Monday, May 21st, 2012
By William Kincaid
Nearly 2,000 carp wrested from lake
  GRAND LAKE - Despite fewer anglers and hunters this year, organizers declared the weekend Get the Carp Outta Here tournament on Grand Lake a success.
An estimated 160 participants captured 1,974 carp weighing 12,831 pounds by using a rod or bow and arrow. Last year's tournament brought in 278 participants who captured 8,142 pounds of fish. No fish count was taken last year.
"We were a little disappointed with the number of people," tournament co-chairman Dan Manning of The Outdoorsman in St. Marys said this morning. "(But) less people got a lot more fish."
The tournament, now in its second year, is part of a multi-faceted effort to improve the lake's water quality. Rough fish such as carp excrete phosphorus and stir up sediment in the bottom of the lake. Phosphorus feeds the toxic algae that has plagued Grand Lake for years.
Co-chairman Donna Grube of the Auglaize & Mercer Counties Convention and Visitor's Bureau, who was helping at the carp weigh-in station at the west bank boat launch area, said fishermen believe the small turnout on a beautiful, sunny weekend may have been due to school activities and graduation parties.
The tournament was moved from mid-June to May this year in hopes of getting the carp before they spawn. Carp aren't interested in eating during spawning, which puts those fishing with a rod at a disadvantage.
But with the capricious weather this spring, carp actually began spawning a week ago, Manning said. Spawning carp protect their nests instead of moving much, making them prime targets for bow hunters, he said.
Carp typically are aggressive eaters.
"Carp will hit anything," Manning said, adding the rough fish put up a fight when snagged and are a blast to catch, one of the major appeals of carp fishing.
George Lefeld of St. Henry took his four sons to Windy Point in Montezuma on Sunday afternoon to hunt carp with bow and arrow.
"I've been doing it for a couple of years," Alex Lefeld, 15, said about shooting carp with a bow and arrow. "It's a little bit more exciting than letting a rod sit out."
Lefeld walked a stone path at Windy Point searching for carp ascending to the surface of the water for cottonwood, a food source.
Jordan Robbins, 25, of Dayton, visited Windy Point on Saturday and Sunday with his parents, an uncle and a family friend. He's bow hunted carp at various state parks. He used a modified bow with a heavy duty catfish reel. The line was attached to the arrow, and when he struck a fish, he reeled it in.
On Sunday afternoon, he wadded through a lily pad in one of the channels, shooting several carp. It was Robbins first time at Grand Lake, and he admitted he was skeptical because of all the media attention about the toxic algae blooms the last few years. He enjoyed the nice, calm waters over the weekend, he said.
The more than 6 tons of carp captured during the 48-hour tournament were collected by a Wapakoneta company that will use the fish for fertilizer, Grube said.
Brian Moorman of St. Marys won $500 for catching the most fish - 168. Christopher Law of Columbus won $500 for catching the biggest fish - 19.4 pounds.
Several other cash prizes totaling $3,000 were awarded in various adult and youth categories.
Grube said the committee is considering offering separate prizes next year for those fishing with a rod and those hunting with bow and arrow.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
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• Mendon man killed in motorcycle accident
• Wapakoneta woman dies in apparent farm accident
• Coldwater seniors set to graduate Sunday
• Cavaliers bounced by Thunderbirds
• Minster sweeps team championship trophies
• Kremer, Craig, James and Higginson win at Eldora
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