Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: Year of the Mirror Carp

I hit a number of milestones in 2012 in my carp fishing exploits.  They all all center around mirror carp.  I got my first 40 lber. in the spring, a beast of a fish that was the largest mirror caught in in the CAG national Big 4 contest and one of the biggest mirrors landed in the US this year.  That fish weighed 40 lbs., 8 oz. and was a recapture of a fish I had caught four years ago in MA waters when it weighed over 36 lbs. I also landed the first and only 30 lb. mirror carp ever officially recorded in RI.  That beast tipped the scales at 31 lbs., 8 oz. It is the currect CAG state record for mirror carp.  In addition, the numbers were there for me.  It is the only year in which I have been able to land well over 500 mirror carp. Compare that figure with only about 200 common carp that I landed in 2012.
For those who don't know what a mirror carp is, let me explain.  When most people think of carp, they think of common carp, those fish that have small scales in a predictable pattern and look like a large goldfish. Most of these commons look the same.  Mirror carp are really the same fish biologically (Cyprinus Carpio), however they are different both genetically and visually.  The name originates from their large shiny scales on smooth bodies that have some resemblance to a mirror although some mirrors are fully scaled with random scaling.  Many mirrors have irregular and patchy scaling making them unique in their looks and easy to identify leading many fishermen, especially in the UK, to give large specimens nicknames.  I know of some fishermen in New England who take side photos of their mirror carp and keep these pictures in photo books hoping to use these photos to identify recaptures.
Here in RI we have a unique mirror carp fishery and quite possibly the very best mirror fishery in the entire USA.  Way back at the turn of the century the Blackstone River system that runs from Worcester, MA to Pawtucket, RI was stocked heavily with mirror carp.  To this day they have thrived and populated the Blackstone as well as any body of water that runs off it.  They have also turned up in just about every pond and lake that has carp in RI, though they are rare in many places other than the Blackstone River system.
I've caught some big ones this year and big numbers of mirrors mainly because I target them.  In my mind they are the most unique fish in RI's freshwater, and that's why I pursue them.

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