IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell (right).
For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.
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ALIEN INVASION? NO, IT’S JUST CARP!
Recent floods have shunted loads of carp into our river systems creating a bit of a nightmare situation that I had already feared.
Regular followers of this blog will know that although I welcome the many carp puddles that have jumped up around the country, I also hate the fact that it’s led to many anglers not realising that other species do exist, and that skills are being lost.
I know I am not alone. I saw that Leeds’ Stan Haigh, an angler I have high respect for from my time in the north, was bemoaning the fact he couldn’t get a good day’s roach fishing on the Yorkshire Ouse because of pesky escapee carp.
One of my mates fished a noted chub spot on the River Mole and landed a whole load of carp – most of them double-figure fish. They are not alone…and I think that once flood levels subside we are going to see an awful lot more of carpio is the riverios.
The Thames used to be a place where big carp lived, but in pockets and in certain areas. Now you can catch quite a few of them in many places. They no longer holder the mystique they once did.
My other big worry is that these carp are in such numbers that they start to breed and we get a change in the levels of various fish species and stocks. It might be that flows are too heavy for them or that conditions are not suitable for breeding – any expert with a view on this please let us know!
If they just frizzle away and die that is another very sad situation, especially for fisheries that have lost such valuable stock.
No one could probably have predicted these fish being swept out of their homes by enormous floods but it is something that should not be looked at very seriously by the Environment Agency. They already have pretty strict rules on the movement of fish and stocking of alien species such as catfish.
But the movement of any fish between waters is not good – especially in the case of carp, which we know can be great spreaders of diseases.
Then again, let’s look back around 30 years or so when the spread of zander was hailed in many places as the end for various fisheries. This predator was breeding like wildfire, eating everything in sight and was also moved illegally to new waters.
They started life in the Fens, now we have zander in various stillwaters, the Thames, Severn, Warwickshire Avon and Trent. Yes, some of those rivers do have fish stock problems but I think most would agree that those have not been caused by the zander.
Nature has found the right level for that species to be integrated into our natural fish stocks. I’ve no doubt that will happen again with carp. It’s just that I wish those pesky aliens would stay on their own planets!
At least we don’t have the carp plague that’s affected some parts of the USA. Check this amazing video out!
COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK NEXT SUNDAY, 17th FEBRUARY.