WADDINGTON – A senior from Madrid-Waddington Central School travels to Hungary to compete in the 22nd World Carp Fishing Championship as part of Team USA.
Tanner J. Smith will be in Kaposvár, Hungary for the four-day Lake Deseda fishing event September 21-24. He is one of two reserves on an eight-person team. Six members catch the largest combined weight of fish at a time.
“I would say it’s an honor. I am very lucky to have this experience,” he said. “I have to give it to my friends who have taken me to carp fishing a lot, taught me over the years, my mentors.”
He says he joined the team after connecting with the sport while acting as an attendant at fishing tournaments on the St. Lawrence River, weighing catches.
“It’s pretty crazy. I was asked because I know a bunch of guys from Team USA,” Mr Smith said.
He said the team had vacancies and wanted to help develop the younger anglers as the older players retired.
“There aren’t a lot of kids that like that kind of stuff. When they see a kid with some kind of potential, they’re interested in them,” Mr Smith said. “I was lucky that they didn’t have a lot of people like before.”
“Some have retired from the team and they need reserves, reinforcements,” he added. “I try to learn as much as I can, listen to them…they learned to like me, I guess.”
He started fishing on the St. Lawrence River, which he says his teammates all consider “the best place”.
“They all love fishing on the St. Lawrence,” he says.
The Lake Deseda fishery is uncharted territory for the young professional angler.
“It’s an artificial lake. It’s big enough. European lakes have grass carp…and regular common carp,” he said. “It’s very different from here.”
Carp anglers take a conscientious approach to the fish they catch. They are weighed in bags, rather than hooking the fish through the mouth or gill opening. They also use a carp cradle, designed to keep the fish from struggling on the ground after landing. In European fisheries where carp are not as plentiful as in the St. Lawrence, anglers even put ointment on the carp’s mouth to prevent infection after being hooked.
“It’s really important for carp care,” Mr Smith said. “European countries, they don’t have as many carp. They pay attention to the fish and they take care of it a lot more.
Carp anglers use 12 or 13 foot long rods with heavy duty reels used for sea fishing holding several hundred yards of 65 pound test line. As bait they use what is called a hair rig with a large sinker, usually 6 ounces. The hair rig places the bait just under the hook. This is what works for a fish like carp, which feeds on the bottom and sucks up its food, rather than hitting or biting smaller marine life like other types of fish found in the north of the country.
“There’s not a lot of room for a big hook because carp don’t have huge mouths,” Mr Smith said. “(The hair rig) makes it a little easier for the hook to catch their lip.”
He said he learned a lot more from sport fishing besides learning how to catch carp.
“It’s a great way to bond with your parents, friends or whatever. You can really learn about life, so to speak in a broader aspect. It teaches you a lot of things – about patience, how to talk to others,” he said, adding that he had met fishermen from all over the world.
“They are all super, super nice. It’s great to meet them and talk to them,” Smith said.
Team USA Carp Squad is on Facebook at wdt.me/wmedS4.
The World Carp Fishing Championship is separate from the World Carp Classic, which takes place from September 26 to October 1 on Lake Madine in France.