Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 318: A Golden Afternoon

I still think carp fishing is incredibly underrated.
When: Sunday, March 25th, from 3pm to 5:30pm
Where: Lake Nomahegan in Cranford
What: Carp fishing
Weather: Mostly cloudy to overcast, 51 degrees, N wind 7 to 12mph
Barometric Pressure: 29.80 and slowly falling
Moon: Waxing, just over a day past new
Water Conditions: Stained

What a fantastic afternoon this turned out to be.

I've been looking forward to catching my first big carp of the Spring, and today seemed like the perfect day to try. The result? I wound up having some of the best action of my short carp fishing career.

I got an early jump on the fishing reports today, and since many shops and boats are still not in full swing, I got done fairly early. I picked-up some corn and as soon as I arrived at Nomahegan, I could see the telltale signs of feeding carp.

I was optimistic.

I set out a chum slick and after a short time had a few taps. More time passed and I had my first runner...and didn't connect. More pick-ups followed and finally another runner. 

This one stuck...

And popped off moments later.

Ugh.

I thought this was going to be my only opportunity and things quieted down for awhile after that. I caught a big bullhead and before too long another reel started singing. This one stayed hooked...and was a bigun'.

I've always said carp are some of the most underrated fish that can be caught in New Jersey and I refuse to waiver from that stance. This fish completely dogged me, bending my rod in half as I followed it along the shoreline. The power these fish have is incredible, and to be able to catch 15 to 20 pound fish just minutes from my home in the suburbs is amazing.

After a fantastic battle and a wet boot, I landed the beast. Luckily I had drawn some spectators and one of them was kind enough to take a picture. It's no secret that I never take measurements, but this fish had to be close to 15 pounds with its HUGE belly.

Things got quiet again after that and I was about ready to head home. I did, however, stick it out a few more minutes.

Good call.

Right as I was about to pack it in, another reel started screaming. I picked it up, engaged the drag and set hook...and the fish kept taking off. The mammoth carp peeled out over 50 yards of drag and was halfway across the lake before it turned around and started swimming towards me. I quickly reeled down taking back all of the slack and began another seesaw battle that took me up and down the shoreline. Another short while later and another wet boot, my second carp was landed. This one, although not as fat, was much longer and probably closer to 20 pounds. It's the fish you see above. Once again, a crowd of spectators had gathered and one was kind enough to snap a pic with my camera.

It was time to go. I cleaned myself up and headed back to my gear to get my other rod out of the water.

Amazingly, there was a fish on it.

There I was in my third solid battle of the day. After landing this smaller fish, I was a bit puzzled as to what it was. It looked kind of like a carp, but it was silver. In any event, I was ready to go at that point, but not before another passer-by took a pic.

What a day.

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