Carp Madness Wrap-up

Ron Brooks, director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, didn’t get the 100 tons of Asian carp he wanted from Tuesday and Wednesday’s department sponsored “Carp Madness” commercial carp tournament on Kentucky’s Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake.

IMG_6179 But he got everything else.

Mainly Brooks (pictured) got media attention to focus on the damage Asian carp can pose to a sport fishery and he made some inroads in demonstrating that commercial markets for Asian carp can and do exist for the fish.

Twenty-one commercial fishermen had signed up for the event but only 15 teams fished. Barry Mann walked away the $10,000 first place check by delivering a two-day weight of 28,669 pounds of carp. Heath Frailley was second with 22,005 pounds. That earned him $4,000.

IMG_6261They were astounding weights, given the less-than-ideal weather conditions. Temperatures barely touched the 40s and a stiff north/northwest wind kept fishermen off the main lakes, limiting anglers to bays and shore areas that afforded some wind protection.

The total tournament weight was 82,953 pounds, or about 41 1/2 tons.

After being weighed on a commercial scale (pictured) the carp were loaded into trailers and iced to be shipped to processors in Illinois and Mississippi.

One other thing came to light during the two days of Carp Madness: Commercial fishermen are some of the hardest working guys on the planet.


Carp Madness

While a dozen or so commercial fishermen labored on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley to haul in enough Asian carp to claim the $10,000 winner’s check in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife-sponsored Carp Madness tournament, Chef Philippe Parola was telling anyone who would listen why carp should be treasured as a culinary treat.IMG_6312

“It is all quality,” Parola said, while filleting a 20-pound silver carp. “It has a very clean taste. It is a bony fish but aside from that you have one of the best fish, ever. There is no downside to this fish.”

Parola later offered samples of fried carp (a delicate and delicious white meat) and something he called “carp cheese balls,” fried and about the size of a golf ball that, while tasty, featured more cheese flavor than fish.

On the water the tournament had become a two-team contest. Fish were weighed as they were brought in (unlike a bass tournament anglers could bring a load of carp to the scale at any time then continue fishing) and by mid afternoon Barry Mann’s team had weighed 17,647 pounds and Heath Frailley’s crew had hauled in 15,275 pounds of carp. That was three tons more than the nearest competitor.IMG_6228

Full results tonight and a full report in Sunday’s Louisville Courier-Journal