Saturday, February 23, 2013

Asian Carp

I used to fish Asian carp as a boy in a modestly-sized lake in Palics, Hungary (now Palić in Serbia)—without knowing it. The kind found in Lake Palics was common carp, but all varieties of carp originated in Asia, were originally imported, and most were and are cultivated for food. They fight like the devil when caught and can get rather large. They are good to eat. For reasons that puzzle me, carp are viewed with disdain in the United States. Possible reasons are that they are omnivorous and eat aquatic plants as well as insects and other small creatures that live in muddy bottoms. They’re not a “game” fish—but they certainly have plenty of fight when hooked.

In the Great Lakes region and in the rivers that feed the lakes, the Asian carp are frequently discussed as a major nuisance, an invasive species; evidently we don’t like competition. The notion that they might be a terrific source of sport and food is simply off the table. But the time may come when all that will change. Here is a rich source of protein. Someday we’ll appreciate that.

Yesterday my brother, Baldy Darnay, sent along a quite fantastic video, produced by Indiana Outdoor Adventures. Three men are traveling up the Indiana river by boat—when they are subjected to an Asian carp attack. It’s worth seeing. Here is the link.

For more on this subject a quick-and-easy intro is provided on this U.S. Geological Survey site (link).

4 comments:

  1. Drive-through fishing!

    I used to fish carp in the Pecos River, which was always fun. We didn't eat them, though (although we ourselves didn't eat much fish of any kind). They outbreed and outsurvive almost anything else, so their population is always in the process of exploding.

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  2. Catching fish is one thing, eating fish another. My sister and I are two in the family who'd rather not. She was absolutely fierce about it; as for me, my Mother could make me cave for a forkful at a time at most. But sitting on a rock, watching that bobber, my long bamboo pole near at hand? Pure joy.

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  3. Having spent my early childhood in Poland, I still remember fish, most often carp, being served late on New Year's Eve, jellied with carrots, pickles and other pieces of veggies; a very colorful plate surrounded by more pickled veggies. Early in the day and under my grandmother's direction the cook would prepare this dish with great care. It was then served cold, as a sort of appetizer around midnight. Have not eaten it since and no longer even remember it's taste. But always liked those pickled veggies.

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  4. I seemed to remember hearing that carp often has a muddy taste, so I investigated. It turns out that it often does, but you can easily prevent that by catching it live and letting it swim around in clean fresh water for a few days. (If you don't, it still might good, but it seems to be more of a gamble.) So perhaps that's a reason for our underappreciating carp on the food end -- maybe we no longer have enough patience to make sure it's properly prepared.

    I like fish myself, but the only fish I really ate growing up was catfish.

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