Firsts: Ontario Carp & New York Smallies!
Along with my mission of catching as many species of fish as possible (my fish list), I also have anglers that I hope for the opportunity to spend time on the water with. Not only did I smash a fish off the list this weekend, I also got to fish with one of Canada’s best multi-species anglers, Paul Castellano! What a solid weekend! Paul and I began talking years ago online after I read his blog, and met through mutual fishing friends. We communicated on Facebook and then ran into each other at trade shows a few times, and he always said ‘Come fishing in Niagara!’ When I got the invitation late last week from his lovely girlfriend Alison, I gratefully agreed and we made plans for the weekend. I was excited!
My very first carp – Niagara Falls, Ontario
As you can tell by my huge smile in the photo, the weekend was a definite success! Paul mentioned carp as a possibility and as soon as I heard that I told him I’d never caught one. He replied ‘OK, let’s go after carp!’ I learned so much from him about carp. Our first approach was shore fishing and setting up rods, pods, alarms and using corn as bait on large 10 foot rods with freespool carp reels. ‘Freespool’ means they allow line out when a fish sucks up the bait, and have no tension until the rod is lifted, and the drag is activated. We had some great carp action!
Not only did I land my first carp – Alison did as well! Great shot of her and Paul!
Paul chummed the area with a few different mixtures, and we had a great time relaxing on shore, chatting, enjoying the scenery and of course waiting for the bite! It was definitely a different style of fishing than I’m used to, but it was very enjoyable! We arrived in the evening, and fished right into dark.
My second carp was HUGE! Carp get really big, so there are definitely larger ones out there – but I had trouble holding this one by myself! Thankfully Alison was up for a photo – and it turned out great! It’s awesome to spend time fishing with another lady that loves to fish!
As I said to Paul ‘My entire weekend was already a success after landing carp number one!’ But we weren’t done yet! On Sunday Taro Murata joined us, and we set out in the boat and went carp hunting on the Upper Niagara River. I REALLY liked this method and will definitely apply what I learned to kayak fishing for carp in the (hopefully) near future! The weapons for this: my 7’2″ medium light spinning Rapala Concept rod, and Shift reel (size 25), 20 pound test Sufix 832, a circle hook, split shot and live worm! The reason I listed it all out for you is because I am shocked myself that I was able to catch a huge carp on my drop shot rod! The key is to back the drag off and take your time with the fish. They are very powerful and will make your reel scream – and it’s a blast! The hunting part was addicting! Trolling up to schools of carp, and casting in front of the carp in hopes that they would mow down on the worm before getting spooked. A few tries and I finally got one:
Day 2 of carping – Upper Niagara River, Ontario
Taro getting personal with my carp! He faked a kiss and I pushed the carp into him – so this ended up as a real kiss!! Hahaha
Before leaving for carp fishing that morning, we also talked about taking a boat ride over to the New York side of the river to chase smallmouth bass. I got my New York fishing license online (very handy by the way), and after the carp success, we went smallie fishing! The bite was not on fire initially, so we tried many presentations until we figured out what the fish wanted. Alison was on a pattern, so I put away my X-Rap and tried a tiny jig head with a XZone Shiver Shad, just as she was using. That was the recipe!
My first New York state smallie!
Our triple header!
Sunday was another great day on the water with lots of laughter, sunshine and fish! Open water fishing is my favourite type for smallmouth bass, and the Upper Niagara River is absolutely beautiful! It has a ‘tropical’ feel with the colour of the water, and I cannot wait to get back out there!
HUGE THANK YOU to Paul and Alison for inviting me out this weekend, teaching me the ways of carp, and showing me a great afternoon of smallie fishing in New York! Also thank you to Taro for providing the singing, dancing and fish kissing – definitely a good time! If you’re ever looking to fish in Niagara, be sure to check out Paul’s website: http://www.castadventures.ca
Tomorrow is my 27th birthday, and my website is approaching 80,000 hits!! Hopefully it’ll reach it, as that would be a great birthday present! Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting on and supporting my blog 🙂