The 15th annual Con Club walleye derby adds more names to history

Reelin’ it in!

Mark Poppenberg and Larry Lazarczyk caught the biggest walleye on Sunday, weighing 9.94 pounds, which was the fourth heaviest walleye of the derby.

The 2019 Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club walleye derby is history, and the results of this year’s event will be etched in steel.

All the winners over the last 14 years have had their names engraved in the beautiful walleye trophy that was made for the Con Club Chairman Zen Olow by Kirk’s Jewelers. It is a work of art and this year’s winner, Team 100, will wear that honor with pride.

Team 95, led by Captain Jim Steel, put together three solid days of big fish to accumulate the winning total 9-fish weight of 68.64 pounds. They had 20.59 pounds on Friday, a fantastic Saturday with 26.28 pounds total that included a 10.37 pounder that was the second heaviest fish of the day and the third heaviest walleye of the derby. They finished up on Sunday with another outstanding trio of fish that weighed in at 21.97 pounds for their grand total of 68.84 pounds. Their boat is called Dream Catcher Sportfishing and the rest of the crew includes first mate Rich Fliss, Craig Sleeman — who won the derby a few years ago — and Jim Brauer.

There was some concern if their lead would hold up, but second place leader on Saturday, Vince Costello, who had 20 pound plus totals the first two days, ran into the small fish on Sunday and ended up with a three day total weight of 55.09. Costello still stayed in the money, capturing the fifth and final payout along with the 5th heaviest walleye of the event at 9.59.

Robert Oram of Team (eye) con stepped into the winning circle, finishing in second place with a three day total weight of 60.24 pounds. Oram had the heaviest fish on day one at 10.59, but that fish was the second heaviest fish of the tournament.

Captain Jim Steel, Craig Sleeman, Rich Fliss and Jim Brauer had the heaviest three day total weight of the Con Club walleye derby at 68.84 pounds and the third heaviest walleye of the event.

The G-Man team lead by Gregg Marzec kept putting together three good fish boxes daily and finished up strong on Sunday with a weight of 19.72 pounds with a big fish weighing 7.66 on Sunday. They totaled 57.25 pounds and third place overall. Their 9.25 pounder on Saturday, was the 8th heaviest fish.

It took 13 years before team 100 lead by Captain Robert Spoon, finally found pay dirt, but they made their mark in a big way. Team 100’s walleye was the biggest fish of the event, the biggest fish on Saturday, and with three fish weights of 20.97, 17.60 and 16.65 on Sunday, they moved up one place from Saturday and hung on to win fourth place total weight with 55.22 pounds.

The Spoon Team is the Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Con Club Walleye Derby. Their secret lucky charm was a first time ever fishing friend named Mouse Kettermann. The team fished east of Barcelona in 55 to 100 feet of water and had most of their big fish hitting on 7 to 10 colors of leadcore line.

The big fish of the day on Sunday was caught by Larry Lazarczyk weighing in at 9.94 pounds. Larry and his partner Mark Poppenberg weighed in only one fish Sunday, but their walleye was the fourth heaviest walleye of the derby, and the Sunday big fish. That fish was caught in 60 feet of water off Angola on a Bomber/Northern Lights pattern stick bait presented on two colors of leadcore line.

The rest of the 15 heaviest walleye of the derby were: 9.56 caught by Jim Bromstead, 9.38 by Dominick Begier, 9.25 by Marczec, 9.20 by Dennis Pillard, 8.98 by Tom Kolassa, 8.81 by Dennis Alguire, and 8.79 by Steven Ball. Don Ruppert had an 8.79 walleye followed by 8.61 taken by Colin Gawronski, and Henry Smith took the final spot with 8.60. Just a side note, there were 252 walleye weighed on Sunday, with the average fish weight at 5.45 pounds, for a total weight of 1,372.63 pounds and Frank Solares the scale attendant lifted them all… for three days. Manning the electronics and print-out were Diane Steel and Sue Buck.

OBSERVER Photos by Gene Pauszek. Mouse Kettermann, Pop Tart, Robert Spoon and Shawn Hilton won the 15th annual Con Club walleye derby with a walleye weighing 10.64 pounds and finished in fourth in 3-day total weight.

The Con Club would like to thank all the sponsors and volunteers, as well as the participants who made this year’s event another success. See you again next year.

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