Walton called her 'the queen of the rivers' Jethro Hatfield
calls her 'some derned fine eatin'. Prithee, what do you say
about Ms. Carp? I, personally know few words adequate to describe
this ubiquitous citizen of our water ways. Words like puckeritudinous,
tweescent, and piscanthropic spring to mind, but few words I
can invent get to the core of the mystery surrounding this much
maligned and much loved import from Asia.
certainly carp have tweescence. At least when they are up in
a twee, I'm pretty sure they can sense it. In fact, my observation
of carp, (a lifetime’s effort) has shown me that carp
may have much more than tweescence. Some times they almost seem
to have six or seven. And for twoscence I'd go into this further.
needs but observe the hectickity of his actions to discern this.
I have observed on the same water seasoned Nebraskan carp addicts
fish fanatically for them a whole day with never a nibble; and
I have seen my own son haul in a ten pounder the first time
he ever laid his seven-year-old little hands on a rod. Now that,
my friend is tweescence. Or is it tweescentwicity?
for puckeritudity, only the noble Bois de Souix red horse sucker
comes anywhere near matching the carp for puckeritudity unless
one were to mention certain women and certain uncertain men
before their mirrors. For as the bard once said, 'there was
never fair lady but she made mouths in a glass.' And 'mouthe'
how they will, they'll never out-pucker the queen of the rivers,
the carp, whose piscanthropicity speaks for itself, also defies
all culinary logic. Some call it the finest smoked fish next
to king salmon, while others carp that all carp should be used
are we to believe? Shall it be Jaques Horatio Herter, who in
his world-renowned recipe for 'carpe par les vous usted espanol'
calls carp a dish fit for the gods. Or shall it be my German
uncle, Roy Strobusch, who sampling carp for the first time,
proclaimed "- Auf wieder schitzen! Who und himmel put mud
in mine fish?"
would love to be able to tell you how to make carp taste good,
but a severe sinus infection years ago knocked out my olfactory
nerves, and I have ben quite tasteless ever since, as this article
the secret of the Carp's puissance as well as its pusillanimity
is this: he is the Archie Bunker of the squamous tribe. You
will either love him or you'll hate him. But only the man who's
been slugged up side the head with a 20 pounder can totally
disregard him. (G.P.)
postscript for fishermen
an April tip for all you young river rats who can't wait to
wet a line: from early April up to the beginning of the game-fish
season, May 1st, there is always a healthy run of
pucker fish in the red River and all its tributaries. If you
can find some quieter eddies or backwaters where the sun has
warmed up the water a bit, you are almost certain to find red
horse, carp, drum and bullheads hanging out in the area where
the fast water meets the slow.
nightcrawler presented on light spinning tackle on a no. 4 bait
holder hook and suspended just off the bottom under a 1'’
clip-on float should get you into some fine action in a hurry.
Use only a split shot or two for weight and don't scare the
fish off with big ugly leaders and snaps. If the water’s
too deep, go to a lindy rig and use a sensitive rod to feel
those subtle bites that carp are so well known for. If you don’t
have the time of your life, some fish-bigoted adult has probably
poisoned your mind against these great fish. Just have fun catching
them and throwing them back. Please don't leave the bank littered
with dead fish. It is poor sportsmanship and against the law
the way, carp can be quite good eating IF someone knows how
to cook them. But that’s a mighty big IF. Good Fishing.
'God does not deduct from the allotted time of man, those hours
blessed in fishing.' (Ancient Proverb)
First published in “Where the
Wild Thyme Blows” spring 1974