I went out to one of my favorite winter spots this week, a place that has seen very little to no pressure in the past. Well, the word was out thanks to Facebook. I found a lot of fishermen there. It was apparent that most of these guys were not experienced carpers. I suspect they were probably bass fishermen with cabin fever. These guys had some knowledge of carp fishing since they were using the right bait, sweet corn, and they were catching some fish.
The problems started once they got their fish near shore. Without nets, some of them resorted to using a boga grip to "lip" the fish and lift them up the bank. Boga grips are sort of like locking pliers that grab the fish's jaw or lips in this case. These grips are made for toothy critters such as pike or hard jawed fish such as largemouths. But, one should NEVER use a Boga grip on a carp. It does consider able damage to the carp's lips. I saw another guy get a fish near shore and he grabbed the fish under the gill plate with his hand to lift it out of the water. That is a no no since it will likely break a gill and the fish will bleed to death. Then, this same guy pulled out a scale with a hook on it and hooked the fish under the gill plate and lifted it to weigh it. Once again, this will break the gills and kill the fish. NEVER put a weigh hook under the gills of a carp. If you are going to weigh a fish put the it in a sling and then weigh it, or keep the fish in the net and weigh it with the net.
We all need to remind ourselves of carp care. Equipment such as carp friendly mesh nets, the use of unhooking mats on rough ground and weigh slings should all be part of a carp fisherman's equipment arsenal. I will say that these same guys who were clueless when it came to carp care were conservation minded fishermen. They were releasing all the fish they caught so I applaud them for that. However, they would be wise to brush up on carp care, a key component of carp fishing.