Dick's broken Pec

'Dick' is badly damaged by negligent handling

All angling guests must see 'Handling Big Carp Safely' video before fishing
Saturday 23 October 2021

I have, despite some good Carp being caught, been depressed about Cherry Lakes over the last week or so. Indeed I have deliberately waited for some time before posting this update to avoid over-reacting or excessively ranting!

Why because our biggest Carp Dick was recently caught at 48lb, but through poor handling and landing practises, the angler concerned badly broke it's pectoral fin as can be seen by the photo above.

This was a bad break and I really did not know what was the best thing to do. Should I have amputated the broken fin, or return it in the hope it is able to (partially) repair itself? Another angler, who I respect, felt it should go back 'as is', so after treating the fin, I decided to return it and hope for the best. Time will tell.

I do despair with how many anglers handle Carp and, in particular, how they are taken out of the water. This is when serious damage to fins is most likely to occur, and where I suspect the damage to Dick was done.

Our Carp are too big simply to be lifted in the landing net. Good size Carp inevitably 'buckle' when lifted in the nets (including when nets are rolled down). If they buckle and their fins are not safely tucked down close to their body then bad fin damage results.

It is very easy to avoid most of risk by sliding the Carp when still in the landing net and in the water into the retainer. After checking the fins are in the correct position then lifting the Carp out of the water in the retainer is both much safer and easier. The weight of the fish is evenly spread and the load taken by the 'bars of the retainer'. We have been asking anglers to do this, but clearly we are not having the impact required.

I was so fed up, I even seriously contemplated cancelling all our bookings for 2022 and closing Cherry Lakes. However on reflection, and recognising the pleasure so many people get from Cherry Lakes and how many PB's have been set here, I decided to focus on what we can do to further reduce the risk of unnecessary damage to fish through poor handing and angling practise.

I do appreciate that many of our anglers are very careful and capable in how they look after the Carp, and I do not believe any angler deliberately damages a fish. However we have to recognise that not all anglers are as aware or capable, and we have to work with a 'lowest common denominator' approach. I hope all good anglers understand and share our frustration and concerns, and don't take exception to the steps we need to take.

From now all Carp caught from Cherry Lake, regardless of size, can only be landed and removed from the water in the retainers provided. No excuses. If we see anybody not complying with this rule then the angler concerned will be required to stop fishing and will not be welcome to return again.

I also spent a lot of time looking for a good instructional video on how to handle Carp safely. By far the best one I came across is called 'Handling Big Carp safely', and was made and presented by Steve Benjamin. I think this video is excellent and the twenty minutes or so it takes to watch is an investment of time all anglers can make. We expect all of our anglers to watch this video at least once and apply its principals when fishing at Cherry Lakes. I will confess to learning several new things myself and plenty to think about.

I am very grateful that Steve Benjamin has made this video freely available in this unedited format 'for the benefit of Carp worldwide'. Thank you Steve.

As well as practising the careful removal of Carp from the water in the retainer, there are a lot of other 'best practises' to follow here, and we would like anglers to apply the principles to their fishing whilst at Cherry lakes (as well as elsewhere).

This video, as well as being featured here, can be permanently found on our website in both the 'Fishery Rules' section and on the 'Cherry Lake' page. We will also be sending a link to all anglers in our pre-arrival e mails. So there should be no excuse for not watching this video before arrival.

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