If nothing happens by eight, I’m gonna leave. The thought is floating around in my head still when my bite alarm screams into life. Suddenly, as if by teleportation, I am thigh deep in the clear water playing what seems like a decent fish. There is absolutely no recollection of getting up from the bucket I was sitting on and running to the rod, I am just somehow here. It had been a quiet morning up to the moment the Delkim began to sing it’s beautiful song - “Bweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ” The rod absorbed the powerful lunges from the fish and I backed off the clutch to let it run. I was in no rush to land this fish, knowing it could potentially be the one I was looking for. June has traditionally been a hard month for me, but this year, I was determined to change that.
Late in April I broke my PB by a few ounces on a lake I refer to as my “campaign” lake. Over the winter I decided that instead of hopping around from spot to spot I was gonna focus on one particular lake in hopes of catching a very big spring fish. While I never quite got into the monster I hoped for, I did manage to catch a string of 20lb+ fish. It was never really my intention to compete in any sort of tournament, but I realized in April that I had what was probably a good start to the Rhode Island CAG spring tournament and I entered.
Before starting my campaign I spent a few hours exploring the area I was planning on fishing with a new tool for me - a marker float/lead set up. This setup lets you check the depth of the area you are fishing as well as “feel” the makeup of the bottom. If you wanna get real fancy, you can use your marker float to bait up and cast your rigs to it. Doing this lets you feed and fish over a really tight area. And while you may be thinking, I can do that just by casting, there is no better way to to feel 100% confident that you are fishing right over bait than to use some sort of marker. With my limited fishing time, I need all the help I can get. Using this method, I broke my PB again for the second time early in May in a session that had back to back 26s. Eventually it was time for the carp to spawn and turtles began to invade the area. Summer was on its way.
Early June started off with a couple disappointing blanks and I questioned whether or the lake would produce any more fish. The tactics I’d been using seemed to summon every turtle in the lake including one enormous and ancient looking creature that I unaffectionately named “The Big Bad”. The carp had moved as well, the warmth of the sun which I believe kept the fish there during the spring was now the reason for their absence. It was now time for me to move.
The first session in the new spot produced two bites and even though I landed only one of those I was pretty excited. Finding fish having not pre-baited tells me that they are there by choice and not because they had be drawn in by food. This situation lends it self the most to my style of fishing. With limited time, I am only looking for a bite at a time in most locations. Big hits of fish are exhilarating but I’ll take a single bite from a twenty in a weedy pit any day. Conditions were perfect the next session and the lake gave up 4 fish to 18lbs. With June coming to a close, I’d yet to catch a decent fish for the spring tournament. Those 18s I had caught would have easily been over 20 pounds in the spring and questioned whether or not I would see anything bigger. On top of that, the turtles seemed to have tracked me down and were now in the shady swim. Even “The Big Bad” was there with his head the size of a grapefruit bobbing gently up and down in the water. While in the past I have shied away from using sweet corn in the summer because of the turtles, I found over the last month that it was pretty safe to fish just this single plastic corn hooked lengthwise over a few, say 5 - 7, grains of the yellow peril. It is almost as if the single piece is too small of a target for them to hone in on. The carp on the other hand will always find it.
It was the last week of June and I decided it was time to take a gamble and pre-bait the shady swim heavily in hopes of catching more than one fish for the last session of June. I had upgraded my 18 to a 20lb fish but I still felt there was a chance for another biggin. It was about 4:45am when I arrived for the last morning and I had a bite within the first 10 minutes of setting up. It seemed like the baiting up had worked. Not long after, the alarm sounded again and this time it felt like a good fish. I took my time playing it in and once it was in the net I realized that it was indeed the one I was after. At 24.6 this fish would have easily been at least 27lbs in the spring. Even though it was still early, I packed up and went home with a big grin on my face. June had been a success in my book. To top it off, that last fish contributed to me winning the Rhode Island Carp Anglers group tournament.
It is mid July now and it has taken me awhile to find the time to write this up. Like my fishing I have to find little pockets of time to write my blog. If you are reading this, thank you! Whoever you and wherever you are, I wish you good summer fishing.