When I was in college, one of the highlights of coming back to Waco to visit family was a fishing trip with my dad and his friend Bernie Machovsky.

Bernie was my parents’ neighbor, and on weekend mornings, he and Dad would pack their gear and roll down the hill at daybreak to the shores of Koehne Park for some carp fishing.

When they first invited me to go, I laughed, thinking they were joking. I mean, nobody I knew actually tried to catch carp. It was just something that accidentally happened once in a while during a catfishing trip.

But they were serious, and after I agreed to go along and fought in my first big carp, I understood why. These big brutes, along with their cousins the smallmouth buffalo, are high-octane bone and muscle determined to drag you in the water with them when they’re hooked.

We caught some big fish and had some legendary times, but although we tried to gauge their weights, I never thought about having one of those fish weighed. Every bass fisherman’s goal is to catch a record-setter, but it never crossed my mind that carp and buffalo were also record book-worthy.

That changed when my team won and set a couple of lake records at the resurrected but short-lived Lake Waco Carp Tournament more than a decade ago, and since then the records have seemingly been broken every couple of years.

Centex outdoors woman Ashley Hoehn is the latest to stamp her name in the record book with a recent rod & reel water body record-setting 24.35-pound smallmouth buffalo, measuring 33.5 inches in length, that she caught from Lake Waco.

South 40 Shootout Fishing Championship ends Saturday

If you’re driving past the Heart O’Texas Fairground complex in Waco this weekend, you’ll surely notice all the boats and RVs on the lot outside the Extraco Events Center. Do yourself and other drivers a favor by pulling in and looking around instead of rubbernecking as you go by.

The 5th Annual South 40 Shootout Fishing Championship wraps up today, highlighted by the final weigh-in at 3:30 p.m. when teams will drive through the coliseum to drop their fish on the scales. The event is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers free admission and free parking.

The event is free and includes Cabela’s Kids Country, South 40 Showdown presented by Waco Towing, outdoor and indoor lifestyle exhibitors, rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline, and the final weigh-in for the South 40 Shootout Fishing Tournament.

ATV Test Track, sponsored by Waco Motor Sports, will offer ATV rides on-site. Additionally, Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram will offer “Demo a Ram” test drives. Exhibits at the event will include RVs, ATVs, boats, kayaks, fishing gear, outdoor gear and much more.

The Extraco Events Center is located at 4601 Bosque in Waco.

Waco Bass Club Crappie Tourney starts next week

By this time next week, the champions of the 46th annual Waco Bass Club Crappie Tournament will be counting their prize money and enjoying their newly-earned bragging rights.

Anglers are becoming increasingly tight-lipped about fish location, depth, bait and other particulars leading into the tourney, but off-the-record reports indicate that crappie are set up in the places you’d expect this time of year and they’re not disappointing those in pursuit of them.

The competition starts Saturday morning at first light and wraps at 3 p.m. at the Lacy Point boat ramp. Entry forms are plentiful at area sporting goods stores and on-site registration will be available that morning.

For more information, call or text 254-495-2772.

Geico Bassmaster Classic to be held at Lake Conroe

The 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic is just a few hours down the road at Lake Conroe, and both Alton Jones and Alton, Jr. are in the mix. The Waco natives both posted good showings on Friday, with the elder Jones settling in 8th place and Little Alton finishing the round in 29th position.

To follow live-time action, visit the Bassmaster website and click the BassTrakk link.

717-8907

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