FISH HANDLING AT THE GRAVIERS........
Along with rig safety, Fish handling at The Graviers is one of the things we take very seriously....
I believe the physical condition and even the eventual future existence of any carp depends on the way we handle them during the process of their capture, I also believe that good or bad handling of fish during this time could also determine the amount of times they are actually caught through out any season....
Just like you, if every time you went for a Pizza you got a smack in the face...then eventually you would avoid going for a Pizza...right?
Well it's the same for our beloved Carp....bad handling, injury, or stress from spending too long out of water during capture would soon be associated to feeding on anglers baits, and they could easily end up looking for alternative food sources, and in turn become harder to catch!
You must remember that fish were never really meant to actually leave the water, yet alone be subjected to being rolled around on unhooking mats, lifted up in weigh slings, and held for photos...or have hooks in them for that matter!.....But these actions are all part of our angling today that each of the fish we catch are in fact subjected to, but in many cases, without our accurate perception of their "comfort zone" through out the procedure !
Most Carp anglers of today pride them selves in their approach to "fish care", and it's true we have come a long way with the development with Carp friendly Unhooking mats, Landing nets, Weigh slings, and medical treatments...all of which have been created and in turn improved over the years to try and limit the risks of any accidents and injury to the fish we catch.
These developments are all good news for sure, but, it is in fact only half the answer to the ultimate handling of the fish we catch....
Carp anglers must be aware that despite purchasing all the best stuff available for handling fish, that there is still the often over looked factor that the Carp, and all fish for that matter, need to be in the water as much as possible through out our handling of them, and only removed for the minimum time possible, so limiting stress, discomfort, and reducing the risks of accidental injury.
If you think about it for a minute...During what I call the "standard procedure" (which is what we now call "the OLD standard procedure") our prized capture is most at risk once it leaves the water...and the all time biggest risk is when we pick them up for the photos!.....
It does not matter how long you have been fishing for Carp, and how many fish you have photographed, we have all been in the situation where the fish we are trying to photograph is having none of it, and tries it's best to wriggle out of your hands, and becomes very difficult, or even impossible to hold for the few seconds it takes to take that what is (for some reason), that all important photograph.
Why do they struggle anyway?........because they don't like it! ..but along with the obvious difficulties in breathing, and strain on their bodies from leaving their normaly weight supportive environment...another contributing factor is that your body temperature is considerably higher than that of a Carp...each time you touch them, you are effectively burning them!....a bit like touching a hot kettle for us if you like...but this is one complication that you could help to eliminate if the fish was to stay in the water, and you and your hands are in there with it, reducing the temperature differences.
So why do we do the photos on the bank anyway then?...... Good question!.....and one with no real answer really.... well, there is an answer to that question it seems, and that is...."because I can't be bothered to get in the water." but as an answer it's no where near as good as the question itself, and would certainly get you of the welcome list here.
I think as anglers, we owe it to the fish we catch, and also to honour our self proclaimed "safe angler status"...to stand back for a minute, look at the whole situation, and correct where we are going wrong, and actually put the fish's welfare first instead of just saying we do, and instead of putting all our attention on the perfect photo!
Keep them in the water!, and only pick them up for a photograph in the water!....and you know what?.....they will never get hurt doing that!
With just a few small changes to how most normally deal with a Carp once it has been netted, can make all the difference....this is how we deal with them at The Graviers....
THE FISH REMAIN IN THE WATER ALL THE TIME!
* Once netted, the fish can then stay in the water until all the preparations to receive it have been made, scales, cameras etc all ready.
* Take the unhooking cradle, with the sling already layed in it, over to the water where the fish is being retained in the net.(do not carry the fish in the net)
* If you intend to photograph the fish, then put your waders on, and get in the water with it. (you can have your angling partner hold the fish in the net for you, but away from the bank, in deeper water, whlie your putting the waders on)
* The rig can be cut so you can get rid of the rod, and the net broken down ready to roll the fish up in it.
* Before rolling the net up, make sure the fish is facing the front of the net. (tail at the spreader block end)
* Position the cradle along side the fish, and supporting the fish's weight, lift it into the cradle where the open weigh sling is waiting.
Now this is where the extra buoyancy of our cradles allows the rest of the procedure to be carried out in the water.
* The net can now be un-rolled, and carefully removed by sliding it out from under the fish as it remains in the floating cradle...there is no need to lift the fish to remove the net!...the hook can also be removed now.
* Treat the hook hole, and any scratches or lifted scales, etc, with the G7 koi treatment provided.
* The fish can now be zipped up in the sling, and weighed, using the weigh bars supplied...still in the water, keeping the cradle positioned under it just in case. (Try to position the fish on it's side, or it's back before lifting it to be weighed...this will avoid pressure on the fish's vital organs and avoid the risk of injury)
* As soon as you have a weight, the fish can be lowered back into the cradle, and partially submerged to cover the fish's gill plates with water, this will help to calm the fish while you prepare to photograph it. (The removing of the net, the medical treatment and the weighing of the fish can all be achieved within just a couple of minutes)
* In the water, the fish is safe....you can take your photos with out having to worry about dropping the fish.
Dip the fish between photos, and if it is trying to swim off...then let it.
SAFETY CRADLE MATS AT THE GRAVIERS.....
Protection of the Carp is very important to me, so working in association with our friends at Cotswold Aquarius, we have developed the ultimate Carp unhooking cradles, to offer the maximum safety and protection for the fish during handling.
These Unhooking Mats are a no expense spared development, incorporating various density foams, and highest quality materials to offer an un-equaled cushioned protection for the fish during handling, and built with the size of Graviers carp in mind.
The mat's also offer a level of buoyancy which enables the entire unhooking procedure, weighing and treatment of the Carp with out the need to remove the fish from the water.
Special water inlets were also incorporated in the design so that the fish would remain wet through out handling, eliminating un-nessacary stress and discomfort.
More information on our Graviers Carp cradles can be found at.......http://www.cotswoldaquarius.co.uk
Important notice regarding Spawning
Anglers fishing the lake in the late Spring, early Summer season may find that the Carp spawn during their week. If this is the case, anglers must remove any baits from shallow areas, and allow the fish to spawn, undisturbed.
You can continue to fish in the deeper areas, until the fish have finished spawning, and will then be able to continue to fish the margins, once spawning has finished. (usually lasts about 2 days).
The G7 Koi treatment is the best we have found so far for treating the Carp
Do you have scales big enough to weigh fish over 60 lbs?....something to think about before you get here and start fishing!