As a seasoned angler with countless hours spent on the water. Today, I will share my knowledge to help you reel in one of the most notorious fish that swim in our rivers and lakes: Here, you will learn how to catch Asian carp like a pro.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Asian carp fishing, share my time-tested techniques, and reveal some of the most effective Asian carp baits. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a dedicated hobbyist, this comprehensive guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to land one of these hard-fighting fish.
Introduction: How to Catch Asian Carp
Learning how to catch Asian carp can be a challenging experience. Originally native to East Asia, these fish have become problematic invaders in U.S. waterways. Despite their potential for damage, catching them can be a rewarding experience with the right techniques.
When fishing for Asian carp, you’ll need a sturdy fishing rod with a fast-action tip and a high-capacity reel; these are crucial to handling these robust fish. Popular baits include sweet corn, cornmeal, or dough balls, as well as live baits like worms or minnows.
Although, Asian carp are bottom feeders, they can be found in shallow waters near shorelines or structures like bridges. Patience is also key when fishing for this type of carp species, as Asian carp often require time to take the bait.
Understanding this Invasive Carp Species
The term “invasive species” refers to non-native organisms that cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. In North America, one of the most well-known invasive species is the Asian carp, also known as Bighead carp or Silver carp.
Asian carp were originally brought to the United States in the 1970s to control algae growth in aquaculture ponds. However, flooding allowed the fish to escape into nearby waterways like rivers where they quickly reproduced and spread throughout the Mississippi River Basin.
Competition with Native Fish
One of the main reasons why Asian carp are considered an invasive species is because they compete with native fish for food and habitat. They are known for their voracious appetite and can consume up to 20% of their body weight in plankton each day. This means that they can outcompete native fish for resources, which can lead to a decline in their populations.
In addition to competing with native fish for food and habitat, Asian carp also pose a physical threat. They can grow up to four feet long and weigh over 100 pounds,
Efforts to Control Spread
Efforts are being made to control the spread of Asian carp. Like through physical barriers such as electric fences or underwater sound systems that deter them from entering the area. Another method is through commercial fishing where fishermen catch and consume the fish.
However, research into biological controls is also underway. Scientists are exploring ways to introduce natural predators or diseases that specifically target Asian carp without harming native species, only time will tell if this action works.
Where to Find Bighead Carp
Asian Carp, also known as Silver or Bighead carp are a popular game fish that can now be found in many large rivers and lakes across the United States. These carp are known for their size, strength, and agility, making these fish species a challenging catch.
Location is Key
Asian carp tend to swim in schools near the surface of the water, and you can often see them jumping out of the water making them easy to spot from a good distance.
Also, look for areas with plenty of vegetation and near dams or other man-made structures that create eddies or current breaks. These areas provide a prime feeding ground for these types of fish as they can easily pick off insects and other small prey.
Catching Asian Carp
When it comes time to catch an Asian carp, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to set the hook firmly once you feel a bite. Asian carp have tough mouths and can easily spit out the bait if not hooked properly.
Once hooked, be prepared for a fight, as Asian carp are known for their strength and agility. It’s important to reel it in quickly while keeping tension on the line to prevent it from escaping. Lastly, using a heavy line is recommended; a line weight of 20–30 pounds is ideal.
Best Baits for Catching Asian Carp
For catching Asian carp, traditional baits like corn, bread, and dough balls are popular for their affordability and effectiveness in attracting silver carp. Corn, rich in sugars, and soft bread can be enticing, while dough balls with additives like garlic can also be successful.
Skilful presentation is also key. Techniques include moulding dough around the hook for durability and using a small foam piece or cork on the rig setup to keep bait afloat.
Boilies: The Secret Weapon for Big Asian Carp
Another excellent bait to use for catching Asian carp, are boilies, a hard bait made from boiled eggs, flour, and other ingredients like fishmeal or fruit flavours. Originally developed by European carp anglers, they have since become popular among Asian carp anglers too.
Boilies come in different sizes, colours, and flavours that mimic natural food sources. One advantage of using boilies is their durability compared to softer baits like bread. Boilies can stay on the hook or rig longer, which makes them ideal for catching bigger carp.
Pellets: The All-Purpose Bait for Catching Carp
Pellets are another type of hard bait made from compressed fishmeal or soybean meal. They come in different sizes, while larger pellets are best used for carp fishing. Pellets are versatile baits that can be used in a variety of ways, including as ground bait or hook bait.
One advantage of using pellets is their high nutritional value, which attracts carp and other fish species. They also have a consistent texture and flavour that make them easy to use and store. Pellets can be soaked in water before fishing to create a soft texture to chum the swim.
Flavoured Jellies: The New Trend For Asian Carp
Flavoured jellies are a new trend for Asian carp fishing. Jellies come in different flavours like strawberry, pineapple, or shrimp that appeal to carp’s sense of smell and taste. They are made from gelatine, sugar, and other ingredients like fruit juice or fish oil.
One advantage of using jellies is their versatility in presentation. You can mix them with other baits like corn or bread to create a unique scent and flavor combination. Flavoured jellies also have a long shelf life compared to carp fishing baits.
Techniques and Tackle for Asian Carp Fishing: Bow Fishing, and Nets
Bow fishing for Asian carp is an increasingly popular and exhilarating method. It requires specialised equipment, including a high-quality bow with a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds for effective shooting and specialised arrows. usually made of fibreglass or carbon with barbed tips.
When shooting, aim slightly below the fish’s body to penetrate their tough scales. Avoid shooting directly at the head or tail, as these areas are often too hard for arrows to penetrate. This technique can be a highly effective way to catch Asian carp.
Using Nets To Catch Schools Of Fish
Another popular carp fishing method is catching Asian carp with nets. Seine nets are particularly effective when targeting schools of these fish since they allow you to trap multiple fish at once. When using a seine net, it’s important to keep in mind that Asian carp are strong swimmers and can easily break free if tangled.
Use Heavy-Duty Gear for Big Fish
When Asian carp fishing it is important to use heavy-duty tackle. Asian carp can grow quite large and are also known for their strength and strong fighting ability.
Choose a rod that is rated for heavy action and has a fast tip. This will allow you to cast further and provide plenty of backbone for reeling in a big fish. Also, select a reel with a high line capacity and sturdy drag system so that you can handle the powerful runs of Silver carp.
In terms of line, look for braided options with a high test rating (at least 50 pounds) since these will be less likely to break under pressure. Fluorocarbon leaders are also recommended since they are highly abrasion-resistant and can help prevent your line from getting damaged.
Planning Your Trip: Timing Is Key
When planning your fishing trip, timing is everything. Asian carp tend to be most active in the early morning or late evening, when water temperatures are cooler. Look for areas where there is plenty of vegetation or other structures where they like to feed.
Terminal Tackle Techniques for Bighead Carp
Float fishing is an effective technique for targeting bighead carp in shallower waters. Choosing the right float is key. A clear plastic bubble can be used, but a waggler style float is preferred because it allows for more accurate casting and better bite detection.
A hair rig is a popular rig setup for carping because it allows the bait to be presented naturally. To create a hair rig, tie a small loop at the end of your line and attach a hair rig stop to keep the bait in place. Then, tie on your hook using a knotless knot and attach your bait.
Choosing the Right Reel
A sturdy reel with a high line capacity is essential when targeting Asian carp. Look for reels with at least 200 to 400 yards of line capacity and strong drag systems that can handle the weight of these powerful, illusive fish.
When choosing your reel, consider either a spinning or baitcasting reel. Spinning reels are easier to use and are better suited for beginners for techniques like drop-shotting or jigging. Baitcasting reels offer more power and control but require more skill to use effectively.
Matching Your Hook Size and Bait
When using a hair rig, it’s important to choose the right size hook and bait to match the size of the carp you’re targeting. For smaller fish, use hooks between sizes 8 and 12 with bait like sweetcorn or boilies. For larger fish, use hooks between sizes 2 and 6 with a bigger bait.
It’s also important to consider how you’re presenting your bait. Asian carp are bottom feeders, so use a sinker to keep your bait on the bottom. Alternatively, you can use a pop-up rig to present your bait off the bottom and entice the fish to grab your bait.
Cooking Asian Carp: A Tasty Food Source
Asian Carp, often seen as a nuisance, can surprisingly offer a delicious meal. Their firm texture and mild flavour allow for versatile cooking methods. Grilling gives a smoky, slightly crisp exterior while maintaining a moist interior, especially when marinated.
Smoking the fish imparts a rich flavour and tenderises the flesh. Asian carp’s firmness also makes it suitable for frying, resulting in a crunchy exterior and tender inside.
Baking, transforms carp into a delightful dish when seasoned and drizzled with olive oil. With the correct preparation, this invasive species can become a tasty, food source.
Conclusion: How to Catch Asian Carp
Learning how to catch Asian carp and how to find carp is challenging, although it is a rewarding sport. Your success relies on the techniques you use, the equipment you use, and the bait selection, which should mirror Asian carp’s natural food sources.
Good bait for the Asian carp species includes corn, bread, worms, and dough balls. And techniques such as rod and reel fishing, bow fishing, and netting are all effective methods. And always handle these fish with care due to their sharp spines; using specialised equipment for large fish is advised.
Utilising caught Asian carp as food can help reduce their ecological impact, with bow-fishing being an excellent way to harvest large numbers for consumption. Always do your research, about whether carp are safe to eat and more.