As bowfishermen, we target carp often, but even some anglers like to go after carp because they put up one heck of a fight. That is why anything that scares the carp can be a huge negative. Carp tend to spook easily, but with that said, you might wonder how that annoying duck’s presence can damage your fishing efforts. How do we deal with the interference of ducks getting in the way of carp and scaring them away?
Are carp scared of ducks? Even the presence of ducks can have an impact on carp, and you will see fewer carp in the area as ducks come in. The carp in the immediate vicinity goes down with the presence of ducks. Along with scaring carp, ducks scare the fish in general.
Why Do Carp Fear Ducks?
Before we can learn how to deal with the interference, let’s first have a look at why carp fear ducks. Ducks are omnivorous birds, and they eat fish and many of the other things that carp eat. Most of what ducks eat is small fish, which explains why carp and other fish fear ducks.
Some ducks like the mergansers, a duck with a thin bill and more teeth, will primarily eat fish. Some of the smaller ducks will eat minnows and guppies, but the bigger ducks can eat brown trout. If you have looked at brown trout, that is slightly smaller than a carp, which explains why carp fear them. Carp can and have been eaten by ducks.
Because of this, if you’re looking to bowfish or fish in an area with a lot of ducks, you should understand how the number that you catch will go down.
How Do You Deal with Duck Interference?
Typically, if you want to get rid of ducks in your territory, you might feed them off. Chum the area with boilies or something that will steer them away from your carp. In this way, you won’t have them nearby as you’re going after the carp. That matters because you will catch more of them while keeping the ducks out of your immediate area.
Any fisherman who has been fishing for a while understands the problems that can arise when ducks come into interference with your area. You will catch fewer fish.
You might also buy some bread at the bakery the night before as a way to distract them from it. In some cases, the ducks will even chase the carp away. If they see them feeding, they will go after the carp. You could also use a reptile decoy that scares away the ducks, but it doesn’t scare the carp.
Carp and Ducks Compete for Food
The other problem that carp have with ducks is that they tend to compete for the same food. Both carp and ducks will eat nearly anything. You drop bread, the carp and ducks will fight each other over the food. They eat mostly the same food.
Both of them will also go after minnows. In some cases, carp have gone after baby ducks, but this isn’t common. They don’t do this regularly. The one fish that will eat anything in its path is the northern pike. They have also eaten baby ducks if given the chance. Also, largemouth bass have been known to eat baby ducks as well, and they slurp them up lightning fast.
Do Ducks Scare Fish Away?
In general, ducks do scare the fish away. Fish have learned to be cautious of ducks, and this includes the carp. Because of that, whenever ducks are nearby they’re more likely to scare the fish away from the area. Usually, this applies to fish in the most immediate background, rather than the whole area.
In fact, if you have a fish pond, you may want to understand how ducks do eat the fish in ponds. While it sounds great to have ducks nearby, they will eat the fish in your ponds.
What Scares Fish Away?
Now that we know how ducks can scare the carp away, what other things can scare the fish away? You have a few different things that can scare them. Being aware of what can scare them can help to make you a better bowfisherman or a fisherman.
Some of the things that can scare the fish include:
- Loud noise
- Big shadows
- Fast motion
Loud noise has a reputation for scaring away the fish. Sound carries much faster in the water, and fish live on survival mode, which means that they try to avoid danger. If they hear a loud noise, they might assume it is a large predator. Music doesn’t necessarily scare the fish away, but you don’t want it to be too loud either. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, check out my article, “Will Music Scare Away the Fish?”
When in the boat, always be aware of the amount of noise that you might be putting out into the water. In some cases, you have water skiiers and tubers around to where it doesn’t make much difference.
Big and sudden shadows have especially been known to scare away the fish. You have to look at this from the fish’s point of view. It has to deal with other fish in the water, but it also has to beware of eagles that occasionally divebomb the water for a tasty fish snack.
In general, you should avoid fast movements while in the boat as much as possible because this can scare the fish. You want to keep your movements small and controlled. Move slowly while in the boat. Just because you can’t see the fish doesn’t mean they’re not there. I’ve learned this many times where I was surprised by a carp that seemed to come out of nowhere.
In short, ducks have a complicated relationship with carp, and they have a complicated relationship with other fish as well. Most fish tend to be afraid of ducks, but you do have cases where the fish will go after a baby duck as an easy meal. For fishermen and bowfisherman, ducks can become a royal pain. You might bring along a loaf of bread to bribe them off from your favorite fishing spots. Otherwise, they might scare away all the fish, including the carp.