The carp (Cyprinus carpio) is described by the Dame Juliana Berners as a "deyntous dish." Unfortunately the decline of knowledge in the matter of fish feeding and rearing in ponds, &c., renders it difficult to realize the dame's assertion, an ordinary carp from an ordinary pond being poor in flesh and muddy in flavour, but it is quite possible that the flesh, which is so susceptible of taking the nasty flavours exhaled around it, would, under better management, with better food and purer water, be both delicate and "deyntous."
Of all fresh-water fish, the carp is one of the most cunning and difficult to catch where he is much fished for, though, singularly enough, they take much better in rivers than in still water. In still water, even if you can induce a good carp to pay attention to your bait (which you cannot always), he will nibble, and turn it about, until he either sucks it off the hook without touching the hook, or he discovers the hook on the line, become alarmed, and swims away.
Very fine tackle, therefore, is required in carp fishing; but as he is big and lusty, it should be round and strong. There are various baits which more or less attract him. Paste sweetened with sugar or honey is one of the best; but he will at times take gentles, greaves, and red worms. Some affect boiled green peas, some beans, and many are taken with parboiled potato, which is one of the best baits in some places for large fish. The best ground-baits are those recommended already, of bran, rice, bread, &c.
If the fish are very shy, float tackle is to be avoided, and a very light ledger on a pistol bullet used instead. As the line rests on the ground, the carp does not see it, and takes the bait without suspicion. A clear bottom, however, is desirable.
Carp run up to a heavy weight, sometimes between 20 and 30 lb, and they live to a great age. Size of hooks, 5, 6, 7.
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