Modern Carp Fishing Part 1
Modern Carp Fishing Part 1
Modern carp fishing is very different from the traditional fishing style. Here in Germany and even more in Great Britain countless books and videos have been published to offer assistance to the Beginner. Additionally, there are various magazines just focussing on carp fishing. You’ll understand that it is impossible to explain to you about the various aspects (even if it is limited to the pure basics) in one issue only.
So for this issue I have planned to write about the different carp species, waters that could hold trophy size carp and about my favourite fishing spots. In the next issue you’ll get an introduction to the most successful carp baits; thereafter will follow a chapter about rigs, tackles, fish treatment and taking good photos of trophy fish.
So let us start learning the world of modern carp fishing!
All carps that are found in Europe exist in India too. In fact all of them have originally come from Asian countries and were introduced in Europe by traders or monks centuries back.
Personally I like to catch the different varieties of Cyprinus carpio: The common carp with a regular scale pattern on the full body and the mirror carp with only few scales placed at different parts of its body. Each carp enthusiast is extremely happy if he manages to catch a fish that looks different and rare. So the catch of a leather carp, linear carp or fully scaled carp is often classified as a special event and well worth a little celebration. Even if these fish all belong to the mirror carp variety they all show a very special scale design. The leather carp holds nearly no scales at all, the linear carp looks beautiful as it owns just one or two very regular lines of scales along the full length of its body and the fully scaled carp looks even more beautiful as loads of scales of different sizes cover its full body.
A Beautiful Common Carp
A Mirror Carp with Nice Scale Pattern
A Mirror Carp with nearly no scale ‘The Leather’
A True Liner Carp of 20Kg+ A Rare and Special Catch
The standard carps targeted by European carp fisherman are Common or Mirror but personally I’m always glad when I manage to catch a decent size grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella. Grass carp –even if they are pure vegetarians- often take the same baits as the normal carp and so it is not a rare sight to have mixed catches of standard carps and grass carp.
A Beautiful Grass Carp
Other carp species like the Silver Carp (Hypophtthalmichthys molitrix) or the big head carp (Hypophtthalmichthys nobilis) can be found in a few European waters too. They get stocked together with normal grass carp to control the weed and water plant growth. These special carp species need warmer water for successful breeding as Cyprinus carpio, so in most parts of Europe they can only exist as long as they get stocked into the waters. Natural reproduction is limited to very few waters. The silver carp or big head carp rarely get caught on our standard carp baits, in fact European fisherman have not yet found a good method to catch these magnificent creatures. Mostly they are landed when foul-hooked with artificial baits like spinners, plugs or soft plastic lures.
When I described the different varieties of carp you might already have noticed that I described the carp in a very special maybe even a personal way. The reason for our fishing is no longer focussed on catching fish for the kitchen. Carp fishermen like the style of fishing, love their high quality tackle and treat the fish with utmost care. All carps are released into the water shortly after catching them. Before they are released the fishermen first measure their weight and length and try to take some nice pictures of the carp.
After the fish has been returned to its natural environment, all important aspects of the capture are written down. This means details like the name of the water, the fish size, the biting time, the successful bait and the weather conditions will be added into a small note book.
Such notes help to increase the personal success and they are also of great value to identify changes in the fish stock or increasing fish weights. After a period of intensive fishing the fishermen are well aware of what is happening in their waters. They know about common biting times, best spots, useful baits and about the fish themselves. At small waters it is even possible to learn exactly about the stock of the water. Most carp can be identified by their special scale design and so fishermen can detect if they made a recapture, if they have caught a “famous” fish or if they have caught a new fish. On some waters the fishermen even give names to the fish. So there are famous carps in our waters with names like Mary, Basil, BigScale or Split Tail.
Good Carp Waters
Here in Europe carp of the Cyprinus Carpio species can be found in nearly every kind of freshwater, this means in all kind of lake, pond, canal or river. Not all of these waters are interesting for carp fishing specialist. The specialist is targeting waters that promise fish of more than average size. They want to catch the big ones. Nowadays several very good big fish waters are known in Germany and it is quite easy to find out about some of them. You just have to study the fishing magazines or to check the internet. But many good waters never get mentioned in the press. The local fishermen don’t tell about their success as they fear that the waters will get overcrowded if the public gets informed about their outstanding catches.
I have no idea about the availability of information about good carp waters in India. You should start your search by checking magazines or the fishing forums on the Internet or you can do it yourself. Go to your waters, ask other anglers or professional fishermen about their catches and the size, and look if you can see any fish close to the shore or basking in the sun. But remember: You’re looking for big carp waters! Not just for water that is holding carp or promising nice multiple catches of small fish! If you can detect loads of small fish the water might be wrong for your special approach. It is unlikely that it’ll hold any carp of monster size.
When looking for the right water you should pay attention to details like the climate, the depth of water, availability of natural food and should also consider about other species sharing the water together with the carp.
Climate: Shallow or medium deep water in a hot area –hot in the summer/mild temperatures in winter- is unlikely to produce very big carp. In such waters it is normal that the carp can breed successfully several times a year. So there are too many fish fighting for the natural food. They can’t grow big as there isn’t enough food available.
Depth: Deep water even in a hot area needs much longer to warm up. Natural reproduction will be reduced and as long as it isn’t too deep it might well be interesting for your big carp fishing. Too deep waters (more as 20m in average) offer very little natural food. The carp’s normal diet consists of crayfish, crab, mussels, worms and water insects. This food is normally taken from the ground. In very deep waters oxygen is minimal close to the bottom and sunlight is missing. No natural food in such areas! So the carp’s diet is limited to surface food –insects taken from the top. Pure surface food rarely offers a chance to a carp to grow to trophy size.
Natural food: There are waters where you can find empty shellfish and crayfish housings everywhere, waters where loads of insects can be found under every stone. If you find such places please give it a try. You should get a good result!
Loads of mussel shells, a fine indicator for a water rich in natural food
Other species: A water holding loads of predator species –fish that eat small carp too- might well be interesting even if it is shallow and situated in a hot climate area which allows several breeding periods. The predators reduce the stock of carp and so there is plenty of food for the bigger and medium size fish. This stamp of carp doesn’t have to fear the predator and can eat enough to grow to giant size. On the other hand waters that are only sparsely stocked with carp, but that have loads of other species competing for the food can be a bad choice when you are looking for good carp results.
Catfish Love Small Carps
There are many more aspects that could be considered when looking for the perfect water. I really fear if I go into much more detail it’ll get boring for you or you’ll get the feeling that it is an impossible task to catch specimen fish in your country. But believe me: It isn’t!
My favourite fishing spots
Every water even if it is looking the same wherever you look is holding some spots and areas that offer much better chances for regular catches. Find them and you’ll have success. You should look for places that are offering loads of natural food, places where artificial food is available (a restaurant or such throwing waste into the water), spots that are offering shelter during hot sunny days (like overhanging trees, water lilies or even bridges), places with a higher oxygen content (for example a small cold stream entering a warm lake), places with a different depth (a shallow area within a deep part is worth a try, and vice versa a deep hole within a shallow area might well be interesting too). In rivers it is worth to look for deep quiet areas like harbours, in canals every change within the monotonous structure it worth a try.
Bridges, always interesting fishing spots
A industrial canal, famous for it's nice carp
Even in small rivers there can be nice carp
A small pond or lake that holds huge carp
Natural lakes are my favourite carp waters
I could mention several additional details about fishing spots. Again I fear it might get either too boring or too complicated. Please don’t worry too much, just follow up my future articles and have a try. Surely many of you will find their way to success!