The weather provided three days of tough and rough fishing during the Ninth Annual Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Derby, but in the end, many familiar faces returned to the winners circle.
Team 31, lead by Captain Dennis Gaul, caught the heaviest walleye on Friday. That walleye maintained the lead through the entire three-day event weighing in at 10.21 pounds. Team 91, led by Captain Barry Ball, also caught its biggest fish on Friday weighing in at 10.15 pounds and maintained the second-heaviest place for the entire tournament.
Saturday was a very good day for Team 70, which was led by Roger Corlett, especially when they caught the third heaviest walleye of the derby weighing-in at 9.97 pounds. Corlett teamed up this year with a couple of former winners of the Con Club Derby - Dwayne Bobik and Jose Cornier. Team 70 also won the Sponsor Day prize provided by 3-D Worm Harnesses by catching, displaying and declaring the lure, a 3-D harness, that caught the fish.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
Pictured above, in front is Vicky Dolly holding one of three fish caught by Team 30, the winning team of the Ninth Annual Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Derby. In back are team member Jim Dolly Jr., Vicky Dolly, Karen Dolly and team member John Dolly. Missing was Jim Dolly Sr. The Dolly’s took the heaviest Three-Day Total Weight Award, along with numerous other prizes.
Team 60's Mike Munson caught the next heaviest walleye weighing-in at 9.82 pounds, the third-heaviest walleye on Friday. Munson and his teammate are also former winners in this event, as well as the AMARA-CAN.
Team 94, led by James Tunney, along with his teammates Zac Yetzer and Chelsea Provost, took the fifth-heaviest walleye weighing in at 9.73 pounds. That "hawg" was taken on Saturday, but Team 94 weighed-in three heavy fish on Sunday - a 9.21-, 9.18- and 8.83-pound walleye, for the heaviest total weight on Sunday. Their three-fish catch had a total weight of 27.22 pounds and a three-day total of 74.44 pounds.
Team 3, led by Adam Zwack, had the sixth-heaviest walleye weighing 9.62 pounds and was followed by Team 54 and Ron Witkowski, and Team 81, which was led by Craig Rose. Both teams had identical weights of 9.61 pounds. Team 22, led by Tom Kramer took the ninth spot with a 9.57-pounder while Team 30 and James Dolly Sr. got in the Top 10 with a 9.54-pound entry.
Dolly Sr. missed out on the award festivities because he had to go to the hospital with a hook imbedded deep in his hand. He was discharged later in the day. Last year's big winner, Gene Strianese, Team 10's captain, took the 11th spot with a 9.50-pound entry. Captain Bob Vandette's Team 87 took the 12th spot with a 9.47-pounder taken on Sunday.
Gary Marcinkowski found that 13 was a lucky number for his Team 36, weighing in a walleye at 9.44 while Team 59, led by Jim Skoczylas, another former derby winner, weighed in a 9.2- pound entry. The final position was taken by Team 50 and Herb Schultz, who, if memory serves me correctly, was the winner of the very first "Con Club Derby".
Putting together a heavy stringer of several fish is tough to do for one day, but repeating that feat for three days, under rough fishing conditions, is applaudable. Team 30, known as Strictly Fishin', and led on Sunday by Captain Jim Dolly Jr., boated an average of 25 pounds of walleye per day for a three-day total weight of 75.63 pounds, taking first place in the Three-Day Total Weight Division. Team 30 fishes out of a 19-foot boat and thanked Team 9 and Lon St. Louis for putting them on a school of fish for Sunday's entry.
Team 30 fished out of Dunkirk on Sunday in 100 feet of water using 10 colors of lead-core line on side planner boards, with size 22 and 44 and dipsey divers. Dolly commented that the new color purple dipsey diver, available at Bill's Hooks, was "hot." They set the dipsey at 1.5 setting, 170 feet back. Lure selection was split between 3-D worm harnesses in "Hot Pants" color and renoskys in purple and pink. Watch Thursday's column for more details.
Team 87, led by Vandette, weighed-in the second-heaviest three-day total at 74.75 pounds followed by James Tunney, of Team 94, with a total weight of 74.44 pounds. Team 3, led by Adam Zwack, boated a 72.33-pound total for fourth place while the final position was taken by Team 9 and St. Louis with a 69.01-pound total.
Sponsors for this event were: Torpedo Divers, 3-D/Jim Dolly and Dream Weaver providing Event Day prizes. Local sponsors were: Walmart, Bill's Hooks, Johnson Estate Winery, Lake Shore Savings and Loan, city of Dunkirk, Jim Nichols Home Town Service, McDonald's, Applebees, House of Television, The OBSERVER and myself for derby coverage, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, and Copy Boy. Other sponsors were: George Harmony, Certo Brothers, Hi-Tech, Lund, Cuto, Anglers Sport Group/Daiichi Hooks, Reef Runner, Rapala, Optimum Bait Company, which donated worm harnesses, Amado publications and TTI Blakemore.
The "Con Club" derby committee, including Chairman Zen Olow, worked diligently to present a quality fishing derby and would like to thank all the sponsors, committee members and participants who made this year's event a memorable success. They plan on being back again next year!
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER?outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.