About carp

How do you tell a female carp from a male carp

The only definitive way is to perform a clinical investigation. There are, however, a couple of clues which will identify a male from a female carp. These pointers are:

The natural diet of the Carp

Leaping carp

Carp anglers will sit or lay for long periods waiting for a bite, they will often fish for 24 hours or more and this is why so much gear is needed. Cooking gear and food is essential to ensure an enjoyable trip. A bivvy or brolly is needed to keep warm and dry. Carp anglers usually use multiple fishing rods, as many as four, where they are permitted. The rods are placed on “rod pods” with bite alarms fitted which give an audible alarm when line is pulled through the sensor thereby alerting the angler to a bite. The bite alarms allow the angler to fish through the night and to sleep. Carp are a clever fish many have learnt through association that hooks with line attached are dangerous. They may have been caught before and will be nervous feeding over an artificially created feeding area.

In these circumstances it is essential to lull the carp into an false sense of security by firstly gaining their interest with a particularly desirable food such as sweet corn and hemp seed before you even attempt to place your hook bait. Carp (which are omnivores) have a natural diet which consists of algae, plants, insects, tiny crustaceans, water fleas, freshwater shrimps, insect larvae including black mosquito larvae, worms and molluscs. A favourite food of carp is freshwater snails. Carp have long and strong pharyngeal teeth which they use to good effect crushing the shells of snails and freshwater mussels. Tadpoles will be readily eaten by carp. In waters where tadpoles are abundant the carp will thrive and make good weight gains. During early spring on some lakes huge clouds of infant daphnia can be observed and this “orange shrimp soup” will be eaten by carp often to the exclusion of everything else until the daphnia reach a certain stage and sink to the bottom.

Foreign carp

Spawning carp

Carp anglers looking for a larger average weight of carp now travel to foreign destinations with France and Spain being firm favourites. In Spain the River Ebro has literally thousands of hard fighting fully scaled common carp with a few mirror and full scaled. Tour companies are available that will provide everything including tackle and bait, so you can just arrive and fish. The same can be said of France although in France the venues will be more rural and abundant. Many anglers travel to France every year in search of big French carp which are almost always larger than English carp. Once again companies are available that manage your whole trip for you, even picking you up in the UK and taking you by ferry to the lakes in France. Other carp fishing destinations include: South Africa, Hungary, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy. The world record carp was caught from Euro Aqua in Hungary. The potential for foreign destinations producing huge carp is great and so far carp anglers have only dipped their toe in the water. In the years to come I am sure there will be many massive carp caught from overseas lakes and rivers.

How does rain affect carp?

Rain creates oxygen, this extra oxygen has the affect of making all fish more mobile. This extra movement burns more energy which in turn needs to be replaced by feeding. After and during rain you can often observe carp leaping and jumping and generally become very excited. Rain is good for catching all freshwater fish, including carp. This is especially true in the warmer months. In winter the rain will be extremely cold, this lowers the water temperature. This lowering of temperature can have a negative effect, and catches will decrease. In these conditions carp will often sulk close to the bottom. Its a bit of an old tale that carp don't feed in the rain, they do! Its often ironic that just when you don't want a run, in the middle of a downpour, the bite will scream.

Carp species (carp types)

Carp have scales and teeth on the interior pharyngeal bone which may be modified depending on diet. Tribolodon is the only cyprinid genus which tolerates salt water, although several species move into brackish water, but return to fresh water to spawn. All of the other cypriniformes live in continental waters and have a wide geographical range.

UK record carp 67 lb 8 oz - Austin Holness – 2008 - Conningbrook Lake, Willesborough, Kent