Went to the Cooper River in search of carp the last two days. The girlfriend is out of town and I start school back up on Monday, so I got up early both mornings and hit the river.
Friday wasn't a super early start. I got to the river around 730. I chummed with canned corn and had two rods set up for carp: my new shimano Stradic 4000 on an Abu Garcia veritas (I think, not 100% sure the rod's name) and a considerably lesser rod and reel set up that I couldn't tell you the names of, but works all the same. I started with smaller weights, but the current proved to be stronger than it looked, so I quickly switched to a half ounce egg sinker on one rod followed by a snap swivel and a size 6 eagle claw snelled baitholder hook. On my Stradic I had a 1 oz egg sinker with the same set-up.
After switching my weights, I started getting bit. I caught a pretty big (for the ones I've caught) channel (I believe) catfish. I didn't realize how big it was, and tried to swing it, pulling the hook from its mouth in the process. I'd guess it was well over 6 pounds.
I proceeded to catch 2 more smaller catfish, one looked like a channel, but I couldn't tell you what the other was (I don't really know the differences between them). I also caught what I believe was a common shiner, but I'm not sure. I then hooked into a turtle, who was not pleased. I had never caught one before, so that was a first to me.
After cutting the hook which I had no chance of removing from the turtle, I reset and got my line back out. Not long later, one of my rods's drag started going and I set the hook and started reeling. All off a sudden, the drag on my other rod started screaming. The fish on the second rod was much bigger so I put the other rod down and fought the bigger fish. Upon reeling it in, I realized I was staring at the same big cat I caught earlier (95% positive). I had another mental lapse and tried to swing it again so I could get to the other fish. That means no picture, but I didn't have any problems getting the big one off as the earlier swinging incident repeated itself. I reeled in the smaller fish and tossed it back, still disappointed I mishandled the same fish twice.
I stayed a bit longer, but didn't have any luck. I packed up and left around 1030am so I could pick up my books for the semester.
Later that day I drove down to my usual spot, found three other fisherman and headed to newton lake. I did more driving around than fishing, but feel like I eliminated some dead water I won't be fishing in the future, hopefully saving me a headache another day. I threw a black top water frog a bit, but didn't have any success.
I was back after it this morning on the river, except this time I had my lines in the water by about 630. I also made a conscientious decision to try and take photos of all my catches for y'all.
Started off slow, but the first time I checked my baits I found that I had a double hookup of small catfish. I caught a few more catfish varying from small to medium, and another turtle(!).
The highlight of the day came about a half hour before I ended my trip at 1015am. My drag started screaming on my Stradic just as I had walked 10 yards away to look at a splash on the other side of the river. The fish almost pulled my brand new reel in the water, but the rod holder held and I was able to get to it and set the hook. By the time I started reeling, the fish had taken off straight for the middle of the river and was peeling off drag. I tightened my drag a bit and steered the fish back to me. It came right for the bank and I was able to make up a lot of line. I saw the second carp I've ever caught surface once, and really started to get excited when I realized how much bigger than my first one it was. I don't have a net, but luckily another fisherman was nearby. He grabbed the rod while I got on my chest and scooped the carp out of the water. It sounds graceful and quick, but it probably two 2 and 1/2 minutes of incredibly stressful wrangling before I got a good hold on the not very tired fish (if you remember, it came back to me fast and hard, so I didn't get much of a chance to tire it out).
I got a few pictures and released the fish. I stayed a bit longer with no more luck and packed up. Pretty decent couple of days.
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