Southtowns Walleye Association Derby concludes

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek From left, seated is SWA President Sue Guenther, standing far left is Vice President Jim Skoczylas with tournament winners Sienna and Randy Jaroszewski and first mate Rob Kozub.

The 35th annual Southtowns Walleye Association Derby is in the books and it was a memorable one, especially if you were in the winners circle. The volunteers who stepped forward to improve the derby accomplished their goal. The membership numbers increased, the amount of sponsors increased and compared to the last couple years, the size of the top three winning walleye increased.

One of the incentives for this year’s event was a $10,000 bounty, offered by Cabana Sam’s, for the first walleye that weighed a minimum of 13 pounds. Another incentive was a lure promotion, offered by Bay Rat Lures. In honor of the 35th year they had a commemorative lure/paint job that would pay out a $200 bonus for the largest walleye caught during the derby on that lure.

The first day of the derby, June 8, the bar was set. Randy Jaroszewski fishing, with his daughter Sienna and first mate Ron Kozub, set out for Canadian waters. Randy and a number of other anglers got a tip that the big fish were staged up in shallow water on the north shore, so Jaroszewski set out the special Bay Rat lure on two colors of lead core line on an in-line board. About 7 a.m. that morning, the board looked like it was sinking and Randy was quickly on it. The veteran angler recognized it was a heavy fish, so he took his time bringing it in. Once it was in the net, it went right in the cooler and the crew went back to fishing. They had to change the lure because the big fish broke the bill. They lost two more fish that morning, but headed for Silver Creek to weigh in their fish, which pulled down the scales to 12.39 pounds and stayed in the lead for nine days.

Dave Malloy, who was part of Team Erie Tracker from Canada, saw Randy catch his fish and returned to the same area on the final day of the derby. The fishing conditions were opposite of the first day, with rain, waves and a cold front moving through. At 9:30 a.m., the fish hit and the hawg came right in. Malloy’s team was his son Jake, Dan Campbell and Ryan Fralik. The lure was a Yaleye bandit in Piranna plant color, long lined on Berkley X5 30 pound test with a Spectra Probe 20 pound test fluorocarbon leader. The fish came in second place at 11.77 pounds.

Mike Russell was fishing out of Buffalo on the first day of the derby. The weather was nice and Mike was fishing with Captain Adam Zwack and Patrick Bohen. About 9 a.m., the Pillard lure in perch color presented on two colors of lead core off an in line board, got hit and at first the guys thought the board or lure was snagged. Russell grabbed the rod and yelled, “It’s a good fish! I’m getting back line.” The walleye weighed 11.73 pounds.

All the walleye in the top ten weighed at least 11 pounds. Those anglers that placed in the top ten won a pile of money, especially with sponsor prizes and Calcutta money. There was a lure board raffle prize with one winner take all valued at over $4,000. Tournament Chairman Rob Kroh and his crew did a fantastic job, and are already planning next years event. Next up is the Sunset Bay Shoot-Out!

Calendar: June 29 – July 28 is the 10th annual Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Summer derby. Go to www.loc.org.

July 22 at 4:30 p.m. the Lakeshore Longbeards our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold an organizational meeting, at Liberty Vineyards in Sheridan, for the JAKES Day Youth event. It will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 at the Westfield Fish & Game Club. The meeting is open to the public. They need more volunteers for the Jakes Day event so please stop by.

July 19-20 is the Sunset Bay Shootout. Contact Captain Don Ruppert at 435-4137.

July 28 is the Chautauqua Lake Summer Bass Team OPEN. At Chautauqua Lake, Long Point State Park. Contact Mike Russo at (716) 640-6915.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Tournament is August 2-4. Contact person is Zen Olow at 640-2776.

VIP Day is Aug, 7. Contact Zen Olow at 640-2776.

Aug. 11 is the Chautauqua Bassmasters Tournament No. 3 on Chautauqua Lake/Long Point State Park. Contact Mike Russo at 640-6915. Innovative Outdoors Walleye Challenge out of Dunkirk. Contact Jim Steel at 481-5348 or go to www.innovative-outdoors.com.

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.