HORUSICKY POND, Czech Republic (AP) — It's the time of year when fishermen across the Czech Republic get to serious business.

The men, sporting dark green waterproof gear, line the banks of numerous ponds in a century-long tradition of catching carp for Christmas markets.

Czechs consider the fish a delicacy, and many cannot imagine the festive season without it. In the days leading up to the holiday, live carp are sold in tubs on city streets. Traditionally the fish is served on Christmas Eve as fish soup, or fried in bread crumbs and eaten with potato salad.

Southern Bohemia, with its elaborate network of ponds, is at the center of the local carp industry. On Tuesday, fishermen wade into the dark water of Horusicky pond, wielding nets to scoop up the carp.

The carp are believed to bring good fortune — if you keep a few scales in your wallet.