Written by: Adam McNamara
After a crazy storm on Friday night, complete with 50 m.p.h. wind, blowing dust, and a multitude of lightning strikes, Saturday dawned clear and calm for the 2013 Carpocalypse on the Columbia River, near Kennewick, Washington. At 7 a.m., the participants started to arrive, and by 7:45 there were about 30 people milling around with hot coffee in their hands and carp on the brain. I gave a quick rundown of the rules and the prizes, resident carp guru John Montana gave a quick refresher on where and how to target carp on the Big C, along with directions on some prime areas, and we released everyone to fish.
I must admit that the shotgun start was a little like the beginning of the old Hanna-Barbera “Wacky Races” cartoons: trucks, cars, minivans with boats on top, all streaming from the lot in search of the ever elusive carp. The highlight of the start had to be the team that decided that the Huffy beach cruisers the hotel loaned out would be their transportation of choice for the day.
After a full day of fishing, the competitors started to roll in to the 6 p.m. check-in with mixed results. Some people had pretty challenging days with not a lot of chances at fish, while others had managed pretty respectable days. Only about half of the competitors had managed to land fish the first day, but the open bar and great attitude had everyone in high spirits in short order. And after a presentation from Dwayne at TU about all the great work they are doing to stop the Pebble Mine, a fantastic BBQ buffet and great camaraderie had everyone ready to go the next day.
Sunday started out much the same, with competitors mingling under clear skies and making plans for the day’s fishing. One thing that was prevalent the whole tournament was the willingness of people to help each other. I saw more experienced carpers standing with newer participants handing out secret fly patterns or even poring over satellite images helping to direct people to areas where they might find more success. At 8 a.m., the wacky racers were off again.
As soon as Sunday’s check-in time rolled around, it was clear that the results of the second day would be much better. Almost everyone had hooked fish, which is no small feat when carping the Big C! As the judges tallied the results, it was obvious that the smallest-fish contest had overwhelmingly occupied people’s time, since the grand prize was the most coveted. Travis Hammond’s 22inch fish beat out Heidi Adcock’s smallest carp by just a bit to take home the grand prize 9-foot 8-weight H2, while Heidi got the sweet consolation prize of a new Hydros reel.
Jarad Skeels caught a triple-nosed Carp that got him a new Yeti cooler for ugliest fish, while Ken Betschart got a new Access reel for second. With all the focus on the smallest fish, no one chased after any of the Columbia River’s true monsters, so we ended up with a virtual three-way tie for largest fish: good thing Idylwilde flies brought three sweet swag packs for Ken Betschart, Ross Beatty, and Brian Johnson.
With this year’s Carpocalype a resounding success, it’s back to the drawing board to make next year even better. See you all in Kennewick in 2014.
Adam McNamara is Fishing Manager of Orvis Portland.