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Story 2009 Discovery Dreams And Harsh Reality

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 10 years, 6 months ago

Discovery dreams and harsh reality



Oct-08 to Oct-09


A pond in MA


Fishing by myself




Since the CAG Discovery event was created, I took to heart to be an active participant. This led me to think a bit more about what discovery could mean. A first possible milestone is probably to try to find some new swim in a venue known by CAG members to hold carp. There is certainly a lot of personal satisfaction in adding new possibilities to a known venue and go out of the usual spots. My recent discovery teaser story basically proceeded of such mindset, and this was undoubtedly very enjoyable to do. Now, between discovering a new swim and discovering a new venue, there is a large gap. My first few days in Quebec could count as such venue discovery, as I was hundreds of miles from anywhere I had fished before, and there was no CAG member in the area. Now could I honestly say that I pioneered carp fishing in the St Lawrence in Quebec? That would be a bit silly as I knew very well that there were carp in there, having read Internet reports about it, so I knew ahead of time that many local people had caught them. In 2007, I also published a short discovery story which didn't satisfy me very much, I had heard clear reports of carp being caught in a small local venue, I went there, I caught a couple of them fairly easily, nothing very exciting about it.


Don't misread me, the process of finding new venues certainly includes the use of modern Internet tools at large (search engines, forums, etc), and there is nothing wrong about it. Cracking a new venue, even if you're going there based on reports from other anglers, this is a great achievement and certainly an integral part of the CAG Discovery Month. But well, one can't really claim to be the 'discoverer of a new venue' if you find it based on reports of some earlier carp catch, right? Bottomline is, in 2009, I wanted to be more ambitious. I wanted to not only find a new venue, but to find a new venue that would be devoid of any carp catch report on the Internet. And while I was at it, I didn't want it to be a small puddle, but a significant venue with real potential. I was hoping to do real pioneering in other words. Ah, the silliness of human nature, you can't stop at what you have, one always has to define a bigger & harder goal, and then you wonder why you're frustrated when struggling about it!


It's been in the making for a while


I actually had a very specific idea in mind, a large lake with a lot of depth variations, a fertile venue holding big bass, a complicated contour, all of this led me to believe this could hold large carp. Although I couldn't find any report of carp being caught in there, I wasn't going fully blindly, as I knew for a fact that a couple of ponds nearby (plus a river) hold a good number of carp. Seemed like the ideal venue to go after.


I already had this venue on my radar screen last year, and last fall, I started to spend a couple of hours here and there to explore the shore. A first attempt going around the north part of the lake left me rather puzzled. On the map, a good deal of the shore seemed to be slivers of a state park, and yet, driving around, I just couldn't find an access aside from a not so exciting beach. I finally found a state park entrance and a nice platform intended for anglers. And quickly figured out this actually meant "intended for trout anglers". Personally, fishing close to an army of anglers catching stocked trouts isn't my cup of tea, so I was left scratching my head on how to find more suitable swims. What I could see from the venue seemed really scenic and promising though.



A couple of weeks later, I started to go around another section of the lake, the south part of it. Finding access wasn't easy either. Here is an example of what made me roll my eyes. A nice park, I could see the lake behind those few trees, and I stumbled upon a stupid fence... Large areas of the lake are actually occupied by military facilities, and no way those guys would grant access to a French carp angler, right? Sigh.



Making every possible left turn, I finally found a small dead end street, a path going down to the water, and down the hill a really nice looking point with a great opening towards a cove. A beautiful view from the point, quite some depth nearby, and oh marvel of all marvels, plenty of mussels on the shore. Now we're speaking!



I found a few more openings this day, but I was really excited by this one, and already planning miraculous sessions from there! Another day, I was exploring again and finally figured out a not so obvious entrance to another section of the state park I could see on the map. This time, it wasn't a military facility, but a very scenic area reserved to... army veterans! You have to be kidding me. I did enter in this area -yeah, I wasn't supposed to-, and man, those guys can certainly enjoy their retirement time in there if they like to fish! Amusingly enough, I stumbed upon a pile of junk including what seemed to be the scale of a VERY ambitious carp angler!



I kept exploring and identified a couple of more possibilities, notably the primary boat launch area (told you, it's a big bass water), but this didn't excite me very much. Going around and around, following old rail tracks, entering into enterprise private parking lots, this seemed like the key to find hidden swims, true gems at least by the look of them. An entire section of the lake finally opened to me when I found a small trail starting from another dead end street at the end of a maze of small streets. This trail meandered along the shore for a while, providing access to a few great swims, and I found mussels on the shore again & again. This was certainly hard work to find proper access, but the beauty of the swims made up for it.


Attached Image


I even came back during the winter, my wife was shopping in a mall nearby and since the lake was frozen and some ice-fishermen seemed busy at work, I started to walk around on the ice, hoping to get a new perspective on the venue. I didn't stay long though as I heard suspicious cracks, and I really didn't want to go through the ice with 50 feet of water under me!


A few months later, once the excitement of spring fishing was over, I came back to this lake, being intent to find access to another state park area which remained mysterious to me so far. Took me a while, but I finally found my way in after walking along a busy road (wouldn't want to do it carrying my gear!) and I tell you, this wasn't obvious. I walked for a while in the woods, the bank was steep, this didn't seem quite practical until I reached a terrific place, with a great point and one of the outflows of the lake going into a local brook via a small dam. Beautiful! Crossing the dam, I found my exit via a tiny path which brought me to yet another dead end street, and this proved to be the easy access to this area. This path was so well hidden behind a private house, I would never have found it by driving around, and this was the key to half a mile of shore! No wonder I couldn't find access first time I went around this section of the lake. I have to admit, I just couldn't resist and I fished this spot a few hours in June, then in September, to no avail.



Finally, it's the 2009 CAG Discovery month


By then, I had visited the venue 9 times, doing extensive scouting, I had assembled a very extensive marking with a customized Google map, so I was more than eager to see my efforts pay off. Three swims were especially attractive to me, I took a few days off in addition to my normal week-end time and spent quite a few hours fishing at various times of the day. I prebaited one swim, went fishing another, came back to the first one. Or I prebaited the day before, and went there early. Or prebaited at noon and went back late at night. After quite a few attempts like that, I had yet to get a run or to even see a carp jump.



I spent numerous hours on the shore in the process, bored, catching nothing, and I had various opportunities for wildlife pics. Too bad I had no time to grab my camera when a beautiful fox ran at full speed just a few feet from me. On the other hand, I'm kind of glad for the lack of opportunity to take a pic of the coyotes which screamed in the night while I was staying late. Those coyote screams are truly nerve-racking!



This was getting really frustrating. I finally decided to spend a few hours with the trout anglers, fishing their platform and asking questions about carp. This wasn't encouraging, two of them clearly knew what they were speaking of and had never seen a carp in this area. Severe doubts were starting to develop in my mind...


I discussed the situation with Iain who suggested to try to find the primary inflows to the lake and fish there. I had already found access to one of those inflows, but didn't fish it yet (this section of the lake being much shallower, this wasn't my first choice). With the help of the depth map, I located another inflow, a section of the lake choke full with weeds, no good. Finally, I figured out where the third inflow was, and access to it via yet another dead end street. And I resumed my fishing attempts, taking a few more days off work as the weather improved. The first inflow location just screamed for carp. Just look at the pictures, the water coming from this small bridge flows from another venue via a tiny dam, I could almost cast in the other venue from where I was, and I know this other venue holds plenty of carp.



Finally, after one last session catching nothing, I blew a fuse, I had enough. It was early afternoon, I abruptly decided to put back my gear in the trunk and to drive to another venue where I never fished before. This was nowhere near as beautiful or as intriguing as the previous venue; this wasn't pioneering either, I knew carp were there, several people told me about it, I think some CAG members might have fished it quite a few years back although I'm not sure. I easily found very convenient access from the shore, and started to fish close to a crabapple tree which was full of fruits, a good deal of them falling in the water with any gust of wind. I actually used one as a boilie, just for fun, although those fruits are really sour and I wasn't too sure carp would like them. After a few hours of nothingness, I was wrapping up at dusk when an alarm suddenly screamed. Not the rod with the crabapple, this was on a regular set up, method ball and flavored maize. I had to go get the fish in the water as my net was already back in the car. This was a nice mid-teen mirror with very few scales. I was happy with such a catch from a new venue although this was quite bittersweet while thinking to all the efforts I put in the other venue. Oh, and after returning the fish to the water, I discovered that I had crushed my glasses (yeah, again) in the process of rushing to my rod... Wasn't my day.



Harsh reality finally comes out


As documented in another discovery story, I fished with Domm a couple of times in October. I told him about my difficulties with the venue I was trying to pioneer, and just a few days ago, he left me a voice mail. One of his friends participated to electro-shocking studies 8 years ago, and had a good opportunity to see the various species held by some local venues. He actually attended to three such electro-shocking sessions in very distinct locations of the lake I was after. And he never saw a carp, not one. He also went to the second venue (the crabapple one) and here, sure enough, carp were numerous.


So... I might very well have spent all this time working on a venue which doesn't hold carp at all. Which still boggles my mind giving how carpy this looks, and given the very direct promixity of known carp waters. Also, while I was exploring the veteran-only area, I met a guy who told me he caught a 22 pounder from there and he seemed like a reliable and experienced angler. There has to be a few carp in this venue, I just feel it. Probably not that many though. I guess I should try again in 5 or 10 years!


Now you might ask what's my state of mind after all of this. All those hopes, all this time spent exploring and fishing, all of this for naught. Yeah, well, of course I am very disappointed, I really felt that I was on something, and I was not. Still, when parsing my photo albums to assemble this story, I have to say that I had quite a good time just walking around, trying to solve the riddle of finding proper access to this elusive shore, and actually succeeding to find all sorts of very scenic locations. In a couple of occasions, I actually stopped fishing mid-day, and resumed my walking around, just for the enjoyment of it. So one could say that I discovered that I really enjoy exploring for the sake of exploring! And this is the silver lining to my story. Kind of.



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