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Story 2011 - Many kids and quite a few carp

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 8 years, 11 months ago

Many kids and quite a few carp



June 25th and 26th, 2011


Arlington, MA


The story


Last year, I took quite a few kids fishing for carp at Spy Pond for the TAKC event, and this ended up working extremely well. See the 2010 story here. So I was very eager to make a repeat of this event happen in 2011, and maybe start making it an ongoing tradition every year.


I prebaited a few openings with a full bucket of maize and some horse pellets every morning of the week. Things were looking good as I could notice carp jumping every now and then. Also two curious passers-by told me that carp were spawning in this area a few weeks ago. Earlier in the year, I met Mike OConnell and Mike Keiselbach, two fishermen from Arlington curious about the weirdo who fishes for carp in their hometown. I recruited them to help for the kids event, and we scheduled a little practice session on Friday evening. It took a little while for the bite to start, then things started to heat up, and we landed five carp in no time, up to 14 pounds. Nice.


Saturday morning around 7am, the weather seemed borderline, very cloudy, a bit wet, but still ok. I threw some more bait, Iain (an experienced carp angler) arrived, and suggested I should go get my pop-up tent to keep a dry area. Seemed good advice, I quickly drove home and... a crazy downpour started right away. I can't help thinking that Iain jinxed us! English people and rain, you know... ;-)


No need to say the morale was pretty low, we were thoroughly soaked, and we had little hope of seeing kids showing up. Still, young Lachlan did come in and after a bit of convincing with mom, we set up rods and tent, and gave it a try. And oh miracle, the rain started to subside and Lachlan got a run and with a bit of help, landed the first carp of the day.



By then the rain did stop, and some kids started to arrive. Including young Sanjana who was rather quiet, but with a sparkle in her eyes. She got a run too, and... I just love the first picture and the look of Sanjana, clearly suspecting I would do something mischievous with this big slimy fish. Me? Never! Or at least, not this time. Jackson quickly followed and was much more adventurous getting his hands a bit dirty. Finally, Alex closed the morning bite skillfully playing the last carp around noon time. Overall, it was rather slow in the morning, but with the weather steadily improving yet staying cloudy, things were looking good for the afternoon.



Back to fishing around 3pm after a couple of hours of rest. Whoah, a giant crowd of parents and young anglers was lining up. We tried to organize things the best we could, Mike K taking care of the paperwork, Mike O and myself explaining some basics to the kids. Of course, we had rods set up, and Jack was on a fish in no time. I learned afterwards that this was Jack's birthday, and he had asked as a birthday gift to catch a carp, remembering his participation to the 2010 event! Now this was prescient! Mission accomplished!


Meanwhile, young Aidan had all sorts of troubles. A first run resulting in a fish lost within seconds. A second fish was better hooked, we brought it close to shore, and right when we were ready to net it, the fish escaped, sending Aidan in tears and deep dispair. We finally got a third run for Aidan, and this wicked fish went straight to the overhanging trees on the side. I had to go wade out there to get it out. I am not sure who was the most anxious to land this fish, Aidan himself, Mike K ready with the net or me keeping the line tight, but we made it to everybody's relief. While we were getting ready for pictures, another run and Jack's brother, Tom, was on a fish too that Mike O landed by hand! A very satisfying brace!


A bit later, young Samantha was on a heavy fish. Samantha is an avid angler who fishes often with her dad. And this was undoubtedly the biggest fish of her life, which many kids in attendance wanted to touch!


The bite was getting quite good, Joe and Kyle were the next happy anglers landing their big carp.



In times of inactivity, we tried to keep track with having all kids practice how to play a fish. Last thing we wanted was for them to patiently wait for hours and then lose a fish by being overwhelmed by the power of an angry carp. So I was playing the (big!) fish, tugging hard on the line, and one of the two Mikes was explaining how to pump and reel in. This seemed to work quite fine, as we lost very few fish during the day. Here is Lana practicing. Sadly, we didn't succeed to put her on a fish by the end of the day.



Every now and then, we had another run. This time, it was a rather big fish and we had Alex weigh it, on behalf of the proud angler, his little sister Julia. I think it was a 14 pounds carp or so. Just a tiny bit bigger than the sunfish that most kids are used to catch! ;-)



The bite stopped for a long time after that. We practiced casting with a few kids to fill the time, and people started to leave. Early in the evening, two young girls were still at it, very determined to catch their big fish, Kirsten and Jaimie. It was past our scheduled end time, but somehow it didn't feel right to not try a bit longer, and a bit longer, and a bit longer. Finally, a rod started to scream, and I really mean scream, this fish took an amazing amount of line before Jaimie and myself could somewhat put it under control. This was obviously a nice one. Right at that time, Kirsten had a run too, no mentor left to help her, and sadly, she quickly lost the fish, aarg. Still, she was a good sport and came with the net to help Jaimie. It took a long time to get this fish back to shore, which turned out to be the biggest fish of the day, a hefty 16 pounds. Jaimie released the beast (all fish were released in good health) and this was it for a busy day. It started real gloomy, and ended beautifully.



Since a lot of kids didn't get a chance to actually fish (too many people at the same time, the morning rain put a big wrinkle in my attempts to balance things out), we decided to have a repeat session on Sunday morning, with the help of Eric, another experienced local carp angler. Again, quite a crowd showed up, and I was quite convinced the bite would be good enough to make many more kids get on a nice fish.


Trouble is I couldn't get a run on my rods for hours, and Eric and the kids lost their first fish. Not a good start. The second run was more lucky, securely landed, and quite a crowd assembled to see Owen's first carp. 



The rest of the morning didn't go very well. This was really slow, and when we got a run, we didn't land it... We lost fish left and right, 2 on my side and 2 on Eric's side, I believe. Great luck yesterday, bad luck today, that's fishing for you. Kids and parents got discouraged, and slowly left. A few tenacious kids & parents stuck around, but nothing was working today. Eric and myself fished on our own for a little while longer, and Eric got a nice one before we finally wrapped up. A bit disappointing for sure, but well, we gave it our best try.



As I'm writing those lines, there is no question that overall, the event went very well. We actually had 13 kids landing a big carp during those two days, and something like 20 runs. If I could get 10 runs every day I fish for carp, I would be really happy! All the kids and parents were remarkably patient and gracious, the mentors helped a lot and had a blast themselves, I think we're all set to do it again in 2012!


One last thing. We caught multiple mid-teens, including several 14 pounders and a 16 pounder. The average weight was pretty good, probably around 11 or 12 pounds. And all those fish looked extremely healthy, very strong fighters, muscular fish with a big frame. All the work that was done to clean Spy Pond from algae and chemical products is clearly paying off, and those fish look so much better than the skimpy ones I was catching 5 or 6 years ago. I think we can really expect to find a solid number of 20 pounders in there within a couple of years from now, and I'm sure a few of those are already roaming around.


Here is the full photo album with all pictures I could collect from parents and mentors.

After the event, I received several thank you notes, but the best by far came from Julia. Quite the artist, this cute little lady! And very nice of her!




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