Fox-sponsored Adam Clewer has just returned from a cracking session at the aptly titled, St Lawrence Experience’ in upstate New York, America and has kindly agreed to share these experiences here on foxint.com!
The St Lawrence river is one of the largest rivers in the world, weaving it’s way some 800 miles from the Great Lakes before entering the sea. Its wild waters are a haven for all manner of fish, not least wild carp that have grown on in a natural environment. The majority of fish have never encountered a carp angler before. The carp are predominately commons, with the very occasional and somewhat elusive Mirror carp also present. St Lawrence carp are long, lean and all muscle; a result of constantly swimming against the strong current of the river.
A typical hard-fighting St Lawrence common.
My session coincided with the first of the autumn, of should that read ‘Fall’ storms. The river was so rough that I couldn’t fish the first day. Casting any distance was nigh on impossible, boats were secured safely in dock and certainly too risky to take to the water, as waves crashed against the shore. Eventually the storm relented and only then could I begin to explore the river. Common consensus suggested the river was fishing poorly; a group who fished the area the week before blanked. After careful exploration, the fish finder on my boat alerted me to the presence of fish at some distance from the bank. My plan was to introduce a regular trail of bait, coercing them in the direction of some slack water approximately 135 yards in from of my area. As anglers we all know that creating an effective feeding area is key to success. This is where intentional and regular baiting was required. Two to three times per day I took to the water in the boat, scattering a large bucket of Maize and Essential I.B boilies over a wide area. I was desperately trying to negotiate the fish toward the bank, ideally in comfortable casting range. That was a big ask, the slightest breeze would soon build as the wind covers such a large expanse of water, cutting down my casting range considerably.
Copious amounts of maize were used to hold the fish.
In addition to the maize Adam also used yellow boilies and glugs.
The plan started slow, but yielded some success with several good carp landed over the following day or two. Steady baiting, and accurate casting continued to pay dividends, with greater numbers of fish finding the trail of bait. I had one slightly hazardous incident when the outboard engine coughed and spluttered. It had run out of fuel. I knew it was low but underestimated how much the engine was having to work to break through the white waves and strong currents. A token oar and lots of effort on my behalf prevented me from making the evening news!
Whilst the St Lawrence Carp are by no means pressured, I respected them and was very intentional in both approach and method. The St Lawrence river can be hectic, but you can also be many miles off the fish and blank for days on end. I was therefore determined to fish the water with respect, making every effort to fish my best. All the rods were accurately wrapped up and cast. I fished the river from early until late (nights were spent in the riverside cabin). By the end of the week the spot was really cooking, with multiple takes being a regular occurrence, especially during the first few hours of the new day. The St Lawrence dawns were spectacle; several mornings the water fell completely calm, which was such a contrast to other times in the week when only sea going vessels could negotiate the waves. The evenings were equally spectacle, the silence only broken by either the hordes of fittingly titled Canadian geese or screaming bite alarms. The temperatures, which were mild during the day, soon plummeted of an evening. Most evenings I warmed myself by a small fire in the swim, cooking steak over a gentle wood fire. One evening Joe, who loves to hunt, brought me a steak of deer meat to try. Obviously I was very grateful and for his generosity. The session really was something of an experience!
A rare moment of motionless indicators.
A lovely St. Lawrence mirror carp.
The action was at times hectic. It wasn’t unusual for all three of the rods to go within minutes of each other; indicating a shoal of fish had moved over the bait. When this happened, I was super keen to get the rods back out and fishing—aware that a shoal could depart the area as quickly as they appeared. Again, bait was key to holding fish in the area. At times it was hard to reel the rods in to take to the boat to bait up aware that I would quite possibly miss bites in the time the rods were not fishing. However, is was crucial to keep the area well fed, and even a generous amount of bait could soon be eaten by a hungry shoal of St Lawrence carp. I ended the week on 47 fish, the best just missing 30lb, with the majority of fish being good twenties. I also banked a mirror carp as part of my haul--it’s beauty and scale pattern making up for its lack of size (just shy of 20lb). Upon reflection, If I could have fished the days when the water was rough I have no doubt that I would have finished with more fish, and quite possibly bumped in to one of the really big St Lawrence fish. All fish were tamed using Warrior 12ft 3.5tc rods, with 35lb Coretex hooklinks, 4oz Riser leads and SR hooks in size 4.
Super-strong hooklinks are vital on a snaggy river like the St. Lawrence.
Simple rigs with yellow snowman hookbaits gave Adam a great hooked to landed ratio.