CARUTHRSVILLE, MO (KAIT) - Imagine a fishing tournament where no reels and poles are allowed, just nets and boats.
The "Rednecking on the River, Flying Carp" tournament will be held Saturday in Caruthersville, Missouri.
Following some good advice I donned a hard hat and a life jacket go get a sneak peak at these flying fish.
James Pery drove the boat for us. We headed away from Caruthersville up the Boat Club Shoot. In about a quarter of a mile the fish began to leap out of the water all around us.
Pery fended off two flying carp from our intern Mallory Jordan who was attempting to catch one in a net. Pery said different motors and speeds really affect the fish.
Pery, "You can run wide open and never get none up. You can slow down and the vibration of the motor makes em jump."
In the lead boat, Missouri Conservation Agent Brian Shelton was running interference for us just like in a tournament. You have to use nets or boat floor only as many fish as you can get on board but only 3 nets at a time.The boats will go out in waves of 3 - 5 boats.
Pery, "We're gonna run 20 minutes each time. At the end of 15 minutes. Brian's gonna be down here honking an air horn and that means they got to be back at the dock for count."
Getting them to jump in the boat was easy. Attacking and breaking a microphone off a camera was easy. Using a net....not so much. Mallory managed to catch one otherwise it was a lot like baseball, "Swing and a Miss!"
This tournament will serve a 3-fold purpose. 1 it's kind of fun. 2. It's going to make people aware of this fish Shelton says.
"The Asian strain of carp was introduced to the United States." He went on, "They have infested our water ways. All up and down the Mississippi River they are trying to keep them out of the great lakes."
The third thing is to make local fisherman want to catch the fish, filet them out for freezing to possibly serve as a food source for Asian countries.
For the tournament face protection is strongly recommended. Shelton says these large fish can be a hazard to boaters.
"They can be anywhere at any time and once they start jumping you got to watch out for yourself and others. Especially small children. A 30 pound fish hitting a 2-3 year old child on the river wouldn't be a good thing." Shelton said. Pery held up a large fish that had just randomly jumped into our boat while we were standing still.
Pery, "Just imagine that fish hitting you head-on at 50 miles an hour in the boat and this is one of the small ones."
Watching these fish perform is an amazing spectacle. You almost forget that it's a pest and encroaching on native American species of fish.
Shelton, "Every Asian Carp that we can take out of the waters of the Mississippi River, is a plus, is a thumb's up for us."