The carp (Cyprinus carpio) comes in many different guises. The wildie (see Bits and Pieces Issue 12), the leather, the mirror and the common carp are all taxonomically the same species, yet they vary as much as people in size, shape and appearance.
‘King’ is a label that essentially encompasses all carp that differ from the wildie. While the latter can be traced to the Danube (see Places we Like), the fish we know as the King is a strain sometimes originating in the Far-East but cultivated in Poland, Russia, Germany, Italy and France. The carp stocked in Redmire Pool, for example, were mirrors, commons and leathers of the Leney strain of King carp which were farmed in Holland and sourced in Galicia in Poland.
Fishpool can feel a headache coming on…
Anyway, the King carp is a fish that for many years was deemed uncatchable, but in the latter half of the 20th Century, after pioneering efforts from anglers such as Rod Hutchinson (see People we Like), became a highly sought prize. Carp angling is big business and the carp themselves keep getting bigger. In fact since Georgina Ballantine (see Bits and Pieces Issue 18) caught her record salmon in 1922, the carp record has more than trebled.