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Freshwater Shooting Live inland, away from the ocean? Tell us about freshwater hunting here.

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Old 05-29-2013, 12:33 PM   #1
Chuuken
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Tactics

Hello Gents,

Let's talk tactics and carp.

I'm having a hard time getting out these days, and when I do get out, I'm finding some truly hideous visibility in our little Lake St. Clair. I'm using some online resources to plan some trips inland to hit up better visibility and greater depth. (The depth being less for spearing and more for skill building).

So, since I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs over hydrographic maps, I've been trying to decide where to focus my efforts when I finally make it out to spear. My goal is to hit the water and nail some carp. I've had a spotty history of finding carp in my local haunt, probably because I want to swim where I can see and dive a bit, and I get the impression they are busy ruining the visibility in the shallows up the shore.

So the questions:
If you're planning a trip, how do you connect map information with fish location?
Are the carp generally shallow in the mud, or do they venture into deep water?
I've heard the carp like being in shallow in the morning. Is there a good place to look for them in the afternoon?
Is there a depth they stop at, or could they be in the one 100' hole in the lake?
Do carp hang out near underwater peaks, or are they unimpressed by that structure?

I'm going a little stir crazy here. Please, enable my obsessing.

Dive safe,
Mike W.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Re: Tactics

Mike,

Carp like shallow water when the surface is cool, and go deeper when it is warm. This depends though on just how warm it is. In the height of summer they'll be deeper and in spring they'll be more shallow. Carp like to muck the muck so make sure you have muck. You can also key in on transitional zones. In my experience during the height of a summer day, carp can be found pretty darn deep by freshwater standards, as in the 50-70 ft range. With that said, you should still be able to find carp shallow, you just have to be more patient. Are you using aspetto or are you stalk hunting? I would recommend waiting above the thermocline in the morning and below the thermocline at midday and you'll probably see some good numbers. Also, low vis is a good thing in the mornings and by this I mean 3-4 feet of visibility.

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Old 05-29-2013, 03:08 PM   #3
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Re: Tactics

I have never put much time into aspetto, mainly because I have had an attitude "if the fish aren't here now, why would they just happen along". I'm about ready to discard that and try aspetto now. It seems like it would be much more fruitful in low vis, where the fish know where I am and can generally stay out of my way if I'm stalking. As with anything, I really just need to make up my mind to give it an honest try.

I wish fish left game trails.
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:32 PM   #4
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Re: Tactics

In my experience, carp tend to tail you and avoid your front side. When you lie in wait they will most often come in from behind you then cross in front. To give you some perspective, I use aspetto and my dive partner at nationals is a stalk hunter. I bagged 5 fish for every 1 that he did. Granted there are a lot of other factors there but almost all the top carp hunters I am aware of use aspetto.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:05 AM   #5
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Re: Tactics

Sometimes, advice comes at just the right time. This is one of those times. I'm going to focus on aspetto the next time I go out.

Does aspetto work in the very shallow? Like waist deep? Can I just stop swimming on the surface and see what passes me underneath? (well, of course I can, but have you found that to be successful?)

Thanks for the advice OC, I really appreciate it,

Mike
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:47 AM   #6
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Re: Tactics

As crazy as this sounds, I see a lot more fish when I'm on the bottom than staying perfectly still on top, even in really shallow water. My biggest carp I ever shot (about 19 lbs) was in only 5 feet of water, but I was on the bottom. My biggest/best tip that I can give you is to overweight when hunting shallow water and to hold onto something with your freehand while on the bottom. Maybe it doesn't help others but having something to hold onto allows me to move/adjust more easily/stealthily and seems to calm me down more.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:52 AM   #7
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Re: Tactics

I have found in waist deep water you are less likely to see anything, but I still have seen carp come up really shallow. I have had luck sometimes in 10ft of water, you just need a nice big rock to hold on to. Fish do tend to be interested in you but most like to keep their distance. Except carp and bass tend to not be as scared and will swim right by you. Here with 4-7 ft vis, a lot of the fish would hang out just beyond sight range, but once you stop and wait for a bit they start wandering in closer.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:01 PM   #8
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Re: Tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by bltpyro View Post
I have found in waist deep water you are less likely to see anything, but I still have seen carp come up really shallow. I have had luck sometimes in 10ft of water, you just need a nice big rock to hold on to. Fish do tend to be interested in you but most like to keep their distance. Except carp and bass tend to not be as scared and will swim right by you. Here with 4-7 ft vis, a lot of the fish would hang out just beyond sight range, but once you stop and wait for a bit they start wandering in closer.
Yes, I should reemphasize that I'm talking about tactics in limited vis. I'm still a firm believer in aspetto as even in crystal clear water many of the top divers in the world are using it outside of hole diving and some blue water.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:06 PM   #9
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Re: Tactics

Excellent info! Thanks guys.

Mike
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:23 PM   #10
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Re: Tactics

I just joined the forum. It is nice to see others into the sport. I've been hunting, primarily carp, for the last 2 seasons. 95% of my hunting is in the inland lake I live on in SE MI. Here are some things I have observed (I've landed about 50 carp in the past two seasons).

Carp can be found all over the place, but you need to play the odds. I focus where I find them in higher concentrations. Almost all of my hunting is on the deep side of weedbeds. I hunt the drop offs where the weed beds end, stalking along the bottom. I agree with other poster that getting below them helps... I would say critical.

In my lake, carp and very different than bass. The bass will swim up to me and check me out, but the carp are almost always scared and run... thus I need to stalk slow and catch them by surprise.

Also, in my experience, the deeper I find the fish, the calmer they tend to be. This allows me to get closer to them and get a good shot. When I see fish 7' or shallower, they turn and run fast. I shoot most my carp between 10' and 15'.

One thing of note, I shoot them exclusively with a Hawaiian sling (freediving, no scuba), so this does limit my shot opportunities. I estimate I could triple my production with a speargun.

I also find that in May, they are much more concentrated. Once we get into June, they disperse and I have a more difficult time finding them in strong concentrations. Maybe they are deeper... but I have looked and when I get away from the weedbeds, I cover a lot more ground in between sightings.

Love to hear others techniques. I may have to try aspetto... I think that is where you wait for them down at the bottom. I've tried that a little bit with no success. And also, in all my time at the surface, I think I have shot only one while breathing up. I find you have to get to the bottom for a chance in my experience.
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:16 AM   #11
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Re: Tactics

Welcome Dean MI Spearo
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:45 AM   #12
Chuuken
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Re: Tactics

Hey Dean, where are you in SE MI? You sound like you're diving inland lakes? (Not in the Great Lakes?) I'm curious. I'm up next to St Clair, but this lake is a mud puddle, unless I have left all my dive gear at home. Then there's a 30% chance of 10 ft vis...

We have skads of carp in the SC Flats, but I can't get into kicking around in waist deep water with a spear gun. I've been told they are all over anchor bay too, but I haven't had a chance to get out there yet. Trying to dive out of a sea kayak is a pain in the butt.

Glad to have you!
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:52 AM   #13
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Re: Tactics

Mike, I am primarily diving Orchard Lake. I dove Lake Michigan off Petoskey's pier a few times as well. Visibility in Orchard Lake is decent until mid-June. By mid July it is about 5' which isn't really divable in my book, and then clears and the sun angle gets lower and the days get shorter.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:42 AM   #14
Chuuken
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Re: Tactics

No kidding! I've been in Orchard Lake with a line before, just to dive for depth, but I haven't been after fish. Hit me up when the weather warms up if you need a dive buddy.

Mike
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:14 PM   #15
Dean MI Spearo
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Re: Tactics

Chuuken, small world. What do you mean by "with a line"? Testing your dynamic apnea depth? How deep did you get? See anything interesting? I've only been maybe 35' in this lake (100' in Salt Water). After 20', I haven't seen anything in the lake, just a barren bottom and no fish. BTW, I'll be spearing the carp hard in May (probably April as well). Do you hunt with a spear gun, sling or pole spear? I use a Hawaiian sling.

As far as shallow carp, I see them from my boat in the shallows, but when I', in the water, they run hard as soon as they see me... that is why I try to focus a little deeper.
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