Carp Madness

While a dozen or so commercial fishermen labored on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley to haul in enough Asian carp to claim the $10,000 winner’s check in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife-sponsored Carp Madness tournament, Chef Philippe Parola was telling anyone who would listen why carp should be treasured as a culinary treat.IMG_6312

“It is all quality,” Parola said, while filleting a 20-pound silver carp. “It has a very clean taste. It is a bony fish but aside from that you have one of the best fish, ever. There is no downside to this fish.”

Parola later offered samples of fried carp (a delicate and delicious white meat) and something he called “carp cheese balls,” fried and about the size of a golf ball that, while tasty, featured more cheese flavor than fish.

On the water the tournament had become a two-team contest. Fish were weighed as they were brought in (unlike a bass tournament anglers could bring a load of carp to the scale at any time then continue fishing) and by mid afternoon Barry Mann’s team had weighed 17,647 pounds and Heath Frailley’s crew had hauled in 15,275 pounds of carp. That was three tons more than the nearest competitor.IMG_6228

Full results tonight and a full report in Sunday’s Louisville Courier-Journal