Saturday was a perfect day for the 19th Lew Mead Kids' Fishing Tournament, which was held on Cassadaga Lake.
Chairman Ron Gross and the rest of the hard-working committee chuckled that Mead might have had a little influence with the good weather, as the group recalled that he loved to see the kids go fishing.
There were 66 kids signed up for this year's event, and a good number of them were able to find active fish. The committee had the big-top tent put up at 6 a.m., and were open for business as the youngsters showed up for the free sign-up.
The winners of the 19th Annual Lew Mead Kids’ Fishing Tournament. They are, from left to right: Emily Verrett, Morgan Perkins, December Corcoran, MacKenzie Robbins, Robert Ranney, Alex Jahrsdoerfer, Hunter Cleland and Owen Gilbert.
This year, black bass were the winning species, as all of the winners in the respective age and gender classes showed up with bass. While the committee tabulated the results of this year's event. Greg Little and Art Estus helped the youngsters learn how to tie their own fishing flies. The adult mentors plan on continuing the project come September at the Sinclairville Library from 6-8 p.m., on Monday evenings. Watch the 'Sportsman's Journal' for details.
The Cassadaga Lakes Association, as always, thanked the supporters of this year's event, including Cassadaga Shurfine, Cassadaga Community Bank, Nordy's Pizza, Red House Youth Foundation, Fredonia Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Burger King, Vineland Mini Golf, Cassadaga Country Club, M&T Bank of Dunkirk, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, King Kone, Chuck Battaglia, Muskie Itch Too, Cott Industries, Fred Newell, Carol Mead, Dunkirk Movie Plex 59, Chuck Gilbert Collision, McNiff Cookies and Ice Cream, Mike Coughlin and Gilberts Cabins, Cassadaga Fire Dept. and Fredrickson Lumber.
The winners of the Girls' Division, descending from the senior spot were: Emily Verrett, Morgan Perkins (who I had been informed had been in contention for the last five years), December Corcoran and 7-year-old MacKenzie Robbins.
Leading off the Senior Boys' spot was Robert Ranney, who was followed by Alex Jahrsdoerfer, who had not only the biggest fish, entering a 19-1/2-inch bass, but also the longest last name. Hunter Cleland and Charlie Gilbert were third and fourth, respectively.
There were eight trophies awarded this year and lots of bonus prizes, with many youngsters leaving with smiles, memories and a free lunch. By noon, the committee was already tearing down the tent and making plans for next year. All the fish were released by the youngsters, who plan on catching them again in the future.
This columnist had just enough time to head over to the Erie County to document the winners of the annual Southtowns Walleye Association Walleye Derby, possibly the largest event of its kind in the northern hemisphere.
Young 14 year-old Hunter Engelhardt took the Youth Division walleye with his 10.86-pound walleye entry, which was taken on Friday, June 15, while fishing with his father. The duo were fishing in fair weather conditions out of Barcelona in 64-feet of water when the fish hit a black and purple worm harness, presented on a small dipsey diver set back 110 feet on mono.
Congratulations to all the winners and a tip of the hat to their mentors who made it possible.
National Wild Turkey Federation local chapter of the Lake Shore Long beards will host its annual Youth JAKES Day on July 21 at the Westfield Fish & Game Club.
The Lake Erie Chapter of the Federation of Fly Fishers will be having a Kids Fly Fishing course on Sunday, July 22 starting at 9 a.m., at the Commissioner Cabin at Chestnut Ridge, in Orchard Park. The event is for ages 8-15, who are accompanied by an adult. The event will include fly tying, casting, entomology, inspecting the lake for insect life and testing casting skills, as well as fly fishing on the lake during the day. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife will also host a seminar. The event charge is $10 for the parent and child participant. Each additional child is $5. To sign up call (716) 675-4766 or 549-1977. Picnic cuisine and soda will be provided.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.