I made it to both of our large “Carp-O-Rama” events this year; time to show you some pictures and tell some stories.
We have had Carp-O-Rama at Pawnee Reservoir northwest of Lincoln for several years now. It seems like it gets bigger every year.
This is a family event! Grandma helps take the fish off the hook!
And dad holds ’em for photos.
There were some fish caught.
And carefully carried up to the tents.
Stan will clean ’em.
Or you could make a fish print.
We tried to have a similar Carp-O-Rama event at Lake Maloney south of North Platte last year. Of all things, there was a carp die-off there the week before our scheduled event, so it was canceled last year. But that did NOT keep us away this year! We basically had all of the same tents, booths, and activities at Lake Maloney, and even though it was H-O-T, hot, we had a great turnout for the first Lake Maloney Carp-O-Rama.
Something tells me that these boys did not need no “Carp-O-Rama” event to tell them what to do; they were already pros!
And as you can see, carp fishing is serious business!
Now let me tell a couple of stories. . . .
Gene Hunt, our Parks Superintendent at Ft. Kearny, showed up to help with the Carp-O-Rama at Lake Maloney. Gene strolled over to the water’s edge and started catching carp one after another. Gene may be a Parks Superintendent, but he knows how to fish! He was dialed-in. In fact, Gene would make a cast and then watch the seconds tic by on his watch–it was usually less than a minute before he had a bite. Gene told me to find some kids who were not catching fish, and direct them his way. I did!
I have to tell you about that boy in the green T-shirt. Gene hooked a fish and handed him the rod and then coached him as he reeled in a carp. I stood by with the landing net and after a few minutes the carp played-out and we were able to put it in the net. I turned and held the netted fish in front of the boy; he looked in the net and let out a little squeal. Then he said “Oh, I have never squealed like a little girl before”. It was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing. I put the net and the carp down on a patch of grass so we could get the fish out of the net, and that boy reached in to grab the fish and squealed again. And then he said the same thing again.
The carp bite was as hot as the weather at Lake Maloney. Mostly I strolled the shoreline talking with folks and helped land fish. For quite awhile they had me running as carp were being hooked and they were hollering for me to come with the landing net!
Here I was not the net-man; I was just standing around taking pictures. Notice the rod in the rod-holder.
Several of us were watching this kid play a carp when out of the corner of my eye I see his rod holder fall over and then bang, just like that the rod goes shooting out of the holder and into the lake. Gone. He was a little disappointed about losing a rod, but he landed the carp he had been playing. His brother and he said they lost a rod while fishing last week; must have been a common occurrence for them. We all figured that rod was gone, “lost at sea”. Well, it was not 10 minutes later and his brother sets the hook. We came to the conclusion that he was snagged, but as he kept pulling, up comes a rod tip from out of the depths.
Sure enough, it was the rod that a fish had just pulled into the reservoir.
They worked around and landed the rod.
And then, believe it or not, the fish was still attached. After another battle, it was landed. Here are the brothers with the “lost rod” carp.
Catch a carp, lose a rod, catch the rod, land another carp. There is a fish story for you, but I swear it was true (and there were several other witnesses!).
The Carp-O-Ramas are a lot of work, but I always tell folks to just come out and have fun with us. We have fun and we hope folks have fun with us. Sure there are some tangled lines when it is all over.
But with all those kids, with those smiles and stories, it is worth it!
Big thanks to all the volunteers and Game & Parks personnel that make these things work!