The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) hosted its sixth annual Carp-O-Rama at Lake Maloney State Recreation Area (SRA) this month. The event was a huge success according to the smiles seen and laughter heard.
Game and Parks staff was on hand to assist the public and answer any questions about carp fishing and those that have never tried it were inquisitive and excited about the process. On the other hand, some folks come to the event every year, just to catch carp and spend a day at the lake.
For this free event, park guests don’t need any fishing equipment, everything from rods and reels to bait is supplied. Some folks that attended brought their own fishing supplies along with dough ball baits made fresh from their kitchens just for this event.
Popular baits include canned corn and homemade dough ball concoctions. Another carp luring bait is the boilie, which is a high-protein paste and pellets containing special flavorings that appeal to the sweet or unique interests of the fish. Paste baits are popular and fairly stiff, making it easy to attach to hooks, but are also used to create a coating for other types of bait to increase the level of carp appeal.
NGPC fisheries biologists chummed the lake with a rather ripened corn mixture a couple days in advance to lure the big-scaled fish into the area. Looking at the fish that were caught, I’d say the chumming worked as planned.
Gyotaku, an ancient Japanese art form of recording images on fabric, was available to those that wanted to learn the art form and keep a memory of the fish they caught. Colored ink is painted on the fish in a design of the angler’s choosing, then a white cloth is placed over the fish and gently patted to mimic the fish’s scales and fins. The cloth is then lifted, revealing the pretty colors and pattern of the fish.
One group of anglers caught a large stringer full of carp that they hauled to the cleaning table – they had their game-faces on for this event. These boys and their dads were making great memories together that they’ll never forget.
At the cleaning station, people could watch demonstrations on how to fillet and score carp and prepare it for the table. Stan Kautz is the carp cleaning master and a good mentor to learn from when it comes to cleaning carp. Larry Pape, who runs the Carp-O-Rama event isn’t too bad with the fillet knife either. The carp caught at the lake were also part of a free shore lunch that was served by the Boy Scouts, along with Shawn Riley’s delicious Dutch oven cobblers that people could watch being prepared and sample.
At times, the roars and laughter filled the air as kids of all ages joined in the fun of reeling big carp in from Lake Maloney SRA. Carp are an excellent fish for beginner or seasoned anglers to pursue, they are plentiful statewide, are fairly easy to catch with basic equipment and there are many bait choices to use. Fishing for carp will add a new dimension to fishing for those that have never reeled one of these strong-fighting fish to the shore.