Burgon, Sobczak win Winterfest fishing tournament

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Pictured above, from left to right, Don Burgon and Dan Sobczak were congratulated by Mayor Rosas and Mike Porpiglia for winning the 2019 Winterfest Fishing Tournament.

The City of Dunkirk held a day of outdoor activities on Saturday that included a fishing tournament that was part of Dunkirk’s Winterfest.

With weather conditions that can change rapidly, the fishing tournament Chairman Mike Porpiglia, made a judgment call on Friday announcing the tournament would be considered aa open water event confined to the area near the City Pier.

With temperatures in the 50’s during the day on Thursday and strong winds raising the lake water level considerably, it was the safe call. The pier was surrounded by open water on Friday.

Mother Nature decided to live up to her reputation and threw a curve with freezing temperatures during Friday evening providing ice cover over most of the harbor.How thick was the ice was anyone’s guess, so the smart move was to keep the event confined to the pier area.

There were 15 entrants in this year’s event and these veteran anglers were up to the challenge. Using spuds and anchors, the anglers broke through the skim ice and used landing nets to shove the thin ice away to provide access to open water. Most of the anglers opted to jig or present baited hooks suspended below bobbers. That strategy paid off for two lucky anglers.

Don Burgon of Brocton was the first to come to the weigh station around 8:30 a.m. Don and a few of his friends managed to open up a big enough hole to fish out of at the North east end of the pier. Burgon opted to use a live night crawler, suspended under a bobber and it didn’t take long for the bobber to go under and start moving east.

After about 10 minutes, the fish came to the net manned by Andrew Peck. The fish was a 22 inch male steelhead that weighed 4.04 pounds. The fish was silvery in color but after a few minutes in the snow, it quickly turned dark in color. There were a few other fishermen that reported getting bites and missing fish, but later in the day veteran angler Dan Sobczak had a similar situation using a live minnow below a bobber. Chuck Porpiglia did the successful net job for Sobczak.

The 3:15 p.m. deadline arrived and no other entries arrived, so Mike Porpiglia decided to split the $300 prize money equally between both anglers. Despite the temperature in the teens, Sobczak commented he fished all day long and was nice and warm dressed in numerous layers of clothing. Both anglers earned about $21 per hour for their efforts. Mayor Rosas was on hand to congratulate the contestants, hand out certificates, and thank all the people and personnel that made the event a success. Contest Chairman Mike Porpiglia is already making plans for next year. A tip of the hat also goes out to Patty Pleszewski, Dan Kuzdale, Mr Pringle, Julio DeLeon and the Access 12 TV crew who helped make the event successful.

Calendar: Note that the free NYS Winter Fishing Days will be on Feb. 16-17.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will be hosting a rabbit hunting contest for members and guests on Saturday, Feb. 16. Stop by the club for details.

The Friends of the NRA fundraiser/banquet will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Samuel Derby American Legion Post 556, located at 9 Meadow Lane, Frewsburg, 14738. Cash bar and silent auction is from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., with the prime rib and live auction from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Early bird tickets must be in by Feb. 16. For information, call Jennifer Schmitt at 487-2487.

The W.N.Y. Sports and Travel Expo will be at the Hamburg Fairgrounds, on March 7-10.

The next gun show will be on March 2 and 3 at the Hickory Post VFW located at 5550 East State Street, US Route 62, East of PA. 18, West of Mercer on 62, Hermitage, PA. Saturday show times are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. while Sunday will be from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be another show on March 16-17 at the Harborcreek Fire Dept. Social Hall located at 7275 Buffalo Road, US Route 20, Harborcreek, PA. Show times are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

On April 13-14 there will be a gun show at Ashtabula County Fairgrounds (Ashtabula County Expo Center Building), 127 North Elm Street, Jefferson, Ohio. Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Call Larry at 792-9972 for information or go to LRsportingEvents.com.

The Lake Erie Outdoor & Fishing Show will return on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk. For information contact the OBSERVER at 366-3000 extension 420. This event started up last year and turned out to be a big success, and this year could be even better!

The NYS Youth Wild Turkey Hunting weekend is April 20-21.

Free Monday night fly tying instruction has resumed at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, located at Mullet Street in Dunkirk. Classes are for all levels of fly tying, but especially for beginners. No equipment is necessary. All participants get to keep their productions. Classes are from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The classes are open to the public. Sometimes they even have homemade cookies! Note that The Children of the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program have changed the dates to their program to Mondays from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Costello Community Room (P84) in the new addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia. This program is in its 18th year of providing weekly free fly tying and fly fishing classes to both youths and adults in our area. You do not need any prior experience to attend these classes, and the course is geared towards ages 10 and older. For more information contact Alberto Rey at 410-7003 or alberto@albertorey.com.

The Northern Chautauqua Ducks Unlimited Annual banquet and Live Auction will take place on Saturday, March 9 at Blessed Mary Angela Parish Social Center located at 324 Townsend Street, Dunkirk. The doors open at 5 p.m. To purchase tickets on line go to NY.ducks.org or call Ron Romance at 969-5166.

If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or any other outdoors event, and would like to see it posted in the calendar, send information to the OBSERVER, 10 East Second Street, Dunkirk, NY 14048, or call the sports department at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 6 p.m.

Note: If you have a big game fishing or trapping success story you would like to share, call 366-1772, or 467-2079 and leave a name, phone number and a time you can be reached. You can also call 366-3000, ext. 5, after 6 p.m. or email sports@observertoday.com.