Walleye event wraps up on Lake Erie

The sixth annual Innovative Outdoors Walleye Challenge is in the books.

There were 54 teams signed up for the event and 39 teams came to the scales to weigh-in.

Note some teams chose not to weigh-in because they may not have had six walleye making the 20-inch length minimum, or they may not have returned on time.

Starting the weigh-in at 5 p.m. at Chadwick Bay Marina was Forever Fishin’ led by Bob Rustowicz, who had a great year this year but was unable to post six legal-sized walleye. His team still produced 18.21 pounds of walleye with four fish, including an 8.68-pounder that proved to be the second heaviest walleye of the event.

Darren Hurlburt, the captain of Rubber Duck, took the final spot with 14.62 pounds. Jason Beck, Reel Genius, produced 21.50 pounds while Scott Addison, the Fishtician, had 23.17 pounds. Jim Steel, event chairman, had 23.37 pounds while Ashton Laird of Lime Lake Marina had matching digits at 24.24 pounds. Gary Belote of Twisted Dipsey beat out Laird by a smidge at 24.25 pounds. John Rogers of Day Drinkin’ had 24.47 pounds while Curtis Loveles with his Evil Eyes team produced 24.62 pounds. Dennis Pillard, the Salty Dog, had 24.70 pounds while Eye Con, led by Justin Wekenmann, had a 24.75-pound total.

Randy Jaroszewski, the Big Fish Friday winner, had to settle for a 4.91-pound walleye as his Saturday big fish but still produced an important total of 24.85 pounds. John Ferdinand of What’s Up Dock reported with 24.94 pounds while Robby Ray of Baby Razor had 24.95 pounds. Jeff Phillips of Knot Right had 25.08 pounds and Chuck Pohlman of Catch the Best had 25.57 pounds. Craig Sleeman of Midnight Express had the last 25-pound total at 25.73.

The Ship of Fools leader Kyle Kokanovich had 26.22 pounds. Just a side note the rock group The Doors, led by frontman Jim Morrison, had a hit song by this name on their album Morrison Hotel, and a total of 16 music groups also produced this song title including Robert Plant as well as the Grateful Dead according to Google.

Brad Milleville of Fishfull Thinking had 26.45 pounds while Thomas Miranda, the Pole Dancer captain, had 26.58 pounds. Wavetamer Captain Don Ruppert reported with 26.61 pounds while Jim Klein of Eye-Fish had 26.65 pounds. Alguire, led by Captain Dennis, had 26.72 pounds while Scott Nichols of Hookers Inc. had 26.88 pounds. Gregg Marzec, the G-Man, had 26.72 pounds while Jim Taggart, Fish Missile, started up the 27-pound total with 27.06.

Tim Stone, the Trolling Stones captain, had 27.15 pounds while Darin Baron, the Fishin’ Tradition, had 27.19 pounds. Ron Duliba missed out of placing in the money, again by a smidge, with 27.57 pounds getting beat by Scott Spier of Fishin’ Nutz at 27.58 pounds.

Dennis Kenny caught a beauty around 9:30 a.m. fishing in 100 feet of water off Lake Erie State Park that weighed 9.26 pounds. That walleye was the largest of the Saturday Main Event and coupled with five more walleye allowed his team to total 27.89 pounds, good enough for ninth place.

David Levan of End of the Line scored with 28.04 pounds while seventh place was taken by Justin Emerling of Just One More with 28.77 pounds.

Local talent Pete Smith of Reely Jerkin’ It had 28.92 pounds while Jeff Bognar of Nick’s Sporting Goods took fifth with a 29.22-pound total. Chris Postle of Postletown had just short of 30 pounds with a 29.98 total. Bryan DusenBury of Buffalo Harbor Outfitters finished third with 30.46 pounds that included the third heaviest walleye of the day weighing in at 8.08 pounds.

John Lignos of Current Obsession took second place with a lot of heavy 5-pound fish totaling 31.97 pounds.

But in the end Adam Zwack of Erie Obsession fishing on the Canadian side produced the winning weight of 32.84 pounds with a Big Fish weighing 7.65 pounds. Mike Russel, Zwack and Pat Bohen reported catching their walleye on Zwack worm harnesses presented on four and five colors of leadcore line. Watermelon pattern was a favorite.

After the awards were handed out Jim and Diane Steel, the owner operators of Innovative Outdoors Sporting Goods, video productions and the chairpersons of the IOW Challenge, did the calculations and announced that Team Ice Breaker led by Captain Randy Jaroszewski was the winner of the Lake Erie Walleye Series, after competing in all three of the local walleye events including the Primitive Outdoors Walleye Challenge in Barcelona in May, The Sunset Bay Shootout in Irving and the IOWC in Dunkirk. Jaroszewski won the first event and weighed in enough walleye weight to capture the title on Saturday.

All our local fishermen were treated to another rare three-day weekend of pleasant fishable weather in the month of August.

What’s Up Dock reported catching a lot of legal size walleye in the 60-foot range out of the Cattaraugus Creek. The G-Man Crew reported likewise fishing west of Barcelona by the Red Roof in 80 to 100 feet of water.

A lot of the teams are already making plans for salmon and trout fishing on Lake Ontario. A side note, 26 teams had walleye in the 4-pound range as their Big Fish while nine other teams probably had 4- to 5-pounders, but chose not to identify them with a plastic zip-tie. Ten fish in the 5-pound range were Big Fish on Saturday. Only one 6-pounder, two 7-pounders, two 8-pounders and one 9-pounder were weighed.

Photo by Gene Pauszek

Mike Russeil Adam Zwack and Pat Bohen won the 6th annual Innovative Outdoors Walleye Challenge on Saturday with a total weight of 32.84 pounds.

Photo by Gene Pauszek

Diane and Jim Steel present Randy Jaroszewski (middle) an award for finishing first in the LEW’s competition.


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