Do Carp Have Teeth?
Well the answer is YES, all carp have teeth. Does that surprise you? When you consider some of the types of food that a carp eats it becomes apparent that they need a set of teeth of some sort to be able to chew their food before swallowing it.
Carp teeth are called Pharyngeal Teeth and are located at the back of the carps throat just at the beginning of its gullet. These teeth are used for crushing and grinding their food and are not for biting in any way.
Some of the food items that the carp crush and grind with its Pharyngeal Teeth include snails, mollusc's, crayfish, insects, larva, weed, invertebrae and many other food items. And of course there are also baits from the carp fishermen.
As you can see from the picture showing the Pharyngeal teeth, they are not like human teeth at all, and the fact that they are set so far back in the throat of the carp, probably explains why the original hair rig was so successful, when opposed to a standard bait set up with the bait actually put on the hook.
With the original hair rig the bait is hanging free from the hook by 1-3 inches allowing the carp to pass the bait to the Pharyngeal Teeth for crushing before it feels the hook, otherwise the carp would feel the hook as it takes the bait into its mouth and rejecting it before the fisherman had any indication that he had a bite.
With modern hair rigs the emphasis is more on short hairs, concentrating on getting the hook to turn over and get a firm hold, which makes it very difficult for the carp to eject the bait and the rig without sending an indication to the waiting carp fisherman.
However, when trying to catch a carp that has been caught many times, the longer hair style of the original carp hair rig will sometimes fool these ultra cautious fish, when the modern short hair style rigs fail.
Inside the carps mouth, the Buccal cavity is lined with ridges of a tough folded membrane called the Mucosa which is covered in microscopic projections called Papillae which themselves are covered in tiny taste buds. This would probably explain how the carp can easily differentiate between bait flavours and textures, making it possible to exclude any that trigger its instinctive reaction to danger, which could have been caused from the last time it was hooked on a bait of that particular flavour, texture, and presentation.
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".