Seeing a 40 pound carp jumping out of the water will get any angler’s adrenaline pumping. There is something so exciting and majestic about seeing these big fish jump. You already knew that though. Your here to find out why do carp jump?
This Video of Jumping Silver carp by River Monsters will really help you see why so many people are asking about these fish and their crazy aquatic gymnastics.
In north America there are 4 types of carp that are collectively called asian carp. These are the carp that people are generally talking about when they ask about carp jumping.
The silver carp in particular is a renown jumper. They jump as a escape mechanism. This is generally set off from the loud motors from boats. In many cases if a boat travels at slow speeds they will not scare but if they go fast they can set off these “chain reactions” of thousands of fish jumping.
These regularly grow to 40 pounds with some varietys reaching up to 100 pounds. This can actually be quite dangerous as boaters have been knocked overboard by these beast as well as had their ribs and other bones broken when these massive carp jump out of the water.
Why do so many carp jump out of the water at once?
The Asian carp were introduced to the United States in the late 70s and early 80s to help keep private fisheries clean and even to help in wastewater treatment.
These jumping carp are filter feeders and get their food as they swim around they naturally filter out nutrients needed for growth. The same reason these carp were brought to America is causing a real strain on local populations.
Their superior filtering ability has left many native species nearly non existent. These were healthy populations before the asian jumping carp were introduced into the United States. This has allowed the Asian Carp to become prolific in the waterways they occupy.
What causes the carp to jump in the first place is they are scared. It is a fight or flight response and in this case they are fleeing! When the first carp gets spooked and jumps out of the water it sets off a chain reaction where you can see dozens jumping at the same time.
Other Reasons Carp jump?
There are a lot of other reasons that carp jump. None as spectacular as a mass exodus from a threat. The video above is fantastic but there are a lot of other reasons a carp might jump.
1.Carp are known to jump during breeding season.
When male carp are pursuing a female about to lay eggs they will become quite excited. They will thrash wildly in the water as well as jumping out of it. The thrashing and jumping in the water will attract more carp and increase the chances of a successful fertilization for the female carps eggs. Throughout the animal kingdom males seem to do the most impressive and stupid things in the pursuit of females.
I believe this is the second most likely reason you are to see carp jumping in the wild.
2.Carp will jump out of the water to clean their gills.
All jumping carp are bottom feeders and over time their gills will become clogged with various debris that has been filtered out. The most efficient way to quickly clean their gills is by jumping out of the water. When a 40 pound carp lands in the water it forces a lot of water through their gills very fast from the other direction it normally flows. This is the best method for these large fish to get back to breathing well after mucking it through some nasty water.