By Paul Cooper
Carp fishing has come on leaps and bounds over the past 20 years with carp care being at the forefront of the conscientious carp angler.
Even the sacking of carp is slowly decreasing with a more carp fisheries, banning the sack altogether. This has come about as a result of the occasional angler abusing the carp sack, by retaining a carp well beyond a safe period and causing unnecessary stress in doing so. The answer to this is in self photography which I have covered in a previous blog.
It’s stressful enough for the carp being hooked and brought to the bank then netted, so lets make the time it spends on the bank has comfortable as possible.
Before you even cast a line out, prepare your fishing area to receive a captured fish.
These steps may appear straight forward but they are necessary.
1. Assemble the landing net and have it within reach of the area for landing the fish.
2. If possible locate a fixed point which is at a reasonable and safe height to hang your scales in the proximity of the fishing area.
3. Fully wet your weigh sling and zero the scales in readiness to weigh a fish.
4. Have an adequate sized unhooking mat strategically positioned near to the area that you will land your fish.
5. Have a bucket of water in readiness, near to your photographing and weighing area.
6. If you are doing self photography, make sure that your camera is ready on a tripod with the air release system in place or your remote at hand and not packed away in a bag.
7. Have some form of antiseptic or wound seal available.
Now you are ready to fish.
Let’s skip the hours or days of wait for that first run and slip that carp into the net. With the carp safely netted, thoroughly wet the weigh sling, and zero the scales.
Wet the surface of the unhooking mat, especially in hot weather. Remove the netted carp onto the unhooking mat. Unhook the carp and transfer to the weigh sling.
Secure the sling which should safely be sitting on the unhooking mat.Place the weigh sling on the scales and weigh the fish.
Return back to the safety of the unhooking mat and prepare to take your trophy shot. At this point the carp has possibly been out of the water for few minutes and its stress levels are building up. Now is the time to wet the fish down with the water from the bucket. If the fish is thrashing about or has not settled, cover up its eyes and wait for the opportune moment to start taking the pictures.
The fish is almost ready to be returned to the water. Check for sores, lifted scales or line marks or mouth damage. If there is any, then treat each cut or sore on the fish. Now you can return the fish to the water, which needs to be safely secured in the unhooking mat or the weigh sling. Release the fish and remain with the fish until it freely swims off. This may take a few minutes for the fish to gain its strength; you caught it so you can remain with the fish until it swims off back to the safety of the lake.
That’s the first carp; now prepare everything again for another capture.
One thought on “Carp care – treat them with respect!”
Great advice – if everyone followed this procedure, all the carp would be better off for it.
Just one thing to add, never ever stand up whilst holding a carp ! I have seen people do this on my fishery and it is beyond belief. It is just lack of thought, but if you are standing up with a carp in your arms and the fish starts to thrash, it is likely that you will drop the carp, and this can have very serious consequences. The minimum will be damage to the body of the fish but more serious damage such as broken fins can occur, and it is possible that it may even lead to death of the fish – please do not ever stand up whilst holding a carp !