The carp was introduced from Europe into the Cape in 1896 and has established itself successfully in most provinces. Mass-wise it is the country's premier freshwater angling fish.
Because of its ability to tolerate and breed in a large variety of types and temperature ranges of water, the carp is firmly established (a mature female can lay up to 500 000 eggs at a time). Being a bottom feeder and stirring up the mud it proves a nuisance in waters intended for the rearing of sight and vibratory feeding varieties.
Being omnivorous, the number of baits than one can use run into thousands. Better known are bread paste and flake, mielie pap, and earthworms. Because the carp is found in muddier dams and feeds mainly on smell, it is advisable to mix additives to the bait like custard, vanilla, aniseed, sorghum-beer residue, almond, etc. Most carp are caught bottom fishing but can be caught on float and in the spring prior to spawning streamer flies and spinners will prove effective. As an eating-fish the carp is either loved or hated, probably because so few people are really prepared to go to the trouble of cooking (or smoking) it properly.
Carp can be caught right throughout the year, day and night. They prefer non-running water with a muddy bottom and are usually concentrated near weed and reed beds. Being a bottom feeder they feed in the shallow water on the ledges where light penetration creates growth. The practise of rowing baits three to four hundred metres out into a dam to deposit them on illegal ground-baited spots is pointless and unsporting, besides being the main contributory cause to the high incidence of drownings in the country. Nylon pollution and the resultant loss of birdlife is another unfortunate aspect of this practice.