We all go fishing for different reasons, but there’s one thing all specimen anglers have in common (besides being tackle tarts of course). We all have a love and passion for catching BIG carp! We need to show some respect in return and do everything we can to care for our catch. All it takes is a bit of know-how; and you (and your catch) are good to go.
When you start out fishing specimen style; it can be difficult to adjust (not just because you’re using new methods, but because you’re evolving as an angler, mentally). We target bigger fish, but size doesn’t matter when it comes to preserving and caring for your catch. Just think about it; a 40lber once weighed four grams and it took him up to 25 years to reach that amazing size. If such a carp was caught during its’ infancy and not properly looked after; it would not be that mammoth size today. That is why all carp should be treated with equal care and respect.
Bigger fish play a vital role in an ecosystem. Not only do they give us sleepless nights; causing us to lie around, thinking of what might lurk beneath the water. But bigger fish make for quality broodstock.
The oldest ever (domesticated) carp lived 65 years, but there are a variety of factors that play a part in determining how old and big a carp can grow such as:
- The strain of carp
- Water volume (size of the dam, river, lake, quarry etc.)
- Water quality (temperature, dissolved oxygen content, pH etc.)
- Environmental conditions (weather)
- Amount of natural food/protein available
- Stocking density (how many fish are in the specific body of water)
- Predators (and the ability of the carp to avoid being eaten)
By caring, releasing and preserving carp we contribute to giving these marvelous creatures the best possible chance to grow to those epic proportions. Not only will we be able to catch bigger fish, but we also enable future generations to experience and enjoy the same level of angling.
Here are some fishy facts to put things into perspective:
- A female carp becomes sexually mature after ± 5 years; while male carp become mature after about 2.
- The larger the female, the more eggs she can produce at a time.
- Domesticated carp can grow ±1kg per year (in ideal conditions); while wild fish can attain growth rates of ±500-700g per year.
- A specimen carp (i.e. 10kg and above) can take up to 14 years to reach such a size. Yoh.
We all want to enjoy our angling; so fish sustainably, conserve carp and give them the respect they deserve. You might just find that the bigger fish tend to grace you on the bank more often!
Mag jy stink na vis!
by Wynand Roest
Read our Carp Care: Essential Tools article to get your caring tools in check.
If you have any carp facts to share, please leave a comment in the section below.