Carp was the Key to Winning at Winton Woods

All, Fishin' Line

This past Saturday, on May 22, we hosted our second of seven Rod Busting Tournaments. At these tournaments, teams comprised of up to two anglers, compete to weigh their six largest fish. Teams are allowed to weigh in any combination of catfish and/or carp. Winnings are then awarded to first place and second place of the day.

We had a total of nine teams for Saturday’s event. The sun was already out and the fog had lifted by the beginning of the tournament. Throughout the six-hour event, many guests walking by our event trailer and anglers not participating in the Rod Busting Tournament, just fishing on the beautiful day, made many comments about noticing carp near the surface of the water.

Right before final weigh-in at 2 p.m., all of our teams started to return to the dock, and it quickly became clear that carp was key to winning this tournament. Of the nine teams, five of them returned with their six-fish limit (every single fish was a carp). As for the other four teams, they regrettably all returned with empty baskets.

Brad Owens shows off his 6.15 lbs. fish at the Rod Busting Tournament.
Brad Owens with the big fish of the day, a 6.15 lbs. carp.
Doug Swafford and Donavan York show off the five fish they caught during the Rod Busting Tournament.
Doug Swafford and Donavan York with the five fish that did make it to weigh-in.

The first four teams with fish, including Brad Owens with his 6.15 lbs. carp (the big fish of the day!), had no issues getting their six fish to the scale. Our last team, Doug Swafford and Donavan York, were not so lucky. Upon arriving to the dock and getting their basket out of the water, one of their fish jumped back in the water! Luckily for them, those remaining five fish (weighing 18.55 lbs.) were just enough to take home first place and $189 worth of winnings. Just barely passing Bill Smith and Frank Yates who had weighed in a total of 18.23 lbs., bumping them down to second place and $81 in winnings.

Tony Thomas shows his large catch – a 25.84 lbs. blue catfish!
Tony Thomas with the leading Big Fish, a 25.84 lbs. blue catfish!

Our Big Fish payout for the biggest fish of the entire Rod Busting Series continues to grow. It is currently at $210 and Tony Thomas still has the lead with his 25.84 lbs. blue catfish that he caught at the first Rod Busting Tournament at Miami Whitewater Forest on May 1, 2021.

Upcoming Fishing Events

  • May 31: Our third Kids’ Mystery Fish Challenge at Lake Isabella
  • June 12: Our third Bass Series Tournament at Winton Woods*
  • June 13: Chris Macarthy Kids’ Derby at Mitchell Memorial Forest
  • June 19: Our third Rod Busting Tournament at Lake Isabella (6 a.m. start time)

*In the event that lake levels are too high at Winton Woods, the tournament will be moved to Miami Whitewater Forest.

You can pre-register for all of these events on our website or an hour before the event on-site. Please note that pre-registration closes for all events 48 hours prior to the start of the event.

Anthony Unkrich
Guest Experiences Manager, East Region