FOR 40 days and 40 nights Rodney Elphick fished and slept with only one thing on his mind, a commitment to catch Burrengdong’s $10,000 carp.
Mr Elphick, who lives at Clergate, was one of many fishermen who took part in an innovative “carp muster”to reduce the number of carp in Lake Burrendong.
Fishermen were encouraged to catch a specially-tagged carp known as the Duke of Burrendong and take home a cash prize that jackpotted in the lead up to Australia Day.
When no one caught the fish, a cash prize of $10,000 was offered to the person who caught the most fish over a three-month period.
While he did not think he would have any luck catching the Duke, Mr Elphick thought he might be able to take the prize for the most fish caught, which organisers capped at 10 a day.
In the end his catch amounted to 329.
“I caught more than that, probably around 500 or 600,” he said.
Mr Elphick attributes some of his success to his bait, a mix of corn and worms.
Currently unemployed, Mr Elphick viewed winning the competition as a job.
“It did start to drive me a bit mad after a while, to keep fishing constantly,” he said.
“The rangers looked at me when I was fishing and they couldn’t get over it, I kept on pulling up fish after fish.”
Mr Elphick’s victory wasn’t without costs.
He twisted his leg and was forced to live on a diet of canned soup.
Despite catching several different fish, Mr Elphick stuck to his canned food menu.
“Everyone thought I was mad and I wouldn’t win so when I told them their jaws dropped,” he said.
Mr Elphick says he plans to use the money “to buy the missus a car”.
For every carp caught and registered during the competition, the fishermen received a $1 discount token to be used on their next Carlton Mid carton or case purchase.
The competition was also designed to help with the reintroduction of native fish such as yellowbelly, silver perch and cod into the dam and was funded via beer sales at participating bottle shops and pubs.
Carlton Mid estimate the initiative will fund the introduction of 14,500 native fish into the dam.
The competition was run by Mojo Events & Promotions and Carlton Mid beer.