We have a winner!
14th annual NCCC Walleye Derby crowns its champions
The 14th annual Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club walleye Derby is in the books and there were a lot of familiar faces receiving awards on Sunday. One of the nicest things about this years derby was the weather. It was a complete opposite compared to last year. All three days were fishable and mostly sunny. Almost too sunny when the temperatures reached 91 degrees on Sunday. The fishing was hot also. During all three days of the Derby, most of the anglers commented that they caught plenty of walleye. Most of them were able to catch and release more than their legal limit of walleye which is six per day per person. The only problem, which is a problem when you are targeting “trophy sized” fish, is finding fish that weigh six pounds or more. At least 15 anglers did just that during the course of the three day event.
The NCCC derby pays out for the top 15 heaviest walleye caught during the event. Catching an eight pound walleye put you in a better than average chance of cashing in. There were 21 walleye entered weighing at least eight pounds including an 8.05 caught by Larry Lazarczyk, 8.08 by Bob Rustowicz, 8.09 caught by Jim Opiel a former winner, 8.11 landed by Jeffrey Phillips, 8.16 by Ray Adamczyk, 8.22 by “Looney Tunes” Captain Jim Tunny. The walleye had to weigh at least 8.27 pounds to finish in the 15th spot, and Vince Costello’s team got it done. Next up the winners column John Ferinand, at 8.52, Charles Frazier with 8.54, former winner Dan Sobczak with 8.56, and Gregg Marczec with 8.64pounds. Marczec, the leader of the G-Man Crew, might as well have stayed at the stage to collect all his winnings. In the top ten heaviest fish were: Dave Stalter, with 8.68 and Rodney Burns with identical weights. A flip of the coin determined their standing and a $25 difference in pay out.
Russell Tenamore was a favorite with his 8.69 pounder and Gene Strianese found the winners circle and a nice pay day thanks to a butterfly, but that’s a story for another day. Dennis Gaul had a 8.75 pounder and Ron Kucinski got “Moola” and Glizdas with his 8.92 entry. Cindy Ciszkowski just missed the 9-pound mark with her 8.99 fish, and Brad Milleville took third place with one of only two 9-pounders at 9.15 pounds.
Captain Paul Pomietlasz sent three ambassadors in to do his work, on Sunday and finished in second place with a 9.66 pounder. The top spot was a return trip to the winners circle for Herb Schultz, who was the winner of the very first NCCC Walleye Derby. Herb’s walleye weighed 10.31 pounds and was caught near Sturgeon Point, on a purple and pink Renosky stick bait presented on three colors of lead core line, on Friday the first day of the derby. The lure “leaked” because it had water inside of it, but it may have improved the action, providing a big pay out. Schultz’s 10.31 pound entry was the only 10 pounder. His name will go on the NCCC Walley Derby trophy- again!
The three day total weight division is what all the “big boys” strive for. Many of the competitors compete in numerous walleye competitions on Lake Erie, where the object is to bring in the heaviest total box of fish each day for the duration of the event. The Con Club has a three day event, and any one of the competitors will admit on any given day any one can catch a big fish. Try to get several in one day is taxing. Do it two days in a row is difficult. Three days in a row takes a lot of skill.
Many of the competitors realized the importance of weighing in three fish daily. Total weights of 10 pounds or under was not going to get the job done. Most of the boxes had one bigger sized fish coupled with a four or a 3-pounder. Those fishermen that came up with three fish weighing six or more pounds were the ones to watch. As of Saturday, the top five leaders were separated by less than two pounds. One fish would make a difference. In the end the G-Man Crew finished with the heaviest total three day weight. Ron Duliba Jr. had to trade the first place and settle for the third spot and Captain Tom Slawatycki along with his two sons held on to finish in the money. It was a great event with an even better walleye fishery, with more to come in the future if we protect our resource. Another great job done by the NCCC club members, derby committee and Chairman Zen Olow and family. More information on Thursday and Sunday.