Typically there are three main varieties of carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are generally sought after by the carp fishermen, these being the Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Leather Carp. There are other types of carp that you will hear of, for example a fish being a fully scaled mirror, a plated mirror, or a linear, these names are just describing carp with differing scale patterns .
All of the original carp were fully scaled as per the common carp, with the mirror and leather carp being different strains of the original common carp. As early as the 13th century common carp were semi-domesticated by the monks in the UK, who cultivated and bred them for food, and consequently they selectively bred them with a lesser amount of scales to make the carp easier to prepare for the table. Hence we now see the mirror carp and the leather carp strains, which are so "common" today.
Carp have been an important and sustainable food fish for many countries for hundreds of years, which probably explains why the carp is so widespread throughout the world, although they are originally from Asia, it is the carp's importance as a food fish which is responsible for the widespread introduction and distribution of the carp.
Carp are a very strong and robust fish and can cope with many different types of water and temperatures. This adaptability accounts for their survivability when you consider all the different environments in which they are being kept or have thrived in, worldwide. They can survive temperatures ranging from as low as 1 degree, to over 30 degrees celsius, with the ideal temperature for carp being somewhere between 14-24 degrees celsius.
Carp can cope with waters that have a low oxygen content, although if this situation was to be over a prolonged period, it would have a detrimental effect on the carp's health, well being and growth rates.
The value of carp as a food fish varies from one country to the next, for example in Japan and China they are highly respected and are also considered to be a sign of good fortune, they are often served during celebrational times and formal banquets. In these two countries there are many legends and myths, going back hundreds of years that surround the all important almost mythical carp.
In some of the Central and Eastern European countries, carp are often found on the menu, in Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Poland Slovakia and the Czech Republic, carp are traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve.
Within the United Kingdom, America and Australia the carp are rarely eaten.
Carp Fishing Thoughts
"The landing of any carp should be seen as an achievement, and to capture a particularly wary fish is a truly remarkable event" - John Bailey - an excerpt from his book "Carp Challenge".