There are not many other things I would rather do than spend time family. The one exception to that is having some of the best social carp anglers from the surrounding states join us on the bank for two days during the Wooden Shoe Carp Classic. The WSCC is a social tournament that started in Michigan in 2012 in Holland Michigan to highlight catch and release carp fishing as well as give members of the Carp Anglers Group a reason to get together on the grassy shores of Lake Macatawa.
Lake Macatwa is a 7 mile long lake with every type of substrate a carp fisherman could desire in their dreams. The lake ranges from a few feet to spots reaching over thirty-five feet. The real jewel of the lake is its connection to Lake Michigan which allows massive schools of spawning carp to migrate into the lake to spawn. The WSCC venue happens to be on a feeding area off the main migration route.
The WSCC starts on Friday with a social fishing day in the venue. All anglers are welcome to turn up as they see fit and fish any peg they desire. The only expectation is that they do not fish past five in the afternoon so the swims can rest and be at their best the following morning. In the case of this venue, the pre fishing helps the catch rates the following days. We are graced here in Michigan with waters that hold large heads of untouched perfect carp. I personally have observed one school of mid teen fish clean out one hundred pounds of prepared particles in the course of a day.
Although I did not make the Friday social, the fishing was good per the reports from those who were enjoying a nice day in the sun. The Trilogy Baits team had a video shoot with a local outdoor sports show promoting catch and release carp fishing. One mid twenty made its way to the mat for Paul Cienciera.
One of the highlights of the WSCC is food! Holland Michigan has some of the best restaurants in West Michigan. The Friday social was followed by Pizza dinner at Mario’s restaurant. Once dinner was complete everyone went their own directions with great anticipation for the following morning.
After a few adult beverages and a couple hours of sleep it was time to head off to the peg draw. The WSCC is a two day event in which a snake draw is used to pick your peg. If you pick first on day one you will pick last on day two. This allows all anglers to have a shot at a peg that is fishing well during the event. When your name is pulled from the bucket you get your pick of open pegs. Once an angler has chosen their peg, they can head off to chum and rig up, but lines cannot go in the water until 6:45 am.
I was lucky enough to have the last pick and chose my personal favorite swim in the venue. Peg 36 which is also known as “ The Cove” is a small cove that connects to the main lake but is boxed in by other anglers. I was confident that I could catch fish in this area, but generally the size is a bit smaller. None the less I was set up and ready to go with some of my close friends in the next pegs over. Met Lika was pegged next to me and he was off straight away into a nice 22 pound fish. This fish was the first of the “contest” and won him a nice set of custom bobbins from Matt Latzo.
My day consisted of fishing 20MM Nash Baits Instant Attract Boilies backed up to a snag I knew held fish. 8 runs and 7 fish later my day was over with no fish over 15 pounds. The highlight of my day was a member from a local fishing site took up my offer to try some Euro carp fishing and he put in work on the rods. I packed up 10 minutes early to make sure everything was going well on the other end of the pegs when I received a call that a 40 pound fish had been caught. I made my way over to the other end of the venue to see Tony Lett holding a new WSCC and lake record at 40 pounds 1 oz that came with just minutes left on day one.
Just like Friday night the group got together for dinner at Turk’s in for more great food and a few beverages. The conversation were all filled with excitement around the first lake forty as well as trying to strategize for day two at the WSCC. Although Tony Lett’s fish was going to be hard to beat, there were plenty of other prizes to be won.
I admittedly stayed up to late making conversation with great friends and had a rough go of getting up at 0500 to get down to the peg draw. I had first pick in the draw and took an old standby peg that had fished well in the past. In retrospect I should have taken one of the corner pegs as we had a nice northwest wind that would be pushing the warm water into each of the corner pegs, hindsight is twenty-twenty I guess. I was pegged next to Pawel Sander from Nash Baits Poland and this may have been detrimental to my fishing as we had a day well spent talking about family and a bit of fishing. I was off the mark early with a 25 pound wild water beauty, needless to say my luck the rest of the day consist of watching Nikki Sprinkle haul fish from two pegs down. The rest of my day was spent netting fish, and keeping an eye on her youngest son Maxx as she did battle with more golden ghosts than I could count.
They day passed quickly as rumors started to swirl about who was working their way up the leader board. My day two 25 pound fish was holding steady for my day two prize until Nikki Sprinkle dashed my hopes and dreams and pulled a magnificent 30 pounder late in the day.
As the time wound down on the WSCC 2016 it was apparent that it was going to be a close race for first place. As I tallied the score cards Darin Thompson of Detroit pulled together a great score card of 8 fish for 192 pounds. He walked away with one of the coveted wooden shoes as the overall winner. Tony Lett’s day one monster held the top spot for big fish at 40 pounds and he walked away with the honor of the WSCC 16’ big fish. For his effort he also walked away with the other prized wooden shoe.
Once again the WSCC was graced with great weather and good fishing. This event would not be what it is without the anglers who attend. Rod Mills has been in attendance every year since the WSCC started. Every year he takes time from his fishing and socializing to cook an amazing lunch on both days. It is safe to say that the food far surpasses the fishing. There may have been many of missed runs because anglers snuck away to get a plate of food from Mr. Mills.
The WSCC is and will always be a social with nothing but pride on the line, However many American tackle companies have come forward to donate prizes to be given away for different categories as well as raffle at the end of the event. A thank-you goes to Big Carp Tackle, World Classic Baits, Trilogy Baits, K-1 Baits, Gil Huxley, Matt Latzo, and Carpmart for their generous donations to the event.
WSCC 2017 is just around the corner!