In what was a whirlwind, the first annual Midwest Golden Bones Tournament has come and gone.
This past weekend, 40 anglers took the suburbs by storm for the first time to target the Midwest's hidden gem - the carp. From first time carp fishermen, to local carp ninjas, all skill levels were well represented. It was a very well run event, from Justin Carfagnini's Iron Fly Midwest event, to the layout of local fishing spots, addition of new bodies of water for the day - everything was well run and seemed to go off without a glitch.
Bill and Kurt did a great job putting together the format and River's Edge Bar and Grill did a great job hosting the festivities. Big thank you's go out to all the sponsors - they're really the ones that helped make it happen. They had some really big sponsors step up with big prizes, including DuPage Fly, Yeti, Costa Del Mar, Sage, Hatch, Rio, Towee, Sweetwater Brewing Co., Simms, Fly2Frame, Temple Fork Outfitters, Flymen Fishing Co., Skinny Water Culture, Catch Fly Fishing, Crooked Creek Holler, Looper Flies and Urban Anglers, and any others I may have forgotten.
The weekend started with Justin, "Carf" as many of you may know him, getting together with Pig Farm Ink to bring us Iron Fly Midwest and other fun tying games on Friday night. We sat under the lights outside at River's Edge, pulling Sweetwater IPA's from the gunwale of a Towee parked inside the bar, whipping up creations that may or may not ever see the water. The big prize winners were Chris Robins, taking home a Yeti Hopper 30, and Alex Carbonara, taking home his choice of Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Be sure to ask Alex what fly he whipped up for most creative.
Things started early on Saturday, with anglers checking in at DuPage Fly Fishing Co. in Naperville starting at 6am. The weather report looked gloomy and the decision was made to open the fisheries in the city (Chicago). With the focus being on the DuPage, Des Plaines and Fox river systems, this had the potential to open the door to some really big fish.
I hit the water with my good buddy Keith, with probably about 6 days of carp fishing experience between us. I knew of a spot I had scouted the weekend before. It held a good amount of carp, and we had a lot of spit and vinegar to throw at them. We knew it would be tough, but with a box of freshly tied flies, and a slight idea of what might get the job done (by that I mean I watched some YouTube videos), we had high hopes.
As we popped out of the brush, we stumbled upon what looked like the mother load - tailing carp, carp eating on the surface, and a few cruisers. But the next 6 hours would be bouts of confusion, frustration, seconds of hope dashed by a boil and a cloud, and general bewilderment. A couple of brief hookups for each of us, but nothing to hand that counted. A few bass totaling all of about ten inches kept the skunk off. Even without fish, we had a good time and enjoyed catching up. We'd normally be chasing trout, but didn't mind the change. We walked away with an education on what doesn't work and hopes of returning next year and making it count.
Overall there were a total of 43 carp caught, which is a testament to the fishery, as the weather really only gave us a half of solid fishing conditions. Local legend Mike Allen, the winner, landed 11 carp, adding up to 222 points. Dane Schumucker brought home second place and Big Fish honors with a nice 29” carp and a total of 129 points. Joe Hofmann brought home third place. All three and many others had very respectable days. Mike took home an awesome piece of art from Matt Stockton of Fish2Frame, a new Sage Pulse and some other goodies. Dane took home Redington Rise reel, some Rio lines, TFO BVK rod, and a pair of Costa sunglasses for biggest fish. Joe took home a Simms kit, featuring a Sling Pack and other accessories. Austin Adduci took home the Yeti prize pack featuring the Hopper 20, Sidekick and Ramblers, and many others took home some great prizes including another pair of Costas. Each angler took home a sweet swag bag featuring tying products from Flymen, Simms Solarshirts, and hats. So needless to say, everyone came out ahead. The sponsors offered some phenomenal prizes and their participation was key in making this a success. Please be sure to go out and support them.
All in all I would say that this was a great success and hope to be included in the Second Annual Midwest Golden Bones tournament, and hope you have the chance as well.
Here's a bit of what you might have missed: