Wild Carp Week Wrap Up
By Jason Bernhardt
Welcome to Wild Carp Week
Featuring 5 carp tournaments in 7 challenging days, the inaugural Wild Carp Week
was held May 14-21, 2011 in the towns of Liverpool and Baldwinsville, New York.
Wild Carp Week is an idea devised by Wild Carp Companies owners Sean Sauda and
Jason Bernhardt. “Carp angling is very popular overseas, but with such high expenses
it takes a lot to attract competitors to the States from so far away.
ourselves how we could create an angling experience that is multi-faceted
in testing skill sets while also creating a lot of opportunities for anglers
to win prize money. Wild Carp Week was our answer,” said Sauda.
Wild Carp Week began in style with a daylong kick-off event that was free
and open to the public on Paper Mill Island in Baldwinsville. “Carp angling
tournaments create a lot of economic impact for the areas they serve and
the anglers deserve recognition for that,” Bernhardt said. “That was our
way of recognizing the anglers while creating awareness of carp angling and
Wild Carp Week among the general public.”
At the kick-off, anglers were able to register for Wild Carp Week events,
as well as try their hand at the 2011 Carp Casting Championship presented
by Resistance Tackle. Several competitors attempted to land their lines in
the circular targets floating in the Seneca River, although very few were
able to hit targets. People really enjoyed this fun contest and it is likely
to return again next year with some adjustments. Later in the afternoon,
competitors drew their pegs for the Wild Carp Classic.
Also at the kick-off was a bounce house and activity tent to keep the kids
occupied and plenty of food and beverages for all. The main draw was the
World Salt Potato Eating Championship, presented by JGB Enterprises. In attendance
were several of Major League Eating’s best competitors, including the top
4 ranked competitive eaters in the world—Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, Pat “Deep
Dish” Betroletti, “Eater X” Timothy Janus and “The Notorious B.O.B.” Bob
As a way to connect the eating competition with Wild
Carp Week, US Carp Pro Staffer Josh Snow gave it his all and was able
to eat just over 3 pounds of potatoes. A crowd of hundreds watched as Chestnut
barely edged out Bertoletti for the title and a world record of 13 pounds
of salt potatoes in ten minutes.
Wild Carp Classic
The first tournament of Wild Carp Week was the 50-hour, team-based Wild Carp
Classic. Competition was close for many of the top 6 spots, with the exception
of 1st place which was quickly secured and held by the team of Mihai Aciu
and Bogdan Bucur. The pair were a consistent force in hauling a total of
84 carp for a combined weight of 1509 pounds, 15 ounces.
The subsequent finishers flip-flopped positions for much of the tournament.
The battle for 2nd and 3rd places was particularly tight, with Jennifer Terriah
and Shawn Rafter eventually edging the team of Richie Eldridge and Bill Sylar.
Their scores were 1068.2 and 1032.8, respectively.
Perhaps the most significant fish of the competition was caught by teammates
Kent Appleby and Chris West during the final minute of competition. At 10:59
on Tuesday, West hooked into and landed a 33 pound, 4 ounce common. That
one fish would prove to be worth several thousand dollars to the team, as
it surged the pair into 6th place overall (the final paying position), secured
the Big Carp award for the tournament, and helped them secure 1st place for
Overall, catch rates were slower than experienced in previous Baldwinsville-area
endurance tournaments. In 4 years of Northeast Regional tournaments hosted
by CARP Tournament Series directors David Moore and Kathy Kelly since 2007,
over 112,000 pounds of carp were caught and released—an average of over 28,000
pounds per year. The 2011 Wild Carp Classic produced a total of 781 carp
for 13,064 pounds. Regardless of the slower fishing, the event seemed to
be well enjoyed by competitors, marshals and spectators alike.
The Challenge Events
The Wild Carp Classic was followed by three consecutive single-day tournaments,
with each event lasting ten hours. A majority of the field was comprised
of anglers from the Wild Carp Classic, and most of them competed in each
of the three challenges. The Big Carp Challenge, Total Weight Challenge and
Big 4 Challenge were chosen to test different skill sets of the competitors.
The Big Carp Challenge awarded prize money for the biggest carp caught on
an hourly basis. With a $5000 prize pool, anglers earned $500 per hour. The
big winner of the day was Colin Peters who won two consecutive hours from
10:30-12:30 with a 32.3 and a 30.7. Other winners for the day included John
Bramley (22.3), Duke Strache (27.8), Kent Appleby (28.6), Pat Anderson (23.15),
Istvan Gyori (28.8), Paul Dinea (23.15), Shawn Warner (19.5) and Ioan Iacob
The Total Weight Challenge awarded prizes to the top three finishers for
most combined weight on the day. Anglers had to ask themselves if it would
it be best to target fewer large fish or many smaller fish. Mihai Aciu dominated
the day with a combination of both, as he hauled a total catch of 224 pounds,
He also finished the day with the Big Carp prize thanks to his
30 pound, 14 oz common. Second place was awarded to Ioan Iacob with a combined
catch of 171 pounds, 7 ounces—his largest at 26.2. Alin Hosu placed third
with a combined catch of 140 pounds, 9 ounces—with a big fish of 19.2.
The Big 4 Challenge awarded prizes for the top five finishers for highest
weight of their four largest carp. Bogdan Bucur was able to edge John Bramley
110.2 to 107.7, sealing his victory with a 30+ common in the final minutes
of the competition. Rounding out the top five were Duke Strache (102.11),
Iaon Iacob (96.10) and Mihai Aciu (95.10).
Celebrity Carp Challenge
The final challenge of Wild Carp Week was an exhibition to raise money for
local charities while also further promoting carp angling to the residents
of Central New York. The Celebrity Carp Challenge featured five local celebrities
competing for $10,000 in prizes for the charities of their choice.
Investigative Reporter Jim Kenyon (Food Bank of Central NY) took the top
prize of $3,000 with a 26 pound, 8 ounce common. Magician Wade Live (Make-A-Wish
Foundation) placed 2nd with a 24 pound, 15 ounce common and was awarded $2,000.
Outdoor Sports Reporter Dave Figura (Alzheimer’s Association of Central New
York) placed 3rd with 22 pounds, 3 ounces and was awarded $2,000.
Wayne Mahar (Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Foundation) finished 4th with
17 pounds, 9 ounces for $1,000. Mayor Joe Saraceni (Greater Baldwinsville
Community Benefit Fund) finished 5th with 17 pounds, 6 ounces and was awarded
$1,000. Philanthropist Laurie Fine was unable to compete due to a family
emergency, but $1,000 was donated to Boys & Girls Club of Central NY
on her behalf.
Some memorable moments from the event include Wayne Mahar hand-reeling a
17 pound carp after Duke’s reel broke away from his rod, Mahar catching a
mirror carp that did not improve his overall weight, Dave Figura conducting
interviews during the event and subsequently having to sprint when his rods
fired, Joe Saraceni catching consecutive 17.6 commons, Jim Kenyon’s excitement
at having never caught such large fish before, and Wade Live’s assistance
by Ryan, a youth from neighboring Utica who has undergone a kidney transplant,
and the two working together to reel in their 2nd place 24.15 common.
All of the celebrities expressed having a great time and wanting to compete
in the event again next year.
Wild Carp Companies would like to thank our volunteer weigh marshals from
the Elks Club of Liverpool, NY and the Baldwinsville Lions Club. Thank you
to marshals Bob Eckard and Vinny Jeffreys, both of which worked very hard
in tough weather marshalling the Wild Carp Classic. Jeffreys also marshaled
the remaining Challenge events and was both an angler favorite and a tremendous
help to Wild Carp Companies.
Thank you to Duke and Karen Strache for once again access to your land for
tournament use. In five years, your property has yielded countless thousands
of pounds of hard fighting carp for our competitors.
Thank you to the anglers that were paired with our local celebrities that
competed in the Celebrity Carp Challenge. The anglers provided their gear
and taught the celebrities all about carp angling. Much thanks is owed to
Eric Ames, Sean Lehrer, Bill Markle, Jim McKenna, Paul Russell and Duke Strache.
Thank you very much to our title sponsor, JGB Enterprises, without whom we
could not have been able to host the salt potato competition that garnered
us a tremendous amount of media exposure. Thank you to the Major League Eating
Competitors—some travelling from as far as CA—for coming to Baldwinsville
to set a new world record for salt potatoes consumed.
Thank you to the tackle vendors—Resistance Tackle, K-1 Baits and World Classic
Baits—for supporting our event and supplying our anglers with their goods.
A special thanks goes to Resistance Tackle for sponsoring the casting competition
during our kick-off event.
Thank you to our other business sponsors, including Syracuse New Times, CNY
Central, Syracuse.com, Hinerwadel’s Grove, Action Printwear, Citadel Broadcasting,
The Score 1260 AM, Gander Mountain and Tabitha’s Family Tree.
to view a full size photo
World Classic Baits
Salt Potato Contest
Mihai Aciu (left) and Bogdan Bucur (right) with Jason Bernhardt (center) during Wild Carp Week 2011
Igor Nitselskiy with a tournament-high 24
lb, 4 oz mirror carp that was caught from peg 3 at Lions Community
Park in Baldwinsville, NY during the 2011 Wild Carp Classic
Chris West poses with one of his better
catches during Wild Carp Week 2011
The Celebrity Carp Challenge
Jim Kenyon with his 1st place fish (26.8) caught
during the Celebrity Carp Challenge