I’m not typically one to have regrets, but I certainly do wish that I started targeting common carp sooner. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I was properly introduced to chasing this large and powerful species using carp-specific equipment.
Ever since that first experience, each year I spend more and more time chasing carp throughout the Bay of Quinte waters. There are some true monsters roaming here! Carp are primarily targeted from shore using bottom-fishing techniques, making them very accessible regardless of whether or not you own watercraft.
Do you know your carp species? Invasive species of Asian carp in Ontario include: bighead carp, black carp, grass carp, and silver carp. Not to be confused with the invasive carp species, common carp were initially introduced as a food source over a hundred years ago. They have since naturalized in our waters and are now recognized as a coarse fish and can be targeted all year long in Ontario.
I love chasing these fish in the spring when they’re typically found in the shallower waters that warm up first. It can be a fun spring alternative while other fish species are not yet in season.
In terms of equipment, I use a long carp specific rod to achieve further casts and for better fish control when reeling them in. My rod is paired with a Baitrunner reel spooled with heavier line to allow for the line-peeling runs carp are well known for.
Carp can be caught on basic hair rigs using corn as bait, or specialized prepared baits such as boilies (flavoured dough balls). The specialized carp gear primarily comes from Europe, where carp are the number one sought after species. This specialized equipment has been trickling into Canada as carp fishing becomes more popular.
If you’re seeking a new fishing adventure this season and want a chance at catching some giants, I encourage you to explore the Bay of Quinte and give carp a try. Good luck!