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Turn fish into fertiliser and $5k cash at SA Carp Frenzy

Abbie Tiller

$5,000 up for grabs in SA Carp Frenzy – the State’s biggest freshwater fishing competition

Whether you love the thrill of pulling in a whopping great fish, want to be in the running for some cold hard cash or you just need a new Tinder profile pic, SA Carp Frenzy is for you!

Five thousand bucks is up for grabs and all you have to do is pull up a spot on the tranquil banks of Lake Bonney, throw in a line and you could be reeling in the big prize.

Barmera’s first SA Carp Frenzy’s held back in in 2013. The then local tackle shop owner, Kym Manning and former local Matt Littledyke came up with the idea as a way of culling the rapid-breeding noxious fish, after Lake Bonney had been blocked off to the Murray River for a decade due to drought.

The two passionate locals joined forces with the local Save the Lake group and it was decided that instead of pushing a wheelbarrow around selling raffle tickets as a fundraiser, they’d invite every man and his dog with a fishing rod to the banks of Lake Bonney, and kill two birds with one stone – or 50,000 carp with one super fun and unique fishing comp.

SA Carp Frenzy morphed into an award-winning annual event – taking out Berri Barmera Council’s 2016 Community Event of the Year and receiving the Community Empowerment Award in the 2021 South Australian Regional Showcase Awards.

The spin-offs of what is now SA’s biggest freshwater fishing competition, are incredible! Not only have 50,000 Carp been pulled from the Lake, the event attracts visitors to the region from every state in Australia boosting the local economy, AND the event has raised a total of $150,000 over the years, with every dollar going back into the close knit community.

“It’s enabled us to make a few improvements where we need, like putting in some exercise equipment along the lake front, and we’ve been able to help out locals. We gave a young lad with cancer a donation and last year helped out a local lady who had lost her husband, by giving her $10,000,” Kym Manning said.

And while some take the competition a little more seriously than others, Kym said to snare the cash prize, all you’ve got to do is be in it.

“Everyone who is registered gets a chance at the prize. It’s not necessarily about the size of the fish or the amount that you catch. For the last couple of years, the money’s been won by 8-year-olds.”
There’s also trophies up for grabs and event categories for catching Carp out of a boat, off the bank or in a kayak. And with the introduced species able to lay one million eggs a year, there’s no shortage of fish stocks!

“I don’t know if we’re making a difference, but people are having fun and coming to the area and allowing us to give back to the community.”

In case you were wondering who has the smelly job of getting rid of the weekend’s catch, a local pro fisherman, who’s also employed to empty the River’s “carp cages”,  takes the frenzy of fish to be fertilised into Charli Carp – the best liquid fish fertiliser in Australia!

SA Carp Frenzy
Saturday March 2, 2024
Lake Bonney, Barmera
For more details – click here


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