by Jeff D
There is a city park a few blocks from my house with a sizable lake. I've been fishing it all summer for bluegill and bass, but I've discovered the lake also contains a sizable population of koi, some of which are quite large. I'd estimate the largest in the 20lb range. Needless to say, I decided I was going to catch the koi on a fixed line rod.
I started out using flies, but even with the best presentation, they just weren't interested. I tied up and tried a wide variety of carp flies, and I even tried the old trusty Utah Killer Bug, but they just ignored every fly.
So I switched to bait. At first, I tried my old tried and true carp fishing tactic of chumming and fishing with sweet corn flavored with strawberry jello. It turned out that sunfish and bluegill in this very shallow lake really enjoyed the corn buffet, so much so that as soon as your baited hook hit the bottom it was attacked by sunfish.
So I decided to get serious about carping. I made strawberry flavored boilies and hair rigs. These cast very well with the carp rods with no added weight. My first cast hadn't been in the water for 5 minutes before I had a strong fish on. YES, finally a koi! The Kiyogi was singing as I fought the fish. Then when it came to the surface I saw that it was a channel catfish. I baited back up and cast back out. Again, a fish hit hard and this time I was sure I had a koi. Nope, just another catfish, even bigger this time.
The next day my son and I went back to the lake to continue Koi Quest. He was using the Nissin Flying Dragon 53 and sure enough, as soon as his bait hit the water he had a decent catfish on. Then I hooked up with a really nice channel cat on the Kiyogi 21.
Now, most folks who fish for catfish in this lake use heavy rods and cast halfway across the lake. All these fish were caught within about 30 feet of the bank in water that couldn't be more than 5-6 ft deep. People were very interested in our "crappie poles" and we spread the word that no, these aren't crappie poles, they're Japanese bait fishing rods.
I'm still fixated on the koi, so I'm going to have to figure out a bait that is appealing to carp and not catfish. I don't mind catching nice cats, but given the water quality in this lake (waterfowl feces and suburban runoff) I wouldn't eat anything I caught here. Still, the hair rigs and quick hooksets resulted in lip hooked cats so if you want to do some catch and release catfishing, try a hair rig.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin
"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662
As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma
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