My first question would have to be “don’t count for what or for whom?”
It is a subject which as a resident in France, a holiday provider and a fishery owner strikes a chord. The fish in the picture is a very pretty 30lb+ mirror from the Orient, – “Does it Count?”
Ok! let’s wind back a bit and look at this fish we strive to catch. Carp have indeed been around for a long time and were farmed as far back as Roman times. And Carp were brought to the British Isles from the continent of Europe – as we are reminded by Izaak Walton in The Compleat Angler: – probably in the 15th or 16th Centuries:
“Hops and turkies, carps and beer,
Came into England all in a year”
Hops were introduced into England in approx 1428 but carp may have been introduced as early as the 1300’s the early writings are unclear and even the authorships are in dispute so we can only say that the carp was established in the UK by the end of the 1600’s
“King” Carp didn’t arrive into Britain until relatively recently. Donald Leney of The Hazlemere Trout Farm is responsible for the famous strain stocked into Redmire and other waters. These fish imported from Holland originating in the Galicia region of Poland were sold to many angling clubs and introduced into many waters which latterly became famous for the size of the fish they produced.
So like many other so-called British Institutions, all this suggests they’re not really British at all!
How long does a carp have to be resident in a water to count as an indigenous inhabitant – rather than an ‘artificial’ introduction?
These question raise a few points to ponder and is a subject that brings me back to a topic I have already written about, and touches the very essence of angling and its deffintion.
“Angling is the technique of catching fish using a rod and line; it is called “angling” because of the angle formed by the two. It has been suggested that the quintessential step of making fishing into a sport, rather than just a means of catching fish for food, was the invention of the rod. It is considered a sport, then when practised for enjoyment. Anglers sometimes attempt to catch only one type of fish, in our case the Carp, often limiting their equipment to increase the sport – Sports commonly refer to activities where the physical capabilities of the competitor are the sole or primary determiner of the outcome”.
- We set our stall to catch a fish that is not indigenous to Europe, let alone England. Surely then it is totally irrelevant whether we catch it in England, France, Spain or Morocco.
- The fish that are currently swimming around in Britain are all descended from fish introduced from Europe. What makes these fish more meritous than a batch of fish imported (legally) from Europe & stocked today?
- As we all strive to apply the rules of angling as stipulated above, than surely it matters little where we cast a line to achieve this goal. I have never had the chance to fish waters like Wraysbury, but I have obtained huge satisfaction catching big carp from lakes like the Orient.
I think at the end of the day Carp Fishing should be all things to all people, you need to set your own rules, your own aspirations, challenges and satisfactions. As the definition says it’s a sport practiced for enjoyment and so it should be.
It has been pointed out on a number of occasions that many French waters now are more pressured and harder than the English ones. So any fish caught should give at least equal satisfaction and thus merit.
Modern waters stocked to provide sport for the masses should not be sneered at by a handful of self-appointed snobs. If guys get satisfaction and enjoyment from fishing hard low stocked waters, then that’s fine, but many people just don’t have the time, or don’t want to take an activity as banal as fishing that seriously.
After 30 years fishing for carp, I don’t really want to fish overstocked stock ponds myself, but I understand and respect the chap who has one week a year to really have a crack, and wants his buzzers to sound as often as possible.
I have been down that road, in the early days at La Horre we caught over 45 fish each on one peg in just 24 hours to around 27lb. It was mad fishing. This would bore me silly now, I prefer just a couple of chances a day and a good fish I have to work for on the end of the line.
So basically all fish ‘count’ as long as there is enjoyment.