ASBURY PARK – Deal Lake’s first-ever carp fishing contest will kick off on Sun., April 21, 2013 but get up early if you plan to be a contender.
The contest, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 a.m. and will continue until noon. Prizes range from $75 for the largest carp and $25 for the next highest, to $25 for the most carp caught during the contest. All fish must be counted or weighed before noon.
The goal of the contest, being sponsored by the Asbury Park Fishing Club, is to reduce the number of carp – a fish that is not native to the lake.
Club President Joe Pallotto said the carp represent a threat to the lake and its ecology.
“Carp eat fish eggs. They eat a large amount of bass and perch eggs and eat eggs off of aquatic grasses. They are a problem and they have been in there for a very long time. They are like giant gold fish,” he said.
Pallotto said almost all area lakes have carp in them and that they had to be introduced into the ecology system at some point.
“And there are plenty of them here. But they are fun to catch. They fight,” he said.
Pallotto said an average carp in Deal Lake is about 10 to 12 pounds but that they may get up to 40 pounds.
“It’s a good-size fish and I’ve seen them from Deal Lake at 30 pounds. The bigger the body of water, the bigger the carp. I think the world record is about
80 pounds,” he said.
But trying to reduce the carp population in any meaningful way will take awhile, Pallotto said.
“We are trying to reduce the number of carp but we probably will not even put a dent in it on Sunday. But everybody should have a good time,” he said.
He added that some people eat carp and that a local fish dealer has also agreed to take any carp.
“This will hopefully be the first of many carp fishing contests to lower the count of carp in the lake which are invasive species and damage fish,” said Don Brockel, chairman of the Deal Lake Commission.