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Old 08-06-2014, 02:05 AM   #1
rootsman
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Trip report and introduction

Hello,
Posting to say hello and share the results of my first ever spearfishing outing.

To back up a bit, I've been snorkeling local streams, rivers, and alpine lakes for a few years now. I fish and mess around quite a bit with kayaks and canoes, but had never been spearfishing, though I've been intrigued by the idea since diving in the Caribbean. I actually kind of backed into the whole thing because I was looking for an efficient way to collect bait for my crayfish trapping hobby. After being inspired by the great trip report from Mike Pierce, I bought a speargun, got out the maps, and did a little carp prospecting myself.

I headed up the Gorge with my brand new AB Biller and checked out a few likely looking spots. Most had pretty poor viz, and I wasn't seeing anything but smallies and a few sunnies. I circled back to one of the first spots I checked out and there, hanging in 4-5 feet of water, were five huge carp. At least, they looked huge to me. The heart rate shot up, breathing got a little shallow, the palms a bit moist, and I thought "so this is the carp equivalent of buck fever." I got suited up, and despite the disapproving glares of most the other fishermen, slipped into the water and loaded up. I hit with my first two shots, but I guess I need to work on leading them a bit more because both placements were towards the back half of the fish. Missed the next two, including one that was about twice the size of the two I bagged. Cruised around a bit more, but word must have gotten out and I didn't see any other carp.

The scale said they were only between 10-12 lbs, but they looked like freaking submarines when I was in the water with them. I took em home, cut them up into carp steaks, and then through the magic of an overnight soak in some crayfish traps, turned them into shite load of crays.

So, now I am well and truly hooked, and I have lined up another 5-6 spots to check out for more carp. Once I get a few more trips under my belt I'd love to get out into some salt and shoot something that I could actually eat.

Just wanted to say that this board has been a great resource and I've learned a lot just lurking and reading. If anyone wants to get out for some freshwater shooting with a newbie, let me know, I've got a very flexible schedule and I'm often available during the week.

Don't worry Mike, I'm pretty sure that I wasn't at your honey hole, but if you want to compare notes I'd be happy to share some info.

Thanks for reading,
Jeff
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Last edited by rootsman; 08-10-2014 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:23 AM   #2
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Great start Root'! If I knew of a faster way to turn carp into food (other than fertilizer) I'd be stoked...
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:52 AM   #3
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Welcome Jeff, and great first report! Shooting carp is a ton of fun, and using them to catch crayfish is a great use to put them to. Your aim will improve in time. We have all missed a ton of fish (and still do from time to time) when learning - it is kind of like learning to shoot a bow - more instinct than aiming. Practice makes perfect, and carp are great to practice on.

I think water magnifies everything by 25% or so, so they always look bigger under water than on land. Glad you turned those carp into some food.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:28 PM   #4
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Hi Jeff,
With lunkers like that 1st spear trip, no doubt about what you will be doing in the future! And, you will really get stoked on your first good vis day at sea. I gotta add that "only" isn't something you hear with "10-12lbs." around here.
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:13 PM   #5
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Nice! Any pics of the crayfish?
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:59 PM   #6
rootsman
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Marco,
Here's a shot of the catch. I usually end up throwing back about 60% of what shows up in the traps. Some are clearly too small, and others are borderline, but since I'm the one cooking and cleaning all of them, I'm pretty motivated to be conservative with which are kept.

Heading out again on Wednesday if anyone is interested.

Thanks to all for the words of encouragement.

Jeff
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:41 PM   #7
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Wow, nice haul! Its probably been 15+ years since I collected crayfish. We always just caught them by hand after turning over rocks. Your method looks much more productive. May have to give the carp to crayfish transmutation a go...

Thanks for the report.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:05 PM   #8
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Now that's a nice catch! I'm drooling!
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:11 PM   #9
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Re: Trip report and introduction

beauties!
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:16 PM   #10
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Nice post! Hopefully I'll have some spearfishing to post after salmon season. It's been too long for me.
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:04 AM   #11
rootsman
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by juanacity View Post
Wow, nice haul! Its probably been 15+ years since I collected crayfish. We always just caught them by hand after turning over rocks. Your method looks much more productive. May have to give the carp to crayfish transmutation a go...

Thanks for the report.
John,
The traps are for production, but for fun I snorkel for them, ideally at night. I know that the knock on freshwater diving is the lack of critters to see, but at night the lake bottom is literally crawling with crayfish.

Jeff
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:55 AM   #12
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by rootsman View Post
John,
The traps are for production, but for fun I snorkel for them, ideally at night. I know that the knock on freshwater diving is the lack of critters to see, but at night the lake bottom is literally crawling with crayfish.

Jeff
They don't scatter at night when you hit them with a light? I remember collecting them in the shallows at night when I was a kid at Timothy lake, but you couldn't hit them with the beam of a flashlight or they went deep. You had to let your eyes adjust and hope that there was enough of a moon out for you to see them.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:26 PM   #13
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Nice report Jeff. I'll trade you some freediving secrets if you take me out for a night crawdad dive. Sounds fun, like a mini lobster dive PM me if interested.

BTW - after your carp shooting prepare to be very disappointed by the 2-3 lb rockfish you are about to encounter while shooting in the saltwater.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:33 PM   #14
rootsman
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Couldn't help myself, went carpin' again. Eyeballed a couple of possible spots and the returned to the site of my former success. The wind had stirred up the water pretty well, and the overcast didn't seem to help the viz. I swam around the whole lake before finding a school of carp about 100 yards from where I got in. Guess next time I'll start out swimming the opposite direction. I didn't get skunked, but I went 1 for 8. Terrible shooting, terrible. It didn't help that the viz meant that I had at most 2 seconds to find the carp shadow in the murk and draw a bead before the tail flicked and it was gone. If they hadn't been in a school I wouldn't have hit any because the first one or two took me by surprise after cruising the whole lake and seeing nothing. No chance for a shot, but at least they put me on notice that others were around.

I guess the nice thing about carp is that even if you only get one is was worth the trip.



-Jarom
I agree the crayfish seem to be more skittish if I am wading, when I'm swimming they generally ignore me unless I get right up on them. I also swim with a little dipnet on a three foot handle for when I spot a lunker that I don't want to miss. I position the net behind it as I dive so that if it scoots it swims right into the net.

-Ian
You've got a deal. I could really use some freediving secrets as right now I know none, I don't even know much of the non-secret stuff. I do get in a lot of apneic time when I'm sleeping though, so I'm hoping that will help.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:58 PM   #15
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Re: Trip report and introduction

Wow, those prawns are awesome!! Carp are a blast to shoot & your plan gives you a feast as a result - nice work.
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