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Plenty to Carp About

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Plenty to Carp About

One of several dozen "nice" size carp caught this day from the shore of a public park in downtown Peterborough, Ontario. • Credit: Gord Pyzer

Ontario offers some of the finest carp fishing found anywhere in the world

When you let your mind wander and think about fishing in Ontario, what is the first thing that pops into your head?

For many anglers, I am sure it is the world-class muskie fishing opportunities in fabled waters of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers, Lake St. Clair, Georgian Bay, Lake Nipissing, Lake of the Woods, Eagle Lake and Lac Seul.

For others, it's the mind boggling walleye fishing that is available in the literally tens of thousands of lakes spread across the northern part of the province.

Still others, however, will argue that everyone has it wrong. That nothing can beat the stellar speckled trout, rainbow trout and lake trout opportunities found in the Algoma Region and the area North of Superior.

We won't even get into the multitude of possibilities for trophy northern pike, incredible smallmouth bass, spectacular salmon, crazy crappies and plentiful panfish. That would only cloud the friendly debate even further; such are the astonishing angling adventures offered in Ontario.

But, here is a question for you. Did carp jump into anyone's mind? If they didn't, let me share a secret. Ontario offers some of the finest carp fishing found anywhere in the world.

As a matter of fact, I recently attended the European Fishing Tackle and Trade Exhibition (EFTTEX) in Vienna, Austria, and when the folks at the show learned I was from Ontario, Canada guess what species everyone wanted to talk about?

You got it -- carp!

Seems the Europeans haven't forgotten about what happened when the 2006 World Carp Championships were in held in North America for the first time on the St. Lawrence River. More than 110 teams from as far away as China, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia descended on the mighty "Larry" and they found the fishing so ridiculously easy, they could scarcely believe their good fortune.

And lest you think this interest in carp fishing is confined to a few overseas fanatics, be aware that television crews from several European and Asian networks covered the five-day tournament and fed the results back live over the Internet.

If that doesn't convince you of the world-wide interest in carp, consider this: a staggering 5-million pounds (about $7 million dollars) was wagered in Britain alone, not on who would win the Championship but just on the angler who would catch the first fish. As a matter of fact, international interest was so huge that the giant Las Vegas gambling casinos were among the principal sponsors of the tournament.

At the time, I remember Ontario carp enthusiast, Len Perdic, telling me that international carp anglers have a hard time understanding all of the hype associated with North American bass tournaments, because there are typically 80,000 or so spectators in attendance and "only" a few million television viewers.

Perdic said that comparing the Bassmaster Classic to the World Carp Championship is like comparing the Little League Baseball Championship to the World Series. One is a national event, while the other is international in scope.

Fortunately, things are changing, albeit slowly, as interest in carp fishing grows daily. But with that being said, it is still in its infancy and unquestionably represents the best, untouched angling for giant fish, found anywhere in the province.

Let me put it another way. Ontario's carp fishing opportunities are the envy of the angling world and likely represent the last big freshwater fish frontier left on earth.

That is why none of the European anglers I spoke with at EFFTEX -- who have an Ontario carp fishing trip at the very top of their "bucket list" -- would believe me when I told them that carp fly under the radar of almost every Ontario resident angler and visiting angler alike.

They were even more shocked when I explained that it is common in Ontario to catch 100, 200 even 300, or more carp in a week's worth of angling, with a majority of the fish topping 20 or more pounds. They're used to catching 15 to 30 carp in a season.

And they relish the species so much -- carp, by the way, are the wariest freshwater fish that swims -- that in much of Britain and Europe you have to pay healthy membership fees to join clubs that have exclusive rights to fish the best waters.

Compare that to Ontario where you can catch a dozen of more behemoth carp a day, in the 20-, 25-, even 30-pound plus class, that fight like demons when you hooked them. And you don't have to drive hundreds of miles or pay a penny to find the finest action. You don't even need a boat because the best fishing is almost always right from shore.

In my next blog I'll outline the location of some of Ontario's best carp opportunities. And with the help of Len Perdic and Tony Benham, two of Ontario's top carp enthusiasts, and Jim Burton, one of Britain's most respected anglers, I'll explain how easily you can start catching mammoth fish using the same rods, reels and tackle that you already use to catch walleye, bass, northern pike and trout.

In the meantime, just remember, there is plenty to carp about, when you fish in Ontario!

Be sure to follow Gord on twitter @gordpyzer

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