Courtesy of the Wood County Industrial Commission
The Lake Fork Carp & Buffalo Challenge, held February 29-March 3, yielded some historic fishing captures ever for Lake Fork records, broken twice during the 44 hour endure event. (The official tournament scores and the recorded record scores are as follows; the change in weight is due to the fish being held from night to morning upon waiting for a game warden Derek Spitzer to arrive to verify the weights.)
Smallmouth Buffalo: recorded as 66 lb., 0 oz. for the tournament and 65 lb., 12 oz. for the Lake Fork record by Bogdan Bucur. Bucur named the fish “Buffalo Bob” as it was released back to lake waters.
Common Carp: recorded as 35 lb., 10 oz. for the tournament and 35 lb., 0 oz. for the Lake Fork record by Paul Dinea. Dinea named the carp “Woody” as it was released back to the lake.
Austin Anderson made apparent history when he achieved an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record for Junior Male category for his 50 lb., 6 oz. smallmouth buffalo caught.
Bank fishing teams from across the nation pegged around various points at Lake Fork in the southeastern part of Wood County, with Oak Ridge Marina serving as the host site. The event was co-partnered by the Lake Fork Sportman’s Association (recently nominated for the TPWD Hall of Fame) and Wild Carp Companies, Syracuse, NY. The Wood County Industrial Commission also contributed to the tourism draw event with an advertising grant. US Carp Pro Magazine was on hand to capture the action, and the World Fishing Network (WFN) came to film this week to cover follow up details and highlights of the tournament.
USCP Magazine stated, “This event proves without doubt that roughfish can live side by side with trophy bass and crappie in what is a pristine fishery. Stay tuned for news of next year’s event.” Jason Johonnesson, one of the key event organizers from Texas, said, “As y'all already know the Texas 44 turned out better than anyone expected. Next year is going to be the most awesome wild carp and buffalo tournament that the world has ever seen. I hope each and every one of you attends it.” Anderson added, “I’ve been fishing almost my entire life. As a multispecies angler, fishing for anything and everything using different fishing methods, I love being a great advocate of the sport of carp fishing. This just makes me set my goals even higher!”
Carp and buffalo fishing is a very popular sport in Europe, and increasing in New York and Austin, TX. Fishing experts seem to think the largest buffalo fish on record may be swimming in the waters of east Texas at Lake Fork. Tournament officials said the challenge was a big success and plans are in the works for next year’s event.