Day two of the two-day AMARA-CAN walleye tournament started off under fair skies. Both groups of anglers started out from Dunkirk Harbor with the City of Dunkirk Fire Department once again signaling the start with a shower of water from a water cannon and a blast from the air horns.
On Sunday, the fishing time was shortened by two hours so the winning weights could be tabulated and the awards paid out the same day. The first group of anglers was due back by 2 p.m. and Larry Watoba, the Captain of team No. 85, reported in with the heaviest walleye of the tournament. Jeremiah Crowe was fishing with the rest of the gang and had his first walleye ever.
The fish hit a fire tiger renosky presented on a downrigger. After the release, the bow in the rod indicated a good fish, which stayed deep the whole time. Crowe had lots of coaching from his three friends who almost lost their cool when the fish surfaced belly up. The gang confessed that they lost an even bigger walleye on Saturday, when they were setting out a long line with a worm harness and the hawg hit the lure and broke it while it was still on the surface.
OBSERVER?Photo by Gene Pauszek
Pictured are members of Team No. 86, which won first place at the AMARA-CAN?walleye tournament, held in Lake Erie this past weekend. They are, from left to right, Jim Skoczylas, Kim Skoczylas, Diane Steel and Jim Steel. The quartet hauled in 80.30 pounds of walleye.
Gary McCraken, of team No. 79, weighed in the second heaviest walleye of the day a 10.66 pounder. His team won $200 for the fish and $250 for an early-bird entry drawing. Team Sweet 16, lead by Adam Zwack, took home $100 for the third heaviest walleye weighing 10.58.
Team No. 86, captained by Jim Skoczylas, brought in another five heavy walleye, all close to 8-pounds each, to put together a two-day total weight of 80.30, taking the first-place prize money of $2,350.
Team No. 29, lead by Al Peterson, moved up four places to take the second-place prize money of $1,330, finishing with a two-day total weight of 79.96.
John Gibbon, of team No. 94, stayed at third place with a grand total weight of 77.98 while team No. 33, lead by John Criddle, likewise remained in fourth place with a total of 77.64. Team No. 98, lead by Nick Nakovi, made the top 10 when it counted most by taking fifth place and $400.
No stranger to the winners' circle, team No. 11, lead by Don Ruppert, moved up four spots into sixth place and $300 with a total of 76.14. Team No. 26, lead by Ken Mardillo, also jumped into the top 10, finishing with a total weight of 75.90.
Another familiar name in the winners' circle for this tournament was Dennis Alguire, who finished eighth with a total of 75.86. Keith Wind dropped two spots, but took ninth place with a 75.86 total and Don Campbell, another favorite, ended up in the money with a total weight of 75.16.
New York Walleye Association president Bob Zoeler had high praise for the City of Dunkirk and the cooperation of Mayor Anthony J. Dolce and Chadwick Bay owners Jeff Gambino and Mike Pucci. The NY Walleye Association committee did another outstanding job of getting the job done and moving people through the weigh-in process. There was an independent study done years ago that estimated this event, and ones like it, generate over a $1,000,000 of revenue into the area in a weekend. It's all about our tremendous fishery, so let's never lose sight of that. New York Walleye Association is already making plans for next year. See you then.
Next up is the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club's walleye derby, which will be held in August. It is a three-day event. Cool beans!
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER?outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.