Fish has unfounded reputation
The Fairfield Glade properties has 11-lakes, spread out amongst the 25-thousand acres adjoining the Catoosa Wilderness area.
Most lakes are fished by residents and their guests for bass, brim and catfish.
An overlooked fish with an unfounded, poor reputation also inhabits each of these 11 lakes. The carp! Carp in the U.S.A. just have no respect. Archers shoot at them, they are summarily whacked on the head when caught by accident instead of released and discarded.
Not so in the rest of the world. Carp species number over 500 different varieties and these fish have a few types that are considered by fish fanciers, as the very most expensive fish in the world; the koi.
Some fancy colored blotchy designed koi collectors pay thousands for certain bred varieties. In Japan and China and also in the states there are koi farms, exhibits and shows.
According to the World Book Encyclopaedia; “90-percent of the world’s peoples rely on the carp for their main protein source.”
However, in North America, the carp has a bad reputation for several false premised reasons and a few actual, factual reasons as well. Why the bad?
Carp were brought into the U.S.A. from Germany in the late 1800’s to augment the loss of species that were being rapidly depleted by overfishing and habitat degradation.
The salmon and brook trout were disappearing due to damming of rivers, and soil erosion caused by lumbering and firewood interests. Anglers would take any limit they could catch, use and sell, etc.
There was no catch and release going on — if the fish could be caught, it went into the creel, onto the stringers and filled barrels for commerce. As fish disappeared in their former large numbers, carp were blamed.
It was believed that carp were eating eggs of game fish, that they also took over their habitats and degraded them to the detriment of the preferred game fish sought for sport and table.
Although wrong, this is still believed today by a great majority of sport fishing anglers. Anglers argue that this or that body of water have been taken over by carp. They don’t realize that carp can live in waters that man degrades himself because they can tough-out poor water conditions compared to most other fish besides eels, catfish who can actually live in sewer waters.
It is thought that carp forage and destroy the food stuffs of game fish. This is incorrect as well. Carp are mainly herbivores and they eat bottom and surface vegetation, they do not eat the young of sport fish or minnows, frogs and other live forage creatures that game fish rely on. They also do not eat dead things, they are Kosher (fit to eat), and if prepared correctly, are excellent food fare, actually healthier and better than wild catfish. One of the hundreds of species of carp; the “big head” was introduced into Midwest waters and being a prolific breeder, the fish seemingly began taking over the rivers and some of the lakes in that region. When disturbed, the big head jump en masse, high enough to leap into passing boats and even hitting boaters as these fish leap out of the way of perceived danger. This was heavily portrayed on several news stations, and has continued to give the other varieties of carp that do not jump and hit people in their boats (over 500 species types) a very bad name and reputation. Most people just do not know there are more than one species of this incredible fish.
Recently my wife Barbara and I attended the 2nd Annual Carpfest in Knoxville. It was an eye-opener in several ways. First off, these fish were always taken with natural baits, cornmeal balls, bread, etc. This two year old event charges $50 per person to catch carp with artificial flies. 68-fly fishing anglers came together at the 3 Rivers Angler, across the street from the Woman’s Basketball Hall of Fame and near the Tennessee River, to vie for fishing gear, trophy prizes and great convivial camaraderie. They fished out of small boats, canoes and bank fished too! The event was a fine example of fun, and sport with a fish that fights stronger, pound for pound, than any fresh water game fish. It has the “shoulders” and staying power as it bulldogs away from whoever is lucky enough to hook-up with this largest member of the minnow family. We bedded down across the road from 3 Rivers Angler at the Marriott Hotel. We enjoyed their Sunday Brunch and comfortable beds and talked about how to set up a carp fishing tournament on the lakes at Fairfield Glade for next year! Stay tuned!