Local guide is sponsoring Chaut. youth tourney start-up

NYS-Certified Fishing Guide Dillan LaBarbera is working hard to share the fun of Tournament Bass Fishing with students from the 7th-12th grade, with an inaugural tournament planned for Long Point State Park on June 22. Labarbera is looking for sponsor help. Submitted Photo

Remember that first-ever fish trip when that little red and white round bobber took a dive? The fish grabbed your baited hook, and off you went on that wild first ride of landing a fish. Excitement all the way. I was 4 years old, and my first fish was a little rock bass with huge red eyes. We kept him in a bucket filled with water before my dad said, “let’s let him go; maybe we can catch him again next time.” I didn’t want to, but guess what? I begged my dad to take me back to the creek so we could try to catch that same fish again. Why? My dad said he would be bigger next time when we returned someday. I was hooked. Tournament fishing came later. Thanks to that first fish with my dad, fishing has been a part of my life for over seven decades.

This Saturday, the Westfield Fish & Game will host its annual Youth Fishing Derby from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a fun-for-all event open to the public, with courtesy hot dogs and hamburgers provided for free. The program includes prizes for kids ages 4 to 15. The club is located on Ogden Road in Westfield. For more information, call 716-326-2289.

Similarly, one young New York state-certified fishing guide and an area inland waterway expert, Dillan LaBarbera, is trying to create a unique event for youth anglers interested in tournament fishing. He has teamed up with Harry Emmerling to establish a new fishing tournament for young bass anglers at Long Point State Park on June 22 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. called the Student Bass Open. Students from the 7th to 12th grade are eligible to register and compete for this event. Each student can weigh up to three fish (12-inch minimum) following all New York state local fishing regulations. The entry fee is $55 per student. The weigh-in will begin at 2:15 p.m., and pizza and beverages will be provided to participants.

“The event is all about bringing our community members together to support our young anglers, and we are asking for help in small cash sponsorship donations ($50, $100, $150 levels) area businesses,” LaBarbera said. “By sponsoring this event, you’re not just promoting your business, you’re investing in our kids and helping create unforgettable memories for them. Your support will go a long way in making this a fun and educational event for all the young participants.”

Contact Labarbera at 716-499-7545 or email dmlabarb@gmail.com.

“While walleye fishing in Chautauqua Lake has cooled down with warming waters, there are walleye to be caught in both Chautauqua Lake and Lake Erie,” says Dillan LaBarbera. Submitted Photo

LaBarbera, a Maple Grove Junior-Senior High School graduate, resides in Bemus Point and founded Hooked-on Fishing Guide Service. An avid black bass, walleye and crappie angler, LaBarbera has extended his guiding services to others for a cost below the usual standard. He says it is to share the fun of fishing with others that can’t afford a full-time charter cost, while he begins a career in the outdoors. My grandson and I fished with him last year for the fun of it and caught bass after bass on a weekend day when Chautauqua Lake was busy with boats and muddy shoreline water. The kid knows what he is doing.

For everyone, this weekend, on Saturday, June 15, the New York state black bass season will open to one and all. On June 29-30, two weeks later, New York state will offer a free fishing weekend for everyone, residents and nonresidents, to fish for free. No license is required, but all the local and state fishing rules must be followed. Make it a catch-and-release weekend. That’s how my dad got me hooked on fishing.


June 8-16: Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY Annual Walleye Derby, $110 entry fee, visit https://www.southtownswalleye.com/.

June 15: Opening Day for NYS Black Bass and Great Lakes Musky fishing.

June 15: Father’s Day 100-bird shoot, Hanover Fish & Game Club, 780 Overhiser Road, Silver Creek, Info, Bill Scott: 716-480-2202.

June 15: Youth Fishing Derby, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., fun for all, open to the public, hot dogs and hamburgers provided free, prizes for kids 4-15 years old. Westfield Fish & Game, Ogden Road, Westfield; info: 716-326-2289.

June 22: Student Bass Open Tournament, Long Point State Park, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., $55 entry fee, looking for sponsor help. Info, Dillan LaBarbera, 716-499-7545.

June 29-30: NYS Free Fishing Days, no license required for residents and nonresidents.


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