"CarpMaster" Oversees 18th Bay City Carp Off
June 16, 2004
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By: Stephen Kent
It's interesting what one can find on Bay City's river front and Middle Grounds island. While photographing the canoe races on the Middle Grounds Saturday, we came across what was obviously an organized fishing event. We had discovered the annual "CarpOff".
The "Carp Off" has been held for 18 years in Bay City on the DNR's "Free Fishing Weekend". On this one weekend, for two special days, all fishing license fees are waived, for residents and outstate visitors alike. The objective is to make it easy for one generation to pass the tradition of fishing on to another. Saturday's Carp Off was a great example of this as both kids and adults enjoyed the fishing.
Bay City's "Carp Off" is the brain child of Bill Retlewski, aka "The CarpMaster". Bill's been holding the event for 18 years and invites anyone to show up on the river and "wet a hook". He had a large box of prizes and a free t-shirt for each participant.
The objective of this contest is simple: Catch the largest carp. Bill gives prizes for carp but also for the largest other species. He says that folks generally catch carp, catfish and a few sheephead.
Carp are fairly easy to catch and you don't need fancy equipment. A pole will do but most folks had spin cast rods and reels. Bait can be a night crawler, a "gob-o-worm" or even whole kernel corn! Several people rigged a couple of hooks on the line with corn on one hook and worm on the other.
So it was a fun fishing weekend. Many of the participants were regulars who knew each other and all were having a great time. Best of all, Bill said that everyone gets a prize, regardless of what they catch.
Outdoors Article 459
Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 30 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.
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