Saturday, the Southtowns Walleye Association of Western New York held their awards picnic at their club house located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd. Hamburg. This is the 29th year the club has hosted the Southtowns Walleye Tournament, billed as the "Largest Amateur Walleye Tournament on the Great Lakes." Large is an accurate description of the fish that were caught and entered in this nine-day event.
The tournament pays out cash and merchandise prizes for the 200 heaviest fish entered by a single contestant.
The cut-off for the prize list was 8.94 pounds while the heaviest fish entered weighed 12.3 pounds and was 33 inches long.
From left to right, Haleigh Dellow, Blake Hawkins and Makartnee Martimer were winners in the 5 to 8-year-old age bracket at the Westfield Recreation Department’s kids fishing event at the Westfield Fish and Game Club June 15.
Years ago, when this contest first started, if an angler caught a 10-pounder they were almost assured of placing in the top three. Not anymore. Besides the 12-pounder there were six 11-pounders and 46 10-pounders entered this year. That is astounding! What a credit to our fabulous Lake Erie fishery.
Usually there is a human interest story involved with winning an event like this and winners in the top three places had a story to tell.
Tim Fedesen fished out of Barcelona on Friday with his partners Ron Bergler, Ken Meister and Scott Korter. Tim was using six colors of lead core line towing a pink and purple Renosky stick bait off planner boards around 1 p.m. when his 11.18-pound walleye hit. The fish came up quickly and was moving side to side on top for about 15 minutes before coming to the net. Forty-five minutes later, Bergler had another big fish, weighing 11.16 pounds, come to the net. The guys were joking about the odds of an 11.17-pounder being caught. As it turned out, Thomas Cristen did weigh in one for fourth place.
Second place was won by John Amidon of Perrysburg. John was fishing with Shawn Hilton and Scott Leamer on Monday at 8 p.m. out of Barcelona. The crew waited for the storms to subside and ventured out in their 17-foot Tracker boat and caught their 11.59-pound walleye off a downrigger presentation of a Renosky stick bait, perch color, set back 70 to 85 feet back and 60 feet down. When the Hawg hit they thought it was a lake trout, staying down and shaking its head. No one said a peep until the fish was in the boat. This was the first tournament for the anglers, who are off to a great start.
Glenn Hubman was fishing with his brother Jeff and Jeff Bognar on Friday out of North East Marina. Fishing with six colors of lead core line off the boards towing a black and silver Rensoky stick bait over 100 feet of water at 9:30 a.m., Bognar was supposed to be the first one to land a fish. All the lines got tangled before the fish hit so Jeff told Glenn to take it. After 15 minutes of reeling in, the guys knew they had a winner when they saw it in the net. Glenn's fish weighed 12.3 pounds and won over $4,000 in prize money.
One June 15, the Westfield Recreation Dept. hosted a kids fishing event at the Westfield Fish and Game Club. Thirty-five youngsters attended the bank fishing event and all had fun. All the youngsters had to bring their own tackle but many won prizes donated by Raynor's Hunting Emporium, Barcelona Market, Forest Vue Farms/Taxidermy/Graphics, Zen Olow, and members of the Westfield Fish and Game Club. The catch-and-release event awarded tackle for the biggest fish and the winner of a casting competition. Chairman Venn Blakley, on behalf of the kids, thanks all the sponsors and members who made the event a success.
The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be meeting at Liberty Vineyards, Route 20 in Sheridan, on Tuesday, June 25 at 7 p.m. The agenda will include JAKES Day and the meeting is open to the public.
If you are hoping the crossbow bill will surface or survive, it is important to contact our senators and request they support Senate Bill S1699B. Call or write and let your legislators know if you are a current or former bowhunter or if you have any current or former archery/crossbow affiliation.
Be sure to let them know that you support crossbow regulatory authority being given to the DEC. Rick McDermott is the rep for the New York Crossbow Coalition at www.nycrossbowcoalition.com.
There will be a pistol course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on July 6 from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. There is a $55 fee for the course. For information, call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.
The Cassadaga Lakes Association will host their 20th Annual Lew Mead Youth Fishing Tournament on June 29 at the DEC boat launch on Dale Drive in Cassadaga from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. This event is free for all youth ages 16 and younger. If you would like to donate a door prize, volunteer or are looking for more information, call 595-3950.
The Southtowns Walleye Association is hosting their 21st Catch and Release Kids Fishing Derby on Saturday, July 21 at the Tifft Nature Preserve, located on Furman Blvd., Buffalo. The event is free to all kids 15 years old and younger. Bring your own tackle. Sign-up starts at 7:30 a.m. with the weigh-in from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. A picnic-style lunch, including free hot dogs and goodies, will be served from 11 a.m. until noon. Coffee, milk, donuts and juice will be served from 7:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. All kids receive a grab bag and winners will receive awards starting at noon. For more information, call Dennis at 861-5687 or Doug at 649-8202.
The New York Walleye Association will host its annual walleye tournament next month. The Amara-Can Walleye Tournament, a two-day, three-man team event, takes place July 6-7.
The Lakeshore Longbeards will be hosting their annual youth day, known as JAKES Day, on July 13 at the Westfield Fish and Game Club. Registration starts at 9 a.m. with activities and learning stations from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Lunch will be served for the kids and adults. To register call Bob and Judi Turk at 934-4538.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.