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You are here You are here The Red Mill Inn News 2009 News 2009 Archive - Story  Story

Carp tourney brings anglers from around the world

By David Figura, Outdoors editor
May 16, 2008

Carp tourney brings anglers from around the world


Forty-one, two-person teams fish for $15,000 in prizes and equipment.
Last year in the Northeast Regionals carp fishing tournament along the Seneca River, Plainville residents Joe Green and Jack Duger got about one hour's sleep during the two-day contest.

"And we only caught two fish," Green said.

Things are different this year for the two previously inexperienced locals. About 21/2 hours into the competition Thursday, the two had weighed in four carp, the biggest going 131/2 pounds.

Last year they hooked pieces of white Styrofoam to their lines to help them detect bites at night. This year they had electronic bite detectors that buzz loudly when a fish starts pulling.

Last year, they were clueless on the use of bait attractant that experienced anglers ball up by hand around the bait, or simply toss in the water with long-handled scoopers. This year, Green and Duger came to the river with several 5-gallon buckets full of their own special blend.

"My son got on the Internet and made this up," Green said. "There's all sorts of stuff in there - soy, sweet feed, honey, corn, crack corn, molasses."

This year, a total of 41, two-person teams from across this country, Canada, England, Poland, Romania and Hungary are vying for $15,000 in prizes and equipment.

The fishing started at 9 a.m. Thursday. The anglers will fish straight to 11 a.m. Saturday on assigned spots at three general locations along the Seneca River between Baldwinsville and Onondaga Lake.

If location is everything, one

would figure Radu Georgescu and Vasile Grecu, two Romanian anglers now living in Nashville, Tenn., would have it made. They're fishing in the same spot at Lions Park in Baldwinsville where last year's winners, Frenchmen Frederic Labrousse and Numa Marengo, hauled in more than a ton of fish and walked away with the $5,000 check.

There's one problem. After more than two hours of fishing Thursday morning, the two Romanians were getting skunked. They finally landed their first carp at 11:35 a.m.

"There's a lot of pressure," Georgescu said. "Everyone keeps saying we're so lucky. They're jumping all around us, but we can't seem to hook them."

Why are the fish jumping?

David Moore, tournaments director for the American Carp Society, figures it's because the bottom-feeding fish get rooting around in the mud for food and probably their gills get filled with it.

"So they jump to cleanse their gills," he said. "Or sometimes they do it to signal to other fish there's food here - and sometimes they just do it because they're happy. Nobody really knows."

This year's tournament payout schedule was revised to spread the wealth around. The winning team with the largest weigh total will get $3,000; the team with the "Big Four" (heaviest weighing four fish) will get $2,500 and the biggest fish will get $1,000.

On top of that, the top local team (each member must live within 20 miles of the Red Mill Inn, the tournament headquarters in Baldwinsville) will get $1,000.

As of late Thursday afternoon, the biggest fish, a 31-pounder, was caught by the team of Jay Foster and Mike Ripa, both of Ogdensburg. They're fishing at an assigned spot on the Seneca River near the Wegman's Good Dog Park.

If last year's results are any indication, the bigger fish were caught on the Seneca River closer to Onondaga Lake, but the largest numbers were caught at Lions Park near Baldwinsville.

Carol and Karen Howland, of Windsor, a mother-daughter team, are fishing their second year in the tournament. Scott Howland, the dad, is serving as the duo's "runner" this year, getting whatever they need. This year they've been assigned a peg in Lions Park.

They landed four carp by noon Thursday, using sweet corn for bait.

The daughter, 18, said she's been carp tournament fishing for three years and for various other species for "years" before that. By noon Thursday, her biggest fish weighed 18 pounds, 9 ounces.

The two intend on fishing together or separately straight through to Saturday morning. Mom has already volunteered to fish the 2 to 6 a.m. shift both Thursday and Friday nights.

"We're not expecting to get a lot of sleep," she said.

Necessity resulted in all sorts of innovation along the Seneca River banks Thursday.

Richie Eldridge, a tow truck driver from Akron, Ohio, and his partner, Bill Syler, were boiling field corn and then running it through an electric grinder - hot wired to their car battery.

"If you grind it by hand, it takes it out of you," he said.

The two then took the ground up corn meal and mixed it up with a wide variety of ingredients.

"We have bread, fish pellets, oats, grits, vanilla butter flavoring, hemp - all sorts of good stuff in there," Eldridge said.

Some anglers appeared to be roughing it Thursday afternoon at their sites, eating hot dogs, stew or tuna out of cans for lunch.

None of that for Dave LaBeau and his partner Bob Giordano, from Ogdensburg and Waddington, respectively. They had several frozen packets of walleye fillets defrosting on the hood of their truck.

"That's dinner . . . with shiraz (wine) to waste it down," LeBeau said. "And there's venison in the cooler."


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