Black Carp, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods and techniques.
Black carp, together with
Silver Carp, and
Grass Carp, make up the culturally important "4 famous domestic fishes" used in polyculture in Asia (especially in China) for over a thousand years, and known as "Asian carps" in the United States. Black carp are not as widely distributed worldwide as the other 3 carps.
A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are fishing for trout on a river or surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.
The Black Carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) is a species of Cyprinidae family, minnow and carp family, also known as snail carp, Chinese black carp, black Amur, Chinese roach, or black Chinese roach. The natural range of black carp includes China, parts of far eastern Russia and possibly northern Vietnam. They inhabit large river and lake habitats and are native to most Pacific drainages in eastern Asia at the same latitudes as the United States.
Black carp is a blackish-brown fish with blackish-grey fins and an elongated and laterally compressed body. One of the black carp’s distinguishing characteristics is its pharyngeal teeth and this is reflected in its scientific name. Black tipped scales give the appearance of cross-hatching, Dorsal fin is short and pointed, containing 7-8 rays, Dorsal fin is located above the pelvic fins, Anal fin is located closer to the caudal fin than in the native minnow. The black carp closely resembles the grass carp in appearance (body shape and size; coloration; appearance, position, and shape of fins; position and size of eyes), but may be most easily distinguished by differences in the formation of the pharyngeal teeth: they possess deep parallel grooves on the Grass carp and appear molar-likethey on the Black carp.
Young black carp are difficult to distinguish from young grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), another non-native species. Adults may be distinguished externally by the color and the more cylindrical form of the body, and internally by the pharyngeal teeth. Bodies are blackish-brown, elongated and laterally compressed, Fins are blackish-gray, scales are very large with dark edges, giving the fish a cross-hatched appearance, Terminal mouth, Average length of 3 ft (1 m), weight of 72lbs (36 kg), and life span of 15 yr. The fish can reach 5 feet in length and weigh up to 150 lbs.
Habitat and Habits
Wide variety of freshwater habitats: rivers, streams, and lakes, depth up to 10 meters. The nature of the black carp's diet has led to its use in the United States in the control of snails in aquaculture. Snails are obligate alternate hosts of trematode pests that can cause substantial losses to aquaculture crops. Some state aquaculture laws require the carp to be bred as triploids, to render them sterile, and thus minimize the potential for the fish to escape and create self-sustaining populations. However, the use of triploids does require the maintenance and use of fertile diploid brood stock at least at some location, for production of the triploids.
Black carp are molluscivores (mussel and snail feeders) but also eat freshwater shrimp, crawfish, and insects. At all life stages, black carp will compete for food with native species. If introduced or established, black carp are likely to have a considerable impact on native mussel and snail populations. Native fish, turtles, birds, including waterfowl, and vertebrates, such as raccoons, otters, and muskrats, are likely to be affected through competition for food.
The black carp is a freshwater fish that likes lakes and the bottom of fast moving rivers. They mature at 6 to 11 years of age, after this they reproduce annually. Black carp will spawn when the water temperature reaches approximately 65 °F (26-30°C), the water level rises, and there is plenty of food (mollusks) available. They spawn upstream and their eggs drift downstream. A fully mature female black carp is capable of producing 129,000 to 1.18 million eggs each year, depending upon body size. Eggs, diameters of 5.6 mm, drift downstream with current until reaching areas with little current (e.g., floodplain lakes, smaller streams, and water channels). The young they feed on zooplankton and fingerlings. As adults their feeding habits change to mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and fish eggs. They have powerful teeth that enable them to crush mussel shells, eat the soft parts, and spit the shell out. A 4-year-old black carp is able to eat 3 to 4 pounds of mussels per day.
Bottom fishing with mollusks (clams), shrimp, crawfish, maggots or earthworm, nightcrawlers. The black carp prefers to scavenge the bottom for mussel and snails, insects, shrimp, crawfish, and benthic worms. When fishing for carp in a shallow lake or pond, use fish eggs or zooplankton for a young carp. If your bobber fishing for them with the bait on the bottom allows the bobber to continuously go under until it doesn’t come back up. Carp suck the bait in 3 or 4 times before actually eating the bait. When fishing off shore you can use bells to tell when you’re getting a bight. Pole fishing is the No 1 method used by both the Match and pleasure anglers in Europe on fishing carp, it has become a most successful technique. Pellet and paste on the long pole or margin pole works best with sweet corn or banded pellet a close second. The pole should be fished 9-11 meters for best results. In the summer does not neglect an inside line, especially for margin feeding carp in the evenings.
Carp flavor varies with the quality of the water from which fish were captured; their sheer abundance has made them an important food fish in some areas. Carp are generally considered a nuisance by North American anglers; they are highly prized as sports fish in Europe, as they are often excellent fighters. A growing number of anglers in the US are becoming interested in carp as a sports fish.