Day one of the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club's 10th annual Walleye Derby was a good one, with many of the 100 teams registered weighing in fish.
Ten teams chose not to weigh in any fish and less than a pound separated the top seven heaviest total weights of a maximum of three walleye per day.
One sure way to get into the prize money is to weigh in one of the three heaviest walleye for the day. The heaviest walleye for each day pays out $400 for first place, $250 for second and $150 for third. Con Club members did well in this category, with two life members - Dan Sobczak and Bob Kaus - weighing in a 10.92 pounder that will be tough to beat. The guys also followed up that fish with two other heavyweights for a three-fish total on Friday of 24.18 pounds.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
Bob Kaus, left, and Dan Sobczak display their day-one leading catch at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club’s 10th annual Walleye Derby. The fish weighed in at 10.92 pounds.
OBSERVER Photos by Gene Pauszek
Pictured above, at left, are Don Mullen and Codey Allen displaying the third-heaviest total-weight catch and the third-heaviest walleye on day one. Pictured at right is Joe Gielow, from Team 75, which is captained by Tommy Owczarczak. The team weighed in the three heaviest walleye total on Friday at 25.74 pounds, which included a 9.66-pound entry.
Paul Soper Jr., another life member of the Con Club, and no stranger to the winners circle of this event, took second place with a 10.29 pounder. He finished with a total weight of 22.42 pounds. Captains Don Mullen and Codey Allen took third place with a 10.24 pounder and a total weight of 25.49 pounds.
There were 10 nine-pounders entered besides these fish, and the anglers will hope they make the cut by Sunday when the top 15 heaviest walleye of the derby will be awarded prize money from $1,800 for the heaviest fish down to $150 for 15th place. The next heaviest fish for Friday in descending order were: 9.98 by George Szczublewski, 9.94 by Jim Dolly Sr., 9.90 by Jeff Jarzynski, 9.66 by Tommy Owczarczak, 9.64 by Jim Skoczylas, 9.61 Paul Pomietlasz - another Con Club member - 9.35 by outdoor writer Dave Barus, who is known as "Forest Fisher", 9.35 by Craig Rose, 9.14 by Jim "Rag Arm" Sprague and a 9.08-pounder by Adam Zwack.
The three walleye maximum total weight leaders after day one, in descending order, are: Owczarczak with 25.74, Zwack at 25.73, Don Mullen 25.49 pounds, Paul Pomietlaz at 25.43 and Dennis Alguire with 25.26. Steve Ball weighed in 25.16 pounds of fish, Jim Dolly Sr. of 3-D Lures had 25.05 pounds and Russ Tenamore weighed three similar-weight fish for a 24.64-pound total. Tenamore was followed by Waldo Paciorkowski with 24.43, Brad Milleville at 24.31, Sobczak at 24.18, Lon St. Louis at 24.10, John Forbes at 23.83, Jim Tunney at 23.82, Barry Ball at 23.70, James Plinzke at 23.62, Jim Sprague with 23.61,Vincent Caggiano with 23.59, Mike Munson at 23.39, Craig Rose at 23.30, George Harmony at 23.26 and Tom Leeman at 23.22 pounds. Also in the hunt for the three-day total weight payout, in descending order, are: Kevin Caverly, Vincent Costello, Greg Marzec, Joel Morrison, Don Ruppert, Ray Adamczyk, Paul Soper Jr., Jeffrey Philips, Barus, Daryll MacNeil, Robert Oram, John Held, Dennis Buczkowski, Jack Shaw, Richard Kacmarski, Dan Korzenski, Garry Olsen, Don Denzel, Jeff Jarzynski, Karl Pospesel, Dennis Gaul, Gerry Bielicki, John Ferdinand, Ken Seibert, Bob Gloff, Jim Skoczylas, Paul Stoos, Ron Duliba Jr., Jim Stoll, Robert Spoon, Keith Wind, Rodney Burns, Richard Queer and Bill Beiger. They are all within six pounds or less of the leaders. It's a three-day event and the fish fates can be fickle, as in they may be here today and gone tomorrow.
Lots of familiar names are competing in this event and even though the guys may not divulge all their secrets, they all commented that the fish they are catching are of a good size and are healthy looking. The Con Club derby is a fun event with a lot of opportunity to win a decent prize.
The weather outlook for Saturday is a favorable forecast, but this is western New York and the weather can change by the minute. The weigh-in is from 2 until 6 p.m., on Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday. There are food and beverage concessions as well as raffles, and T-shirts for sale. The public is invited to attend.