PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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3 votes
Best answer

It's because he knows they'll evolve into Gyarados, and soon everyone will be grovelling at his feet for mercy.

Just kidding.
It's Game Freak's decision, maybe it's as a joke, maybe it's to give the player some free experience or to show them the uselessness of Magikarp. It's what's known as a 'running gag'

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I wish the first part was the answer.
1 vote

Because Gamefreak likes to use that joke. There is a Japanese stigma about fishermen. It is a cultural gag.