Wild West Carping

Martyn Skoyles reports back on a recent trip to Texas in search of some spring sunshine, plus hard fighting common and buffalo carp.

I was lucky enough to visit Texas a couple of years ago, and get a small sample of the fantastic fishing on offer. There is a real element of the unknown to the fishing and not having a clue what you are going to catch next, and so ever since that first trip I’d been itching to get back and have another go.

The average size of the lakes is much bigger than in the UK, and often you will be fishing several thousand acres of water. However it’s rare that you will see anyone else carp fishing on all but a few of the lakes, with the species largely getting ignored by most anglers who instead tend to target the bass, catfish or perch.

Most of this trip was spent fishing on the 12,000 acre Lake Belton, a beautiful spot with clear blue water and a number of inviting bays and coves to fish from.

The first day proved to be a slow start, and having found an area that initially looked promising with a number of fish showing, it proved difficult to present a bait on the bottom due to a number of underwater trees and snags.

A re-think was needed and we jumped in the car and drove round to a different area that looked good on the map for the last few hours of the afternoon. This second spot looked perfect, and a couple of quick casts with just a lead showed that a lot less snags were present. Having got the rods out it proved to be a good move, as minutes later I was looking down at my first carp of the trip, a long lean common of just over 12lb.

Before heading back to the nearby ranch we were staying at, I spread a bit of bait around the area in the hope it would draw any nearby fish in for the following day. It was then time to head off for some of the best BBQ food I’ve ever tasted!

The fish certainly found the bait overnight, and next few days passed in a bit of a blur with regular action including a number of common and buffalo carp to just under 20lb as well as a couple of catfish. When a shoal of fish moved in the action would often be hectic, and on a couple of occasions I had two fish on at once which was interesting!    

All of the fish fell to maize or boilies, and were landed on 3lb Black Widow rods coupled with Emcast BR reels and 15lb Sensor line. The tackle certainly got tested to the limit with rocks, snags and fish trying to pull your arms out of the sockets!