on Sports
Holy Carp by Stan Silliman


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Holy Carp! They're Leaping

    The Asian jumping carp threatens to endanger the Great Lakes.
    My neighbor Lyle wants us to do a fishing story. This is it.

   Silver carp? You know the fish leaping into your boat some folks think are so cute their night time leaping frenzies are videotaped and splashed it all over the internet? Yes, that’s the fishies I mean. Silver and bighead carp can grow to be 100 pounds, jump up, knock you out of your boat, take you to the bottom of the lake, put a hook in your mouth and then mock you “So big boy? How do you like it now?” And if that isn’t enough insult they parade you in front of the other fishes like you’re a man off of land.   

    Here’s the deal. They’ve been heading north ever since they escaped Arkansas lagoons in the late 1990s. Brilliant idea revisited: if fishes can jump over goal posts, how are lagoons going to hold them in? In their travels, they’ve populated, or spawned as Lyle likes to say, and now they’re a marauding cold-blooded scaly mob. They’re out there eating, consuming 40% of their body weight daily in plants and perch and small fish, enough to leave the salmon, trout and bass wondering where their food supply went. It’s become so bad the trout have been shouting and the salmon have been making basses of themselves.

    We’re talking ecological nightmare. Second brilliant idea revisited: Who trusted hillbillies with our ecology? Scientists believe the carp will ruin our $ 5 billion dollar fishery and poses a threat to water quality for millions of people. Great! Just what all the layed off workers in Detroit need to hear. First no jobs, next no water. The scientists say as the little fish and plant life are removed by the carp, the lake becomes less cloudy so sunlight penetrates deeper enhancing more algae growth. 

    So what’s the answer? It’s time for fishermen to rally. Forget the bass fishing tournaments. Do whatever’s required to trap the carp. Shoot them if necessary, especially if they’re going to jump over your boat. Take rifles with you, have a carp shoot. Set up electric fences in the river. But remember, build the fences tall enough they can’t jump over them. Set up sexy siren carps on the banks of the Mississippi. “I’ve been calling youuu, yessss, youuu, Mr. Carp.” Run a riverboat blearing out Jumping Jack Flash and see if the carp jump into the boat. Then go put them in the Carp-O-Matic (just like the Bass-O-Matic except the size of a grain silo).

   It’s time for the fishermen to band together to save the Great Lakes. We’re not trying to be catastrophic here but if the carp continues unimpeded we will have to change the name of the lakes. Lake Michigan will become Lake Missing. Lake Superior will become Lake Inferior. Lake Erie will become Lake Really Eerie. Lake Huron will become Lake Hereupon Known as Carp. Those big falls at Lake Ontario instead of Niagara will be known as Holy Falling Carp. 
Holy Carp! They're Leaping
      If something is not done quickly the pesky little question of Dubai Ports operating the ports will be moot. Because every container they open or inspect will be full of carp. Boatloads of Mercedes coming in to unload at Chicago will be called the Carp 300s. You’ll never get the smell out but the leather will be nicely oiled. 

     So fishermen, can you do it? It’s time to get your gear into gear. Our country needs you. Wake up at 4:00 and catch some carp. Hey, take your pistols and plenty of ammo. They’ll jump right into your boat. Okay? We’re not being catastrophic here.
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