A national catch and release carp angling tournament is scheduled July 19-22 along the shores of Lake Blalock in Chesnee. The Carolina Carp Cup is expected to draw over 60 two-person teams to compete for 44 consecutive hours. A $10,000 prize will be awarded to the team with the highest combined weight of its four largest carp, while 25 additional cash prizes will be awarded for largest individual carp. All fish will be caught, weighed and released unharmed.
Left to right: Mihai Aciu, Jason Bernhardt and Bogdan Bucur, all from Illinois, celebrate the catch and release of this record-setting 65-pound, 12-ounce carp.
Dan Kelsey of New York shows off his 38-pound, 13-ounce common carp caught during the 2012 Wild Carp Classic in Baldwinsville, N.Y.
Scottie Criswell of Arkansas poses with a 36-pound, 4-ounce carp caught during the 2012 Wild Carp Classic in Baldwinsville, N.Y.
Wild Carp Companies (WCC), based in Syracuse, N.Y., visited Lake Blalock in March and concluded that it contained an ample supply of tournament-quality carp and enough bank space to host a large-scale tournament. The lake is home to both the Common and Mirror Carp (a genetic variation of a common carp) that grow in excess of 30 pounds, a prerequisite for such events.
No water body record has been officially recorded at Lake Blalock, so one will be established during the Carolina Carp Cup.
Due to fallen timber and standing tree trunks, Lake Blalock will be a real test to its competitors.
“We had to contend with similar fallen timber during our tournament at Lake Fork in Texas last March,” said co-Tournament Director Sean Sauda. “Many people would view such obstructions as terrible snags but carp fishermen actually prefer such structure because that’s where the carp congregate”
Carp are found throughout the world in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
“Not many Americans know this, but carp angling is a huge sport in the South — especially in the Carolinas,” said co-Tournament Director Jason Bernhardt. “There are regional pockets of pay lakes throughout the country that have been running daily carp tournaments for decades, and it is most prevalent in the southeastern U.S.”
There are more than 200 carp “pay lakes” — privately owned lakes and ponds dedicated to competitive carp angling — operating throughout South Carolina and North Carolina, according to the co-directors.
The cost to enter the Carolina Carp Cup is $550 per 2-person team and the registration deadline is July 6. Teams may download the online registration at wildcarpcompanies.com and mail it along with payment to Wild Carp Companies. For more information call Jason Bernhardt at 315-427-7109 or Jason@wildcarpcompanies.com, or Sean Sauda 315-415-0986 or Sean@wildcarpcompanies.com.