Species of UK
and methods for Carp
Common name: Carp
Latin name: Cyprinus carpio
Common, Mirror, Leather, Linear, Grass, Crucian
and Koi carp
Current UK Rod Caught Coarse Fish Record
CARP (Mirror) (Cyprinus carpio)
68lbs 1oz - 2016
- Dean Fletcher,
A bit of Carp History:
It was in the early 1300’s that carp were introduced into England and Wales from mainland Europe. Carp were imported by monks as a food source and reared in stew ponds. Today, carp are found in almost every river, lake and pond in the country.
In the early years carp were difficult to catch as Izaac Walton wrote in his book, 'The Compleat Angler', "And my first direction is, that if you will fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience, especially to fish for a river Carp: I have known a very good fisher angle diligently four or six hours
in a day, for three or four days together, for a river Carp, and not have a bite. And you are to note, that, in some ponds, it is as hard to catch a Carp as in a river." (
from The Compleat Angler ).
Over the years carp
angling became more
popular and anglers
set out specifically
to catch carp. In 1952
the legendary anglers
Richard Walker was the
first to catch
Britain's first 40lb
carp. Now in 2008,
carp are one of, if
not the most, sought
after fish by anglers,
with many carp
societies popping up
dedicated solely to carp. From the days of greenheart and split cane coarse fishing rods we now have specialist carp rods made of high grade carbon with Zirconium ceramic guides and electronic bite alarms.
Carp are not as popular in Australia:
Carp in Australia are described as pests and it is illegal to return a carp to the water once caught.
Extract from - New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
In high densities carp can contribute to increased water turbity, nutrient loads and algal concentrations. They also play a part in erosion of stream banks as well as reductions in the numbers and diversity of aquatic plants, native fish and macro-invertebrates.
Along with habitat degradation, poor water quality, reduced environmental flows and barriers to migration, carp have been identified as a major threat to Australia's freshwater fisheries. They should not be returned to the water alive and strict penalties apply for translocation of carp. Live carp may not be used as bait.
Check the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries web site or read more at http://www.coarsefish.net
Description of and habitat Carp:
There are different variants of carp, the main being:-
Common carp - fully scaled carp
Mirror carp - scaled with large, uneven mirror like scales. Where there are no scales the body is smooth.
Linear carp - scale less except for a row of large scales that run along the lateral line on both sides.
Leather carp - smooth bodied, virtually unscaled except near dorsal fin.
Grass carp - similar to the common carp but normally has a longer, thinner body.
Ghost carp - same as the common carp but it is all white with two black eyes.
Koi carp - this is more of an ornamental fish. Similar to the common carp but its colours include orange, black, red, yellow, and a combination of these colours.
The reasoning behind the variants is supposedly:- Carp were bred by the monks in 'stew' ponds and bred for eating. Descaling them was quite a task that no-one liked, so they were bred with less scales (= less messing about descaling). Makes sense but I'm not sure if this is correct!
Similar to the barbel, a carp has four barbules its mouth. The carp is brown to greenish brown or golden brown in colour with a lighter brown, cream underside. The leather carp and mirror carp are usually a darker colour than the common carp. Carp are amongst the longest living fish species in the Britain and live up to around 20 years of age but carp of 60 years have been recorded. (Raspberry, a female living in Redmire Pool,
Herefordshire, who is believed to be at least 60 years old)
The 2008 British carp record is 67lb
(this has since been
beaten) caught by John Bird at Connington Lake in Ashford. The carp is known as Two Tone. Don't expect to catch a carp this big, this is a specimen carp and carp of this size are few in Britain. A Carp of 10lb to 20lb is more likely.
Carp can be found in all waters, but are fished for predominantly in stillwaters. The carp feed extensively on bottom living invertebrates, fresh water shrimp, snails, insect larvae, caddis larvae, nymphs, crustaceans and molluscs, grubbing around among the bottom debris for the many micro-organisms which live there. They will also consume water plants and fish fry.
Fishing Methods for catching Carp:
Carp are caught using various methods including float, ledger or feeder. The feeder or ledger is generally the first method anglers try when fishing for carp and is a popular method used by specimen anglers fishing for carp. There are also many baits for catching carp and some carp anglers swear by the use of boilies. Although boilies are a good bait don't overlook the other baits such as sweetcorn and those listed above. A guide to the
basic tackle needed for carp fishing is; a rod with a 2 lb test curve (or a heavy feeder rod) fitted with a fixed spool reel filled with 10 lb main line and 18 - 24 inch 4 lb hook length and size 4 hook. Throw some 'free' offerings into the water where you are about to fish then get tackled up. If feeder fishing, bait your hook and use an open-end feeder filled with a groundbait mix with some of your hook bait mixed in. Cast in over the
free offerings and when the feeder has reached the bottom, wind up the slack in the line then wind in a bit more till there is a sleight bend on your rod tip.
Baits for catching Carp:
Luncheon meat, boilies, trout pellets, Chum mixer or any other dog or cat biscuits, tiger nuts, peanuts, maize, worms, dendrobaena worms, red worm, brandlings, bloodworm, bread (either crust, punch, flake or paste), casters, maggots, pinkies, and sweetcorn. Carp are also caught using a floating bait like bread crust. Carp respond well to groundbaiting so if you can, pre-bait the area you are going to fish. Lay a bed of groundbait using
brown crumb or continental groundbait with hemp or sweetcorn, casters, chopped up worms or a mix of these and some of your hook bait mixed in. Tiger nuts and peanuts are also used for groundbaiting but these should be thoroughly soaked beforehand.
always carry and use a carp mat for unhooking your carp.