Wild Carp Week returns this weekend

Bill Markle nets a fish for Kent Appleby during Wild Carp Week 2011. The five-tournament event returns to Baldwinsville for a second year May 19 to 25.

Bill Markle nets a fish for Kent Appleby during Wild Carp Week 2011. The five-tournament event returns to Baldwinsville for a second year May 19 to 25.

— It’s time, again, to give props to Baldwinsville’s bottom feeder.

Professional carp anglers from the all over the world will arrive in town this week to catch (and release) carp from the Seneca River during the second annual Wild Carp Week, and one of them will be leaving a national champion.

Hosted by Wild Carp Companies, the seven-day event features five carp angling tournaments kicking off with the Celebrity Carp Challenge held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at Mercer Park.

“Celebrity Carp Challenge competitors had so much fun doing it last year that they are all competing again this year,” said Jason Bernhardt, cofounder of Wild Carp Companies. “The Celebrity Carp Challenge will showcase local celebrities fishing as a team with local carp professionals and vying for the biggest carp caught during the event.”

Bernhardt added that celebrity anglers, which includes Wayne Mahar, Jim Kenyon, Dave Figura, Joe Saraceni and Wade Live, will win a share of $10,000, which will be awarded to the charity of their choice. Spectators are encouraged to attend the free event.

"It is gratifying to see the returnees year after year,” Bernhardt said. “We've been blessed with good fishing, but a big part of that continued success has been the hospitality shown by Baldwinsville businesses and residents. Our anglers often comment about how friendly everyone is. Wild Carp Companies owes the village of Baldwinsville a big thank you."

The Wild Carp Classic is sold out with a total of 45 teams hailing from Canada, the United Kingdom and 11 U.S. states in the remaining events, which include:

The Wild Carp Classic showcasing some of the world’s best carp anglers competing as teams for 50 consecutive hours

Big Carp Challenge, which tests the anglers’ ability to target large carp

Big 4 Challenge, which again tests the anglers’ ability to target large carp, with prizes being awarded for the cumulative weight of their four largest carp caught for the entire day and

Total Weight Challenge, which will test the anglers’ ability to catch multiple carp, with prizes awarded for the most overall weight of fish caught for the entire day

Last year, these challenges functioned as standalone events, but in 2012 they will carry point values that combine to determine the overall United States Carp angling champion, who will be crowned during a closing ceremony held at 5 p.m. Friday, May 25, at the Red Mill Inn.

There will also be a JGB Triathlon, which consists of three tournaments in three days for single anglers. For more information, visit carpweek.com.

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