For the past six years, scantily clad women have been posing alongside some of the finest looking carp on offer in the world of fishing. My main hopes are to see these fish grow even bigger to prove Carp can thrive in Northern Ireland, and to see further stocks of fish for the future, with this potential record beaten time and time again. Before we took a look around the carp side of things, the farm also houses a large three-storey building devoted primarily to koi production and it was here we began. My hands were shaking and my head was all over the place as I sat and composed myself for a while and allowed the fish time to recover. The poignant, tentative question on people’s lips now is where do we go from here? “Yeah, the USA farm seemed a bit of a mad idea at first but our special health status allowed for it so we thought why not give it a go! This was the fastest run I had ever experienced, and as I picked up the rod and slowly teased around the drag, the fish just kept ripping line flat-out for sixty yards or more. As you may be aware, numerous imports of carp from Carp4Restocking have happened in the last decade (first in 2008), and, despite belief to the contrary, nothing on the legal side of things that has changed in recent years to prevent this happening again in the future. At preliminary, yet detailed, talks with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) earlier this year on this very topic, I personally tabled the proposition of a national carp group and they were, genuinely, very supportive. It is crystal clear and full of humps, bars, lilies, islands and huge marginal shelves. With some time off work, I decided to go up for a day by myself and arrived as the lake opened, and rushed down to get to our pre-baited pegs. During this period, I had brought another angling friend along and unfortunately, he hooked and lost one of the A team, but we won’t speak about that, he’s still having flashbacks! The take was so violent the lead ejected and the fish instantly rolled on the surface. From diamond neon tetras, clown killfish, calico orandas and dozens of different cichlids, to golden tench, diamond-back sturgeon, blue orfe and, of course, common and koi carp – every conceivable ornamental fish was here, somewhere. At first glance in the net, I thought it was around twenty pounds but then, as it lay flat, I near fell off the jetty! The fish put up a good spirited fight, a smashing 11lb 2oz Mirror Carp. “I’m particularly pleased with what’s happened in the North” smiled Tony, “that I’ve been able to play a small role in bringing carp fishing to more Irish anglers. Their fish are still disease-free, certified to the highest standards and carp can still be legally imported (under licence) and stocked into carefully selected, suitable angling waters under the EU Fish Health Directive and other national guidelines, in conjunction with both the Marine Institute and Inland Fisheries Ireland. From all of us at NI Carp Crew, tight lines. As touched on earlier, a key point that sets Carp4Restocking apart from the rest is the extraordinarily high level of biosecurity and health clearance they maintain. However, the fishing is hard due to a low stock of fish, high natural food levels, profuse weed growth and poor bank access, also a common trait of Irish lakes! Every tank was meticulously labelled with details of its inhabitants and each turn of a corner or opening of another door revealed yet another collection of amazing fish. What Irish Carp angling dreams are made of! Feeding time came and Tony dropped another impressive statistic; “We use around 20-25 tonnes of fish food here every year and, at the moment, about 15-20 tonnes in the USA”. We have very few established carp waters, private or public, with carp having been stocked on an often ad-hoc basis, both officially and unofficially for many years. There was a good and confident buzz about the spot. Irish Fishing Regulations Modified date: November 4, 2020 While no licence is needed for trout, pike and coarse fishing in the Republic of Ireland, a rod licence is required in Northern Ireland. In the past few years I have started to get a real good feel for Carp-angling, and catching good fish on a regular basis. I set my stall out and put about half a kilo of feed over each rod. But, strangely enough, neither of the Maynooth fish holds the Irish carp record. We knew they were there; it was just up to us to work out how to catch them! Some fantastic tench fishing can be found on the canals and fishing for large eels is on offer. To make things even tougher, although extremely well-stocked, there are only a small number of really big Carp present, the A-team as we have started to call them. As well as having very, very few actual carp fishing clubs, we also have no national group or representative body. It was more like 4 or 5 years ago though. We need formal management structures in place and an agreed framework within which to work and achieve. We’ve got a huge number of koi broodstock on site, as well as quite a lot of sturgeon, and this takes up a fair chunk of our time down here” he explained in his usual cheerful tone. They somehow evoke the same warm, fuzzy feeling as a puppy or kitten does and to think that a carp the size of your finger might well one day grow into a thirty pounder – as many of Tony’s fish are doing right around the UK – is amazing. Buy with confidence, from our huge range of fishing tackle, bait and clothing. Established in 2004, Carp4Restocking sits on an 11.5-acre clay-rich site, a quarter of which is outdoor ponds for fry rearing and growing on, as well as holding broodstock. Like most anglers, I love looking at baby fish, whatever the species. The whole lake has a huge marginal drop and directly in front of our swims it averaged fifteen feet deep, only a rod length out. Our plan was to fish two rods each, both at the bottom of the marginal shelf on both pegs; me on the left and Jack on the right. The run came at quarter past ten and completely out of the blue as the rods had only been in a few hours. We stock a huge range of products from bait to rods. Among recreational fisheries, including some of the most famous in England like the Roach Pit and Farlows, Carp4Restocking has fast become one of the go-to sources for quality carp, so much so that demand began to out-strip supply. Visit website Located between Lisburn and Moira in Northern Ireland, the Ivy Lodge Carp fishery is one of the finest locations in this region, aimed to deliver a truly top notch professional carp fishing experience. Again, it was my left hand rod, and as I ran towards it I could hear the tight clutch screaming over the alarm! Earlier this year, Off the Scale was invited by the English fish supply giant Neil Hardy Aquatica Ltd. for a tour of their facilities to learn, first-hand, how they operate and what role they may be able play in helping to develop Irish carp fishing. My name is Ryan Creighton and I have been an avid carp angler since I was fourteen years of age. In terms of strains used, you could say that Tony and co. have now developed their own. More pre-baiting followed, and another two sessions with no Carp showing, although there were plenty of Bream about. The outcome of this meeting very much contradicts general opinion on IFI’s take on carp fishing and certainly quashed several fears I had before attending. The best brands, price matching and great advice. I named her Ryan’s fish and she was the nicest looking Carp I have ever caught. This is a well-oiled operation, no doubt about it. That honour belongs to a fish caught in The Lough in Cork City in 1998.
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