Rediscovering the cool in carp

by Lezlie Goodwin | July 21, 2015

In defence of the lowly carp
Are you too cool for carp?
headshot of Lezlie Goodwin
The other day I was leafing through the May 1982 issue of The Angler and Hunter magazine and Vince Vella’s article “In Defence of the Lowly Carp” caught my eye. Accompanying it was this terrific photo of a woman proudly posing with a nine-pound carp she’d landed with a recurve bow!

Bowfishing aside, it seems the captivating carp has had its ups and downs in popularity with the North American angler since it was introduced to the U.S. back in the 1800s. In the beginning, it was the coolest thing going, then it hit a really long, low patch.

At one time in the Kawarthas, where I live and fish, the only people I saw targeting carp were from cultures that valued the big, exotic looking creatures. A friend who lives across from a prime carp spot on the Otonabee River says he’s met lots of British anglers here on expensive carp fishing vacations.

Over the years, I’ve heard a fair amount of carp bashing, but not so much lately. In fact, I think carp fishing is becoming more popular, and I know a few people who have taken it up. I’m probably late to the party, but I’m eager to give it a try.

Why wouldn’t I want to target a hard-fighting, readily available, no-limit, no-season fish? You can release your catch or be bold and eat it for dinner.

I’ve gathered some great advice from a few coworkers who have fished for carp, so I have a plan. Every night around 6 p.m. I throw in some corn niblets so the carp will start coming to that spot daily. I’ve learned to tie a snell knot and rig a line for carp, how to use a baitcaster in place of the proper baitrunner that I’m too cheap to buy yet, and I’ve skimmed a couple of books and watched a few YouTube videos. I’m ready!

So far, I’ve invested about an hour sitting on the dock with the rod in one hand (I know if I had the proper rig this wouldn’t be necessary) and a glass of wine in the other. (Confession: It was the dock and the wine that inspired this idea in the first place.) I haven’t caught anything, but I am confident that one of these evenings, I am going to set the hook on a beauty and join the carp club.

Because I am absolutely not too cool for carp.

This is one of Vella’s delicious sounding recipes. Comment below if you would like the instructions for Carp Horseradish Stew, Fried Carp, or Baked Carp Fillets, and I’ll add them to this post.

Broiled Paradise Carp
From The Angler and Hunter, May 1982
• 2 lb. carp fillets
• 3 tbsp. bacon fat
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Chilli sauce and cheese

Place fillets on broiler rack, skin side down. Brush top of fish with bacon fat, season with salt and pepper. Place in pre-heated oven at 450˚F, and broil 10 to 20 minutes according to thickness of fish. When fillets are done to taste, remove and spread with chilli sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese, and return to the broiler until cheese is melted.
Lezlie Goodwin with carp.

Sign up for our mailing list

indicates required
Email format


  1. April wrote: I would love to catch a big carp! There are some monsters where we fish on the St.Lawrence. If you get one, please post the picture!
    • lezlie goodwin wrote: here you go April. It was great fun. Caught some catfish too.