The Common Carp provides an uncommon fishing opportunity

A great book was published a few years back called Start with Why by Simon Sinek. His golden circle reference has helped define many endeavours since. If you’re curious to see more, check out the YouTube link here that provides his Ted Talk presentation. In a nutshell his message is that no one cares what you do or how you do it if you don’t communicate why you do it.  The phrase “your why” is now seen in a multitude business-oriented communications since.

Some have asked me over the course of the past year why this blog is called River King Fishing and the answer is essentially “our why”.  I don’t claim to be the king of any river but instead advocate for others to open their mind a bit and pursue overlooked species in overlooked locations so they can essentially own their local river.   When you realize the vast supply of strong fighting fish that are available in large rivers, their tributary creeks, and small streams, you can begin to capitalize on that opportunity.  You may find it your new favorite fishing experience over conventional bass or even trout fishing.  This has meant Common Carp at River King Fishing.  No Common Carp are not the fish making the magazine covers here in America.  You may find yourself fishing some dicey waters in this pursuit.  What you’ll also find however is you will have some of the most fun you’ve ever had fishing, battling absolute bruisers in fast water.

carp fishing


I have been like many fisherman the past 10 or so years. I’m busy with life, kids, and a career that often requires travel, professional development, and sometimes exams to study for outside of work time. That has meant fishing has been limited to local lakes near me. They have been great places to catch fun crappie, bass, bluegill, and catfish, especially when introducing my kids to the fishing basics. I had in my high school days caught carp, catfish, and drum from the river but mostly nothing to get too excited about.  Besides, I was too busy chasing game fish like largemouth bass so who had time for the trash fish swimming in the river?

The crossover point was late summer 2017. I had a job change and was interviewing daily for the next opportunity but had a few hours in between so I would get in some fishing. One day I tried a local dam and the carp I landed that day really changed my perspective on fishing overall. This is what I’ve been missing! What a blast! It made me question why do so few American fisherman respect or pursue these fish.  What follows are just some of the reasons you should pursue these fish.

  • Strength-While carp are rarely pursued for sport in America, it’s a greatly respected gamefish internationally.  Anglers already know and appreciate the fighting ability of these fish.





  • Numbers – The business world talks to value proposition a lot: what makes a company and what they provide a customer stand out? If we’ve got limited time and money as fisherman, I’m looking to maximize my time catching fish, not dealing with distractions like outboard motors and baitcaster backlash. The days of bragging rights on a 4lb bass that took all day to catch seem more like opportunity cost when contrasted with a 100lb morning spent catching carp at the river.  One value proposition for carp fishing is that they are among the best species going for maximizing your time and money. The fishing is fun and fast on the river at times.  

Here is one example from one day in August this year.  Each fish averaged between 5-15lbs and after snapping pics as I always do, I was able to check the time logged for how many I caught and when.  Other than 90 minutes to practice fly casting in between, I was pretty busy this day.  There are robust populations out there and they’re often eager to bite.

10:14, 10:25, 10:37, 11:03, 11:23, 11:34      1:14, 1:28, 1:42, 1:55, 2:00

  • Challenging conditions-It’s a simple equation: larger fish + strengthened in river current + ultralight gear=A fantastic fishing experience any bass or trout angler would envy (if they only knew what they’re missing!). I seek a connection to nature when I get outdoors. Carp fishing is no different. I prefer to use ultralight and light action gear to pursue carp. I don’t use bite alarms for my lines but attentively watch the rod tip awaiting the next bite. When they do, these fish run, fight so hard, and relentlessly challenge your gear until you land them in your net (if your lucky!). That sound of the drag, pulling line clear off your reel, is the sweetest sound in fishing. It breaks up what is often the only background noise when fishing at the river: the serene sound of the current.\

Where I live in MO, the problem is perception. Fisherman think all carp are invasive. Common carp are thrown on the shore and left to die because “that’s what my dad taught me to do” or they make good fertilizer for a garden(?).   Increasing awareness of the carp as a sportfish is one of my drivers in starting my side project.  Most of all, I see the opportunity for many families to have great fun like I’ve had with my boys this summer and want them to share that with their kids as well. I am grateful for the opportunity to create on my blog and look forward to continue shining a spotlight on this great sport of carp fishing in the future!


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Patrick Ritter

Patrick Ritter is the founder of River King Fishing, LLC.  Raised near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the outdoors, especially fishing, has always been a passion.