- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In June 1983, a fisherman named David Nikolow caught a 57-pound, 13-ounce common carp in the Potomac River downtown. If memory serves, the carp actually came from the Tidal Basin, and it was the talk of the town because Nikolow’s catch was a 20-pound test-line world record that still stands for the International Game Fish Association. However, after you visit with the men and women of the Carp Anglers Group, an international organization of strictly catch-and-release carp fishing fanatics, perhaps Nikolow had an easy time with his piscatorial behemoth.

You see, the people who have dedicated their angling lives to a fish that is cursed by millions of bass fishermen - resulting in less than complimentary names, such as calling the powerful German import a buglemouth bass, a pig or names not fit to appear in a family newspaper - hold it in high esteem and look at it with deep respect.

CAG members use expensive, sometimes whispy, Euro-tackle that includes special rods, reels and bait sensor equipment to let them know when the heavy-scaled, orange/yellow fish sample a “boilie,” or other bait. The lines on the reels would be considered ultra-light by bass-fishing standards, and the loving care given to hooked and landed carp would make a bass boater shudder with disbelief.

On Sept. 27, CAG members will gather on the Washington Channel side of Hains Point to conduct their version of a national carp fishing championship, the annual CAG Classic.

“It’s the biggest event that draws carpers from all over the country and Europe,” said Mark Metzger, the D.C. area CAG chairman. “We expect roughly 80 to 100 carpers to try their best to catch the golden queens of the river. As you well know, Washington and the Potomac is one of the richest carp fisheries in the United States.”

Participants vie to become the North American carp champion and hope to be crowned the CAG Carp King - with a fancy jewel-encrusted carp belt buckle as a coveted prize. They will meet at a Hampton Inn on Richmond Highway in Alexandria the night before the contest, enjoy a tackle swap and eat sweet corn and barbecue, then prepare for the competition, which begins at 7 a.m.

“This catch-and-release event is open to the public,” Metzger said. “There is a small fee to enter [all must be CAG members], and a D.C. license is required.”

Interested? Mark Metzger’s e-mail is CustomTailor@aol.com.

- The Coastal Conservation Association’s Northern Virginia chapter invites the public to come and hear Northern Virginia fisheries biologist John Odenkirk on Sept. 17 at 7 a.m. at Grace Presbyterian Church in Vienna. Odenkirk is the foremost Chinese snakehead fish specialist and the best source regarding fisheries and places to go in Northern Virginia. Information: Rob Allen, chapter president, 703/626-2668, or chapter secretary George Lenard, 703/303-5125.

- The popular Minnesota-headquartered In-Fisherman print and cable TV group, a division of InterMedia Outdoors Inc., has announced it will discontinue operation of the Professional Walleye Trail when the 2008 season ends. The PWT began with a single event in 1989 and grew to become the top walleye tournament fishing organization in the land. Over the years, the PWT has handed out millions of dollars in cash and prizes to professional and amateur participants, but sponsorship declined and event expenses outgrew tournament income. In addition, participation dropped sharply in recent years. The final PWT event is an October championship outing in Hudson, Wis.

cLook for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Also check out Gene Mueller’s Inside Outside blog at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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