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I usually take a cruise or two through Hubbard Park almost on a daily basis and I did notice a couple of serious carp fishermen on some of my trips.
You know they are serious when you see all of the gear they use to catch carp, weigh them and then release them back into Mirror Lake unharmed.
Curiosity finally got the best of me and I had to stop and have a chat with them to see how their carp fishing had been so far.
The two carp anglers that were fishing that morning were Norm Fink and Jimmy Ayala and their other fishing partner, Dave Battistoni was missing that morning.
Up to the time I got there, they said they had caught and released three carp the best one tipping the scales at 23 pounds. In fact while I was talking to them, one of the three fishing rigs started to “chirp” signaling Norm that a carp had taken the bait.
Norm hustled over to the rod and set the hook, and the battle was on, but not for long, the carp broke the line. Fink said he was using a lighter line on that rod because the carp are very sensitive when it comes to feeling anything unusual when they take the bait.
Norm Fink and Jimmy Ayala are my kind of sportsmen. I say this because a young angler by the name of “Angel” was being tutored by the two veteran carp fishermen. They were very patient with the young angler, giving him tips and also sharing some of the special hooks and bait used for carp fishing.
Contrary to popular belief, carp fishing is not a simple matter. Oh as kids we would catch an occasional carp from the Quinnipiac River that maybe weighed a pound or two on our nightcrawlers, but back then we were led to believe that carp were nothing but a “trash fish.” Hah, if we only knew!
Today, carp fishing is a growing sport that even features huge carp tournaments that may go on for a couple of days and the carp fishing is taken very seriously.
Just think, here is a fish in local waters like Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park and the Quinnipiac River and Hanover Pond as well as the Connecticut River and other water bodies that have the potential to tip the scales at well over 30 pounds. Here in Connecticut the present record is 43 pounds, 12 ounces caught in the Connecticut River by Mike Hudak.
Now that is a mighty nice fresh water fish, yet I have to believe that someday that record will be broken and it would not surprise me if it happens at Mirror Lake. I do know that there have been carp caught at Mirror Lake that weighed 39 pounds. They were released back into the lake so who can say they won’t get even bigger?
In England the carp is revered as a trophy sport fish and a great deal of time goes into fishing for them there. Carp anglers have been known to actually stay for days on their favorite carp fishing spot, while using top of the line carp fishing equipment.
Earlier I mentioned the “chirping” noise made on Fink’s rod when he got a hit. Many carp fishermen use a special rig that allows them to tell when a carp takes their bait by using an electronic sensor. The least movement of the line sets the sensor off alerting the fishermen to get ready to do battle with a carp.
The biggest carp I have ever taken at Mirror Lake was about 20 pounds and it gave me one heck of a battle. It too was released back into the water to fight another day and who knows how big it might be by now?
I have also witnessed some carp fishermen using extra light tackle to fish for them. If you were to check, many of the records are of carp taken on lighter lines.
One of the most common baits used for carp fishing is canned corn. Many times if a carp angler is going to fish a certain spot they might even chum the area with corn to attract the carp to the area, I have also heard of them being caught on hunks of potato and another popular bait is bread dough balls and many times they are sweetened up with peanut butter or other flavors including many food extracts.
Many serious carp fishermen have their own special carp formulas for going after these crafty brutes. I could probably fill this column with the different types and flavors used as bait for carp fishing and many of them come from the local grocery store.
You really have to fish for carp with an open reel on your rod or special gear because many carp are big enough to take your rod and reel into the water when they take your bait and the reel is set to tight.
I know two local anglers who can attest to this. If you see him ask Joe Drauss about the carp that took his rod and reel at Mirror Lake. I had a similar experience while fishing the Quinnipiac River.
I had my line in the water and the rod was set on a forked stick in the sand. I had the drag on the reel set pretty tight, or should I say too tight? Anyway, I was busy doing something and when I turned around my rod and reel were gone! Who knows, maybe it was a record carp?
And speaking of the fishing at Mirror Lake, I ran into John Dalton of Meriden the other day and he told me about a couple of nice rainbow trout he caught recently at Mirror Lake.
See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving our great country.