LA River carp catch, three years in the making

Analiza

HOW STOKED do you get when you waited three years for that first carp? About this stoked! (courtesy @fishshootbrew)

By Analiza del Rosario

Guest Contributor

I’ve been fishing the LA River for more than three years with no luck, so I certainly had no expectations to catch one this time.
I only had two hours to fish and I was a bit distracted since I had to prepare for a meeting.
I got on the phone with my office while continuing to cast when I suddenly felt a tug and I screamed!

Since I had just lost one prior to hooking this one, I made sure I set the hook properly. I continued to scream while Celine @fishshootbrew started walking up with her big Rhino net, ready to assist.  I was shocked to eventually land on, with so much excitement, I fell backwards!

Analiza1

HEY, WHO you lookin’ at? (Courtesy @fishshootbrew)

I had so much emotions going through me, but In the end, the best part of catching my very first carp was not landing the fish, but the adventure that got me out to the river, even for just a few hours! It was the best experience!
I was at the The Fisherman’s Spot the day before to buy flies and leaders, so they were all rooting for me.
Although, Celine also gave me flies she tied. I’m not sure if the one I bought from the Spot or one the Celine made caught my fly because they both gave me the same exact one.  All in all, I lost five flies, lost two fish and landed this small one.
Hubert Crawford commented on LA River carp catch, three years in the making
My buddy AnaLiza! She’s super cool!! H. Carl Crawford >
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What the heck is a pacu and what was it doing in the LA River?

EXOTIC: This pacu, usually hanging out in the Amazon, got hooked on the L.A. River. (James Czasonis)

EXOTIC: This pacu, usually hanging out in the Amazon, got hooked on the L.A. River. (James Czasonis)

LARFF gets a fair number of fish and beauty shots coming across the electronic transom, but this one definitely takes the cake. Know what it is?

A pacu.

What’s a pacu?

As the fly fisher who hooked it said via email, “I caught that exotic fish and posted it on my Facebook, and a lot of friends told me it was a pacu, not native to here, and it matched photos from the Internet.”

James Czasonis went on to write that it looked like a big pirahna, but the teeth were more flat. Although the teeth aren’t visible in these shots, the host of “River Monsters,” Jeremy Wade, explains here that the flat teeth are used for crushing seeds, unlike a pirahna’s that are sharper and used for tearing apart flesh. Both are native to the Amazon River in South America.

Pacus have been found in Papua New Guinea, and much closer to home in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and now in Los Angeles.

How’d that happen?

A relative of the well-known -- and feared -- pirahna, the pacu has flatter teeth. (James Czasonis)

A relative of the well-known — and feared — pirahna, the pacu has flatter teeth. (James Czasonis)

Apparently, some unaware aquarium owners believe these fish will only grow “so big” because of the glass confines of their watery cages. But, that logic turns out to be a myth and when the pacu overstays its welcome, it gets dumped into local waterways.

And, yes, it is illegal to dump nonnative exotic fish.

Authorities in Ohio aren’t overly concerned about a pacu takeover because the fish dies out once the weather gets cold.

As for the potential threat here in warmer climes, Czasonis said this was the only one he’d seen or caught, and “I still didn’t want to hold it up and let it back into the river.”

See you on the river, Jim Burns