French fish don’t count!


There was recently a long ongoing thread on the Carpforum about the subject of non “English” fish ‘Not’ counting!

My first question would have to be “don’t count for what or for whom?”

It is a subject which as a resident in France, a holiday provider and a fishery owner strikes a chord. The fish in the picture is a very pretty 30lb+ mirror from the Orient, – “Does it Count?”

Ok! let’s wind back a bit and look at this fish we strive to catch. Carp have indeed been around for a long time and were farmed as far back as Roman times. And Carp were brought to the British Isles from the continent of Europe – as we are reminded by Izaak Walton in The Compleat Angler: – probably in the 15th or 16th Centuries:

“Hops and turkies, carps and beer,
Came into England all in a year”

Hops were introduced into England in approx 1428 but carp may have been introduced as early as the 1300’s the early writings are unclear and even the authorships are in dispute so we can only say that the carp was established in the UK by the end of the 1600’s

“King” Carp didn’t arrive into Britain until relatively recently. Donald Leney of The Hazlemere Trout Farm is responsible for the famous strain stocked into Redmire and other waters. These fish imported from Holland originating in the Galicia region of Poland were sold to many angling clubs and introduced into many waters which latterly became famous for the size of the fish they produced.

So like many other so-called British Institutions, all this suggests they’re not really British at all!

How long does a carp have to be resident in a water to count as an indigenous inhabitant – rather than an ‘artificial’ introduction?

These question raise a few points to ponder and is a subject that brings me back to a topic I have already written about, and touches the very essence of angling and its deffintion.

“Angling is the technique of catching fish using a rod and line; it is called “angling” because of the angle formed by the two. It has been suggested that the quintessential step of making fishing into a sport, rather than just a means of catching fish for food, was the invention of the rod. It is considered a sport, then when practised for enjoyment. Anglers sometimes attempt to catch only one type of fish, in our case the Carp, often limiting their equipment to increase the sport – Sports commonly refer to activities where the physical capabilities of the competitor are the sole or primary determiner of the outcome”.

  • We set our stall to catch a fish that is not indigenous to Europe, let alone England. Surely then it is totally irrelevant whether we catch it in England, France, Spain or Morocco.
  • The fish that are currently swimming around in Britain are all descended from fish introduced from Europe. What makes these fish more meritous than a batch of fish imported (legally) from Europe & stocked today?
  • As we all strive to apply the rules of angling as stipulated above, than surely it matters little where we cast a line to achieve this goal. I have never had the chance to fish waters like Wraysbury, but I have obtained huge satisfaction catching big carp from lakes like the Orient.

I think at the end of the day Carp Fishing should be all things to all people, you need to set your own rules, your own aspirations, challenges and satisfactions. As the definition says it’s a sport practiced for enjoyment and so it should be.

It has been pointed out on a number of occasions that many French waters now are more pressured and harder than the English ones. So any fish caught should give at least equal satisfaction and thus merit.

Modern waters stocked to provide sport for the masses should not be sneered at by a handful of self-appointed snobs. If guys get satisfaction and enjoyment from fishing hard low stocked waters, then that’s fine, but many people just don’t have the time, or don’t want to take an activity as banal as fishing that seriously.

After 30 years fishing for carp, I don’t really want to fish overstocked stock ponds myself, but I understand and respect the chap who has one week a year to really have a crack, and wants his buzzers to sound as often as possible.

I have been down that road, in the early days at La Horre we caught over 45 fish each on one peg in just 24 hours to around 27lb. It was mad fishing. This would bore me silly now, I prefer just a couple of chances a day and a good fish I have to work for on the end of the line.

So basically all fish ‘count’ as long as there is enjoyment.


2 thoughts on “French fish don’t count!

  1. Jon Perkins says:

    I suspect anyone who writes such piffle as “French Fish don’t count” does not fish in France and is probably jealous of the big fish caught here, in comparison to what is available in the UK !
    For people like Gareth and myself who now live in France, I presume that “English fish don’t count”….so we must forget about all the lovely carp we caught whilst we were in the UK …?!!!!
    Whether the fish are as pressured or not as UK carp is not really relevant in my opinion, if you can find a lake in the UK or in France where the fish are not pressured and catch carp from it, then you are in a better place then most !
    I have seen similar nonsense written here in the French carp magazines,with writers stating that carp caught from commercial lakes are less merititious than those from the big public lakes and rivers – probably written by people who can’t afford to fish the commercial lakes and are jealous of those that can. Not everyone has the time to spend on the likes of Orient, Cassien, the Lot, Saone, etc., and lets face it, if you were offered the chance to fish a water where no-one else was allowed to fish, and the carp had never been caught would you say “oh no thanks, I would rather fish my local lake with 20 bivvies round it because I feel more rewarded by catching pressured fish and I have done it on equal terms to my fellow anglers ” ? I dont think so …!!! It is every carp anglers dream to fish a lake where the carp have never seen a rig or a boilie before, and that is why people come carp fishing in France – because it is nearer to that ideal than you are ever going to find in the UK.

  2. Big Ron says:

    “” I have seen similar nonsense written here in the French carp magazines,with writers stating that carp caught from commercial lakes are less merititious than those from the big public lakes and rivers – probably written by people who can’t afford to fish the commercial lakes and are jealous of those that can. “”

    Sorry but I would have to dissagree with you comments above ….as I have fished all types and sizes of lakes and rivers in France and several othe countrys,
    I feal that I have the experiance to comment on you quote above.

    Yes my Carp from the River Seain and large inland sea’s are more merititious to me personaly …than any fish I have had from commercial lakes. ( affording it or not does not realy come into the equation )

    As for do Fench fish count ??? yes EVERY fish I catch counts to me ( Size or country means very little ..but I do see some captures more merititious than others in each country I fish )


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