The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club is presenting its 8th annual Walleye Derby starting officially at 6 a.m. today and concluding at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5.
The "Con Club" is limited to 100 teams (boats), with an entry fee of $120 per boat. Almost every tournament, including this one, have optional wagers called calcuttas available, but these are handled separately.
Paybacks for the team entries will be 80% and the club has had a full complement of entries for almost every year. In fact, there is a waiting list annually. Calcuttas are a 100% payback.
OBSERVER?Photo by Gene Pauszek
Pictured are the Con Club Walleye Derby committee members for 2012. In the front row, from right to left: Peggy Orlowski, Alicia Munch, Trisha Medley, Jenna Smith and Jennifer Schrantz. In the back row are, left to right: Paul Kowalski, Zen Olow, Ed Ruge and Paul Soper Jr.
Each team can register up to four team members, but can only fish three team members per day during the derby. No one else is allowed on the boat while derby fishing, and the team captain must be at least 18 years old.
Contestants must carry NYS fishing licenses, obey NYS fishing regulations and can only fish NYS waters of Lake Erie during the derby. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Canadian waters are off limits during the derby and anglers are not allowed to 'bank' fish for the next day or share fish with other anglers.
The "Con Club" Derby Committee is the official interpreter of the rules and its decision is final. Contestants and the weigh-in station volunteers are subject to polygraph testing.
Note that Dunkirk, Barcelona and Sturgeon Point have all waived the launch fee for contestants during the derby.
The weigh station for the derby is located only at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club located at the foot of Mullet St. in Dunkirk. The weigh station is open from 1-6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday. Contestants must be standing in line with their fish by the deadline on Friday or Saturday or their fish will become eligible for the next day.
One member from each team is allowed to weigh in up to and only three walleye per day. They must select the three fish to be weighed. The weigh station attendants will only weigh in a maximum of three walleye per team. Weighed fish will have a hole punched in the gill plate, and may become subject to internal temperature probes, as well as metal detectors.
See CON?CLUB, Page B3
There are numerous ways to win in this unique derby. There are three 'big fish of the day' awards for each of the three days. Three of 15 cash prizes will be awarded for the heaviest walleye during the entire derby and one of five cash prizes for the heaviest three-day total weight. Calcuttas will also enhance their own separate prize structures. Remember the Amara-Can derby was two tough days of competition. This event is three.
Calcutta prizes are awarded the same day. Derby prizes are awarded on Sunday around 3 p.m.
This derby is promoted as an honest sportsman-like event and the committee and club works hard to keep it that way. There have been a few bumps on the way to success, but the "Con Club", with it's annual full capacity of teams, should be around for a long time. FISH ON!
Note that unwanted walleye may be donated at the weigh-in station. The club makes sure that all harvested walleye are utilized. The contestants, their families and friends as well as the public are invited to attend the festivities as well as purchase refreshments, commemorative T-shirts, food and other items of interest.
Sponsors for the 2012 event are: Arthur R. Gren Dist. Co Inc., Baghat & Laurito, Bill's Hooks, Buck Knives, Certo Bros. Dist., Cisco Fishing Systems, Coleman, The Con Club, CUTCO, Designer Pools, DFT Communications, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dreamweaver Lures, Hi-Tech Lures, Empire Liquors, Jann's Netcraft, JB Lures, Jim Nichol's Hometown Service, Lakeshore Savings and Loan, Lansky Sharpeners, Mepp's Spinners and Spoons, Navionics, New Era Cap Co., North American Fishing Club, Off Shore Tackle, Optimum Bait Company, Rapala, Reef Runner, Scotty, SEFCU, Southern Wine & Spirits, Torpedo Divers, Triple S Sporting Supplies, 3D Lures, TTI Blakemore, Wal-Mart, Weber's Bait & Tackle, City of Dunkirk, Fishbones Custom Lures, Weekley's Wholesale Bait, St. George Enterprises, and tents by Don Selemi. Thank You!
Look for coverage of this event in the OBSERVER each day.