Back Story: What to do about jumping carp?

Silver and bighead carp, which are inclined to jump clear of the water at the approach of a boat, have infested the lower Tennessee River and are becoming more numerous in the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri River drainages.

EverStart Series Tournament Director Ron Lappin attended a meeting of stakeholders the other day in which the only topic of discussion was what has become known in colloquial fishing language as "jumping carp." Silver and bighead carp, which are inclined to jump clear of the water at the approach of a boat, have infested the lower Tennessee River and are becoming more numerous in the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri River drainages. They're reproducing like cockroaches and competing with native baitfish and juvenile sport fish for food - and through sheer numbers, they're winning. If the nefarious Asian carp haven't showed up in your neighborhood yet, stick around - they're on the way. The biggest reason the nuisance fish are proliferating at a much faster rate than they're diminishing has nothing to do with an inability to harvest them. In fact, they will practically jump into a boat. Below Kentucky Lake Dam, the carp commit suicide by swimming along the riprapped shore where eager bowfishermen use them for target practice. In March, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and League of Kentucky Sportsmen co-sponsored a two-day commercial netting tournament on Kentucky Lake that produced more than 82,000 pounds of silvers and bigheads. Unloading carp after a recent Asian carp tournament.The real problem with jumping carp is that they don't seem to fit in any current supply-and-demand model. Typically, the way things get done in this country is that a need or desire for something is created and then served. Marketplace economics kick in: production and delivery, cost and profit. If one component is out of kilter, the machine doesn't run. In the case of Asian carp, the real problem is that nobody wants to eat the fish - or at least not enough people to create a strong and sustainable commercial demand. Probably there are a lot of reasons for that: the fish's name is a turn-off, there are more acceptable species such as tilapia and catfish readily available and, like all carp, Asian varieties have a series of small "floating bones" imbedded in their flesh above the backbone that consumers don't like to deal with. The protein-rich byproducts of Asian carp - their bones, skins and innards - can be turned into livestock and fish feed, but there's not a lot of money to be made there. Considering that 50- or 75-pound carp routinely tear up nets worth about $350, many commercial fishermen aren't too keen on making sets in areas where they know the fish abound. Carp are important dietary staples in the Far East, but the U.S. is a consumer nation, not a supplier, and isn't set up to process and ship freshly caught fish halfway around the globe. In 2012, for instance, the Department of Commerce's tally shows that the U.S. imported $16.7 billion in fishery products, and exported $5.13 billion. Considering that 50- or 75-pound carp routinely tear up nets worth about $350, many commercial fishermen aren't too keen on making sets in areas where they know the fish abound.According to Lappin, the meeting group's consensus was that the best first step to deal with the Asian carp problem is to promote domestic consumption. Hopefully, a domino effect will then cultivate a thriving international market. That might be a reach, but it seems to be the only solution. And such marketing efforts are underway, though they're taking baby steps for now. The alarm bells aren't ringing too loudly now, but they will. And somewhere up ahead, a "United Nations" of scientists, fishery managers, chambers of commerce, tourism councils, fishermen and boating and fishing industry honchos are going to have to get together and tackle the problem. The sheer biomass of Asian carp sweeping toward our fishing future like a giant tsunami isn't going to disappear by itself. If jumping carp aren't your concern, they're most definitely going to be a concern for your children and grandchildren. Think about it the next time you're out there bass fishing and a carp jumps clear of the water near you. Consider it a reminder: It's not going away on its own.

Tags: blog  colin-moore 

/news/2015-03-23-what-went-down-at-kentucky-lake

What Went Down at Kentucky Lake

Save for the contrarian crankbaits used by the eventual winning team from the University of Arkansas-Fayettville, it seemed that the vast majority of teams in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake relied on umbrella rigs. Here’s a rundown on what the top 10 used to catch most of their bass. Each of these teams is now pre-qualified for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

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/news/2015-03-21-top-patterns-from-kentucky-lake-

Top Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Thanks to nearly identical bags from days one and two, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville netted the title in the FLW College Fishing Open held on Kentucky Lake. While the top prize of a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard was at stake, teams were also battling to make the top 10 in order to punch their ticket for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-21-college-open-day-2-midday-update

College Open Day 2 Midday Update

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/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-record-catch-for-record-college-field-

Record Catch for Record College Field?

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Panama City, beach parties, Florida sunshine, bikini weather – big deal. Who needs Spring Break when you’ve got Kentucky Lake in March? OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but how else to explain why a record-setting number of teams showed up for the FLW College Fishing Open tournament here? The official tally of bass fishing teams is 201, according to College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, making this the largest collegiate fishing event ever. Teams from every corner of the country are represented here, with squads from as far away as Eastern Washington University competing the next two days. A flotilla left Moor’s Resort & Marina this morning, with individual boats scattering in all directions. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-18-college-open-will-be-a-record-setter

College Open will be a Record-Setter

When the first FLW College Fishing Open tournament gets underway out of Moor’s Resort on Kentucky Lake Friday morning, it will make history as the largest college event ever staged. Typically, college tournaments are staged as divisional events where only teams from a particular geographical region can participate, but the Open marks the first time any eligible college team can compete. The response to the new format has been overwhelming. According to FLW College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, 184 teams representing colleges and universities from coast to coast are entered (as of this morning), and more might be en route. Teams have until Thursday evening at 6 to register at the rules meeting. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-18-expect-change-and-adapt-to-it

Expect Change and Adapt to It

Ish Monroe explains how to adapt to changing conditions and recommends to always fish your strengths in this weeks blog. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-17-so-you-want-to-be-a-co-angler-

So You Want to be a Co-Angler?

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/tips/2015-03-16-tour-newcomers-andrew-young

Tour Newcomers: Andrew Young

If you look at Young’s track record in the Angler Profiles of FLWFishing.com, there’s not much there. The only FLW tournament he’s fished is the Tour opener on Lake Toho, where he finished 102nd. Prior to that, Young hadn’t fished so much as a Walmart Bass Fishing League event, but that doesn’t mean he lacks talent or savvy. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-16-a-30-piece-puzzle-with-four-pieces-missing

A 30-Piece Puzzle with Four Pieces Missing

The whole time I was down in Florida during the FLW Tour opener on Lake Toho I felt like I was trying to put together a 30-piece puzzle with four pieces missing. The weather was right, the water temperature was right, the thousands of acres of vegetation looked right, but one thing was wrong: the fish! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-12-a-clean-slate

A Clean Slate

The 2015 season opener of the Walmart FLW Tour wasn’t at Okeechobee, as in recent years, but at Lake Toho in central Florida. I was excited about the change, and even more pumped to start a fresh new season after blowing my motor on day one of the first event last year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-11-lake-toho-storylines

Lake Toho Storylines

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury on Lake Toho provided the 20th-anniversary season a proper sendoff. It was emblematic of the seasons that came before and had all of the hallmarks that FLW fishing fans have come to expect. A couple of strong 11th-hour charges for the title, environmental challenges in the form of dramatic weather and water changes, and a nail-biting finish were befitting of two decades of the Tour. We wanted to break down a few of the more subtle storylines as well, in order to put this season’s opener into perspective. Here goes. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-07-a-morning-with-the-leader

A Morning with the Leader

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/news/2015-03-06-randles-takes-co-angler-crown

Randles Takes Co-angler Crown

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/news/2015-03-05-boom-or-bust-at-toho

Boom or Bust at Toho

To varying degrees of success, tournament anglers are used to figuring out lakes that seemingly are a bundle of contradictions. Be that as it may, Lake Toho threatens to boggle their collective minds as the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour kickoff event presented by Mercury gets underway this morning. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-27-toho-bound

Toho Bound

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/tips/2015-02-25-tour-newcomers-capt-blake-smith

Tour Newcomers: Capt. Blake Smith

Capt. Blake Smith, who’s signed on to fish the Walmart FLW Tour this year, will tell you that he’s a “true rookie” when it comes to big-time bass tournaments, which is true. However, he’s no newcomer to competitive fishing. READ MORE »