Large, leaping Asian Carp soars out of the Illinois River and smacks man in the head, knocking his ass right off his Jet Ski!! I kid you not! The man had to be rescued when he lost control of his Jet Ski and started sinking into the murky waters of the river. It was the poor guy’s first time out on his hotsy-totsy Jet Ski! Can you imagine? You’re cruisin’ along, enjoying the sites and sounds of beautiful Peoria (really, it isn’t so bad here, really!) and then all of the sudden, BAM! You get slapped right upside the head by a stinking, flying fish and upended! Whoa! The man and his machine had to be towed into shore. Pays to carry your cell phone with you everywhere you go, huh?
We have a wee bit of a problem here on the Illinois River with Asian Carp, so much so, that (get this) National Geographic is coming to town to film The Fifth Annual Redneck Fishing Tournament (yes, you read that correctly). Freakin’ National Geographic!! Well, they aren’t really coming to Peoria, (though they have to pass through) but to the lovely town of Bath (yes, Bath). Rednecks in (a) Bath! I used the Word Thesaurus to find another word for “redneck.” There weren’t any! Total population of Bath, Illinois – 294! 144 males, 155 females. Median age – 33 yrs. Average income around $30,000. Three registered sex-offenders. White – non-hispanic – 96 %, go figure! What else do these people have to do but fish and fuck? Definitely the makings of a small town full of rednecks with fishing boats!
“What started as an offbeat contest to catch the most Asian carp, redneck-style, has evolved into a phenomenon that's caught the attention of National Geographic and a nationally known comedian.
The fifth annual Redneck Fishing Tournament will float into this small Mason County town Friday and Saturday and with it bring costumed revelers ready to net some flying fish in freakish, flamboyant fashion.
"It's brought worldwide attention to the problem," said event organizer Betty DeFord, referring to the silver Asian carp that have multiplied in massive numbers in the Illinois River and threaten to destroy the ecosystem of native fish.
Each year, anglers dress in outlandish costumes and take to the water with large dip nets hung over the sides of their boats catching the "flying" carp in mid-air as they jump out of the river.
In addition to the competition, which gives cash prizes for the largest number of fish caught, are numerous raffles, prizes and games.
But what's different this year is the fact that National Geographic will be on hand filming the event to air as a national television special.
"National Geographic was here two years ago," DeFord said.
Film crews were in the area on an unrelated shoot, when they caught a glimpse of the tournament and the unique flying fish.
"They decided they wanted to come back and do a bigger special."
Previous years have brought CBS World News, a Japanese film crew and visitors from nearly every state in the country to witness the organized chaos.
Comedian Tom Mabe, host of Mabe in America on CMT but perhaps better known for his comedy based on taking revenge on telemarketers, will be participating in the tournament this year.
"We met him at the comedy club in Mason City," DeFord said. "He was intrigued by it."
A raffle will be held for two people to be guests on Mabe's boat and a chance to be on national television, DeFord said.
Other raffles include a new 16-foot Jon boat with motor and trailer. The event also will feature a free fishing tournament for children with prizes for all, monster truck rides, food, live music, beer and more.
The Little Miss and Master Redneck pageant for children ages 2 to 7 will be held Saturday.
"They can dress them as rednecks or dress them in their Sunday best," DeFord said.
DeFord also manages the Boat Tavern on First Street, which serves as headquarters for the event.
Entrance is $2 each day, per person at the gate. The first fishing heat begins at 1 p.m. Friday.”