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Poll: The Big-5 Greatest Gamefish


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A few years ago In-Fisherman released an article on the greatest game fish in North America and listed the big-5: 1) White Sturgeon 2) Alligator Gar 3) Flathead Catfish 4) Blue Catfish 5) King Salmon as the hardest fighting gamefish. I've been fortunate enough to catch all of these species and can attest to their fighting abilities. My question? Where do you think the carp should be listed, based on fighting abilities. My list would be as follows: 1) White Sturgeon 2) Alligator Gar 3) King Salmon 4) Flathead Catfish 5) Blue Catfish 6) Steelhead Trout 7) Carp. My list based on the following catches 1) 250# 2) 98# 3) 44# 4) 61# 5) 40# 6) 18# 7) 25#. I know it's difficult trying to compare a 1000# fish with a 20# fish or a river fish with a lake fish, but what do you think?

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Thats interesting how you have broken them down, and it appears to be size, but most likely not intentional. Carp pound for pound fight well, even though their shape is not designed for chasing prey. I know people who have had fish on for an hour and it was only 15lbs. Some fight better than others, like any species. It really is a hard list to put together. Northerns scrap really well, I used to fish for them a lot in England and Scotland, also Barbel do over there. They are the hardest fighting river fish I have caught in Britain, have seen them tear up 15lb line before and it would not even weigh 8lbs. They are tough.

Overseas I would say Tigerfish, Vundu cats fight really hard. All different kinds of fight though. Tigers are incredible and anyone who goes to Africa should have a go, Vundu get huge and are really hard to land. Basically you will not land a really big one.

Over here though, you are probably close. Sturgeon look awesome! I would love a crack at those someday. Carp are probably the most readily available for almost everyone to catch though, so that has to count for something. Not many states don't have an abundance of them. If you take this into account, they may well be the hardest fighter that any one can get easy access to.

Just like to add though, Bass suck!

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There are many tough fish in the world, but I have only experience with fish here in USA. As for my list. The sturgeon and alligator gar certainly obtain the heaviest weights, but the king salmon rarley obtains the weights of flatheads or blue cats. And a trophy steelhead is a 20 pounder. Overall, river fish are just tougher fish. The catfish here are probably the most readily available fish, but the average catfish doesn't come close to the average carp. A large flathead or blue is a different story. Although my 17# line class C&R record channel cat of 40# was tough, it didn't come close to many carp I've caught at half the weight. Do all bass suck? What about the peacock bass? pretty tough fish! Thanks for the reply.

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I would say carp are probably the best fighting in terms of availability without a shadow of a doubt, plus with minimum expense. To catch lake stripes takes a lot of work and cost. Surf casting for them is different I suppose. Down here in Texas lots of people say reds take some beating. My work friend, Sergey loves to fish for them on our local reservoirs. He says they fight better in lakes than at the coast, weird!But he did hook a carp on canyon lake, fought it for 45 minutes and then had the hook pull! He was on 30lb Fireline too!

The problem over here are the abundance of quality fishing. Pike, Muskie, Salmon, Trout, Sturgeon, Carp, Reds, Cats, etc. Most people in England would give up a popular organ to catch these kinds of specimens, although I do miss the coarse fish from over there.

The reason I fish mainly for carp now is two reasons. One they are practically everywhere in the country, and I work out of town a bit. Next month I will be in MD for a few weeks and already know a spot. Secondly I know how and where to catch and they are normally a decent size. So that makes three reasons, and number four would be I have all the stuff needed to catch them!

 

This is a good thread, thanks for putting it up!

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  • 4 weeks later...

On a more humorous, but still true, note, its been said that if bluegill sunfish grew to cat/carp etc sizes, it would be the king of the fighters. These are super aggressive (and downright nasty and mean) fish, nearly had rods yanked out my hands by the bigger "plates" as they turn sideways and use their broad leverage against the rod.

 

Pat Kelly in Maryland

Chesapeake Bay Carp Angler

www.chesapeakecarper.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

What about the musky, for pure speed you can't get faster than a 30# class pure strain muskellunge. And I agree about the bluegills, fiesty little devils. For sustained fight I will go with the striped bass, they don't quit. I have caught King salmon, silvers and chum salmon, it is my belief that the smaller chums are the hardest fighting of the bunch pound for pound. How about a top five weakest fish list, that could get pretty interesting also. I would have to put bullheads on the top of that list, followed by walleyes, and then Largemouth bass(smallies are pretty brutish for their size though), and then bowfin, and finally crappies which only have a tenth the strength of their cousin the bluegill.

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Cyprinusman, I would have to disagree on the largemouth bass. It would never make the worst top-5. There are dozens of other sunfish and trout for that matter that would make the list ahead of the largemouth. A large largemouth is a worthy opponent and much coveted trophy. Here in California a largemouth of a mere 10# hardly gets a glance. Largemouth of 12-15# are routinely caught here and many in the 18-20# range have been caught. A largemouth of 10+ pounds is a tough gamefish even on heavy tackle. Muskies are tough, but do they have the sustained fight of a king or steelhead? The chum is a hard fighter, but personally I would still give the edge to the king. I think we all agree on the bluegill. It's a tough fish on ultra-light gear. I fish for them often here at a lake that has throphy size Florida strain 'gills that reach 3 1/2#. The lake has nice size redears as well.

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Yeah, maybe you are right about the largemouth, but compared to a smallie of the same size, I don't think they even compare. My biggest Largemouth is only about 6 pounds, since we only have Northern strain up here. The musky's fight is not as sustained as a salmon, but they fight for longer than a pike of the same size, or a tiger musky of the same size. I don't think anything in freshwater smashes a lure harder than a musky, though. Take it easy.:wink:

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  • 1 month later...

I can attest to the fact that Redfish and Carp both fight a lot harder, pound for pound, than either Blue or Opelousas (Flathead) catfish.

Meanwhile, the Jack Crevalle is in a league of it's own. This one took nearly and hour on medium weight spinning tackle and wouldn't have given me a hope if I hadn't been able to cahse with the boat.

P7200166.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think too that it depends on what tackle is being used. I deliberately fight carp in the 8 - 15 pound with lighter tackle. When first caught they seem to get drawn in without too much effort, but when they become aware of my presence on shore or in the boat, they bolt and reel off what seems like an interminable amount of drag in long side to side runs. I think they are a blast to catch. I'd love to latch on to a monster carp and see if the catch sensation is the same.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Most of the Carp I set the hook in take off on blistering runs that screams line off the drag. We joke about them "backing up the hill" to get a run at the bait. Because when they hit it they are going like a freight train.

 

My wife had a big carp hit her rod so hard last summer that it jerked the whole works out of her hand, bounced twice on the shore, and was gone.

 

Channel cats on the other hand are a bit different. Larger ones often take some time to "wake up" they may not scream a lot of line out on any given run. What they will do is sit out there shaking their head arguing with you about coming into shore.

 

I agree that a lot of people do gear up beyond where they would need to.

 

As to Northern Pike, I took a 13lb er from a canoe one spring that pulled us about half a mile, and took at least 15 min to land. But how much of that was because I didn't have my feet on the ground. Wasn't able to force it to come to heel? Wild runs yes, but without the staying power of the carp in most cases.

 

A lot of it is subjective, or has to do with the circumstances involved.

Personally if the list was "top 5 fighting gamefish that the average person can get to and catch" Carp would lead the list. Channel Catfish would be 2nd, followed byN Pike and Small and largemouth Bass in that order.

 

But I've only been fishing some 50 years and I have some more research to do. :)

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