As headlined here earlier, on Saturday, July 9, 2011, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) sanctioned by permit a first-ever Carp Tournament on Lake Conroe, hosted by Stow A Way Marina, in Willis, outside Houston, Texas. In all aspects, it proved to be a huge success. And yes, more than a ton of grass carp were harvested.
The tournament was co-sponsored by Seven Coves Bass Club and Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. More than 2,000 pounds of carp were weighed in the first four hours, with a tourney total of nearly 300 fish weighing in at around 3,000 pounds. The event was conducted as part of the TPWD's management plan to restore aquatic vegetation on Lake Conroe, making it unique in and of itself, and further solidifying the role that anglers can and should have in fisheries and aquatic resource management.
Seven Coves Bass Club, in partnership with the TPWD, Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and the San Jacinto River Authority, has been transplanting new strands of native plants for the past three years. However, the excessive numbers of grass carp have kept the transplants from growing outside of their protective cages, resulting in a lack of regrowth of vegetation into the lake.
Ninety-three anglers from all walks of life participated in the tournament with payouts for hourly Big Fish, and Most Fish winners who ranged from 14 to 65 years of age and were rewarded with $125 and $140 paychecks. Keith Caka won the tournament with 28 carp he brought to the scales, earning him $950. Also, 221 carp were harvested from the special night bow fishing tournament, including one carp weighing over 30 pounds!
All participants involved expressed how they had a great time at the event. Some understood the philosophy behind the event and were out there to help ... but most were excited to be a part of a "fish" tournament for their very first time. There were a lot of amped up fishing folks who brought grass carp to the scales throughout the day. Due to the success of the tournament, another event is being considered pending the final statistics of the harvest and estimated remaining carp.