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RedRiverJay

The mystery of the 1 pound carp

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I was looking at the print edition of the North American Carp Angler, and the results of the FFF contest.  What interested me more than the stats of the big ones, were the stats about the small ("baby") ones.  The smallest ones in the north were essentially 3-4 pounds, and the smallest ones in the south were 6-7 pounds.

And, that agrees with my experience.  The smallest carp I have ever caught was 3 pounds.  Even with just a tiny hook, and 2-3 pieces of sweet corn, I've never caught a 1 or 2 pound carp.

Are my observations valid?  And if so, why is it so unusual to catch a 1-2 pound carp?

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I'm not an expert, but my guess would be that they don't stay at that weight very long, so catching one would be a rare feat indeed.

 

Anyone else have an idea???

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Theres a hole we call the Parasite Hole on a river that's gin clear. We could see probably over 100 carp  that were no more than a pound tops.

On out were bigger carp and on farther out yet bigger ones and way out 5 that were obviously over 20lbs possibly a 30 in the group. We could observe them due to the gin clear water and the fact we were 20ft above them on a bank that's almost a cliff. Only time we ever saw carp that small.

I tried to catch the huge ones but they just swam off when the bait hit the water out in front of them. Not sure how I would have landed one if I did hook it? Kind of a dumb move on my part to even try.

Reason we call it The Parasite Hole is a guy was trying to tell us we had parasites, he said "you know worms" and proceeded to tell us all about these parasites that were eating us up from within. lol

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Bigger fish outcompete for the "better" food? Small carp don't live with the ones we seek out? They don't forage the type of stuff we fish with?

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decades ago, when I was a kid, had one very small, shallow, muddy lake (maybe it was a little oxbow, or even a flooded field off Delaware R./canal) that was extremely productive for <1-2 lb., anything bigger was VERY rare & NEVER caught anything >6 lb...  another lake produced all sizes -- sometimes, when standard-sized were not around, a school of half-pounders would show up

the little guys were EXTREMELY careful feeders & shy biters -- virtually no chance of detecting bites or setting the hook w/ standard carp tackle... all success was under a skinny float w/ #12-16 hooks

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From my experience, the smaller ones school with similar sized fish. They tend to stay hidden since they are at constant risk of being eaten. I see a lot of pike and large bass patrolling the shallows near easily accessible spots and am sure these predators drive the smaller fish into deeper water snags. I've pulled up quite  a few 2lb fish form the Mississippi while snag fishing for crappies, but never caught them in open water.

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Well...................I run the gamut- the smallest was a mere 7 ounces last year, many many 1-2lbs, but most 4-6 lbs........................IME there's an even distribution in most creeks and mostly lakes...........

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In temperate climates and normal spawning conditions (i.e. normal oxygenated areas) very few under 7" carp survive to reach adulthood. Predation takes care of most of the smaller fish. Over the years I've found localized concentrations of small 1-2 lb fish and occasional larger juveniles. In areas (Mississippi basin for example) with low oxygenation in the spawning marshes where predatory fish cannot survive the carp fry can grow 'unmolested' and this leads to the issues of overpopulation and mostly stunted smaller fish. 

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Maybe it's a function of how I fish.  I find fallen trees, etc., in the river, go upstream 10 yards or so, and let the scent of the bait go downstream into it.  Maybe it's only the bigger ones that venture out that far??

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Opposite problem ?

There's one place I used to fish regularly where - over a 3 year period - I caught at least 150 carp, and until I caught a 5-12 in late 2016, I had never landed one as large as 3 pounds.  See my Avatar for an example of this lake's fish.  But I'm certain the problem is not a case of overpopulation.  If they were under-fed, they would be biting constantly -- NOT the case.  And I've fished a number of swims in the lake, and this pretty much seems to be the size.  Also, a decade ago there were carp in the teens caught in the lake, and even one over 20 -- as reported by "reputable" CAG members.  I've seen mussel shells along the shore, so the lake does appear to have sufficient nutrients (also, the bass and crappie anglers seem to do fairly well, size-wise).

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Agree with all, with a few additional comments;

      I think disease sometimes plays a role too- carp herpesvirus devastates populations of common carp- it is very contagious and kllls the carp; it is carried by koi. Populations are thinned out and I think you'll see smaller fish for awhile as the population recovers and grows. I fished a swim in St. Louis last year where "there were so many carp, and big ones patrolling the shore", etc. etc., but when we set up, we caught one small buffalo and two 2lb carp-that was it. Found out the lake suffered an outbreak 2 years prior.....Also bow hunting in certain areas likely removes a lot of breeder stock, causing a shift towards smaller fish..........here's a 1lbr caught last fall.....my smallest is 7 oz.......CAG Big Four October 8 2016 1lb 3oz.JPG

PS- MOCarp- to me it looks like the blue heron picture may be photo-shopped-the lighting looks wrong on the fishes left gill/head/fin, the interface of bird beak and fish head is lined, and there's no difference in the water where the fish tail is lying........maybe just me-seen tooooo many photo-shopped pics........what is the origin do you know?......thanks!

 

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Might be a bit off topic but relevant to another thread.  These pictures show that carp are not necessarily detrimental to any particular environment but provide forage for other predators. 

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Great collection of pics, MOCarper!

I do catch the occasional 2 to 3 pounder with regular rigs, but yes, not that often at all. I would conjecture that:

a. they grow quite fast

b. our rigs are not well suited for smaller ones

c. our typical bait may also also not be that suitable (even corn)

I remember catching a very small one a long time ago, 2 inches long max, while fishing for sunfish, using a size 10 hook and a small worm. Never happened since then!

During First Fishing Folly events, Ray Eichelberger made a speciality of catching really small mirrors in Philly, just a few ounces. He did it again and again. Don't remember how he proceeded.

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6 hours ago, MOCarper said:

Agree with all, with a few additional comments;

      I think disease sometimes plays a role too- carp herpesvirus devastates populations of common carp- it is very contagious and kllls the carp; it is carried by koi. Populations are thinned out and I think you'll see smaller fish for awhile as the population recovers and grows. I fished a swim in St. Louis last year where "there were so many carp, and big ones patrolling the shore", etc. etc., but when we set up, we caught one small buffalo and two 2lb carp-that was it. Found out the lake suffered an outbreak 2 years prior.....Also bow hunting in certain areas likely removes a lot of breeder stock, causing a shift towards smaller fish..........here's a 1lbr caught last fall.....my smallest is 7 oz.......CAG Big Four October 8 2016 1lb 3oz.JPG

PS- MOCarp- to me it looks like the blue heron picture may be photo-shopped-the lighting looks wrong on the fishes left gill/head/fin, the interface of bird beak and fish head is lined, and there's no difference in the water where the fish tail is lying........maybe just me-seen tooooo many photo-shopped pics........what is the origin do you know?......thanks!

 

could be I just snatched it of google didn't look that close

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