Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Think "Carp Care"

Carp nets are large nets that feature
fish friendly, soft netting.
If you read any online carp fishing publications, you will see that the topic of carp care is front and center.  We can all do more to ensure that carp are treated in a safe and harmless way before releasing.  Essential to carp care are a few pieces of equipment, namely a fish friendly net, an unhooking mat and a weigh sling.
Nets- Carp nets differ from bass nets in that they have a fish friendly mesh that does not remove or do harm to a carp's scales.  These nets are soft and not abrasive like a nylon bass net. Carp nets are not cheap.  They start at about $70-80 at online carp stores. Check out some of these nets at www.bigcarptackle.com
This carp was weighed with the
weigh sling and then brought
to the water's edge with
the sling for release.
Unhooking Mats- It can be harmful to a fish if let it flop around on a hard surface such as a rocky shoreline after landing it.  Many of us keep the fish in the net in the water and unhook it there and release it.  However, in some spots you just have to land it.  Once in the net, the fish and net should be moved to an unhooking mat which is usually some sort of soft, foamy material where the fish is placed and the hook removed.  These can be purchased for as low as $10. It is a valuable piece of equipment if you carp fish. Check out the mats at Big Carp Tackle.
Weigh Slings-  These are sacks made of durable but carp friendly material in which a carp is placed for weighing.  The sack usually has a rope or string onto which you hook your scale for weighing the fish.  Note that you should NEVER stick a scale hook in the gill or mouth of a carp because it will most likely cut the carp's sensitive gills and kill it.  By the way, you should also NEVER stick your fingers under its gill plate to lift it up.  Once again, this will harm the gills. Inexpensive weigh slings sell for $15-20.  Check these out at Big Carp Tackle.
When it comes to carp care, the Europeans are masters at this, and much of these carp care techniques originated in Europe where they have the greatest of respect for this fish. We have a long way to go here in the US and many newcomers often have no idea about how to practice carp care for a fish they intend to release.

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