During this first weekend of August, a village of 400 in central Illinois becomes one of the most popular fishing spots in the country. For more than a decade, Mason County has been hosting the Redneck Fishing Tournament, an experience you have to check out at least once.
“We really don’t want them here because they’re running out all the other fish,” said Abby Hamm.
Truly, a one-of-a-kind event, since 2005, the small village of Bath has hosted the annual tournament bringing people from across the country to fish and help to eradicate the flying Asian Carp from the Illinois River.
“These things pack a wallop when the come out of the water coming like a torpedo at you,” explained Betty Deford, fishing tournament creator.
Fisherman Diane Schottman found out the hard way. “A large fish hit me in the face but I think I’m okay, I saw some people that were bleeding and I’m not so that’s good,” Schottman said.
It is one of the only fishing tournaments in the world where a fishing pole is strictly prohibited. But those rules aren’t slowing down first timer Justin Reynolds.
“Easiest fish I’ve caught in my life,” Reynolds said.
The rules are simple. Register a boat for a two hour heat, only one net per person and then catch as many carp flying out of the water as you can.
These two days have all the makings of a regular fishing trip. Open water, boats, beer just a couple of regular Joe’s rockin’ the boat and this time around we’ll call them the redneck yacht club.
“It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are in this world, you just gotta come out here and kill some fish, get them before they get us,” said Reynolds.
For those wondering… One team caught more than 400 fish!
The Redneck Fishing Tournament is of course all for a good cause, the proceeds are donated to the Illinois Homeless Veterans.