By Spider Rybaak
MINETTO, NY – Lintaro Kajiwara, a rising star on the international junior carp fishing circuit, tried his luck on the Oswego River the morning of August 18. For his efforts, he landed nearly 100 pounds of carp in less than an hour.
The 13-year-old resident of Warrenville, IL, came all this way to compete in the 9th annual St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament, held in Waddington, Aug. 19 and 20. The fishing on the St. Lawrence River during the two-day contest was disappointing for many of the 102 youths entered in the competition. Lintaro, and nearly half of the field of anglers, ended up skunked in the Waddington tournament—angler-speak for not catching anything.
Fortunately, his day on the Oswego River etched excitement into the budding athlete’s (he’s also an accomplished golfer) memory of his first trip to the Empire State. Mike McGrath, owner of Syracuse-based McGrath & Associates Carp Angling Services, made it all possible.
A North American spokesman for Japanese bait manufacturer Marukyu, McGrath is savvy to the Asian carp fishing scene. When he heard Lintaro would participate in the Waddington event, he invited the Japanese-born youth, his parents and Yohei Ochiai, editor of Japan’s “New Style Carp Fishing” magazine, to sample the fantastic carp fishing Lake Ontario’s second largest tributary had to offer.
“Using a formulated bait we landed about 500 pounds of carp in that session in Minetto,” said McGrath. “Lintaro played a major role. He landed almost 100 pounds of carp on his own in less than an hour and set the stage to eventually take my associates and myself to 500 pounds.”
Central New York’s foremost expert on carp fishing, McGrath knows the way to the leviathan’s heart is through its stomach. Mixing a wide variety of grains like corn, millet, puffed wheat and quick oats, he slathers them with fragrant toppings like reconstituted calves’ milk replacement and Marukyu sauce (a fish scent available exclusively through him). Mashing the ingredients into balls by squeezing it 12 times (he calls it his 12 pac), he lobs baseball –sized chunks into the drink, casts a bait into the chummed spot, hands his client the fishing pole, and suggests he prepare himself for battle.
The recipe proved too much for the carp to resist. Hooking their extraordinary sense of smell, it drew them from hundreds of feet away in such numbers their movements muddied the water.
“Carp are very social,” explained McGrath. “They travel in groups and have their own pecking order.”
Lintaro was accompanied by his parents, Munenori and Shiho Kajiwara. The son has fished on Lake Michigan, the Mississippi, Illinois and Chicago Rivers, and several smaller rivers in the Midwest. The family found the Oswego River to be a “very good place,” said Shiho, his mom.
The fishing got so intense in Minetto that magazine editor Ochiai never touched a rig. He had his hands full taking notes on McGrath’s fishing techniques (Shiho Kajiwara served as interpreter), studying Lintaro’s angling style, and photographing everything, including the beautiful surroundings.
“I took a white canvas approach to the day,” said McGrath. “Two cultures met…we started anew…both brought something to the table.”
They all got what they hoped for: Lintaro caught carp until his arms hurt—on new techniques, no less; his parents’ pride in their son grew a couple notches; Ochiai got his story; and McGrath proved that the Oswego River’s carp fishing is world-class.
“This type of angling that we have in New York State, with convenient services nearby, ais seldom found in other areas of the world,” said McGrath.
To learn more about carp and other trophy fishing opportunities in Oswego County go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or call the fishing hotline at 800-248-4386.
Spider Rybaak is an award-winning outdoor writer who has been published in more than 20 periodicals. He is the author of “Fishing Eastern New York” and “Fishing Western New York” guide books that cover 429 streams and lakes in New York State. Contact him at [email protected] Check out his blog at http://fishingandhuntinginoswego.