Carp-l FAQ - Carp


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  1. Where do Carp Come from ?
  2. What Carp Breeds Are there?
  3. So What is Carp fishing about ?
  4. How Can I Guessing the weight ?
  5. Are there any tips on handling Carp ?

2.1 Where do Carp Come from ?

Cyprinus Carpio, Carp, are a member of the Cyprinade family originated in Asia, primarily China and were bread as early as 1000 BC for food. It was from China they were introduced to Japan and later to Europe both as ornamental fish and as a food and are still eaten today in some of the eastern European countries. Carp were introduced into the US by the Carp Commission of President U. S. Grant around 1877. They were brought in as a food fish. Other food species were in decline and carp were thought to be a good solution.

Carp are a large omnivorous fish, yellow-green and brown in color. They have two barbells on each the upper jaw. Carp can live alone of in schools in mud bottomed lakes, ponds, and rivers. The female deposits her eggs on plants or deqitus in shallow water usually during the spring. Eggs take between 4 and 8 days to hatch. Carp reach sexual maturity around their third year an can live to 50 years. Whilst the average carp is 35 cm they can grow to 100 cm and weigh up to 50 Lb.

The common carp is the original strain with the mirrors being genetically bred out of the stock. I have talked with a few people I know (who know lot more than me) and they have said that genetically the common carp has the more dominant alles. Which means if a water with 50/50 of each is left for a (long!) time , the water will eventually revert back to all commons !

In China, Carp were the first fish to be bread for food with several domesticated verities emerging. Chinese domesticated verities include the Mirror Carp (a few large scales), The Leather Carp (virtually scale-less) and the Crucian Carp which is barbell-less and is a relative of the gold fish

The Japanese were responsible for breeding Koi Carp, which are large ornamental verity with mixture of colors including White, Orange Gold, and Black.

2.2 What Carp Breeds Are there?

Common Carp - The usual carp lost of small uniform scales all over

Leather Carp - No scales

Mirror carp - Small numbers of large scales

Liner Carp - Like a mirror but with scales along the lateral line only

Grass Carp - Similar to the common but with a chub shaped body and upturned mouth

Italian Carp - Mainly Grey in color mirror and common's torpedo shaped head

French Carp - More golden in color mirror and commons large shoulders and down turned mouth often deep stomach

English Carp - Browns and Gold color with down turned mouth and streamline body

Other breeds include Silver Carp, Snail Carp, Big-head Carp

2.3 So What is Carp fishing about ?

Carp are often consider stupid and easy to catch. Well I an not so sure, there has been much debate re the memory of fish. A much quoted "fact" being that goldfish have a memory of four seconds or something equally unlikely. I remember reading in an article by Richard Walker that he used to visit the record carp he caught after it had been installed in London Zoo Aquarium. When he did so he would feed it with various foods, but the one food it would never eat were balls of bread paste - the bait upon which it had been caught. This refusal to eat the paste continued until it died, some twenty-odd years after he caught it.

When I comes to fishing for Carp I can only quote some of the masters;

Izaak Walton - Author of "The Complete Angler" in 1653. writes:

"The carp is the Queen of Rivers: a stately, a good and a very subtle fish that was not first bred, nor hath been long in England"

Izaak also called the carp the river-fox - because "it is a very subtle fish and hard to be caught".

In his book Izaak suggests a date a hundred or so years before the writing of his book for the import and suggests that the importer was: "one Mr. Mascal, a Gentleman, that then lived at Plumsted in Sussex, a county that abounds more with this fish than any other in this Nation". Izaak was probably wrong, carp had been around in England for longer than that, but it shows that there was a general awareness that it was a foreign fish at the time.

Izaak stated that carp roe was in great demand by Jewish people in order to be made into caviar. The eggs of sturgeon were not admissible for kosher caviar because sturgeon are scaleless and, therefore, unclean.

Arthur Ransome author of "Swallows " and Amazons and "Rod and Line"

Arthur Ransome was an angling writer of great repute. In his great book (Rod and Line) he compared the feeling of striking into a carp to being "dragged out of bed by a grapple towed by an aircraft".

He stated that although the salmon may give a faster fight, no fish can compare with the dour, stubborn, raw power that a carp has.

Regarding carp fighting ability, while it varies from fish to fish , carp in the high teens seem to be the best off the mark , the long and streamlined males which rocket off like torpedoes when they feel the hook, taking long classic runs which really make you wonder what you've hooked into. The Low 20's seem to vary, with some being outstanding and others generally skulking about the bottom and swimming in circles The mid to upper 20's and fish into the 30's, again the fight varies. Typically set the hook and the fish doesn't move much right away and then a slow but very powerful run where you wonder weather the reel is going to explode under the pressure. It's Fish in the single digits and low doubles that really get your blood boiling. Especially if your using light float tackle. Their quick darting runs can be difficult to deal with, especially is fishing around snags.

If by now any one is left in any doubt about the exhilaration that can be found when Carp fishing, I suggest you try for you self. I for one am certain that after you have had your first fight with a carp over ten pounds you will be the one hooked ! Oh yes be prepared for it to last 15 minutes or more, the just do not stop.

2.4 How Can I Guessing the weight ?

Apparently there is a formula used by biologists that appears to work for most fish.

Length x (girth squared) divided by 800 = weight in pounds.

i.e. 20 inch fish with 10 inch girth would figure out to 2000/ 800=2 1/2 pounds and so on.

2.5 Are there any tips on handling Carp ?

Carp are a strong fish and quite heavy, this can be a problem when handling them out of the water . Placing the tip of you finger in the entrance of the mouth (after you have removed the hook !) will keep the fish quite still. No pressure is required just the presence of the finger is enough

2.6 What are a carp breeding habits ?

Carp do not build "nests". According to my references and consistent with Carp-l's observations carp move into the shallows as Spring water temperatures rise. They wallow around for awhile in large groups, but then break up into breeding groups (usually more males than females). The breeding groups thrash around with the female depositing eggs which drift freely until they attach themselves to some object on the bottom (they are adhesive). Not all carp spawn at the same time, so there are often post-spawn carp among those who are spawning. Spawning carp are usually not interested in eating, but post spawn carp are. So casting to post spawn carp among those who are spawning can be productive.

2.7 Records

2.71 Are there any line class records for Carp?

Yes, but I have not been able to find up- to date ones, this is how they stood in the early 90's

2lb 29lbs
4lb 35lb 4oz
8lb 48lb
12lb 75lb 11oz
16lb 57lb
20lb 57lb 13oz
30lb 39lb
50lb 26lb 12oz
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