Wild Carp Companies, of Baldwinsville, NY, USA, promotes catch and release carp angling via educational demonstrations, angling lessons, tourism promotion, hosting fish-ins, tournaments and the Wild Carp Club

Wild Carp Week 2011 Media Coverage

Wild Carp Week 2011 Media Coverage  - Carp Fishing in Baldwinsville, NY


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Wild Carp Week Wrap Up

July, 2011

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.


We asked 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.

The Kick-off

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 Shoudt, respectively.


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 Big 4.

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 (22.2).

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, 12 ounces.


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.


Chief Meteorologist 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.

Thank You

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.

Click to view a full size photo


K-1 Baits

World Classic Baits

Salt Potato Contest

Josh Snow


Casting 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



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