Game Fishing > Bottom Freshwater Fish types > Carp fishing

Carp fishing

Carp fishingThe carp is a native of Asia, and was introduced into America in 1831; its acclimation has been wonderfully successful, especially in the South, where it continues to grow throughout the year, and sometimes attains a remarkable size. It is a favorite of thousands of modest fresh-water anglers whose pleasure lies in quiet, peaceful delight, in the midst of restful scenery of the woods and meadows.

The carp is a handsome fish, with scales large in size and of a golden bronze color. There are numerous species of this family. The mirrow, or king carp, is named on account of the few and extraordinarily large scales, which run along the body in three or four rows, the rest of the body being bare.

The leather carp has on its back either only a few scales or none at all, and possesses a thick, soft skin which feels velvety to the touch. Then there is a golden carp, popular in small ponds and household aquariums. The common carp has become very abundant in certain lakes and rivers; those found in the latter are much the best for the angler and are of better flavor.

It prefers a muddy bottom, feeding principally on vegetable food, the seeds of water-lilies, wild rice, and water oats. In captivity it will eat lettuce, cabbage, soaked barley, wheat, rice, corn, insects and their larvae, worms, and meats of various kinds. They can readily be caught with dough, grains of wheat, worms, maggots, and sometimes pieces of meat or fish.

The carp is very tenacious of life, more so than any other fresh-water fish, with the exception of the catfish and eel. To insure the best sport when angling for carp requires great preparation and care. The line should be entirely of medium­sized round gut, clouded gut preferred, and a very light porcupine quill float, with one good­sized shot, placed about six inches from the hook, which should be a No. 5 or 6.

Bait it with a red worm, which should rest exactly on the bottom. The night before fishing a quantity of ground bait, composed of bread, kneaded into little balls, should be thrown in the place. Early in the morning, or late in the evening, is much the best time for carp fishing, and the all-important thing is to keep out of sight, as the carp is very shy and will not touch the bait if it sees the angler.

A forked stick can be put in the bank for the rod to rest on while the angler moves back out of sight, where he can lie down and so watch the float. Do not strike for some time after the float goes under; wait till it moves away, then strike hard, as the carp has a tough mouth and there is little chance of losing it.

Carp fishing is a difficult and uncertain operation, especially if the fish are large; they are very shy and wary and patient; staying around for some time before they touch the bait. Young carp, of two pounds or less, take the bait easier, and sometimes large ones will not be taken at all; some anglers, while fishing, throw worms into the water to get them near the bait; there is no fear of overfeeding as their appetite is unlimited. When hooked they pull pretty hard, but make no fight. Their excessive shyness makes angling for them much more interesting sport than it would otherwise be.