European Carp – Why Victorians Need To Catch More Carp More Often!

Look. I love fishing. I love growing veggies. Particularly tomatoes. But I’ve never enjoyed European Carp! Fresh fish caught by me, combined with a salad from my own garden. What’s…

Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio

Look. I love fishing. I love growing veggies. Particularly tomatoes. But I’ve never enjoyed European Carp!

Fresh fish caught by me, combined with a salad from my own garden. What’s not to love about that? Right?

European Carp is classified as a noxious pest in Victoria and most of Australia. It is illegal to release live carp into any waterways. Carp that you catch must not be returned to the water.

That’s because they are an introduced species whose behaviour has an extremely bad impact on Australian rivers, creeks and lakes.

Sometimes referred to as a “Mud Marlin.”  They’re big, ugly and stir up the mud.

I want to encourage you to go out and catch them.  Lots of them!

You’ll do the environment a favour.  You’ll do native and sporting fish stocks a favour.

You can eat them – if you know how to prepare them.

They make fantastic fertiliser for your veggie garden!!

For decades I’ve cursed catching European Carp.

Look, I’m not interested in eating them and yet I catch them when targeting species like Redfin, Trout, Cod and Yellowbelly.

Catching European Carp – Or How I Combined Fishing With Gardening

Killing European Carp and leaving them on the bank always seemed wrong. Even though the law requires you to dispatch them.

You must not return them to the water alive!

European Carp At A Glance

  • Must not be returned alive back to the water *by law.*
  • They are an abundant, introduced pest doing massive damage.
  • European Carp are easy to catch.
  • They can put up quite a fight.
  • Best Bait: Corn, Earthworms and even Chicken.
  • Areas: Throughout most inland freshwater rivers, lakes and streams.
  • Great whole or cut into steaks and buried in the veggie garden.
  • Hook Size: #4, #6 or #8

European Carp

Some people claim you’re not allowed to return them to the water dead. They are wrong.

They base this error on thinking the chance a female may be carrying eggs may lead to baby carp.

European Carp is not Live Bearing Tooth Carp.” They do not belong to the species that includes Aquarium fish like Guppies, Mollys and Swordtails. They are much more closely related to the Goldfish and Koi.

You see, these are not a “live-bearing” or “internally fertilised” fish species. So eggs or not there’s no harm returning carcasses as the female must lay the eggs in order for a male to actually fertilise them.

However, throwing dead carp back into the water never seemed right to me either… Despite them being the bad guys of the lakes and streams.

Then it occurred to me that I paid a fair bit of money out on “Carp Fertiliser” every year. It’s a great product for growing tastier, more robust tomatoes.

So I thought: “Why not bring the carp home, cut the bigger ones into steaks – and bury the steaks and the whole smaller ones in the veggie garden. Sometimes even blending the steaks up into a paste – and using that.

Problem => Solution!

So, that’s what I do. In fact, it has encouraged me to go out at times and target the ugly things. And… They are ugly. Seriously. But despite looks (and who am I too compare? ), they can serve a purpose after-all..

I’ve found they can be fun to catch when you have a reason to catch them!

Don’t grow veggies?

Ask somebody with a garden if they’d like them. Remind them they pay $$ for the liquid “fertiliser” form.

Tackle & Bait To Catch European Carp

Honestly. I’ve found it harder to not catch them!

Carp will take the most basic of baits.

Earthworms, chicken, pretty much most natural baits and even some soft plastics like Gulp Sandworms.

A lot of people target carp directly using corn kernels.

In Europe and Asia, this is a traditional way of targeting carp.

Hook size can be anything you’d normally use to target most other freshwater species. However, #4 or #6 hook sizes are common choices.

Some traditional European fishos use a #8.

They’re Called “Mud Marlin” For A Reason!

My advice is to choose a hook size that suits the bait you’re using.

Line: I recommend at least a 10lb line. Some people fish for carp using heavier lines – up to 20lb.

Fact is European Carp can be heavy. They can be a bit like dragging in a thrashing log.

They are called “Mud Marlin” by some Australian fishos for a reason!

Choose a rod to suit the environment you are fishing in. Keeping in mind the weight of some carp. 6 to 9 feet is a good rule of thumb.

Most rivers and lakes won’t require you to cast very far to reach the fish.

A shorter rod can be a huge benefit when it comes to overhanging branches and tight squeezes.

A landing net can be useful.

Just make sure it’s strong enough to hold the fish.

You don’t want to break the net!

This video shows you how easy it is for a net to break when dealing with these deadweights.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em Eat ‘Em



I'm Dave, I live and fish in and around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
When it comes to fishing I love going out to land-based fishing spots, heading out in the tinny (aka an Aluminum Boat) and kayak fishing.

I've been fishing since I was a teen. Beginning way back in the 1970s. It was a hobby I picked up myself as my family certainly had no interest. Making me the black sheep! My favourite fish is Flathead and Snapper. Though I'm partial to Flake (Gummy Shark) and Calamari too! While I enjoy fishing for freshwater species like Redfin and Murray Cod I prefer eating saltwater species. They're just so mouth-wateringly tasty!

I love writing about some of my favourite Melbourne Fishing Spots while fishing around Victoria. As well as the tackle I use and test.
If you see me while you're out fishing say "G' day" - I'll be the one in a bush hat.

When I'm not fishing I'm working on my websites, such as Getfished, or writing computer software (my profession.)

I try to be as accurate as possible on this website. Most of the information is based on personal experience. However, if you spot an error or think there's something that I should add - no worries! Please use the Contact Form.