With Mulberry season in full swing, I decided to get my hands purple today. The lower Darby Creek area is well stocked with a variety of Mulberry trees. The key is finding one that is dangling it's tempting fruits over the local waterway. I have a favorite tree that has provided me with many a fond memory.
I arrived a bit later than I wanted to. Prime time in this tidal area for mulberry carping is two hours before through two hours after high tide. I started about 45 minutes into the outgoing tide which left a maximum of 1.5 hours of prime fishing. Turtles, catfish, carp and me all LOVE mulberries. I like the three varieties that Mother Nature offers in this locale, but my favorite is the pink mulberry. The carp don't seem to have a preference. The last couple of years I've caught significantly more catfish than carp while using mulberries as bait. I was hoping that would not be the case this season.
Mulberries are a fragile fruit and finding a good one for your hook bait requires some sorting. If the fruit is too ripe, it won't stay on the hook. Not ripe enough and it has a different buoyancy. They key is finding one that is firm but fruity.
You usually get one swing per mulberry, so you have to be alert. The slightest quiver of the float and I'm swinging for the fences. I had immediate action, but my timing was rusty. Lucky for me it wasn't three strikes and you're out. On my fourth try I hook my first carp, You know immediately if it is a carp or a catfish. The carp literally explode and your drag starts peeling. Nothing like hooking a 10 - 30 pound fish five feet from the bank.
My next hook-up is with a mid-size snapping turtle. In my small swim a painted turtle, red belly turtle, red ear slider and a massive snapping turtle were also sampling the tasty fruits. Thankfully, I only hooked the mid-size snapper. The massive snapping turtle was two feet from the bank, slurping berries as they fell from the tree.
I ended up landing two more carp before I ended my session. I'll be back a bit earlier tomorrow morning.