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Centennial Park ‘Carp Whisperer’ Lands Record Catch

By Marcus Braid on October 14, 2015 in News

Photo: Rex Hunt

Photo: Rex Hunt

While Centennial Parklands ‘carp whisperer’ Tony Steiner was recently awarded a world angling record for landing an extra-large catch, he noted that there has been a “massive reduction” in carp numbers in the park.

Mr Steiner was awarded the longest fish of a species in an all-class category by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) after out-witting an 89-centimetre common carp in Centennial Park’s Willow Pond in August.

“Carp have been here for forever and a day,” Mr Steiner said. “The numbers that used to be here compared to now are massively reduced, but there’s still a lot of carp in the ponds.

“We’ve seen a massive reduction in the carp. We’re talking tonnage that we’ve removed. That’s obviously the first thing that’s in your face. The park seems to be at a status quo; as long as we’re reducing the carp and keeping an eye on what’s happening with it.”

Mr Steiner linked the reduction of carp with an improvement in water quality, which had a positive affect on other species in the parklands.

“We’re seeing a lot more bird life down here,” he said. “We’re seeing big populations of birds breeding, so we know the water quality is obviously getting a lot better. I’ve seen a healthy improvement in the park.”

Mr Steiner’s 19.7-kilogram monster catch was caught on three-kilo line and took approximately two hours and 45 minutes to land.

It was the second IGFA world record to have been recorded in Centennial Park for fishing. The first was in 2009 by Paul Cooper, who was awarded a world angling record for a catch of the heaviest fish of a species in an all-class category.

“We’ve actually caught a few of that size, but that was the only one that the record got approved for,” Mr Steiner said.

“We’ve actually caught a couple bigger, so we know that they’re in here. It’s just a matter of trying to find them at the time. You get a shock. It’s always a welcome surprise.”

An accredited IGFA guide, Mr Steiner runs the Parklands’ award-winning program Fishing 4 Therapy, as well as Kids Big Fish and a number of corporate fishing programs throughout the year.

“We’ve got different programs that run,” Mr Steiner said.

“We allow some of the public in to fish with us. You can’t just walk into the park and fish obviously; it’s not allowed. But if people want to register or come along on one of the afternoons to fish with us, they can help us catch the fish and take them out.”

As a seasoned fisherman and ‘carp whisperer’ at Centennial Parklands for four years, Mr Steiner said his best advice was simple.

“The key thing would just be patience,” Mr Steiner said. “Anyone can catch the fish. There’s a happy mix of skill and luck.

“I’m not quite sure where one starts and the other stops, but at the end of the day it’s the patience that wins out. That’s the first thing we teach the kids when they come to our fishing clinics.”