Sunday, April 15th was Austin Carp Angler’s 100 Facebook “Likes” Beginner mini-tournament. We were all pretty happy with the milestone reached on Facebook, so we decided to commemorate it with a tournament. This was our first tournament, so needless to say we were all a bit nervous since we wanted it to go off without a hitch. We decided to do a beginners tournament since there are always so many people/anglers wanting to see what carp fishing is all about. We felt this was a great opportunity to teach new carp anglers about things like proper carp care, to ensure the health of our beloved game fish.
We decided to fish South 1st St, since Peninsula was blocked off by an arts festival in downtown Austin. We had 4 beginners, each paired with an ACA coach. Chad Woolard and I spent the day as runners, Facebook updaters, and photographers. Bubba Staton also helped out on the bank, and netted most of the fish that day. Our beginner anglers were: Jason Wells (paired with August Wells), Shawn Shoffstall (paired with Keith Thompson), Manny Martinez (paired with Brid Caveney), and Kameel Elian (paired with Mike Wheeler). South 1st is always a great swim, so we had high hopes. Everyone met on the bank at 7am, and our lines were in the water not long afterwards.
The bites came hard and fast. The west side of the South 1st swim was the first to catch. Keith and Shawn landed the first common at 17lbs 6oz. It wasn’t long before Brid and Manny had one on. They landed the second catch, a 17lb 7oz common. Soon after they landed their fish, Keith and Shawn replied with a beautiful 25lb 2oz common. A nice new PB for Shawn! The swim was on FIRE! It was clear that Brid and Manny had some tricks up their sleeve, since they landed the next three fish. Manny landed: a 17lb 2oz common, a 17lb 12oz common, and a beautiful 19lb common!
After all the action on the one side of south 1st, Kameel and Mike had a screaming run! As they were playing the fish, it seemed he had a decent size male common on the line. When he got closer to the bank it became clear it was a nice size grasser. This grasser put up a tougher fight than any grasser I have ever seen before. He wasn’t coming in quietly. Mike and Kameel finally landed the beast, a 38lb 12oz grass carp. There have been quite a few grassers landed in this area of Lady Bird in the past couple weeks, and none of them have been small. Unfortunately, grass carp didn’t count towards total weight for this tournament, but it was still a great fight and a beautiful fish.
At this point Manny was leading by about 10lbs. Another screaming take would widen that gap a bit. Brid and Manny landed another 19lb common! While Brid and Manny were playing that fish, Keith and Shawn had a take. It was very exciting for both beginner anglers to have a fish on at the same time! Keith and Shawn landed a 12lb 6oz common.
About an hour passed and the other side of South 1st started to show some signs of life. Mike and Kameel finally got on the board with a beautiful 13lb 8oz common! Not long after that, Keith and Manny responded with a 9lb 2oz common, and an 18lb 2oz common. Keith and Shawn weren’t letting up though; they landed a 13lb 14oz common. Shortly after those two fish, the other side of the swim had another run, and August and Jason were on the board! They landed a 17lb common! Manny and Brid wouldn’t allow anyone to gain any ground though. They landed the final catch of the day, an 11lb 2oz common!
The final results were as follows:
Manny Martinez: 98lb 9oz (7 fish)
Shawn Shoffstall: 67lb 12oz (4 fish)
Jason Wells: 17lb (1 fish)
Kameel Elian: 13lb 8oz (1 fish)
Other notable catches:
Kameel Elian – 38lb 12oz Grass Carp
1st place won a bunch of Bank Fishing Systems gear! Manny went home with a bank stick, bite alarm, 9’ stalker rod, bait runner reel, and a landing mat and net. 2nd place (Shawn) took home a bank stick, bite alarm, 9’ stalker rod, and a bait runner reel. Not a bad take for a day of fishing on the lake!
What a great day of fishing on South 1st! All of the beginners in the tournament landed some beautiful carp, and we all had a great time! More importantly – everyone learned a lot, newbies and vets alike.
I would like to thank all the coaches for coming out and teaching our beginners. I couldn’t think of a better group of anglers to teach our newbies. I would also like to thank Tres Flores Bait for supplying a ton of very effective maize. Carp Anglers Group also supported our event by donating a year membership, thank you Neil Stern for making that happen!
This is just the first of many events to come hosted by Austin Carp Angler. We hope to do a lot of events with beginners in particular. It’s all part of our mission to ensure big carp are here for everyone to catch for generations to come. We also love seeing the look on their faces while their landing a bigger fish than they ever have before!
Until next time…keep ‘em in the net!