Chicago Carp Classic 2012

Chicago reclaims its carp tournament and the CCC is, once again, the CHICAGO Carp Classic.


The Carp Anglers Group is the largest carp fishing club in North America. It is dedicated to promoting the exhilarating sport of carp fishing, both recreational and tournament. Traditionally, the CCC has been the big event for the club. It is a tournament with some great prizes (most notable the coveted Jewel Encrusted Belt Buckle presented to the Chicago Carp King) but the social aspects are a major draw for most. The tournament is held in conjunction with the club’s annual meeting and draws anglers from across the country as well as from other countries.

The tournament has made the circuit of Indianapolis, Washington, Joliet, Hamilton and Kings Mountain. This brought the tournament to new audiences and expanded the influence of CAG. But now it is time to bring it back home to America’s urban carp paradise.

Chicago became a major metropolis because of the waterways and these same waterways make it a choice destination for carp anglers. The main channel of the Chicago River runs through the heart of the city and provides exceptional fishing in an extraordinary setting – high-rises behind you, curious passers-by from all over the world, tour boat passengers cheering when you hook a fish – it is urban angling at its best. This was the original home of the CCC and is a sentimental favorite of nearly everyone who has fished it. A little west of the Loop, it divides into the North and the South Branches. Both are popular with carp anglers and are venues for carp tournaments as well as recreational fishing.
The big water is, of course, Lake Michigan. This is Chicago’s crown jewel, a gin-clear inland sea with healthy population of hard-fighting carp. The 2012 CCC will be held on the lakefront from Montrose south to Diversey.  This a beautiful venue, miles of well maintained parkland with the great city to the west and nothing but blue water to the east. It is a favorite venue for specimen anglers; carp in excess of twenty pounds are common and thirty plus is a real possibility.

Chicago is a world class tourist destination for a number of very good reasons. It is the architectural capital of the country. From sidewalk level to the striking skyline, from the Chicago School high rises to the ground-hugging Prairie school bungalows, it is a history of progressive architecture from the 1800s to the present. If you are checking out the buildings, do not overlook Chicago’s impressive collection of public art by artistic heavyweights as Chagall, Picasso, Oldenburg, Calder, Miro and many more.

Once you get beyond the Loop, Chicago’s core, you can find a truly impressive collection of ethnic neighborhoods. It is hard to think of a nationality that is not represented. I will not try to list them all but will give a quick overview of some of the larger ones. On the near south side, you can find the vibrant Chinatown with many small shops loaded with either touristy junk or exotic and weird goods. No shortage of restaurants either. Near Chinatown is Bridgeport, an Irish enclave known for producing many Chicago politicians, not all of whom finished their terms in jail. Also on the south side are numerous African-American neighborhoods (notably Bronzeville). This is birthplace of Chicago Blues and also the home to some outstanding BBQ joints. A good sized pocket of Mexicans is also squeezed into the south side. Moving north, one can find Greektown (mainly restaurants), a Swedish enclave, “Bollywood North” (Indian), “Seoul Drive” (Korean) and many more. The Polish are a little to the west (except for the Polish Highlanders who are on the Southwest side).

Chicago is a food oriented city. It has been called the “Hog Butcher for the World”, a slight misnomer since it was also the “Sheep and Beef Butcher for the World”. Not much butchering going on these days but still eating a lot of pork and beef. From high end steak houses to hot dog stands with lines out the door, Chicago has the food. The signature dishes are Chicago deep dish pizza, the Chicago-style dog, and Italian beef. None of these are to be missed but you should also try to fit in a few of the ethnic neighborhoods to round out your culinary experience.

 The museums of Chicago are must-see attractions for many visitors. The variety is incredible. A recent “top ten” list names the following institutions: Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, The Art Institute, Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Mexican Art, Adler Planetarium, Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Field Museum of Natural History and The Notebaert Nature Museum. A little farther down the list might be the Museum of Surgical Science (weird) and The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum (it’s actually in the Michigan Avenue bridgehouse tower).
The above mentioned Chicago highlights will provide an incentive for your non-fishing partner to accompany you to Chicago and may induce you to stretch out your visit a few days. But the real attraction is the fish.

“I am thinking of making the long trek to the CCC this year. The one selling feature for the trip would be to see Chicago.”

“I prefer a Chicago venue... Fishing the harbors … allows for the chance at a big fish, atmosphere and scenery help make the event. The setting in Chicago is spectacular”

“A big part of the allure of the CCC for me is fishing in the wonderful city of Chicago.”

“My first trip to Chicago was a wonderful experience that allowed me to meet people I have only known by there personas on the internet and fish in some areas that are full of carp. The Chicago Carp Classic is … an event that people should attend for several days to take in some of the food and other venues in this beautiful and complex city, as well as the opportunity to meet other anglers from around the continent with a similar passion.”

“If you are in the area, the Chicago Natural History Museum is among the nations Best.
Shedd Aquarium is among the worlds best. Maybe the Cubs will be in the playoff hunt!
TONS to do in the greater Chicago area!”

“I liked Chicago, because there are so many places to hit before and after
I also love Chicago. Many of my favorite CAG moments came before, during, and after the Chicago Carp Classic. The Maize Boil, fishing the harbors before and after, even managing a twenty from the Chicago River on my first trip.

“I'm planning to attend the CCC for the first time this year. I think one of the main reasons is that I've never been to Chicago. The chance to fish with the famous Chicago skyline as backdrop is exciting!”

“Chicago River was a novel and fun venue. Right downtown amongst the skyscrapers and tourists, it provided a novel fishing experience and lots of exposure for the club.”

Paul Pezalla