What a wacky world we fishermen flounder about in!
Those darned carp are plentiful in Lake Sakakawea, much to the chagrin of the state's sport anglers who regard carp as a nuisance fish better suited to a fly-laden garbage can than a promising walleye reservoir. Our own Game and Fish Department is doing all it can to keep carp from finding their way into another of the state's top walleye fisheries Devils Lake.
So here we are, cheering on archers who gallantly pursue the dreaded carp with harpoon points and sturdy line. The less carp the better say the state's anglers. Who needs the lousy things anyway? That, in a stinking bait wad, pretty much sums up the majority opinion of both fishermen and biologists.
Why then would anyone, other than those conked on the head by a wayward downrigger ball, think the dastardly carp should be elevated to the elite status reserved for highly revered fish such as trophy muskies and whopper walleyes?
I'll tell you who, and I'm not making this up. The Wild Carp Companies and U.S. Carp Pro Magazine, that's who.
Not only do dedicated followers of these questionable entities revel in carp fishing, they boast of catching other rough fish as well. Heck, they've even got a fully functional tournament circuit. And get this, they practice catch and release!
Jeeeeez! One of the circuits highly touted "pros" won a tournament with a 12 pound, 14 ounce Koi! That's right, a Koi, the same thing you'd toss into your outdoor pond and invite the neighbors over so they could gawk at it and ask why you spilled several colors of paint on a perfectly good goldfish.
According to his professional fishing biography, Vinny (not my cousin) Jeffreys has traveled all over the United States in pursuit of carp. Among his achievements - third place in the 2010 Wild Carp Fall Qualifier held somewhere in the New England states, presumably in the water. According to the Wild Carp Companies' Web site, Jeffreys "brings to the team a dynamic blend of experience and skills." Other carp pros have built similar resumes tossing out grotesque and odoriferous baits like J-Bird's Tutti Fruitti, Poacher's Blend and Orangelicious.
Maybe we're missing out in this state. Maybe we should all throw out our regular fishing tackle and gear up for carp. Personally, I'll wait and see how that goes.
Now, before I get in real trouble with the pro carp folks, it should be noted that it is possible those wretched souls have little other fish to pursue. Another possibility is that their parents frequently flogged them with northern pike or walleyes when they were young. There's another rather bizarre possibility as well, and that is that these revolutionaries actually prefer fishing for carp over any other species. I do hope that is not the case.
To summarize, here's what we know. There is a growing fraternity of people, primarily in the Eastern U.S., who actively fish carp and other rough fish and, apparently, do so quite successfully. Once on the line, my thinking is that a fish is a fish. Carp get big too 30 and 40 pounds big so there is some challenge there. However, here in North Dakota, it is infinitely difficult to understand the logic behind catch-and-release carp fishing.
Just the same, maybe I'll save a few of those cheeseballs that are sure to surface during the upcoming holiday season.