Last week, I got a chance to go Asian carp hunting with my old compound bow. I have watched the commercial fishermen and other bow fishermen take them but never had a desire to do it myself. But there are many fish available, so, I thought, why not?
I launched my jet boat thinking that if the fish were in shallow water I could get to them easier. That boat can put me anywhere the fish are, it just might take a little longer. The motor eats gas, but that is not why I bought it. Since we have about two miles of rapids in Marseilles, I knew it would come in handy.
I motored up to the old power house scanning the banks for activity. Eventually, I spotted some near an eddy close to Bells Island. My first several shots missed the fish. I was hoping my arrow wouldn’t be broken, as the bottom of the rapids is all hard rock. Finally, I arrowed a carp and the battle begin.
I have never seen a fish fight that hard in fresh water. After going back and forth, I brought him to boat side. The fish sometimes are too large to get in a normal landing net because at one time the average size was about 8-9 lbs.
I placed the fish in the bottom of the boat as I continued hunting. After I had shot five of them, my arm was weary. I figured I would dress them out and cook some for supper.
I had sampled some years back at the Spring Valley Walleye Club, so I knew they were good eating. I filleted two and placed the meat on ice. I then started to clean up the boat, as they sure make a mess. Evidently, their blood vessels are very close to the skin and produced blood and slime when hit. Using a sponge and Dawn dishwater soap, I was able to clean up most of the mess. If you leave it to dry you will play [heck] getting it off your vessel.
Back to shooting Asian carp, forget about aiming. When they are in the air, they are very hard to hit. You will need to learn to shoot by instinct. With some practice, this will come about. With the population of Asians you will get plenty of practice. I have seen commercial boats bring in 35,000 lbs. of these fish in about three hours. It is very labor intensive, as the fish have to be separated from the gill nets and placed in containers.
The reason gill nets are used is so native fish can be released back into the river unharmed. There are three nets placed perpendicular to each other leaving a space to run a boat between them. Then the motor is trimmed up so that it ventilates. The loud sounds drive the fish into the nets. The nets are raised up right away so that native fish can be safely released.
Then the crew returns to the launch and places the fish in refrigerated containers to be shipped to a processing plant. Asian carp are turned into fish sticks, or Omega health capsules, and the rest go to farm fertilizer. Nothing goes to waste.
I guess it’s great that we have found a good use for them, because they have caused a lot of trouble for our native fish. They feed on two types of plankton – Photoplankton and Zooplankton. These both are needed by our native species when they are coming out of the embryonic stage. The Asian carp spawn three times a year and feed constantly.
• Fred Krause is a Shaw Media correspondent.
Source: The Daily Chronicle