RECORD: 6.4kg, B Herbert, Lake Pupuke, 2006
Koi Carp are an ornamental strain of the common carp found throughout Europe and Asia. They were first released "accidentally" here in the 60's and since then they have gained a strong foothold in New Zealand fresh-waterways. Of debatable eating quality, koi carp look like oversized goldfish. They come in a huge variety of colours ranging from all white to all black but usually have some gold in them and some black markings. They are a coarse fish which means that they have large scales and may grow up to 20kg. A very oily fish, carp makes fantastic berley and bait and this is the fate of most speared fish.
Carp are designated as a noxious pest because of the damage they cause to native water plants and animals so kill 'em all!
FEEDING HABITS AND HABITAT:
In New Zealand carp are only really found in any numbers in the Auckland and Waikato areas. They live in slow-moving or still fresh water and can tolerate very poor water quality. As omnivores they eat basically anything from weed, to insects and small fish. It is the way that carp feed that causes the greatest damage to our waterways. Carp feed like vacuum cleaners sucking everything off the bottom and spitting out what they don't want through their gills (like sting rays). This dislodges plants which are unable to re-establish themselves and covers the bottom with discarded sand and mud etc, muddying the bottom and reducing water quality. In Auckland the main populations may be found in Lake Pupuke and the adjoining Smales Quarry Lake and the lakes around the Chelsea Sugar Factory.
Carp are pretty dumb really and don't easily spook. Probably the hardest part of spearing them is braving the water they live in that is generally cold and dirty. The murky water can also make spotting them difficult.
Here are some words of wisdom from Blair "the carp slayer" Herbert:
"Theres 2 easy peasy ways to get fat old koi carp:
1) Swim in the shallows and find clearings in the weed, spend a wee while studying the fringes of the clearing as the carp are usually just hidden in the weed and any movement will give them away.
2) Walk along the banks of the area you want to dive and study the bottom til you spot a carp then jump in and nail it.
You can improve your chances by pre baiting an area for a few days prior to actually diving. Things like bread dough and canned corn work well."