Originally from Asia, carp is the most recognized fish for sport, food and pet, which can be found in just almost every freshwater system around the world. Many regard it as a pest while others have great respect for the common carp as its behaviour is so complex and poorly understood.
The common carp is characterized by the thick and large scales that cover its entire body. Its back is dominated by a long dorsal fin that includes 3 to 4 spines at the beginning. Its size, shape, colour and fin development can vary greatly due to its diet and habitat. Some varieties can be elongated and slim, while others can appear broad and sluggish. Its colour ranges from grey to golden. Another distinctive characteristic that can be used to identify a carp is its protruded jaw. This evolutionary product allows a carp to extend its jaw and suck in food and water. A carp can grow to a tremendous size within a short period of time. Fish between 1lb and 10lb are not uncommon. In parts of Europe and Asia, fish beyond 50lb are a norm.
Carp was originally found across East Asia. Over the last two centuries, its distribution has expanded to most parts of the globe due to introduction by early settlers in the new world. Its incredibly versatile adaptation has allowed it to dominate in canals, rivers, lakes and even estuaries. Today, in Europe, North America and Australasia, carp can be found in urban waterways where water quality does not meet the standard that can be tolerated by most fish species.
The common carp prefers habitats that have slow moving or standing waters and soft sediment such as sand or mud. Water temperature is not a factor that limits a carp's whereabouts, as it can tolerate temperature between 3°C and 35°C. Spawning takes place during springtime, and a female carp can lay more than 300,000 eggs per season. The common carp is omnivorous, it feeds on vegetation and aquatic invertebrates near the bottom.
In the summer, carp can be found in shallow waters along lake shorelines, canals, small ponds and brackish water. Look for heavily weeded area, slow moving and turbid water. In winter time, carp prefers deeper, warmer waters.
Carp fishing requires patience and finesse. Finely presented bait and delicate fishing gear is often required to entice a cautious carp. There are several fishing techniques that can be employed, depends on the type of water that one is fishing in. Float fishing is by far the most popular method. A small float that is well balanced by a few split shots above a small hook is the typical setup. Adjust the float depth so that the baited hook is sitting on the bottom. When a carp bites, the float will begin to move slowly as it carries the bait away. Instead of striking immediately, hold back and set the hook when the fish has finally committed to the bait. There are many types of bait that can be used. Bread, flavoured dough, corn, beans are just some of the more commonly used bait.