CARP. The carp tribe, in which may be included the tench, the chub, the dace, and roach, inhabit fresh waters. Some of them are migratory. They have very small mouths and no teeth, and the gill membrane has three rays. The body is smooth, and generally whitish. On the back there is only one fin. Their form is somewhat thick, and their colour blue, green above, greenish yellow mixed with black on the upper part of the sides, whitish beneath, and the tail yellow or violet. The scales are large. On each side of the mouth there is a single beard, and above this, another shorter. The dorsal fin is long, extending far towards the tail, which is forked.
The carp is a fish, that, by its frequent spawning and quickness of growth, is chiefly used to stock ponds, where it thrives better and lives longer than in rivers. They may be made to thrive in a pond in the following manner:—about the month of April, if your pond happens to grow low in water, sow all the sides where the water has fallen away with hay seeds. and rake them well in. Thus, by the latter end of summer, there will be a great quantity of grass, which, when winter comes, and the pond being raised by rain to the top, will overflow ah that grass, and then the carp, having water to carry them to the food, will fi11 themselves, and in a short time become very large and fat. They spawn three or four times a year; but the earliest time is in the commencement of May.
In angling for carp it is necessary to make use of strong tackle, with a fine gut next the hook, and a float formed of goose-quill. They are found near the bottom, and are rarely caught if angled for in a boat.
The Carp is very shy at taking a bait, and he who intends to angle for him must arm himself with a good store of patience. This fish is fond of worms and sweet pastes, of which there is great variety. In March be seldom refuses the red worm, the cadew in June, nor the grasshopper in July, August, and September. Carp will seldom bite in cold weather ; and the angler cannot be either too early or too late at the spot in hot weather; and if he bite, you need not fear his hold, for he is one of those leather-mouthed fish that have their teeth in their throat.
They live some time out of water, and in Holland are frequently kept alive for three weeks or a month, by being hung with wet moss in net, and fed with linseed steeped in milk.
The river-carp, in the winter, haunts the quietest and broadest parts of the stream, and, in the summer, lives in the deep holes and nooks under the roots of trees, and among great banks of weeds. The pond-carp loves a rich and fat soil. It is supposed to be very longlived. Gesner speaks of one which lived to the age of one hundred years. The author of " The Angler's Sure Guide," p. 179, says, "There are many carp in the Thames, westward of London, and that about February they retire to the creeks in that river; in some of which, many above two feet long have been taken with an angle."
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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