It was a white knuckle finish to the 8th Annual Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Derby.
Anyone who participates in outdoor activities knows the importance of keeping an eye on the weather and the storm that blew in Sunday was being closely monitored by all the fishing contestants. The rain hit about two minutes after the weigh station shut down.
Those anglers who came to the weigh station with walleye on Saturday were allowed to go back out and fish for walleye Sunday. They were not allowed to "bank fish" or keep fish aboard after they weighed in on Saturday, nor were they allowed to take more than a three-person limit (five fish per person or 15 total for a three-person crew). All the rules were explained at the captains' meeting held on Thursday, Aug. 2.
OBSERVER Photos by Gene Pauszek
Pictured from left are: Richard Snyder Jr., Dan Salansky and Gene Strianese, who were the big winners of the Eighth Annual Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Derby. Pictured below are members of Team Piranha. They are, from left: Rick Owen, Dennis Alguire and Mike Schmitt.
Many of the crews that were in the hunt for a heavy three-day total opted to head back out on Saturday and some even attempted to fish on Sunday in water that was described as 5-6-footers with 10-12-foot waves thrown in. It was rough!
Team 40, consisting of Dave Beres, Rick Kacmarski and Steve Bartus were the first team to weigh in with three fish totaling 24.28 pounds. Two heavy 7-pounders and a heavy eight, brought them second place prize money in the total weight division in the Calcutta for Sunday. They got their fish Saturday evening.
Team 77, lead by Tim Fedeson, along with partners Steve Krzeminski and Jerry Magolis brought in the third heaviest walleye on Sunday, weighing 9.18.
Team 67, lead by Ken Seibert brought in the second heaviest walleye of Sunday, weighing in at 9.47. Team 67 also brought in the third heaviest total of three fish for Sunday, weighing in at 23.85 pounds. Seibert's team took second place heaviest walleye for Sunday, third place Calcuttas for total weight and second place Big Eye Calcutta.
Don Ruppert's Team 35 showed up with a 7.56, 7.98 and 8.30 trio of fish for a Sunday total of 22.84. That total put them in ninth place for the Sunday total weight Calcutta and third place three-day total of 75.44 pounds.
All eyes were on Team 5, lead by Dennis Alguire, who was in second place on Saturday. Alguire's team, which was called Team Piranha, weighed in three fish at 7.12, 7.53 and 8.21 for a Sunday total of 22.86. They finished eighth in the total weight Calcutta for Sunday and second overall in the total weight for three days at 75.68 pounds.
Bob Rustowicz weighed in three nice fish totaling 23.66 pounds for fourth place on Sundays total weight Calcutta. Tommy "O" Owczarczak had three heavy 7-pounders for a Sunday total of 23.43 pounds, good enough for Sunday's fifth place in the Calcutta. Jeff Jarzynski of Team 88 had 23.07 pounds of fish for sixth place in the Sunday Calcutta while Paul Pomietlasz had a 9-pounder, along with two more nice fish, for a 23.02 Sunday total and seventh place in the Calcutta. Vince Costello weighed in three nice fish for a 22.52 Sunday total weight and the 10th spot on the Sunday Calcutta.
Everyone's attention was on Team 10, lead by Gene Strianese, which did not disappoint. First they weighed a 7.35-pounder followed by an 8.87 and saving the best for last, came the heaviest fish of the day and second heaviest walleye of the tournament, a 10.87 "Hawg," which earned them the heaviest total for Sunday at 27.09 pounds. And when the weights were totaled, the team had the heaviest total weight for three days at 76.92 pounds. Wow!
The 15 heaviest walleye of the derby were in descending order: 10.89, caught by Tom Hare for a payout of $1,500. Strianese at 10.87 ($1,000), 10.57 by Team Ruppert ($800), 10.37 by Marcinkowski ($600), 10.20 by Dennis Gaul ($400), 10.09 by Bill Beiger ($200), as well as John Forbes, who caught a 10.02-pounder. Bob Gloff caught a 10.01-pounder, Karl Pospesel a fish at 10 even, Robert Spoon a fish at 9.99, Daryll MacNiel caught one at 9.93, Gary Marcinkowski one at 9.89, Dennis Gaul one at 9.83, Donald Colf a fish at 9.78 and Paul Soper Jr. a walleye at 9.63. All received $100 prizes.
Three-day total weight winners were: Gene Strianese 76.92, Dennis Alguire 75.68, Don Ruppert 75.44, Tom Owczarczak 72.63 and Vince Costello 71.53.
Most all the contestants remarked it was a fun tournament, possibly their favorite one to fish in and they look forward to fishing again next year. The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club would like to thank Tim Horton's and the rest of their sponsors, all the volunteers, the OBSERVER and the contestants who made the Eighth Annual Walleye Derby another success.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER?outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.