St Lawrence EXPerience
Carp Fishing

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Lisbon, New York Forecast

Below are some articles written by previous visitors to the site

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.

The Mighty St Lawrence River

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.
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.
Copious amounts of maize were used to hold the fish.

In addition to the maize Adam also used yellow boilies and glugs.
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 rare moment of motionless indicators.

A lovely St. Lawrence mirror carp.
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.
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.
Simple rigs with yellow snowman hookbaits gave Adam a great hooked to landed ratio.

Adam Clewer
September 2016

This article was written by Andy Shattock who was instrumental in setting up fishing trips to the site although he is no longer involved with The St Lawrence Experience.

With me I took Pete Tew, owner of Carp Unlimited who had helped me considerably during the winter with putting together the tackle requirements and bait for the season, Ian Witwell, from Eastbourne, Jamie Goouge a 17 year old carp crazy kid who had scrimped and saved for 6 months to afford the trip, and my son Nick. We knew we would have a fair bit of grafting to do as the weather had restricted work on site for some months. Our purpose was to clear the site after all the work that had gone on over the winter during which time the first log cabin had been built. Also with us was Will Church and Mike Back, our video team there to record the fishing and the facilities for a new promotional video/ CD, which will be attached to our 2000/2001 brochure.

Some 5 days before leaving the U.K., having just mown the lawns in warm balmy weather, I received a call from Joe, my American partner informing me that they had just had four feet of snow in 48 hours. Great start!!!! Panic stations set in with me imagining the worst. Ever tried fishing for carp through ice holes?? However, over the next few days the weather had changed quickly and on landing at Montreal we found ourselves sweltering on 21 degrees despite it being 7.30 p.m. in the evening. An hour and a half's drive later we were on site, weary after our journey but keen to get on with the tasks required so that we could get down to some serious fishing.

After a solid nights shuteye we woke to find that the weather had changed for the worse once again and a harsh north easterly wind was whipping in across the St. Lawrence. A day for working rather than fishing. We got our heads down and spent the majority of the day sorting out the tackle store and unpacking a huge crate of new tackle and bait that we had shipped out from the UK two weeks previously. 24 specially built 12 foot 3.5 test curve rods, reels, new landing nets, tripod set-ups, fox alarms, JRC unhooking mats, weigh slings, Fox bivvies, bedchairs and other equipment was made up into 12 complete sets. The tackle shop was stocked with some 500 3-4 oz weights, a good range of hooks, Kryston Quicksiver, 25lb braids for hook lengths and packs and packs of Armour tubing to fend off the effect of the zebra mussels that pervade the St Lawrence. Some 800-900 kilos of Carp Unlimited ready made boilies were stored ready for supply to anglers fishing with us. We also started boiling up the maize and storing this in huge bins ready for piling into the swims in front of the site to get the shoals of fish munching.

Despite the bitterly cold weather two of the lads, James, (later to be known as Golden Bks) and Nick, could not resist the temptation to get fishing and took one of the power boats out, baiting up with about 50lbs of maize and 20 kilos of boilies. Perseverance was the name of the game. It was more like cod fishing off the North Norfolk coast than carp fishing. Waves were crashing on to the shore and the wind chill factor must have felt like -5-6 degrees yet they stuck it out for about 4 hours and James was rewarded with a fish of 17lbs, small by St Lawrence standards, but considering the temperature and the fact that it had been impossible to bait up the swims prior to our arrival he was happy and it did prove that the fish were out there in front of the site.

The following day's weather continued in the same vein. Even the massive St Lawrence Seaway cargo vessels seemed to be finding it hard going. Huge grey American skies dominated the landscape with winds to match but despite this, the fish started to show. 17 year old Jamie took fish of 25lb, 34lb, 23.5lb and 24lb and Nick managed one of 36lbs. The rest of us sensible oldies chose to spend the day between the log cabin with it's roaring log burner and 900 channels of American satellite TV and the local diner with its American sized proportions of cholesterol packed food. The video crew did however get dragged out into the elements whenever the "haulin" call went up.

As the first week progressed, the amount of work being completed in a day slowly diminished as more and more of us succumbed to the temptation to get fishing. Maize and boilies were being piled into the swims every day and we soon found that the fish were really getting their heads down between 2 a.m and 2 pm each day. Two marker floats were placed some 120 yards apart and 80 - 100 yards from the shore. The area in front of the maker floats was baited heavily each day with cooked maize and boilies. Each day we baited a little closer to the shore. The North Easterly had stirred up the margins and the water was heavily coloured. Getting your bait wafting around in the turbulent coloured water seemed to do the trick However, this brought the fish in much closer and eventually we were catching on short casts of no more than 30-40 yards during the mornings but needing to get farther out to keep catching later in the day. Successful tactics seemed to be two 18 ml scopex or honey yucatan boilies topped off with a 18 ml pop-up. Also popped up maize with about 6-8 grains on a hair worked well Heavy tackle is the name of the game on the St Lawrence with boulders the size of cars waiting to snag you up and zebra mussels that will cut through your line like butter if you make the mistake of believing that you don't need a leader. The North easterly persisted for about 8 days, keeping temperatures very low but we put up three bivvies which gave us protection from the conditions. G.B. (Golden bks) was now fishing the nights as well. We would be woken from our cozy sacks at the most ungodly hours with "Can you come and photograph this 36 lber". Eventually, one by one we gave in and towards the end of the first week most nights would find at least three of us facing the elements.

By now we were averaging about 30 fish per day between 3-4 of us, a good proportion of these fish were thirty pounds plus. Ian Whitwell had the best single days catch of the two weeks with 27 fish to 33lbs in one day. By the beginning of the second week the weather had improved considerably with much warmer temperatures but continuous rain. Day 9 finally saw the rain ease and blue skies appear and GB struck again with the first 40 of the fortnight. The grin got wider and we couldn't shut him up for hours. At one point he was close to joining the fish - but it was a beautiful carp. The very essence of St Lawrence Carp.

As the sun came out everyone got down to the serious fishing. We were joined for the 2nd week by Mary Crouch from Wantage in Oxfordshire who had chosen to bivvy up for two weeks and Adrian Phillips from Brentwood in Essex, a non fishing personage who just came out for a bit of a break and went home having caught a 20lb fish. No one could get the indomitable Mary away from the river bank and she and Jamie struck up a partnership which saw the pair of them take the river apart in the second week. When we left on the 29th Mary had had over 100 fish with her biggest being 40lb 2oz. And she still had a week to go.

Jamie ended up with 77 fish with two forties in his haul. Everyone who fished broke their personal best common except yours truly, who has still to catch that magical 40lb fish, my best being 39lb 12 oz from a previous trip. Despite the fact that I spent the majority of the fortnight getting the place ready for the season I still managed 31 fish to 37lb 3 ozs.

The video boys were kept busy throughout and have come home with over 18 hours of tape, including some great underwater shots of fish being played. Not bad considering that the water was probably only a degree or two above freezing. When we left the site was looking great. The new cabin is superb with two double bedrooms each with ensuite bathrooms. The camper trailers have all been refurbished and have wooden balconies overlooking the river. A new jetty has been built allowing easy access for the boats.

When we had finished our exertions for the day we would sit on the balconies drinking our Buds, eating our buffalo steaks and chicken cooked on the barbecues and reflecting on this amazing place where fishing fantasy becomes reality. Where else in the world can you have such fishing within two minutes walk of your luxury accommodation. Where, in the warmer weather in the summer, you will be lucky if you can get both baits in the water at the same time. For the first 8 days of our holiday we faced conditions which, in Britain, would invariably keep the most committed of carp anglers firmly indoors - yet we caught. We caught fish of our dreams and everyone has vowed to be back again soon for further action with the mighty St Lawrence Carp.
Andy Shattock
5 June 2000

St. Lawrence Carp Adventure - CHRIS SMITH & JOHN DENNIS

No enlarged version available

No enlarged version available

No enlarged version available


We arrived in Montreal after finishing our meetings late Friday afternoon and transformed ourselves from city suited businessmen to fully garbed fishermen within five minutes in the men's toilets in the airport. We were ready to tackle the mighty St Lawrence river carp.

Joe Babbitt met us at the luggage carousel and soon we were in his four wheel drive GMC open truck making our way to Waddington. Whilst we sat in the front our suits in the open back sure got a good airing.

After an easy 80 minute drive on clear roads, spent swapping fishing tales and hearing from Joe about the week by week and month by month carp catches that, in Britain would be pure carp fishing fantasy, we crossed the border into the US and made a pit stop at Wal-Mart to purchase beer, tortillas, biscuits and 5 day fishing licenses. At 20 dollars a license this was not going to be expensive outlay for what was in store.

Joe had us fishing within an hour of our arrival at the site. Rigged up with 3.5 test curve rods, 15 lb main line, 50lb mono shock leaders and 3-4 oz leads attached by Korda line clips our fruit flavoured boilies were soon on beds of 201bs of cooked corn - baited up by Joe from his power boat, 60 yards out from the bank. Within five minutes we were into fish and from that point it was non stop action all evening. It would be impossible to describe each fish individually. The takes were awesome with alarms screaming incessantly as carp after carp fell for our baits. Initially it was low twenties but soon the bigger fish started to show. Between 6pm and 10 pm on the Friday evening we caught 25 carp, fifteen 20 pounders and 10 carp over 30 pounds. The thirties, all commons, went:- 32lb4oz, 31lb6oz, 34lb7oz, 37lb.3oz, 33lb, 36lb, 37lb4oz, 37lb.5oz and to cap it all the last fish of the evening went 39lb7oz.

After an amazing first evening, we stopped at 10 pm to go to bed, very happy but tired. We got to the trailer in a state of disbelief that our previous personal best had been well beaten not once, but time and time again. We were convinced that the fishing we had just experienced could not be bettered. How wrong we were.

Saturday arrived with warm sunshine and bleary eyes. At 8am in the morning Joe took us for a quick trip down the road to the local diner down the road for cholesterol city with maple syrup.

By 10 am we were back on the river. Joe had baited up once again with copious amounts of corn and boilies and we were ready for action. However, we could never have anticipated the amazing events which were to unfold during the day.

With 6 rods between Joe, Chris and I, plus Michael, Joe’s 10 year old helper, we were straight away into a shoal of very large fish. It was exhausting work but great non stop action for the next 6 hours. Fish losses were inevitable despite using 35lb Kryston braid hook lengths and Size 1 or 2 Drennan Continental boilie hooks. The huge boulders, weed and the zebra mussels with their razor-sharp shells made things tough going at times. After lunch, however, the St Lawrence lived up to its reputation for amazing and awesome fishing. Even Joe, a seasoned St Lawrence riverman, was surprised at the events of the next few hours.

First of all Chris made contact with a lump at 2.30 p.m. It was clearly a big fish. At 2.32 John found himself attached to a biggy and had to get into Joe's boat to get beyond the weed bed in front oh him. Then 10 yr. old Michael took a take on John's second rod at 2.35 p.m. with all three now into very big fish.

Some twenty minutes later all three fish were on the bank and the Avon scales we had with us proved inadequate for all three fish.

Michael ran up to the tackle shed and returned with 60 lb Ruben Heaton Scales. We knew that we had bit the jackpot but what was the prize? The outcome of this amazing twenty minutes was a 44.lb 4oz carp for Chris, a 42lb 8oz fish for John and a 39lb 12oz fish for an exhausted Michael. Even whilst these fish were being weighed and photographed, Joe and Chris banked further fish of 37lb 8oz and 34lb 6oz. We could not resist the temptation to have a multiple fish photo. What a quintuplet of fish.

By the end of the day we landed a total of forty-six carp with only two below twenty pounds and the majority over thirty.

At 7pm we packed up too exhausted to continue. We slowly made our way back to the lodge to celebrate with beers and tortillas. We were in bed by 9pm, physically worn out, with aching arms and backs, and soon were asleep. With 10 hours of undisturbed sleep behind him, John woke up at 6.45 a.m. on Sunday and cooked a full breakfast. An hour later we walked the short walk down to the swims from the trailer. We noticed that the wind had changed to a strong cold northerly and quite frankly we were not very optimistic about our chances.

We were right. Until the sun broke through at 11 a.m. it was slow, with four fish between us up to 251bs. Suddenly, at 1 45pm, everything changed as the fish once again found the extensive beds of corn pre-baited earlier. When Joe returned with our lunch, John was playing another big fish. Once again we had to take to the boat to land the fish. As the fish rolled into the net Joe exclaimed. "This must be a fifty" The frame of the fish was huge. However, when on the bank it was obvious that it was a very long but not very deep fish. The scales, however, still recorded yet another fish over forty pounds this one going 42lbs 5ozs. Other fish caught that day went 39lb.6oz, 38lb.4oz, 35lbs, 33lbs.5oz, 31lbs.5oz, 29lbs, 26lbs.3ozs, 27lb.4ozs, 26lb.4oz, 21lbs, 18 lbs, 17 lbs

In all, we caught over a ton of fish during the weekend. Quite simply the fishing at Waddington is truly amazing. The hospitality of Joe and his never ending efforts to ensure the very best fishing experience for his clients is second to none. The St Lawrence Experience is something no carp angler should miss.
Chris Smith and John Dennis
1st November, 1999

Carp-Dreams Come True: The St Lawrence Experience - MARTIN JAMES

Fly fishing the ocean has taken over much of my fishing time. Having said that, I still try to fish for all species in both fresh and saltwater when time and conditions allow, especially the chub in winter on my local river, the Ribble.

Recently I visited the United States to chase striped bass in Chesapeake Bay in the State of Maryland. Before the striper bass fishing part of the trip. I had arranged to visit Up-State New York to fish for muskies, smallmouth bass, and trout and I was going to fish the St Lawrence river for carp, muskies and small mouth bass. These latter two species with a fly rod. I would also spend sometime fishing the Grass and the Ausable trout rivers. The latter is rated as one of the Blue Ribbon trout streams in the State. My carp fishing was booked with Joe Babbitt's St Lawrence River Experience near Ogdensburg.

The trip started as usual with my arrival at a wet and windy Manchester airport where I was booked on a Continental flight aboard a Boeing 777 for Newark, New Jersey. And why does it nearly always rain when I fly out of Manchester? At Newark I changed flights for the short haul up to Montreal, arriving at the Canadian destination around dusk, where it wasn't much different from wet and windy Manchester.

John, a good friend of Joe Babbitt's, met me at the gate, collected my bags then led me through a throng of people to his four wheel drive vehicle. Here I met up with my fishing companion for the next couple of weeks, Greger Johnson from Sweden.

John said "It's about an hours drive south to the American border. Then another hour to the village of Waddington, a few miles from the main city of Ogdensburg. At the border we were asked for our passports and green cards. After a quick check we were waved through. Some two hours after leaving Montreal we were at Joe Babbitt's camp on the banks of the St Lawrence river where, they say, dreams are made for carp anglers.

After a very friendly and warm greeting from Joe Babbitt, Greger and I were shown to our cabin home for the next few days. It was warm, comfortable and clean with an excellent kitchen area and a wood burning stove for those cold nights. (In late September/early October the thermometer can go below zero degrees F.) My first job was to make some tea, then off to bed for a good nights sleep. As I sat sipping tea, Joe told me all about the fishing available. In one sentence he said "You might catch a forty perhaps a fifty pound carp". I thought a twenty pounder would satisfy me! His next sentence really got me excited when he said "There are some good muskie, pike and small mouth bass in the St Lawrence and the Grass River". Then it was off to bed.

Sometime after nine o'clock next morning Joe knocked on the door." Martin and Greger, you want some breakfast?" It sounded a good idea, I shouted back "Give us fifteen minutes".

After showering and dressing in fleece and shirt we were ready for bacon and eggs. As we piled into Joe's vehicle I noticed the vehicles, buildings and ground were covered in frost. The wood burning stove had certainly done a good job of keeping us warm through the night. It had certainly been a cold one.

During the short drive to Joe's favourite diner in Madrid I spotted a group of five deer, several skeins of Canada geese and a group of mallard. The trees looked wonderful in all their magnificent fall colours. Joe said "I use this diner in Madrid because they bake their own bread daily and the food is good". That was OK with us. After the crispy bacon and eggs, home made bread with lots of fresh coffee served by a good looking blond waitress - we were ready for the day ahead.

Joe said "Come on, I will give you a tour of the area and we can take a look at the Grass river" The Grass river at Madrid and Caton was a mixture of slow deep pools, fast shallow runs and steady glides. We liked what we had seen. It certainly looked fishable. The riverside trees and bushes were quite magnificent in the autumn colours of reds, gold, oranges and yellows. The autumn sunshine of course made them look even more spectacular. No doubt the view would have been different on a cold wet misty morning!

At Caton we stopped for coffee. Two hundred yards below the coffee shop on the far bank was a most magnificent soft red maple tree casting its beautiful red reflection across the river. During the following days at Madrid and Caton, Greger and I caught many smallmouth bass on a white and red clouser minnow tied up on a size one hook in conjunction with a floating line and a six weight rod.

During that first day tour, we visited the City of Ogdensburg, the local tackle shops, the farmers market where we purchased some fruit at what seemed like bargain prices. Then it was off to visit Wall-Mart for the necessary fishing licence. Greger, on his first visit to the States, was amazed and virtually speechless at the cheap prices. "No wonder we call it Rip Off Britain" I said to Greger. He thought the same about his country. I spotted a fly/spinning rod marked up at twenty seven dollars and purchased one. It was a four piece seven and a half feet in length for use with a six weight line or casting weights up to half an ounce. At this price I couldn't go wrong. It would be ideal for those days when I take a beginner fly fishing or spinning. Greger thought the same and purchased six rods. One for himself the others for his friends back home. Having got our permits we could go off fishing.

Back in our cabin, Greger and I sat around with Joe drinking tea and talking about the fish in the river below our cabin. Joe told us "The weed bed alongside the jetty holds bass, pike and the occasional muskie and of course carp. Further along the bank to the left the water backs up. That's a good area for carp with many twenty and thirty pounders being caught. Sometimes an angler will land a forty pound plus fish". I asked Joe about tackle and baits.

"We have various types of carp rods including Voodoo model carp rods from Masterline International, Shimano bait runner reels which are all spooled up with the best branded lines. Fox bite indicators and rod rests, bed chairs, seats, landing and weigh nets, weigh mats and scales. In fact everything a carp angler needs". I reckoned one of the great benefits of using the St Lawrence River Experience for carp fishing is, it takes away the worry of transporting your bait and tackle across the pond. You don't have to worry about baggage handlers breaking your valuable rods or the airlines getting them lost. For a one-off payment of fifty pounds sterling you can use all of Joe's top class tackle. You can of course bring your own tackle and save fifty pounds sterling. Personally for peace of mind, I would advise you to make that one-off payment.

I would also advise you take a good waterproof coat and some thigh waders. In fact you would be better off with a pair of chest waders. If you don't have a pair you can buy some in the States where they are cheap. Chest highs will allow you to wade out on the shallows when playing a big fish. A small rowing dingy is available should you get weeded by a big fish or snagged up. Of course having a boat on site allows you to bait your chosen swim more accurately. Boiled baits and corn are supplied, in fact Joe will bait your swim in advance.

On our second day Greger and I decided to give carp fishing a try. He had never caught one, they don't have them where he lives in Swedish Lapland. Our tackle consisted of twelve foot, two and three quarter pound test curve rods, bait runner reels and all the other bits and pieces of tackle. Weights were four ounce, lines fifteen pound breaking strain with a fifty pound shock leader. The river is huge with big cargo-carrying ships and tankers designed for the ocean moving up and down river all the day and night. All this activity didn't stop the carp from eating.

I felt I was fishing the ocean. I did say to one of the anglers, "All I need is to change the boilie for a bit of squid then I could imagine I was fishing Dungeness for cod or bass!" The size 1 hair-rigged hook was baited with two standard boilies with a pop-up on top. The whole lot was then thrown out some fifty or sixty yards into the river. Some anglers were casting even further. What I will say is, the fishing is incredibly easy. Put in the time and you can soon build up a big list of carp with thirty and perhaps forty pound fish to your credit. If you're extremely lucky you might get a fifty pounder. Then you get a free weeks holiday. Even the kids catch thirty pounders.

Some twenty minutes after casting out his bait, Greger had a take. Picking up the rod he found himself attached to a moving object. Using a pumping action Greger soon had his first ever carp in the landing net, a beautiful common that weighed twenty one and a half pounds. Some ten minutes later my bite alarm sounded its strident note. Picking up the rod I felt myself hooked into a heavy object. No line was given and apart from the fish shaking its head a few times, I just pumped the fish in towards the landing net. It felt like a cod with its head shaking but turned out to be another beautiful looking common that weighed eighteen pounds. I stayed fishing for another half an hour taking another common carp of 25lbs. It was time for tea and some fly casting from the jetty in the hope of catching a smallmouth bass.

The next day was spent sight seeing and some fly casting practise, but after tea I went off and fished for the carp which is a very sociable occasion. Everyone sits around chatting until a bite alarm sounds its warning of a take.

Using the same tackle as the previous day, I cast out two boilies with the pop up on top then joined the other lads. Ten perhaps fifteen minutes later the indicator sounded. I picked up the rod and felt the fish which I could see was moving to my left. I crammed on some pressure to stop it, then started to pump the fish in, suddenly the line went slack. One nil to the fish. Winding in, I found the bait to be OK and threw it back out to the same baited spot. Thirty minutes later I was attached to another fish. This one took about five yards of line, then it was the pumping game. Lower the rod, take in the line, lift and repeat. Soon a good carp was a few yards from the net - where it decided to jump, but couldn't quite lift its tail from the water We all shouted in excitement at this unusual behaviour. You don't expect carp to try tail walking!

That was the highlight of my carp fishing on this trip. A couple of minutes later it was netted. It looked a good one. It was. My first thirty pounder, weighing thirty pound four ounces. For two or three minutes it felt good to have caught a personal best carp, then I realised it's all so easy on the St Lawrence river with Joe Babbitt. Give me a bass from the ocean on a fly rod any day I thought.

Half an hour later I caught a fully scaled mirror carp weighing twenty four pounds. Everyone thought this was an exceptional. Someone shouted "What a fish, you only capture one of these in a thousand". I couldn't understand all the fuss. Later I had another good common weighing about twenty five pounds. That was the end of my carp fishing. Personally I thought it was all too easy and boring. Cast out, wait for a fish to hook itself then wind the fish in. For those who like to catch lots of big carp, my advice is go and fish the St Lawrence River Experience with Joe Babbitt. You're guaranteed a lot of string pullers and from my experience, it's excellent value for money and I witnessed the other anglers catch a lot of big fish.

There are three types of package. If you want to fish twenty four hours a day then the Bivvy Package is for you. It will also of course keep your costs down. This package includes: A top quality bivvy, bed chair, sleeping bag, lantern/lamp per person, cooking stove, pots, all the utensils one needed for the week, igloo cooler box, toilet facilities, communications equipment and a first aid kit. There is boat to ferry you to the various swims with a twice daily visit from Joe. He will also collect and deliver paid-for supplies and food to your bivvy. Joe also brings ten pounds of cooked maize per person a day for baiting up your swims.

For those of you who want to bring the wife or girlfriend, perhaps the children, do some fishing but also spend some time touring the area, visiting the shops, museums, art galleries etc. Then the package for you is the self catering/trailer home. Accommodation is in a two or four berth trailer with electricity and running water, bed linen, pillows, towels, crockery, cooking utensils, shower and fridge freezer. Fresh milk and bread will be delivered to your trailer home on your day of arrival.

For two couples going across for some fishing and other holiday activities, I can thoroughly recommend the self catering cabin with its two bedrooms, both fitted with en suit shower and toilet. There is a good size kitchen with lounge area that looks out over the St Lawrence river. Everything you need is supplied.

For further details write to The St Lawrence Experience

or E-mail me martin@flyfish.demon.co.uk
Martin James
19 February 2001

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