Basics - Conservation of Carp by Gilbert Foxcroft [translated by J.Lessing]

Conservation of Carp
by Gilbert Foxcroft [translated by J.Lessing]
No article or book about carp angling could ever be completed without an in depth investigation as to how to look best after the carp you are catching.

This is the reason why this article was place first,before looking at any other aspect of our endeavours of landing the fish.Nowadays it happens frequently that the same fish is caught up to ten times a year by different anglers,so it has become very important to release the fish with as litlle stress as possible.
Many of me and my angling friends has experienced that the less stress the carp is put under and the quicker it is released back into the water,the greater the chance of quickly catching it again. Carp that had been held for long periods of time or subjected to long photoshoots etc.experience a huge amount of stress and trauma.This stress amounts to lack of food intake which leads to weight loss and if you think about it ,more difficult for you to catch.Just think if everyone excercise a proper attempt to look after our fish-all of us will be catching fish easier. There are many ways to better your fish care,so this article handles in detail all the aspects of fish care.
Landing Net

Because of the worldwide popularity of this sport and the availability of quality equipment,it is not difficult to get yourself a good net. African Gold for example has a variety of good quality nets to suit your pocket.Knotted nylon nets are out! It causes too much damage to big fish and its the damage we want to avoid.The “Micro Mesh” nets are safe to use and cause harm. Remember,the safe netting of a carp is as important as buying a good quality net.Now that you have netted the fish,do not panic and start to slide it up the bank.

Make sure your unhookingmat,weighsling,scale,camera and clinic is on hand and ready.Now break up the net and carefully place it on your unhooking matrass.


The Ideal situation would be to handle and unhook the fish in the water but that is very difficult.You would probably just bend it,scare it and possibly end up with the hook in your finger. So before doing that, i propose cutting the trace just beneath the swivel.This enables you to safely remove your rod before someone steps on it. This also prevents the weight from hitting fish on the head everytime you move the rod.Dont worry about the trace,because catching about any size carp is worth it. If you have someone with you to take photos,let him choose the right spot at this stage and get all your other equipment ready before getting the fish uot of the water.As soon as all of this is done you can take the fish out of the water. It is important to remember that water supports the fish.once out of the water,the fish becomes dead weight and it is therefore important to use the soft,wet unhooking matrass.So the moment you take the fish out of the water its totally in your care. It is adviseable to let the fish catch its breath a bit after a long fight before you take it out of the water.However,dont let it rest too dont want it to fight you once on the bank.

It would be wise to fold/break up your net so not to struggle with the long handle,hitting everything around you. Most landingnets like “FOX” en “BADGER” is very strong and has a quick release for the handle.

The safest way to lift the fish out of the water is to lift the net up untill you can feel its weight. Roll up the net and place your hands under it.Just dont put your hands under its belly as you might hurt it internally .The best place is under its pectoral fins and anal fins.On your way to the unhooking matrass please ensure you stay clear of the hooks yourself.Keep the fish close to your body when moving with it.

Removing the hook.

It is important to handle the fish with the utmost of care.Carefully place the fish on the unhooking matrass with its fins backwards.Especially the pectoral fins as it can break with the fish flopping about. Should the fish start to flap,you need to calm it with your hands.Now gently open your netwithout scaring it and hurting it.Place one hand under its head and lift the head to get a full and clear view of its mouth.Make a note of where the fish was hooked,how deep and also the length of your trace.If the fish got lightly hooked it makes for easy removal by hand.If it is set deep,use long nose pliers. Make use of the pliers to get the hook at the bend of the hooks shaft. Carefully pull it out.If the hook does not want to get out easy,close the barbs with the pliers. Please dont use force as you might hurt the fish unnessasary.
‘In case of the hook is set too deep for even pliers ,i suggest cutting the hook and then remove it. Ensure that no pieces of the hook remains behind. After a catch i always use Kryston Clinic. This keeps infections and parasites at bay and gives the fish proper time to completely heal.This is especially made for carp care.

Unhooking matrasses

I am glad to see how many people are using their unhooking matrasses nowadays.This should be a standard piece of your equipment.Even at dams with grass up to the waters edge.The sole reason being fish care. By using the matrass,the carp has a sponge between itself and the surface,preveting damaging itself.Carp does not have eyelids and therefore might get hurt on bare surfaces.Also see to it that your unhooking matrass is wet to prevent the fish from losing its slime. There are a few good quality unhooking mats available,ex Rod Hutchinson and Badger XL

The weighing process

The first question that should come to mind : is it realy nessasary to weigh the fish?I dont even weigh fish under 25 lbs. I agree that it is nessasary when you start uot but once you catch the bigger fish i dont think it maaters that much whether a fish is 11 or 12lbs.It is more important to photograph the fish.


The Weighsling is specially made to weigh carp with.Its got a rubberised film on the inside that does not absorb water and does not compromise the slime around the fish. Your weighsling should be wet and your scale set beforehand. Please note that this is the only way a fish should be weighed.It is criminal to hook the fish through its gills .

Time out of water

Always be aware of the amount of time the fish spends out of water.It would be ideal to weigh and photograph the fish within five minutes.Its very importanr to keep the fish wet during this time. The longer the fish spends out of water,the greater the chance to get harmed.So always keep a water bucket close by.

For many anglers this chapter may seem useless but remember that carpfishing is our life and we need to conserve it.The existance of big carp can only be guarenteed if we all release the big ones back afterwards.

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