Monday, August 9, 2010

And--We Were Sober! Just This Side of Chaos: Secret Tales (and photos) from the Redneck Fishing Derby!

Our adventure on the not so quiet backwaters of the Illinois River within a fish-flops length from the tiny, usually quiet town of Bath, Illinois was an adventure with a media-luring purpose just this side of chaos. And just how did a small team of  now brusied and bleeding Michiganders - including this coffee indulging writer/medic/naturalist - manage  to walk (limp) away with second place in this strange fishing competition of mostly southern rednecks in pursuit of Asian Carp? Although we told the rolling cameras from Animal Planet ( They flew in from NYC and rode with us filming for a special)  it was because of our teamwork and river studies and skilled boatmanship, I've got a feeling something else came into play: We were sober!  And when silver asian carp (see previous post) are airborne and smashing into boats, heads, bodies and nets, it's good to have our wits about us. I smiled during our award presentaion when a local guy bellowed out - grinning from ear to ear  as he did, that "They cheated, They were sober!" Now for those of you who are waiting to see photos of dozens of fish in flight at once - at times 10 feet above the water - you must wait a week - although one incidental carp leaping before the event behind Betty Deford, the derby organizer, does appear.  During the actual competition, when the noise and vibrations of churning motors stirred the beastly invaders into their frantic flight mode, the time at which we net them in flight,  my camera was securely stowed and my hands were occupied with a slime and scale coated net. But chase-boats of media were fillming and our Michigan contact, Kevin Fowler was clicking away.  He has captured awesome images that are other-wordly! Hope to share some of his camera work in the near future. And now it's time to thank the organizer of the Great Lakes Guardians (our team name), Ron St.Germain. Look for his upcoming story in Woods N' Water News. That's him cooking and sampling a silverfin Asian carp!  And tons of praise for the skilled  boatmanship of owner and captain of Luring Addictions, Brian Curtis who navigated us in tight cat and mouse manuevers in his charter jet boat - although his wife had a black eye from a powerful direct carp face hit - that brought us just two fish shy of first place: We captured 493 carp in 8 hours of fishing without poles, an all time team record! And yes, that's me posing proudly on a muddy river bank with self-anointed Ms.Silver Fin with two of our bigger scaled alien invader brutes that ended their days of breeding in the river of mayhem and madness (one boat sank during competition, others were grounded) at the hands of a small sober team of Michigan men and women. And for more on the serious side of the invasion of Asian Carp and the clear and present danger to our Great Lakes check:


Anonymous Jamie said...

LOL!!! Great photos Jonathan! Can't wait to see the rest of them.

August 9, 2010 at 1:40 PM 
Blogger Miriam S said...

Wait a minute, if you can't use a pole, how do you catch your fish? Nice photos!

August 9, 2010 at 2:26 PM 
Blogger Jonathan Schechter said...

No poles and a valid Illinois licence is the main and perhaps the only rule in this strange event. Fish are captured with nets as they zoom over or smash into the boats--and crews. Many just 'fly and flop' in on their own.

August 9, 2010 at 7:43 PM 
Blogger Denise said...

Love those vikings!

August 9, 2010 at 9:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a blast! I will make your costumes next year in exchange for a seat on the boat.
Nice touch with the chopsticks.

August 9, 2010 at 10:25 PM 
Blogger Ashlie said...

These are some great pictures! It was nice meeting you and your crew! I am looking forward to reading more.

-Ashlie "Paintball Masked Carped Crusader" Peterson

August 11, 2010 at 7:51 PM 

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