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Thursday, November 10, 2022

2022 carp fishing - The season that wasn't

Over the past couple decades of fishing, I've come to realize that the mental aspect of the game and my focus on a given target species or style, will vary greatly from year to year. After finally smashing my PB with a monster 41 lbs carp in the spring 2021, then finding a new remote lake with monster smallmouth bass later that summer, I found myself just about neglecting carp for most of the 2022 peak season, namely spring and summer. As such, I just about stopped guiding for carp, putting most of my efforts into float tube fishing for bass until late summer, when I finally put a bit more effort into chumming some local spots. 

That being said, I still did manage to get out to fish for carp every now and then, and caught a surprising number of channel cats, along with a few suckers,  while doing so as well. Here is a rundown of my 2022 carp season.

April 6 2022:

My season started right at ice out as usual. With most game species being closed in April, I hit my "go to" spot with my friend Warren. Unfortunately, I found another friend of mine set up on the spot by the time we arrived, along with a couple people. I was forced to settle for my backup spot, knowing that the carp fishing may be a bit tougher. It did take a while for us to get bit, but Warren and I both managed to land a couple carp to usher in the 2022 season.

This one hit my fireball popup pegged with fake corn:

This one fell for a sweet and spicy, caffeine boosted tigernut, another bait creation I was tinkering with over the past couple years. Notice the large sheet of ice in the background...

May 15 2022:

After over a month of not fishing for carp, I was back at it with my friend Yohann and his daughter Miriam, who were visiting from the USA. Yohann and I fished together as teenager, back when he lived here in Montreal. We reconnected a few years back, and have fished together again a number of times since then, often for carp over the past couple years.

Unfortunately, the carp bite was slower than expected, but we still managed to land some carp.

Miriam caught this small carp on one of my sweet dream boilies.


Yohann landed a bigger carp one one of my black magic boilies.

May 22 2022:

Headed out for a day of carp fishing with Joel and his family. Action was slightly better, they managed to land a couple and miss some more. Both carp were landed on my sweet dream boilies.

July 20 2022:

Back at carp fishing after a 2 month break, probably the longest stretch of carp fishing I missed over the past decade, including both pre-spawn and post-spawn peaks. 

I chummed a spot closer to home for a few days before fishing. Again, fishing was slower than I hoped for, but I managed to squeak out a win with this nice carp hitting my black magic popup boilie just as I was getting ready to leave.

August 2 2022:

After chumming another spot intermittently over the previous week, I headed out for an evening of carp fishing my well baited spot. This time, action was almost immediate, with my first carp being the biggest fish of the outing at 27 lbs.

Followed up with 2 smaller channel catfish, and missed another carp. Fireball and sweet dream boilies did the trick.

August 3 2022:

Knowing that I left more carp at my spot the previous evening, I headed back to the same spot for another shot at landing some more carp. Sure enough, they were still there, 2 carp and 1 sucker came to play, black magic and sweet dream boilies were the hot bait for the evening.

August 29 2022:

After taking a few weeks off from carp fishing, I decided to try chumming with some cheaper, store bought boilies. I picked up a few bags of Wellmix boilies from Decathlon for this trial, which also happened to be the first time I've bought boilies in a store in 10 years. Got a mix of tutti fruity, scopex and monster crab flavors, and used equal amounts of them during my prebaiting campaign, which ran 4 out of 5 days prior to fishing.

Ended up landing 1 carp and 2 channel cats on the scopex flavor, didn't bother with any pics, as they weren't anything too sizeable.

September 1 2022:

Headed back to my pre-baited spot with the Decathlon Wellmix boilies, managed another small carp and channel catfish, this time on monster crab flavor. Again, didn't bother with any pics due to the carp being in the 10 lbs range, and the catfish even smaller.

September 2 2022:

Headed out with Alex and Anis, to a spot where I had taken Alex and some friends in the past. The given spot is sort of hit and miss fishing, but the carp there tend to be good sized, with most carp there going well over 20 lbs. More of a trophy spot to say the least.

Got set up bright and early, and morning bite was steady, with 3 carp all hitting within 80-90 minutes of each other. Carp were all caught on a mix of my sweet dream popups and black magic boilies. 

Alex started the day with the biggest of the outing at 28 lbs.

Anis followed up with his first ever carp, and biggest fish landed to date, with this carp in the mid twenties range.

Alex ended the short outing with another low twenties class carp.

September 5 2022:

After the successful outing with Alex on the previous Friday, I returned to the spot with my son Levi on Monday, as he was off school for Labour day. A cold front had come in, and Levi was getting impatient due to a non existing bite. He squeaked by with a decent redhorse sucker, landed shortly before leaving after a few hours.

September 13 2022:

After getting skunked a couple nights in a row fishing a spot I had pre-baited with Decathlon boilies, I headed to Portneuf, to help my older son Ari with some roof work on his house. Portneuf has Quebec's longest pier on the St Lawrence river, and it's a short drive from where my son lives. As such, I had him prebait a spot where we found some deeper water, and would still be able to fish out of our car in case of bad weather.

What I didn't count on, was the tides, which are surprisingly strong and high for a spot this far inland. We got to the pier during the incoming tide, the current was ripping, and bringing in huge beds of floating weeds. This made still fishing for carp from high above the water just about impossible, high winds, heavy rain and the incoming rising water prevented us from fishing closer to the water, down the steep rocks.

Somehow, we still managed to get a few bites,3 smaller channel catfish that hit a variety of the Decathlon boilies we were testing, over 2 hours or so of fishing. Luckily, I managed to get down the steep, wet cliff to land them without injury. Another adventure, to say the least.

September 21 2022:

Another friend of mine named Warren (not the same Warren from earlier in this post) finally decided to try carp fishing for the first time. After prebaiting a spot where I've had success in the past, we headed out for an evening bite. As I had pre-baited with a mix of Decathlon boilies, we started off using them as bait. One redhorse sucker came to play, so after a while, we switched to my boilies. Sure enough, a sweet dream boilie did the job, and Warren had landed his first ever carp.

September 22 2022:

Was hoping to take Warren back to the spot for another shot at carp fishing the following night, but he couldn't make it. Ended up going solo. No carp action, but did manage a good sized channel cat, my biggest of the season up until that point at 11 lbs. Those things do chomp down on fingers harder than you would think...

October 2 2022:

After chumming a newly scouted  spot for a few days in a row, I headed out for some night fishing with my 10 year old son Zev. He still isn't very comfortable hauling big fish with my heavier carp rods, so he was content being net man.

Action was almost immediate, I had my first run within 5 minutes of my first cast. Big head shakes and less drag ripping, I got the feeling that I had a big catfish on the line. Sure enough, I landed this obese 14 lbs channel cat, besting my season's best from the previous outing by 3 lbs.

About 1 hour later, I finally hooked into my first carp of the evening, and first one from the new spot. As with the big catfish, this carp was caught using one of my fireball popups.

October 3 2022:

Another follow up outing to the same spot, I ended up landing 1 of 2 carp on a sweet dream boilie. 

Again, another fish in the mid teens, not sure this spot is going to have the potential I hoped for in the future. However, convenient access with a shot at fishing form the car in bad weather may have me returning again next season.

October 26 2022:

After a reduced fishing schedule over the past few weeks due to holiday schedule and family duties, I finally got back on the water for a day of carp fishing. Due to cooling water temps this time of the year, I had a choice of two non baited spots to fish:

1) My standard pre-winter spot. Being in Quebec, I'd be allowed to use 1 rod, as I was fishing solo.  Typically smaller carp under 5 lbs, with a slight chance at one over 20 lbs. Weather forecast had 60% chance of rain there.

2) My spring / summer spot. Fishing there this time of year is very tough, but I've caught carp there up until mid October during warm fronts like we've had over the past few days. Average carp is bigger than spot #1, and chances of catching carp over 20 lbs are better there as well. As this carp spot is in Ontario, I'd be able to take advantage of the 3 rod per person rule, and a low bridge nearby would provide shelter in case of rain.

I decided on spot #2. Part of the appeal, was wondering how I would deal with fighting a potential carp running through my other lines, or possibly dealing with a double header, which would be mayhem.

Unfortunately, rising water and current was bringing in large amounts of floating weeds. Despite my burying rods under water to avoid them, I still ran into some issues with fouled up presentations.

While I did notice quite a few carp surfacing throughout the day, I didn't manage any bites in about 6 hours of fishing. A brief storm blew in just before I called it a day, leaving a nice double rainbow in it's wake.

Safe to say that I'm done carp fishing in that area until 2023.

November 2022:

After a few short carping sessions at various spots in Quebec with nothing to show for, I'm calling it quits until next spring as far as carp fishing goes. Between me neglecting carp through most of the prime part of the season, and quite a tough fall bite in comparison to previous seasons, I'm starting to dream of first ice.

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