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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get a Scale!

Katy and I arrived at the Carp Lodge just after 1:00.  It was hot.  We unpacked and put things away.  We sat on the patio for awhile, visited, savored the view, and felt very fortunate.  

Right around 3:00 I got in my truck and headed up the river to a well known spot.  The water was high; it was in the brush, in the trees, and up in the grass.  The wading was challenging and so was the fishing.  In two hours of fishing I managed just one fish.  I felt darn lucky to get that one.  Here is a video of that Carp swimming away after being released.  

I was back at the Carp Lodge at 6:01.  The monitor shows the time.  The temperature had risen; now it was damn hot!  It was 111.7 outside in the shade and thanks to the air conditioning it was 75.6 inside.  I'm not estimating the temperature; the Oregon Scientific weather station tells us the temperature and humidity both inside and out.  It also tells us the wind speed.  I can say its damn hot but I need the thermometer to know just how hot it is.  

I netted the solitary Carp I caught in my new net; that thing is working great so far.  The Carp weighed 8.75 pounds.  That is a very typical Carp for the Columbia River.  I have caught many, many Carp that size so I had a good idea right away how much the fish weighed.  No matter how many fish I have caught I know how heavy that fish was because I weighed him.  When the net is empty is weighs 1.5 pounds.  

Here is the scale with the Carp in the net

Take off 1.5 pounds and the fish was within an ounce or two of 8.75 pounds.  For the temperature I need the thermometer to know the precise reading and for the fish I need a scale to get a precise weight.  

The more Carp fishing becomes popular the more I see pictures and videos of Carp where the length and/or weight are woefully misstated.  

Here is a picture of a Carp that someone posted on a fishing forum.  The writer stated, "I landed a personal best last week but it didn't fight nearly as hard! This one measured 35" and was SO THICK! Caught it on a size 14 light cahill nymph!"  

On my, if that Carp is 35 inches then it is about 40 inches from the stripping guide to the butt of the rod.  Maybe it is and if it is I stand corrected and will apologize.  I just don't think it is.  The 7 weight and the 8 weight I use for Carp are both 28 inches from the butt of the rod to the stripping guide.  I have an old 5 weight that measures 31 inches from the end of the reel seat to the stripping guide.  I don't have anything that is 40 inches from the butt to the stripping guide.  

Here is another picture from a fishing forum:

Here is the text from the writer:

"38" Carp on White Streamer

I was fishing for smallmouth bass when this target of opportunity came upstream to see what all the commotion was about when I caught a nice 18" smallmouth.
As I saw this bulge come through the water, I put my Shenk's White Minnow streamer 5' or 6' in front of him to catch his attention. He stopped, tailed and went straight for the streamer on the bottom. As soon as I saw my line twitch in the gentle current I set the hook and ZOOM! This rascal took off so fast that I didn't have to wind slack line onto the reel. It probably took me 10-15 minutes to land him on a 3x tippet."

Good grief...I don't think you can even see the stripping guide in that picture.  Maybe the shiny spot is the stripping guide.  Still, it sure doesn't look like a 38 inch Carp.  

So here is my thing.  If you are going to state the weight of a Carp, weigh it.  If you are going to state a length of a Carp measure it or at least measure the distance from the butt of your rod to the stripping guide.  A scale is easy to carry.  I like the one in my picture because it never needs a battery.  I also like it because it is half as thick as a digital scale so it takes less room in my pack.  A vinyl coated tape is easy to get at a fabric store or discount department store.  

Okay, okay, your thinking it was so darn hot at the Carp Lodge that I let myself get wound up about nothing.  I'm not wound up; I'm just saying get a scale.  And a tape too.  


  1. Funny....I know the post you are referring to. Out of curiosity, I just went and measured my 8wt BVK and the second guide is 40" from the butt. The fact that the first guide isn't even visible in that pic makes me highly doubtful to the 38" claim - Nice fish...but no 38"er

  2. Yep,

    Mr.P guilty as charged but by weight not length. That's why I'm very careful with noting my estimations now, in trouble with those in the know. I need a caliper scale to weigh a fish in my net and I know it, on the birthday list as the Father's Day mention went unheeded. And the other day here it was 108 at 1500 hrs. with at least 3 heating hours to go as I worked in my garden. Dang, a front moved in and destroyed our chance at passing 111F, our record high, probably by 2 degrees. I just wanted a record is all. But I wasn't fishng, just at home.


  3. Agreed. Carp are big, but most carp aren't THAT big. It sure helps to carry a scale and calibrate the eyes. I only break the scale out now if I think the fish is over 15 lbs.

    At the airport, waiting for Trevor. If I could find that crazy YouTube video of the "15 lber" I would post it.

  4. I like that British scale. Where did you track that one down Mr. P?

  5. Scott, I got it from Big Carp Tackle in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I just checked his site and the scale is currently out of stock. The owner is Dave. If you call him he may be able to order you one.

  6. Jim, take a look at your "favorite" forum...reports of a 30 plus lb mirror that took "exactly one hour to land."

    We might have to change our standing joke from 45 minutes to an hour...

  7. Scale is good. I've seen more gross errors than those described herein.