and, after a few minutes, it stopped.  I decided to walk a little further down to the spot where I’d seen the previous trip’s bubbling and see what I could see.  This time all was quiet.  Returning to the place where I’d first seen the bubbles a few minutes earlier, I spotted some more!  I also observed that the constant and strong wind was also blowing into this cove, another plus.  Considering that, on two separate occasions, I’d seen bubbling in nearly the same spots in this cove, my chosen fishing spot was decided!

 

A few minutes later, I had pulled my little blue carpin’ wagon the 50 yards or so from the parking lot across the park’s playground to my chosen spot and began setting up my fishing station.

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Figure 6: my fishing station

 Today I would fish three rods—sometimes I fish as many as five, but today, considering the close quarters of this narrow cove, three seemed like the maximum number I could fit in the small area of open bank without risking serious tangling from running carp.  My plan today would be to lightly bait three areas—left, center, and right—near the overgrowth on the far shore and fish one rod over each.  I had prepared a spod mix of prepped bird seed, hemp, sweet corn, and strawberry Jell-O, a combination that really got the carp feeding a few weeks back at the 20-pounder lake.  One rod would be baited, as usual, with a corn puff (today I had some flavored with molasses), one with a Betalin-soaked tiger nut tipped with plastic corn, and the other with a single kernel of slow-sinking maize.  I almost always fish with 3 oz. fixed inline method leads, and today was no exception (though I am still experimenting with Paylake-style rigs).  I had a gallon each of Panko-creamed corn and fish pellet-creamed corn pack bait, and I planned to try using both to see if one caught better than the other.

 

While I was unpacking the kit, I made a very upsetting discovery—I had forgotten to bring my 5-gallon bucket of spod mix!  The one thing in my entire kit that I forgot was the centerpiece of my entire plan for the day—aggravating, to say the least!  Oh well, at least I could fish with pack bait alone and not risk overfeeding the swim.  Within a few minutes, the kit was unpacked and set up, and I had three rods fishing.JV 007.jpg

Figure 7: the view from my chair

 

It didn’t take long for the first action of the day—about 15 minutes later, my left (puff) rod’s alarm started singing that song that every carp angler loves to hear, and, moments later the battle was joined!  A spirited but brief tussle soon found me slipping the net under a lively capture.  On the mat, this had to be the smallest carp I’ve caught this year—probably a pound or two at most—nonetheless, I was happy for an icebreaker.  I much prefer action—any action—to watching motionless rods for hours on end.

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Figure 8: first carp of the day—small but very much appreciated!

  A few minutes later I watched as this little biter and fighter swam free of my partially-submerged net.  So far so good!

 

After getting my puff rod re-baited, re-packed, and re-cast, I started setting up a tripod for my smart phone so I could capture video (and thereby stills) of me holding my next capture.  A quiet half-hour passed, whereupon my puff rod’s alarm started singing again!  Running down to lift into that fish, I played it for 10-15 seconds before it came unbuttoned—Rassin’ Frassin’!  Oh well, back to the drawing board!  Within minutes that rig was replenished, cast, and waiting for another bite.  The puffs were working their magic!

 

At this point I decided to bring in the other two rods and re-pack them in hopes of stimulating another bite.  While I was doing so, my wife called and, after learning of my having left the spod mix in the garage, offered to bring it to me, which was a pleasant surprise!  15 minutes later she arrived, and I thankfully retrieved the bucket of mix from the back of the van.  While doing so, my wireless bite alarm receiver beeped at me momentarily, so I made a beeline back to the rods, but nothing further immediately ensued.  I decided to throw one spoonful of the mix over each rig to hopefully attract some feeding carp.  Within 3 minutes there was some intermittent beeping on my middle rod—tiger nut tipped with fake corn and fish pellet-creamed corn pack bait—so I went down to check it out.  Whatever it was, when I lifted into it, there was no fish attached, so I reeled it in for a fresh re-pack.

 

Another half-hour passed quietly while I set up a second tripod to experiment with a static wide shot of the rods with my second video camera.  The early-afternoon quiet was suddenly disrupted by my puff rod’s alarm singing its joyful song—carp on!  Fortunately, this time when I picked up the rod there was a fish attached!  This fight, by carp standards, was short—only lasting about three minutes.  Lucky for me, this fish ran to the left—away from my other two rigs!  After almost losing the first fish of the day in the shallow rubber mesh of my telescoping 8’ net, I decided, this time, to have the larger, traditional carp net at the ready, and soon my combatant was resting comfortably in its folds.  On the unhooking mat, this one proved to be a bit bigger than the previous one—I’d say 3 to 4 pounds.  This time I had a tripod set up and ready, so I was able to capture some video (and thereby some stills) of me holding my prize from both sides.

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Figure 9: "Battle Carp" with erect dorsal fin

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Figure 10: this carp didn't like being held!

After unhooking it and capturing some video on the smart phone, I returned it to my new Fox Easy Mat to carry it down to the margin for the release.  Upon lowering it gently into the margin, instead of swimming off, this carp just lay on its side on top of some aquatic vegetation.  I grabbed my net handle and gave it a little nudge off the edge of the plant mat, whereupon it scooted off energetically into the depths.

After getting that rod re-baited, re-packed, and re-cast, I only had to wait about 10 minutes before that same rod’s bite alarm started a series of intermittent beeps that sent me scrambling out of my chair to investigate.  Sadly, when I picked up the rod, reeling in the slack line and lifting my rod tip, once again, as twice before today, nothing!  Whatever the reason, today I was having several abortive runs, and that is unusual for me; generally, my carp runs are decisive, and the fish are hooked well in the process.

An hour passed quietly, so I decided to throw out one more spoonful of spod mix over each rod to see if that would stimulate feeding—it had worked well a few hours ago!  After doing so, I realized it was getting late and so I started the packing-up process while waiting.  As every carper knows—the rods are the last thing—or at least nearly the last thing—to get packed.  I can’t number the times I prayed for “just one more” and that prayer was granted at the last minute before taking the last rod out!  Hope springs eternal, and today was no exception.  After about an hour-and-a-half of VERY leisurely packing up, I reeled in the first rod—not the puff rod, mind you—and the others followed suit shortly thereafter.

By the time I was pulling the little blue carpin’ wagon back to the car on the far side of this small city park, it was past 2 PM; I had been fishing since about 8:30 AM.  Today’s session pretty much confirmed what my earlier survey trip with the Deeper castable sonar had indicated—plenty of bait fish and smaller fish, but, at least in the areas I was able to probe, no concentrations of larger fish.  Of course, one session is not conclusive, but, based on both my probing with the Deeper and today’s experience, this lake certainly has some active and willing smaller carp, but who knows if there are larger ones to be caught?  If I had found larger fish with the Deeper, I would certainly return; as it is, I probably won’t, as there are plenty of waters in my immediate area that hold both numbers and bigger-sized carp.  Also, the time spent in observation, both on my survey trip and beginning today’s trip, was well-spent, as far as I’m concerned.  Finding an area with multiple bubble trails on two separate occasions led me to fish a spot where, within the first hour, I had several runs and banked my carp from this lake.  I have fished many lakes locally, and some rivers out-of-town, where it took me several tries before banking my first carp, so, for today’s success, I was very grateful.  Finally, both the corn puffs and the Panko-creamed corn pack bait continued to demonstrate their effectiveness, eliciting all of today’s bites except one.

What’s next?  Well, as I write this, November is upon us, and my goal of catching a carp in every month of 2020 stands nearly complete.  Likely my next trip will be a return to my beloved Apartment Lake, as it is full of carp, I know it well, and it offers me the best chance of that coveted first November capture! 

Until next time, tight lines and wet nets!

 

 

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My thanks to Joe Venable and Kirk Suedmeyer for their excellent submissions to the 2020 Discovery Month.

Since both these gentlemen made such excellent efforts with their Stories, Videos and Photos I would like to suggest we combine the prizes and share them equally between you! 

I would therefore propose that each one receive the following!

  •  $75 Voucher or Product (Company to be determined)
  •  Story, Photos and Videos Published in NACA  (priceless!!)
  •  A choice of CAG Merchandise ($75 value)
  •  2 year CAG membership extension each

If you have any thoughts or comments please feel free to post below or pm me if you prefer.

Thanks! 

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Congratulations to both of you! I enjoyed your enthusiasm and stories.

 

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