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Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017 12:06 am

FLY FISHING

“They catch them with their hands, they’re drunk all the time.” This is an analysis of the annual Redneck Fishing Tournament recently overheard in a Springfield office that shall remain nameless, and it is pretty much spot on, especially the part about being drunk. The annual gathering in the tiny burg of Bath, deep in the heart of Mason County, is once again upon us, and it is not to be missed if you have a weak spot for the crazier things in life. Contestants compete to see who can land the most flying Asian carp, a finned pest that has taken over the Illinois River, without benefit of rods or reels. Nets are the preferred weapon, although bare hands, baseball bats and anything else that doesn’t involve bait, firearms or projectiles is also allowed. The contest has been going on for a dozen years now, and it never fails to delight, drawing both rednecks and media coverage from around the world. Festivities begin Thursday with a traditional fishing rod-and-reel tournament for the kiddies. It starts in earnest on Friday, when the first of four heats over two days will start. Costumes are encouraged, and fear not: Cellphone coverage is spotty in this corner of the hinterlands, and so what happens in Bath stays in Bath. Yee haw.

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