The 2012 AMARA-CAN Walleye Classic started on Saturday, July 7 with Group A departing from the Dunkirk Harbor at 7 a.m., with a blast from an air horn and a shower of water compliments of the City of Dunkirk Fire Department.
OBSERVER?Photo by Gene Pauszek
Team Torpedo Divers Fish Products, Kim and Jim Skoczylas and Jim and Diane Steel weighed in the heaviest five-fish total for Saturday at 42.58 pounds.
Group B departed on schedule at 8 a.m. with the same send-off. A total of 82 teams ventured forth on the waters of Lake Erie to try their luck and test their skill against both Mother Nature and unpredictable fish.
Western New York weather lived up to its fame with anglers reporting calm seas, then a 3- to 4-foot chop and the wind switching direction at least twice during the course of the day. The possibility of stormy weather abated during the early afternoon leaving the anglers to cook in the warm temperatures.
The teams started to show up at the weigh station with their haul. Like every year, some teams struggle and some do very well. About five teams reported no fish, with some choosing not to weigh their catch.
On the other hand, close to 40 teams showed up with a five-fish total weight of 30 pounds or more. Leading the pack on Day One was the Torpedo Products team of Jim Skoczylas and Jim Steel, who were fishing with their wives Kim and Diane. They weighed in a five-fish total of 42.58 pounds. Skoczylas and Steel reported using harnesses and torpedo weight on leadcore line fishing over 80 feet of water east of Dunkirk.
Lady Luck favored the teams that fished with their wives on Saturday as Chuck Mohr and his son fishing with Casey and Ruth Mohr had the second heaviest total weight for the day with 42.06 pounds and their heaviest fish weighed 10.26 lbs. - the second largest fish of Saturday's contest.
Less than two pounds separate the next eight contenders in descending order, John Gibbon, Russ Criddle, Al Peterson, Bob Rustowicz, Keith Wind, Colin Gawronski, Bud Marsh and Don Ruppert. Ruppert's team weighed in the heaviest fish of the day at 10.38 pounds and Russ Schultz weighed in the third heaviest 'eye' at 9.88 pounds.
The Uhrins fished over 90 feet of water and had a nice box of fish including a 9.68 walleye that barely got nudged out of the top three. Their set-up included renosky stick baits on lead core.
Remember that this is a two day event. Today, Group A departs at 8 a.m. and must return by 3 p.m. while Group B gets the early start at 7 a.m. and must return by 2 p.m. The teams that post the top 10 heaviest weights for two days total will walk away with the prize money.
About twelve pounds separate the 40th place team from the top team and a lot can happen in one day. This event should be close.
The awards will be announced on Sunday after the results are tabulated. The public is invited to watch the group send-off both at 7 and 8 a.m. The weigh-ins will take place around 1:30 p.m. until the final boat enters by 3 p.m. You are invited! The results will be published in Monday's edition of the OBSERVER.
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 Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY will host its Catch & Release Kids Fishing Derby on July 21 at the Tift Nature Preserve, Fuhrman Boulevard, in Buffalo, for children aged 15 years and younger. Signups are at 7:30 a.m., with the last weigh-in at 11. Free hot dogs and goodies from 11 a.m. until noon will be available, and coffee juice, milk and donuts from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Awards will be presented at noon and all participants are asked to bring their own fishing gear. Call 861-5687 for details or call 649- 8202.
The Lake Erie Chapter of the Federation of Fly Fishers will be having a Kids Fly Fishing course 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 675-4766 or 549-1977. Picnic cuisine and soda will be provided.
There will be a yellow perch fishing tournament at the North East Marina on Saturday, July 28. For details, go to www.nechamber.org or call (814) 725-4262.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.
OBSERVER Photos by Gene Pauszek
#8678 Art Wind (left) displays the heaviest walleye caught on Saturday, weighing 10.38 pounds. He nabbed the monster while fishing with John Schultz (right) and Capt. Don Ruppert.
#8681 Chuck, Casey, Ruth and Chuck Mohr, Team Lake Affect Sport Fishing, had the second heaviest fish of the tournament at 10.26 pounds and the second heaviest five-fish total at 42.06 pounds.
#8682 Team Torpedo Divers Fish Products, Kim and Jim Skoczylas and Jim and Diane Steel weighed in the heaviest five-fish total for Saturday at 42.58 pounds.