What’s next? Olympic carp competition?

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Carp WatchIf you’re bored of kayaking, swimming and other standard Great Lakes activities, the Peoria Carp Hunters offer to take you on a tour of the Illinois River. The catch: it’s a bow fishing trip, and the target is the Asian carp, a Great Lakes invasive species.

Booking a trip with Capt. Nathan Wallick (Coast Guard certified) costs $120 per hour, with all equipment provided.

Wallick moved to Peoria five years ago, and had grown up hunting and fishing. When he took his boat down to the river for the first time and saw a fish jump, he immediately got his bow.

A firefighter by day, Wallick takes to the rivers in the summer months when Asian carp are more likely to be jumping.

The Peoria Carp Hunters rely on the Asian carp’s tendency to leap out of the water when they feel the vibrations from motorboats. Once the fish are out of the water, boaters open fire. The group’s promo videos on YouTube make it clear that there are plenty of targets. At some point you’ll hit one, even if it wasn’t the one you were aiming for.

“Probably 90 percent of my clients are people who have never shot a bow before,” Wallick said.

Yet, every single group, with the exception of a short grandfather-grandson excursion, has bagged at least one fish.

The fish that are caught stay on board. It is illegal to throw the carp back in the water, Wallick said, because it is an invasive species.

“The problem is that these fish jump out of the water and land in your boat,” he said.

Even in that case, Wallick keeps the fish. He refuses to add to the dead fish in the river. He eats them, feeds them to animals or uses them as fertilizer in his garden.

Earlier this year, the Huffington Post reported on Illinois legislation that would legalize shotgun hunting from boats. The article described the madness present on the river already, saying “there are already guys cruising the Illinois River in makeshift armor, swinging samurai swords and Wolverine gloves at Asian carp off of water skis.”

The guys in question are, of course, the Peoria Carp Hunters. Their earlier videos feature swords and armor, with less emphasis on bows.

“I think it’d be sweet, but they’d never legalize it,” Wallick said, referring to shotgun fishing.

The issue, he explains is that you’re not allowed to use buckshot over water, and hunters would be forced to use steel shot. With big fish jumping out of the water, and several people blasting away with shotguns, Wallick says it would be too dangerous.

Wallick rigs nets to protect fishers against jumping fish, and says no one has been injured on his trips.

Competition from shotgun hunters failed to threaten the group since legislation was referred to committee in March and hasn’t been seen since.

Be warned, according to the Peoria Carp Hunters, “side effects from carp hunting may include aching arms from excessive shooting and sore abs from continuous laughter.”

4 thoughts on “What’s next? Olympic carp competition?

  1. I disagree, anyone willing to forego the five strike rule in baseball can do whatever he wants. Three has always been good enough for me. They’re already doing the 11th inning stretch on the Ohio.

  2. I think that shotgunning for Asian carp would be more productive than bow and arrow shooting while they are airborne, steel shot required. I agree Tom, we really don’t want that, either way.

    All we have to do is kick our politicians in their fat arses and make them solve the problem instead of posturing.

  3. I’ve been to Bath Illinois 7 times we don’t want to be able to do that here. The novelty wears off quite fast.

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