Midwest GOLDEN BONES Fly Tournament
by Dane Schmucker (IG: @dane_s_gopro)

Without a doubt, the first annual Midwest Golden Bones fly fishing tournament was a success! The guys and sponsors that put it on deserve a big round of applause and a cold one! I was so stoked to be a part of this event; furthermore, the biggest thing I took from this tourney was meeting great people and making new friends! This event is extremely laid back and chilled, but also as competitive as you wanted it to be. No doubt I hope to continue coming back year after year and hope to see it grow more! This tournament helped the fast-growing lifestyle of carp on the fly that is taking fly anglers from all over by storm.

The start of the event was on a Friday night at River’s Edge Bar and Grill in Batavia, Illinois when Justin Carfagnini from Pig Farm Ink put on the “Iron Fly” fly tying competition where great awards were handed to the fastest and best fly tiers. It was super laid back but also competitive and was just a great time for all the anglers to bond and maybe make some new friends. It definitely gave off the classic fly fishing atmosphere up on the bar’s outdoor patio area and made you push your skills in fly tying and probably gave people some laughs at your quality of work! J Friday night is when new friends were made and laughs were shared! Always a great time meeting new fly fishing friends!

The next morning, between 6AM-7AM, is when 40 anglers met at the DuPage Fly Fishing Co. and received their swag bags full of awesome things like the killer tournament Solarflex jerseys, shirts, hats, fly tying materials, decals, and many other things. This is where anglers were given directions and rules about how the scoring goes and bonus waters that were added to the waters you could fish. There are 3 main river systems, and my dad and I fished the Fox River in Batavia. All in all, the day went better than I expected considering the luck anglers had with the rainy and windy weather in the morning. If the weather had just cooperated all day, no doubt many more carp would have been caught; however, I was stoked to catch the first and biggest fish of the day in the morning! The weather did not help, but we made it happen! Once the clock hit noon is where the weather started to clear up and more fish were starting to be caught! The day turned out to be quite productive, and it’s always a good day when you are able to fly fish freshwater flats for tailing carp!

All pictures had to be sent in by 6PM and anglers headed back to the River’s Edge Bar and Grill. Saturday night was a blast with awesome food and drinks (which was all paid for), raffles, and silent auctions. Saturday was a great opportunity for everybody to win something! The sponsors did a great job providing awesome prizes! After everybody had their fill on food and prizes, it was time to announce the smallest fish, biggest fish, and top 3 anglers with the most points. It was absolutely crazy how excellent the awards were including Sage and TFO rods, Costa sunglasses, amazing artwork from Matthew Stockton, Redington Rise reel, Simms products, fly lines, and much more! I was excited to take home 2nd place with 122” of carp and biggest fish and received tons of awesome prizes that I am excited to use!

After the awards were handed out, the rest of the night was spent for just relaxing and hanging out, including all drinks on the house and a band that played! This tournament was well-planned and well-managed! I cannot thank the sponsors and guys that put this on enough! Needless to say, this tournament gave me more confidence in fly fishing for carp, and I now have more friends and fishing spots. I cannot wait until next year!

Shouts out to Kurt Nelson, Bill Katzenberger, Justin Carfagnini, Urban Angers USA, all the sponsors, and everyone else who helped!

Check out Dane’s video edits and give him a follow on Vimeo!

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