We seem to be taking an educational approach to the day, so here's A BRIEF HISTORY OF CARP ANGLING...
In ancient China, legend has it that shortly after the flood, the Yellow River, or the Wei River, was dammed by the God-emperor Yu by splitting a mountain. This created an almost impassable waterfall known as the Dragon’s Gate. Every year, a carp called Yunan swam up the river to the waterfall and tried to climb it and when he did, it started to rain. Creedence Clearwater Revival would later popularize this legend with their song, “Yu’ll Stop the Rain.”
During the Jin dynasty the Chinese invented tonic water which became very popular when it was introduced to Japan by a middle-class Spanish-American sushi trader named Terry Aqui as an aperitif. Jin and tonic followed by sushi became all the rage and soon the Japanese wanted to cultivate their own carp and open their own chain of theme bars. Known as koi by the Japanese, these designer-carp were bred in a variety of colors to fit the décor of the sushi bars in ancient Kyoto. Samurai warriors co-opted the koi carp as a central symbol in their belief system, bushido, because of the stoicism with which the koi carp died to make California rolls. But then, they were high on puffer-fish toxins and gin and tonic and often got full-body tattoos of carp and other food items so that they could order food when they were stoned.
Sushi was dying out as a trend until the Japanese empire started to open up to trade with the Jesuits. Strictly Catholic, the Jesuits only ate fish on Fridays and holy days and they soon became hooked on sushi, taking koi carp back to Europe. During the long journeys, the Jesuits were often very lonely and became very attached to the fish, often unable to kill them when they reached home and setting them free instead. This is also the reason some koi have human faces.
Introduced to northern Europe in the mid-to late-seventeenth century, they were generally stocked as a food source by monks. However, when Izaak Walton, who wrote The Compleat Angler, invented fishing, the carp started to gain popularity for their sport. Although known as one of the first celebrity anglers, Walton was a writer of some note, but his spelling was atrocious. The Complete Angler took him 25 years to write because the only version of Microsofte Worde available at that time had a lousy spell-checking program.
Walton experimented with all sorts of baits to try to catch carp, including cat poo and honey boilies, and groundbaits made from peasant scratchings and mead, collected from red-headed orphans on a full moon. Then there were the weird metaphysical baits that his neighbor, John Donne, recommended but they never really took off because mandrake root “got with child” wasn’t shelf-life and refrigerators had not yet been invented. However, John Donne should be credited with inventing the first pop-ups with his hi-visibility Aire and Angels Euro-Flouro range. Walton was a bit jealous of his success and edited him out of the final version of The Compleat Angler (Abridged). Donne’s Boilie Sonnets have sadly been lost to antiquity.
For the next 300 years, there we no other carp anglers in the world because everyone just thought Walton was a crazy old fool who’d been eating too many lead weights. Carp angling had died off and had become a forgotten art. Some carp emigrated to America at the turn of the century, hoping to make a fortune in Wall Street, but ended up being stocked for food during the Great Depression. American Bass anglers have been greatly depressed about that ever since.
It was not until a new breed of super-humans evolved near Redmire Pool, England, that carp angling began to gain popularity. These genetically superior anglers, Bob Richards and Dick Walker amongst them, had witnessed the monsters in Redmire Pool and before we know it Bob Richards had landed a record 31lb 4oz common carp. Setting a trend that would later become vogue, Dick Walker waited til Bob went home and started fishing his swim, netting a 44-pound monster which he called Ravioli. However, as another sign of things to come, Ravioli hit the big time and bought a luxury condo in the London Zoo where she changed her name to Clarissa and wrote a semi-fictional autobiography using the nom de plume, Samuel Richardson. The potboiler sold well but when the mini-series was made, not even Sean bean could bring the turgid tale to life.
Walker fished Redmire for another 30 years before he had to go the bathroom. Following the trend set by Walker, Chris Yates stole his fishing spot and promptly caught the new record 51lb fish using Walker’s rod. Walker gave up fishing and devoted his time to inventing heron bite alarms. If he’d invented the Delkim instead, he’d have been a very wealthy man.
Graham Nash had quit Crosby and Stills, and decided to take up carp fishing and, though he was never really good at it, he did teach his children well. Kevin Nash, along with Peter Mohan, Kevin Maddocks, Tim Paisley, Rod Hutchinson, and Jim Solar (who is more famous for his involvement with British 80s punk band, Spizzenergi) were among the select few that really popularized carp fishing, teaching carp that they don’t have to just eat maggots but that, if they played hard to get, they could demand high-quality proteins, exciting new flavors, knotless landing nets and comfortable unhooking mats, free health care, and the right to vote. In fact, during the 80s, carp had more rights than coal-miners.
Typically Gallic, French carp have been particularly demanding and as such are now even larger than the British carp, but tend to go on strike a lot. British carp, meanwhile, talk on and on about how they invented the sport and bore everyone to death. American carp are new to the sport but popularity is hindered by the fact that Americans already have well-supported major league fishing in Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Trout and they think that Europeans only carp fish because they can’t afford bass boats.
Meanwhile, returning full circle, the carp fishing industry in Europe has grown so much and is so competitive for fishing tackle manufacturers, that most of the end-tackle is now made cheaply in China, while more expensive equipment such as rods and reels are made in Japan. Of course, some tackle is made in England, but it is so expensive, only millionaire tackle manufacturers in China and Japan can afford to buy it. And St. Danny of Korda. not my own work all credit to USCARPPROmagazine
Edited by peterpikefisher, 07 September 2013 - 06:54 AM.