Published on [Permalink]
Reading time: 5 minutes
Posted in:

The Carp Bowl

I wrote this in my early twenties. It was a fun time, and thought I would share it…

Before I induce any sort of confusion, I want to set some things straight. I am not a carp expert; I actually know very little about them. I’m a fly-fisherman, a fairly mediocre one at that. And most of all, I’m one of the few males in this country who has absolutely no knowledge of football. I do have a favorite team, mainly due to family influence. All in all, I’m a fly-fishing fake packer fan. So you may think I am not worthy of participating in a fishing tournament for carp with a football theme, but nonetheless, I was there.

The Carp Bowl consisted of twenty-seven fishermen, of whom 14 represented the Chicago Bears and 13 represented the Green Bay Packers. Brian Chambers, the owner of One Stop Tackle in Rockton, Illinois was the creator and head of the festivities. The game is simple, the Bears and Packers do everything they can possibly conceive of bringing in the most weight in Carp using the regular old fishing tackle except spears, bows, guns, hand-grenades, Clinton Jokes, or any other unjust means. The playing field was a two-mile stretch of the Rock River right behind One Stop. As far as pre-game preparations, I did what every other serious fisherman would do, I gathered my best rods and rushed to the local twenty-four-hour grocery store and blew eighty-nine cents on two cans of whole kernel corn.

At 7am, we mounted the playing field. I was accompanied by my best friend and fishing partner, John Skupien, who suddenly became my enemy and sided with the Bears. Though we both took this as a betrayal, we were both gracious to each other and fished together, which became a tragic mistake. Our chosen spot put me in the center of Bear central. I was the lone Packer on our little stretch of river. This, of course, was the reason for my lack of success; how can a man possibly concentrate on fishing when he’s surrounded by a group of aggressive Bear fans who are obviously in deep depression caused by their team’s constant lack of success. So obviously you can understand I was in fear of my life the whole morning.

So there we were, sitting on the bank, enjoying each other’s company. There was the usual conversation along the river; we took turns telling each other how superior we were and how inferior everyone else was. John and I were immersed in the highly technical aspects of the fishing. The gear, such as a good chair, cooler, proper sunglasses, hats, etc… Then the skills we’ve developed over the years, such as fish calls which resemble something like “here fishy, fishy!” Or maybe the ability to sit and stare at the tip of the rod for such a long time that it seems to move completely by thought alone. Or the ability to search out and snag any branch we choose. ‘Yes, we were experts.

After the first hour, it seemed to us that everyone was pulling in carp but us. Sometime after that realization, John got into a fish, which he skillfully broke off before he could land it. I still was practicing bending my rod with my mind. Then maybe a half-hour later, I was losing track of time quickly; I witnessed John accomplish what to me seemed like an amazing feet. He hauled in a 6.451b carp on an ultralight rig, and I mean ultralight. I was in awe and still couldn’t seem to will any fish onto my line.

After maybe four hours, my moment of glory arrived. I had one on, and he was a fighter. After a couple of minutes, I just saw a glimpse of this fish when I lost him; he broke right through my twelve-pound test. This experience could only lead me or any other honest fisherman to believe that I just lost the biggest and smartest carp in the Rock River•, or else I would have landed him.

At noon with no more fish between John and me, they called for weigh-in. Their reason for the early weigh-in was the footb911 games were going to start soon. I knew the real reason, though, they knew I was just on the verge of getting into a real mess of carp. Well, the Packers won with 73.551bs. offish, while the Bears had a measly 65.91bs. The winner of the side’s biggest fish contest was Clyde Stenholm with a 7.451b.

As far as prizes go, everyone on the winning team got something, which I thought was great, being on the winning team and not catching a single fish. Also, now hanging in One Stop Tackle is the official Carp Bowl Trophy reading Green Bay Packers.

This was the first fishing tournament I had ever entered. Next year I’ll be there for Packers again. I hope all carp enthusiasts will come to join us next year. It was a wonderful day of not very serious competition and a whole lot of fun. Just watch out because next year, I’ll have my fish call mastered.

Just for those of you who consider yourself philosophical. Could the results of our fishing tournament have had effects on our real teams? As I recall, the Green Bay Packers won their game that day, and the Bears lost theirs, though that’s not a surprise to any of us, is it?

✍️ Reply by email

✴️ Also on