How to hold a prize carp for a picture

Close up of a camera

Holding up your caught carp for that perfect picture is a necessary part of the fishing process if you want to have a record of that great moment. There are certain rules that you should follow though to be able to do this safely and effectively.

Hand temperature

As carp are cold blooded, it can be very uncomfortable and quite dangerous for them if you immediately attempt to pick the carp up with dry hands which are at a normal body temperature. So that you don’t inadvertently affect their bodies immune system, it is important that you do not remove any of the protective mucus layer on the carp’s skin with dry hands, and also that your hands are at a cooler temperature than normal. Both of these potential risks can be averted by holding your hands underneath the cold water for a minute or so before touching the carp.

Holding the carp

Once your hands have cooled down, you should kneel down to the ground level and slide one of your hands on the underside of the carp slowly from the mouth to a position next to the gills, making sure not to damage the carp’s eye when doing so.

Then slide this hand under so that you can hold onto either side of the front pectoral fin on the top side of the carp. Your other hand meanwhile should slide under the carp near its tail so that it can likewise be gripped onto either side of the anal fin.

22lb Common Carp caught and held by Tim Creque. Photo via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
22lb Common Carp caught and held by Tim Creque. Photo via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Lifting the carp

Tilt the carp slightly away from you to keep the fins which you are using to grip onto the carp close to you. With your hands now placed underneath the carp still holding onto it on its fins, move one of your legs ups from a kneeling position to a squatting position whilst lifting the carp up a bit. At this point you should be able to rest your forearm on that raised squatting leg. With the carp secure in that position, you should then be able to raise your other leg into a squatting stance, and similarly rest your other forearm on that leg somewhere near the knee.

Smile for the camera

From this position, with a prize carp held up over a solid base, you should have around 30 seconds to keep it aloft until the strain will begin to be too much for your wrists. This is the window of opportunity then to get that perfect picture. Keep the carp held upright so as not to overbalance it forwards or backwards, carry on supporting your weight by resting your arms onto your knees in the squat position, hold the carp directly above the mat you have set up in front of you, and, crucially, smile for the camera!

Wriggling carp

If the carp tenses up in your hands as you are holding it to get ready for the photo, then it is likely that it is beginning to panic and will probably soon wriggle or flip out of your arms. It is important as a result to watch out for signs of tension and early movements so that you can roll the carp back onto your forearms and then lay it down back onto the mat. If the carp seems to be struggling a lot with the situation, and is wriggling about continually, then you should not try to pick it up again immediately, but rather pour water over it and cover its eyes. This tends to calm the carp down, after which you can begin the process again in the same manner.

 

  • Header image: Close up of a camera Photo by Dmitri Popov via Unsplash