The South Branch of the Raritan River is a big-carp hideout. The state-record carp was taken here in 1995, a behemoth tipping the scales at 47 pounds. It surely left behind some friends. First try the South Branch Linear Park in Clinton and Flemington (in Hunterdon County). Eight miles of access will bring you to water that hosts a hefty population of carp. Then work your way downstream. “The lower end of the South Branch, below Clinton and Stanton, is deeper. That’s where the really big carp are,” says state fisheries biologist Lisa Barno. Target turnoffs and bridge pilings near the river’s confluence with the North Branch in places like Duke Island Park near Hillsborough (Somerset County). Use 6- to 12-pound-test line, as carp are often line-shy, as well as small, sharp hooks and doughballs. Contact: Division of Fish and Wildlife main office (609-292-9450); Northern Region office (908-236-2118).