Carpe carpio

There are those right here in Austin who do not believe that the common carp is at all the ordinary coarse fish that it is commonly thought to be.

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a front-page feature on carp and those who are not unhappy to see them at the other end of the line (“For Some, the Lowly Carp Is a Big Catch”). This article is not available for on-line viewing without a subscription, but there’s always a Journal at any of the public library branches, at any of the libraries at local institutions of higher learning, and at various state-government venues open to the public, such as the state law library and the state archives.

Get ready for another of those conventions drawn to Austin for its unique qualities. Apparently the Colorado, where it’s impounded as Town Lake, is known around the world as “one of the premier trophy-carp lakes in the country” and March 25 is this year’s date for the fourth annual Austin Team Championship of the Carp Anglers Group. It’s not too early to order your official burnt-orange T-shirt.

Austin is the headquarters of the American Carp Society, or at least of one of its principals. As a contribution to the world’s store of mixed metaphors, the site offers this: “The profile of this magnificent fish is set to break new ground on a world-wide scale.”

Whenever I hear that Charley Pride song called “Mama, When I’m Gone, Don’t Cry for Me” (the one with the line about “I’ve seen the big fish jumpin’), I always think of carp making a big ruckus in the shallows during spawning time. Henceforth I’ll have much more respect for them.

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