Redneck Fishing Tournament returns to Bath after two-year absence

Local News

BATH, Ill. (WMBD) – Following a two-year hiatus, the Redneck Fishing Tournament has returned to Bath.

After high waters in 2019 and COVID-19 in 2020, the Redneck Fishing Tournament in Bath was put on pause. This year, the event is full steam ahead.

“They just love it here, they just have such a good time,” said. Betty DeFord, organizer of Redneck Fishing Tournament.

The tournament is designed to draw attention to the Silver Asian Carp in the Illinois River. The carp are considered an invasive species.

“They’re just a nuisance fish, they’re driving out all our other fish, they’re bottom feeders, they eat everything there is, and they spawn four times a year,” DeFord said.

This weekend, hundreds have arrived in Bath, with the goal of using boats and nets to catch as many carp as possible.

“These things are going to go nuts, you just get them. We have a horse trough on our pontoon. We put them in there,” said Ed Kejonen, Michigan resident.

Spectators have also made the trip to Central Illinois to get a glimpse of what makes the tournament famous.

“Seeing the fish jumping. So, what I’ve seen so far is pretty good,” said Richard Holdman, resident of Salisbury, Illinois.

The journey for the thousands of fish caught doesn’t end once they’re in net, that’s when staff from Aquatic Protein in Beardstown step in.

“We turn them into animal feed, we make fish food and other types of animal feed,” said Keith Davis, staff at Aquatic Protein.

Following a couple of years without the tournament, Davis says he’s more than happy it’s back.

“Agriculturally you can turn it into a market value, you can also turn it into fun, and it’s pretty helpful event for the community as well,” he said.

Proceeds from a raffle taking place at the tournament will benefit homeless veterans in Central Illinois.

If you want to check out the action for yourself, the Redneck Fishing Tournament will continue on Saturday.

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