Monday, May 20th, 2013
By Eric Adams
Carp derby catch sets record
Grand Lake anglers help remove unwanted fish
GRAND LAKE - Anglers of all ages journeyed from many parts of the state for the third annual Get the Carp Outta Here event Friday through Sunday on Grand Lake.
A staggering 15,541 pounds of the muck-stirring fish were harvested throughout the weekend, according to Donna Grube, co-chairperson for the contest. The haul was a record; 8,142 pounds were fished out in 2011 and 12,831 pounds were taken in 2012.
"I think everybody knows why we do this; that beautiful body of water needs a little work," said former Mercer County Economic Development Director Larry Stelzer. "It's getting a lot of work on it right now, getting those carp out that mess up the bottom and do no good with the algae."
The event is part of an effort to bring visitors back to Grand Lake after years of algae blooms. Bottom-feeding carp grow large and increase the water's cloudiness. Thy also re-suspend phosphorus, which feeds algae, and excrete phosphorous in their waste.
For some participants, such as self-proclaimed "avid hobbyist" Oscar Young, the weekend presented an opportunity to hone time-tested family methods.
"I heard that in recent years the lake was suffering from pretty severe pollution issues ... but friends living in Celina reported that it's much better this year, so I thought I'd come check it out," he said.
A Columbus resident, Young employed a homemade "stink" bait Saturday afternoon at his post on Grand Lake's south side.
The concoction consisted of miscellaneous undesired meat and liver scraps which Young had procured from a butcher prior to his trip. He wrapped the scraps in a baggie made from panty hose before sealing it with a treble hook.
"Anything that produces a powerful smell in the water, the carp like," Young said. "That is just as effective as anything you can buy at a bait shop, in my opinion."
For others such as Celina native Kyle Vanderhorst, who now resides in Hamilton, the tournament has become a reunion of sorts. He and his friends have ventured back to Celina every year for the event.
"All my buddies live out of town, so it gives us a reason to come back to Celina and get together," he said. "The fishing is secondary, but it's fun."
Vanderhorst and his crew had little luck Friday or Saturday, but Sunday's calm and balmy conditions allowed them to reel in five massive carp. They used traditional lures as well as a canned corn-based bait.
"I'm strictly an amateur; usually we try different things and if something works, everyone else copycats it," he said.
Those who took the craft a bit more seriously included 15-year-old St. Marys resident Josh Fuerst, who netted three youth division awards for his performance - most carp caught, with 69, as well as the third largest and largest carp caught, at 10.9 and 11.6 pounds, respectively.
Fuerst, who has fished since he was 3, logged an impressive 20 hours lakeside during the weekend. His preferred bait is one his father taught him - Wheaties.
In the adult category, Donovan Wilt took home the award for most fish, catching 155. Other awards included youth bow fishing, Andrew Peoples with 69 fish; adult bow fishing, tie between Scott Heasly and Jeremiah Johnson, who each caught 125; and monster carp award, Doug Moran, 20.5 pounds.
Johnson also caught the only tagged carp, a new twist to the tournament this year. Grube said anglers have until July 4 to catch the remaining 22 carp that were tagged, with the prize payout being $50 instead of $100.
Those who catch the tagged fish can redeem their cash prize at the Outdoorsman in St. Marys or the Auglaize and Mercer Counties Convention and Visitors Bureau office.
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