Angling for Carp
More than ever before, Americans are discovering the exciting world of sport-fishing for carp. It’s not difficult to understand why. Common carp can grow large, often exceeding 30-pounds in weight (sometimes reaching 40- or 50-pounds) and fight harder than almost any other freshwater fish. The size and power of even a small carp can provide the fish of a lifetime for the new or young angler.
Carp can be caught on many types of bait such as bread, worms and sweet corn and are an increasingly popular target for fly-fishermen. If your state allows it, chumming with a few cans of sweet corn the day before can pay dividends and, with a few grains of sweet corn on a size 8 hook and 10-pound line, you could find yourself connected to one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish in the world.
Although carp fishing requires no special equipment, it’s advisable to use heavier equipment than you would for bass or crappie. These are powerful fish so don’t leave your rod unattended. A carp taking a bait can be an explosive event so it’s advisable to set the drag on your reel loose or use a bait-runner reel.
But carp are not always so easy to catch and landing the biggest fish can often turn into a life-long pursuit. The carp has a capacity for learning that means it is often wary and spooks easily. They will challenge even the most accomplished angler to learn stealth and watercraft skills.
Lastly, carp are abundant in North America. Common carp were federally introduced more than a hundred years ago and, because carp are able to survive adverse conditions, they are often given the unfortunate reputation for being trash fish. The truth is that carp much prefer clean waters with plenty of natural food sources but they can often be found flourishing in inner-city rivers and park lakes. This means that the specimen-sized fish of a lifetime could be no more than a couple of blocks from your house.
Carp angling is accessible, affordable, challenging and exciting. Foster a greater appreciation for the environment and establish your angling legacy by introducing someone to the growing sport of carp angling.
Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.