Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Carp Harvest

Every October, towns across the south of the Czech Republic drain their ponds, preparing for the carp harvest. As the water disappears, the carp school together until they're cached in water shallow enough for nets.

On harvest day, fishermen begin their roundup at dawn. Each is assigned a position - as a beater, slapping the water with a long pole to frighten the fish away, or on the nets - pulling the fish in to shore.

Once the catch is secure, the fishermen sort the carp from other fish and into holding tanks. Later on, once the sun is high in the sky, the men will reenact the hunt, wielding their poles and nets for the crowds that arrive for the harvest festival celebrating the day.

In the early hours of the morning though, it's just fishermen and fish working their way through a ritual their forebearers have followed for over eight hundred years in the ponds of southern Bohemia.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What do they DO with the carp then? Smoke them?

Julia said...

Good question! The carp wait in holding tanks, cleaning all the pond mud out their systems, until a week before Christmas. Then they are sold all over the country and eaten at Christmas Eve dinner.