About Carp Fishing

To paraphrase Izaak Walton about carp in The Compleat Angler, “The Carp is the queen of rivers; a stately, a good, and a very subtle fish; that was not at first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalized.”

Lake Fork at SunsetCarp is a common name for various species of freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The carp was introduced to the United States in 1877 with the approval of the federal government, which saw it as a cheap food source for a growing popu-lation. Carp came to Texas in 1881.

In the US, Texas is the only state with managed Carp waters, (Lady Bird Lake). The state’s first fish hatchery was a carp production facility at Barton Springs in Austin.

Carp fishing and carp tournaments are getting attention in Texas. Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake), located on the Colorado River in the heart of the capital city, is gaining a reputation as a world-class trophy carp fishery. The lake is home to the annual Austin Team Championship, which attracts anglers from several states and a few other countries. Lady Bird Lake was also the site of the 2006 Texas Carp Challenge, which caused quite a stir when one angler caught a 43.13-pound carp and won $250,000 for setting a new state record.

Common Carp

Kevin Olivier with a 24lb common carpThe common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is found in lakes and streams all over Texas. Although not a native species, it is well adapted to Texas waters and is gaining popularity as a sport fish. Carp grow big, fight very hard, and you don’t need a boat to fish for them.Common carp are very tolerant of most conditions, though they prefer large bodies of slow or standing water and soft, vegetative sediments. They can typically be found in small schools, although larger carp often lead a solitary existence.[4] They natively live in a temperate climate in fresh or brackish water with a 7.0 – 9.0 pH, and a temperature range of 35.0 – 85.0 °F.

Common carp are extremely popular with anglers in many parts of Europe, and their popularity is slowly increasing among anglers in the United States (though destroyed as pests in many areas). They can grow to a length of 3.9 ft and the oldest recorded age of a wild fish is 38 years. The largest recorded carp, caught by an angler in 2007 at Rainbow lake near Bordeaux, France, weighed 88.4 lb. The wild, non-domesticated forms tend to be much less stocky at around 20% – 33% the maximum size. In captivity, Cyprinus carpio have lived as long as 47 years

Smallmouth Buffalo

Keith Thompson with a 62lb Smallmouth BuffaloIctiobus and bubalus are both Greek words meaning “bull fish” and “buffalo”, respectively. The back and sides are light brown or otherwise dark with a coppery or greenish tent. The belly is pale yellow to white. Smallmouth buffalo scales are large, and the species sometimes be confused with common carp by the novice. However, buffalo lack the barbels of carp. Smallmouth buffalo, as opposed to bigmouth buffalo, have a distinctive sucker-type mouth, oriented downward.

Although some anglers consider smallmouth buffalo to be a rough fish, in many areas the species is highly prized. Specimens in excess of 82 pounds have been landed by rod and reel anglers, whereas the trotline record is 97 pounds in Texas. Buffalo will sometimes take doughballs made with cottonseed meal, and when hooked provide exceptional sport. Many people may be unaware that smallmouth buffalo is quite a food fish. It is the number one species sold by commercial freshwater fishermen.

References

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carp_fishing
TPWD – http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/smallmouthbuffalo/
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_br_t3200_1429.pdf