February is the time of year for romance.
Think chocolates, red roses, and a candlelit meal for two. Yes, Valentine’s day is upon us and with it the opportunity for love – or a least a card from your mum.
For avid anglers, it’s also perhaps the one day of the year when in the interests of marital harmony it might be best to leave your carp fishing tackle in the cupboard.
But while we’re in a romantic frame of mind, we thought we’d take a fish’s eye view of the mating game. Just how do fish do it?
A cichlid’s sandcastle is his love nest. In the attempt to attract a mate these African lake dwelling fish build up a carefully designed pile of sand that they defend from other males. The sandcastle pad is both a place to mate and somewhere to look after the eggs until they hatch.
Scientists studying the fish discovered that if they modified the shape of the nest or ‘bower’, the male it belonged to had less fights with other fish and was more likely to attract a female. Cichlid ladies it seems, are most attracted to a man who’s not afraid to show a bit of individuality.
The ultimate clinger on, the male angler fish administers a love bite that lasts. Because of the difficulty in finding a mate in the deep dark abyss, some species of male angler fish have developed the ability to literally become one with their mate.
Males use well their highly sensitive sense of smell to locate a female and bite into her skin. His mouth produces enzymes that digest both their flesh. The two fish grow into each other, the male living off the blood supply of the female. As a survival strategy it’s spot on. Whenever the female feels like reproducing, she has a mate ready to fertilise her eggs.
In clown fish communities, who gets to mate is all based on pecking order. Top fish is a female – the biggest and bossiest of the group. She only mates with one male fish. All the others have to wait their turn. When the leading female dies or is taken out by a predator, the top male changes sex to become the matriarch, and all the male fish below move up one notch.
As to when clown fish mate – the female waits for the silvery light of the full moon before laying her eggs on flat surfaces amid the garden of anemones where she lives. Who said romance was dead?
Sea hares are gastropods with a soft bodies and internal shells. They’re a sort of shell-less sea snail. They can grow quite large – up to 75cm long and 2 kg in weight – and their long protruding nostrils prompted the romans to name them after the land animal.
When it comes to reproduction, sea hares are interesting because they have male organs at one end, female at the other. And when they mate, several of the creatures often link together, sometimes forming a circle of love.
The argonaut or paper nautilus is an octopus that resides in tropical waters. The female grows up to 10cm in length but creates a delicate calcite shell up to 30cm in diameter. The shell doubles as both a home and a brood chamber for eggs.
Mating with one of the tiny 2cm males of the species is an interesting process in that the male’s reproductive tentacle is broken off and presented to the female in its live, wriggling state.
Not much is known about how giant squid reproduce. For a long time scientists interested in discovering the mechanics of the creature’s mating process were baffled as to how males delivered their sperm to females.
But then a female specimen was found in Tasmania which may hold the answer to the riddle. Scientists examining the creature found dart-like tendrils attached to each of her legs. It seems possible that males shoot ‘love darts’ at their mates, injecting sperm through the female’s skin.
Recent news has revealed the discovery of a new fish species — arapaima leptosoma — which is native to the Amazon in Brazil.
The fish is the first entirely new species of the huge arapaima family discovered since 1847, for which only a single species was believed to have existed for the last 166 years.
Arapaimas can grow up to 3 metres long and weigh as much as 200 kilos, so the new species didn’t exactly slip through the net. It only highlights the focus and dedication required to raise fish conservation efforts. The new discovery prompted us to wonder what else is out there in the big blue. Here’s some unlikely efforts we dreamed up (feel free to contribute your own ideas).
Hoover fish (humus nimia satietas)
Two of the biggest threats to sea life are overfishing and pollution, so imagine a huge bottom feeder that digested massive amounts of rubbish and pollution clogging up our seas and rivers.
Nearly as big as a blue whale, the hoover fish would provide much needed assistance to a dirty problem.
Golden-gilled ghost carp (M. Spiritu carpere)
Very much the fish of choice for many anglers, carps can be challenging to hook and are highly prized. But we all need a holy grail in our lives and there needs to be something out there that provides a fearsome challenge for our carp fishing rod.
Say hello to the golden-gilled carp — a 60kilo carp species incredibly hard to find and a fish that provides huge fame for the fisherman that hooks it.
Mouse marlin (mus marlin)
Fast, strong and elusive, select species of marlin are considered to provide the pinnacle of offshore sport fishing. Big blue marlins put up one hell of a fight and have inspired many sport fishermen, but like lots of other species, black and blue marlins are in decline.
Threatened primarily by commercial fishing, it’d be brilliant if there were a breed of marlin renowned for its exceptionally fast breeding (and growing) rates. So fast that is has been nicknamed the mouse marlin.
Sea chicken (quis maris)
Humanity’s appetite for tuna is incredible and it’s mainstream appeal along with its meaty texture has resulted in it being nicknamed the chicken of the sea. Yet it’s a matter of time before demand outgrows supply, which is likely to result in tuna being an unaffordable luxury for poorer families.
If only there was an alternative like the tasty and abundant sea chicken (a fish incredibly similar to a chicken, but still a fish).
Pearl Catcher (margaritam aucupe)
Not to be mistaken for the commensal pearl fish, which is known to live inside clams and starfish, the pearl catcher is a speedy little fish renowned for its snatch and run routine on the mollusc community.
Unable to properly digest the pearls it steals, the pearl catcher keeps its booty in its stomach until it is caught by a lucky fisherman. Now there’s a nice thought.
What could be better than fishing your way into the new year? Follow Dave Lane in his first carp fishing video diary of 2014! In the two part diary, Dave describes (again) the advantages of moving pegs when things aren’t really going your way.
There’s some great tips in both of these carp diaries, including how to choose the correct carp setup and also how to detect if the fish are high in the water.
Check out the unbelievable underwater footage from Dave’s new GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition!
Dave Lane has produced many carp fishing video diaries over the last couple of weeks and this is our favourite yet! Dave’s a phenomenal angler as many of you will know, catching plenty of carp using some of the best best carp fishing tackle on the market. But even the best make mistakes… Have you ever done this?
Dave Lane’s Carp Fishing Special
After spotting some feeding fish around 100 yards out, Dave Lane tests the Zig Rig method at Monks Pit. A yellow and black foam offering produced a fish within just five minutes of casting out, a beautiful 30+ pound mirror.
Dave’s also testing some of our new fishing clothing, using a combination of the new TF Gear waterproof clothing along with our thermal underwear! It’s getting cold already for carping so make sure you wrap up warm this winter!
Well, I reckon I made the right decision when I moved my fishing over to Monks Pit in Cambridgeshire.
Since that first successful trip when I managed to bank one of the three remaining forty pound plus carp in the pit that I hadn’t already caught, things have just got better and better.
The next week I only had a single night at my disposal but the fish fed like crazy and I ended up with an incredible nine carp on the bank, I almost made it to double figures but fish number ten fell off at the net just as I was packing up!
As if catching this amount of big carp wasn’t rewarding enough for thirty hours spent solidly casting, spodding, and playing fish, one of the fish was yet another of the trio I have at the top of my hit list. This time it was a fish known as Moonscale and he weighed in at forty three pounds, a top result and, realistically, that now leaves only the one biggest fish in the lake for the full set.
Since that trip I have had a further four visits and, although none of these trips has been quite as manic, I haven’t actually blanked yet, which a real bonus.
A couple of times I have taken it right to the wire, catching at the last minute to save a blank but even then, the stamp of fish has made it well worth the wait.
Just the other week I fished for forty eight hours without so much as a sniff and then, in the last two hours of the trip, I took fish of twenty four and thirty six pounds in quick succession.
Most of the carp have been falling to the new Mainline Hybrid fished snowman style over plenty of free offerings and a bed of hemp, tigers and corn but I have had a couple on maggot and a couple on zigs.
It’s about this time of year, as the temperatures start to drop sharply, that the zigs start to produce a few fish and it seems as if the colder it gets, the better they work.
Luckily, at Monks, I can use four carp fishing rods throughout the winter and this allows me to try different methods such as zigs and maggots while always keeping at least two rods on my favourite boilie approach. I have had most of my biggest fish from this lake on boilies and I am confident that the biggest one will fall to this method in time, all I have to do is keep on persevering and hope the wheel of fortune spins in my favour before the winter is over and I move on to pastures new.
Check out my video diary here on the Fishtec blog!
After some tough fishing at the Big Lake in Bedford over the last couple of weeks, Dave Lane makes the decision to move to Monks Pit in search of some of the larger carp he currently hadn’t caught.
Dave describes where the fish are likely to be, how to approach a carp water and what carp fishing tackle will help tempt specimen fish!
Fishing tackle Dave uses in this video:
DL Nantec Carp Rods
Dave Lane Hardcore Bivvy
As we move in to November we could well be wondering if the winter is actually coming at all this year. I am certainly not complaining though, the weather conditions throughout October have been perfect for carp fishing and my catch rates have been a reflection of this.
At the beginning of the month I moved back onto Monks Pit, in Cambridgeshire as I thought it was about time I targeted some large carp again. I have enjoyed my summer excursion on the large gravel pit in search of unknown monsters but, with the year getting into its last quarter, I wanted somewhere to settle down on, in readiness for the colder weather.
Monks has been good to me in the past and I have had a total of five different fish over forty pounds from the venue. I thought, at one stage, that I had finished with the place but, recently, I got chatting to a couple of mates who still fish there and realised that there are probably still three or four over that weight I haven’t caught so a return for the winter seemed more and more like a good idea.
My first trip was an impromptu affair, pulling off the big pit halfway through a session when I thought I should be making the most of big low pressure system, and turning up at Monks with just an hour and a half of daylight remaining, just enough time to get the carp fishing tackle sorted and setup for the night.
Having not been on the lake for two years I would have preferred a bit more time to walk about and suss the place out a bit but, instead, I opted for a swim that I had always liked in the past. The swim I chose was in the middle section of the lake, always a good bet to start with and it gave me a good view if anything topped elsewhere.
The carp at Monks do like a bit of bait so I spent the next hour spodding out a bed of boilies, hemp, tigers and corn, setting all three carp fishing rods at the same distance in a line across the swim.
That first night went by without any action and I was just thinking about a move when a good sized fish topped right over my right hand carp rod. It couldn’t have even been a full minute later when the line tightened up and the tip pulled down towards the surface, signalling my first bite.
Right from the off the fish felt heavy and incredibly powerful, but then I had been used to catching twenties from the big pit over the previous months so I was unsure exactly how much bigger this beastie might turn out to be. He fought well in the deep and clear water eventually weeding me up in a big bed of Milfoil down to my right. After trying all the usual tricks with no success I had to resort to going out in the boat to free him, this is always a lot easier and safer with heavy weed once you actually get right above the fish and change the line angle as it enters the weed-bed. After a few hairy moments I managed to get him free and then it was just a matter of playing him out in open water. With the clarity being so good I could clearly see him ten feet below the boat, twisting and turning on the line and he did look very, very big indeed. Although I’d never seen the fish before I recognised him from a description I been given only the previous night and, as he went into the net, I knew I’d cracked one of the few remaining big fish in the lake that I hadn’t already caught. He was a fish known as the ‘Hartford mirror’ and he weighed just a little over forty pounds, what a way to start a return to Monks!
Once I had sussed where and how they were feeding I juggled the rods around a bit and kept a constant supply of bait going in over the area and, during the next twenty four hours , I managed to bank a further five carp up to mid-thirties but the Hartford mirror really was the star of the show.
If I had had any doubts about where to pass the colder months of winter then they have been dispelled now, with fish of this stamp only an hour from my doorstep I reckon that Monks will be seeing quite a bit more of me and Paddy over the coming few months, I can’t wait to get back out there.
Struggling to find a fishing related present for your hubby or partner this Christmas? We at Fishtec have the perfect gift. Ideal for hanging in the fishing room, garage, or ‘man space’, the 2014 TF Gear Babes Calendar is packed full of carpy fun and features beautiful women cradling large carp.
This is the second year TF Gear has put together a Babes fishing calendar, with 2013′s being a massive hit all around the country. I mean, what’s better than actually going carp fishing, or buying some carp fishing tackle than beautiful women holding carp?
Order the TF Gear Babes Calendar here.
For more previews like the below, join our Facebook Page!
The fishing has been tough and the weather fairly unpredictable but Dave Lane has still managed to put together another of his Carp Fishing video diaries, showing you exactly what hes doing to try and temp large carp to the bank.
This week his two part carp fishing diary takes him to Big Lakes at Bedford…