Small Waters Strategies – Kids’ fishing

Small Waters Strategies – Kids’ fishing

May 31, 2013

How a carp can make you a “Kids’ Fishing Derby” hero! 

By Mike Pehanich

American waters, big and small, hold countless carp, and many of them boast dimensions that will boggle the minds and test the mettle of new anglers, young and old.

Here’s a bit of advice.

Think “carp” when you enter your child in the “Kid’s Fishing Derby” this season.

Smiles steal the scene at kids fishing events where fun and awards abound. But don't underestimate the excitement when a kid wins a "Big Fish" award!

Kids fishing events are about fun and catching fish. Most have a long list of awards that range from the obvious “Biggest Bluegill” award to creative fun like “Prettiest Fish” or “Smallest Fish.”

But, make no mistake, all eyes will be on the winner of the “Biggest Fish” award! In nearly all of these events, it is a category open to all species including (you guessed it!) carp!

Most big carp are caught accidentally or as lucky catches when anglers are fishing live bait for panfish. But, as serious carp anglers everywhere know, you can catch more and bigger carp if you target them with baits and tactics designed specifically for them.

How to catch them!

A great thing about catching big carp is that you don’t have to “up-size” your baits. Even big carp have small mouths, and the baits of choice in standard size will catch carp large and small across the world.

The bait of choice is the “boilie,” a hardened mix of ingredients that appeal to carp instincts and appetites. Carp anglers fish them on a “hair rig.”

But the real key to catching carp is to draw them first to your bait.

Carp are nomadic feeders that will cover a lot of water in their daily search for food. Serious carp anglers make it easy for them to find their boilies by “ground baiting” the area with formulations that fire up carp appetites.

“You want to use a ground bait that makes carp hungry, not one that fills them up,” explains tournament carp angler Munenori Kajiwara.

Evan Moy caught this 24 pound, three ounce carp at the 2012 St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament on the St. Lawrence River in New York.

Ground baits come in a wide range of formulations. Not all are created equal! In fact, managers of some private waters even prohibit certain types.

Kajiwara, U.S. distributor for Marukyu, the largest Japanese manufacturer of ground baits, points out that premium ingredients like fish meal, krill, and shrimp comprise high-quality ground baits. But one additional ingredient sets certain ground baits apart.

“Silkworms eat mulberry leaves, and they produce the purest and best protein,” he explains. “Marukyu is the only company with silkworm in its ground bait formula. It’s a carp version of ‘organic food!’ That’s why Marukyu baits are welcome in public and private waters across all of Europe.”

Set up for bank fishing with a rod holder to keep from the kind of accidental movement that can telegraph your presence to the fish when it picks up the bait.

A wide range of spinning rods will serve the beginner, so there’s no need to purchase special tackle at the start. (Carp specialists, of course, have tackle tailored to the task.) Select a rod with a sensitive tip but plenty of backbone to set the hook and battle a big fish.

Take your place in a young angler's memory when you lead him or her to an award-winning "big" fish! That's carp fishing guru Mike McGrath sharing the spotlight with Evan Moy and a St. Lawrence River carp.

This year, take a bag of ground bait, boilies and hair rigs to the Kids Fishing Derby, and put your kid’s “Biggest Fish” trophy on the mantel.

Go ahead. Be a hero!

Read “The Monster in Your Own Backyard!” for more carp fishing tips.

Note: Marukyu carp baits are currently available through these retailers:

Lee’s Bait & Tackle, Elk Grove Village, IL  Phone: 1-847-593-6424

Wacker Bait & Tackle, 1422 W. Roosevelt Road, Broadview, IL   Phone: 1-708-450-0305

Anglers International Resources, 1272 E. Dundee Road, Palatine, IL  Phone: 1-847-991-3200

Westside Bait & Tackle, 1507 W. Vermont Street, Indianapolis, IN  Phone: 1-317-636-6236

Little Dipper Bait & Tackle, 26464 W. Huron River Drive, Flat Rock, MI  Phone: 1-734-782-4277


Coming: More Small Waters Fishing details on terminal rigs – including the hair rig — and carp tackle to tilt the odds of catching big carp and catfish even further in your favor!

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