May 09, 2011
By Erin Wisneski
Editor, Baldwinsville Messenger
Sean Lehrer displays a
nice 18 lb. 6 oz. common carp caught during
four of Wild Carp Club, which was formed
as part of Wild Carp Companies.
Wild Carp Week will kickoff this Saturday despite flooding along
the banks of the Seneca River.
According to Jason Bernhardt, cofounder of Wild Carp Companies, the
organization bringing the event to Baldwinsville, the tournament
is happening as planned.
"We may have to move a couple of the traditional pegs (team
locations) we're accustomed to using, but we also don't have as many
teams as in the past, so that gives us some flexibility," Bernhardt
The NE Regional, the tournament Baldwinsville has hosted for the
past four years, is on hiatus for 2011 (former Tournament Director
David Moore has devoted 2011 exclusively to the Carp Angling World
Championship resulting in all regional tournaments, not just Baldwinsville's
NE Regional, to be put on hold).
"We were aware [the NE Regional was] not coming back, so Sean
[Sauda] and I decided to start Wild Carp Companies in order to have
a vehicle for re-launching the annual Baldwinsville carp tournament," Bernhardt
said. "We've had so much success the first four years – over
112,000 pounds caught and released – that we could not bear to see
the event go away."
While this is the first year for Wild Carp Week, Bernhardt and Sauda
consider it the fifth anniversary of competitive carp angling in
Baldwinsville. For this reason, Wild Carp Companies is able to guarantee
a $5,000 per single day challenge event and to donate $10,000 to
charity via the Celebrity Carp Challenge.
"Baldwinsville was chosen due to the previous success," Bernhardt
said. "No other carp angling tournament venue on the planet
has ever yielded so many pounds of carp, even for events that are
longer in duration."
The actual carp tournaments, held May 15 to 20, are a must-see because
of the huge talent pool coming to compete, Bernhardt said.
"We are hosting many of USA's top carpers, as well as many ex-pats
from several European countries. There is such a diverse array of
personalities and fishing techniques to encounter by meeting our
anglers, and most of them are very friendly and will chat with spectators," he
While spectators are welcome to visit anglers at their pegs, the
May 14 kick-off event is designed for the entire community and features
the Jr. Elks Kid's Corner, 4-in-1 bounce house, a carp casting championship,
live music and the Wild Carp Week World Salt Potato Eating Championship.
"The May 14 kick-off is free and it delivers world class carp
anglers displaying their talents in the casting competition and also
features eight of the world's top 11 competitors from major league
eating," Bernhardt said. "Will Joey Chestnut set a new
world standard, or will one of the other top foes thwart him?" Chestnut's
talent was recently exhibited during a guest appearance on Man Vs.
Food where he devoured a five-pound burrito in about three minutes.
Wild Carp Week includes the Wild Carp Classic (May 15 to May 17),
Wild Carp Big Carp Challenge (May 18), Wild Carp Total Weight Challenge
(May 19), Wild Carp Big 4 Challenge (May 20) and the Wild Carp Celebrity
Challenge (May 21).
"[The Celebrity Challenge] is a must-see because we have a great talent
pool of local celebrities there to entertain while raising $10,000 for their
represented, local non-profits," Bernhardt said. "We plan
to make this an annual event as part of Wild Carp Week."