The 21st annual AMARA-CAN Walleye Classic is turning out to be a memorable event.
There were 13 teams that turned in a total of five walleye per team, tipping the scales to 40 pounds plus.
Five walleye is the maximum allowed per team per day in this two day event, but a lot of teams commented that they caught a lot more than five on Saturday.
OBSERVER?Photo by Gene Pauszek
Pictured are members of Team 28 displaying their catch, including a 9-90-pound fish on Saturday, during the AMARA-CAN?Walleye Classic. The members of the team are, from left, Tim Gaul, Gary and Nick Schmitt.
OBSERVER Photos by Gene Pauszek
Pictured above, at left, from left, are: Mike Munson holding Brock Munson, Don Skellie and his daughter Karlie and Ed Nalepa Jr., as they display 42.12 pounds of walleye. Pictured above, at right, are members of Team 93 displaying the heaviest group of walleye from day one of the AMARA-CAN?Walleye Classic. Members of the team, from left, are: Dave Beres, captain Rick Kacmarski and Scott Spier display the Day 1 heaviest group of fish including two 10 pounders.
OBSERVER?Photo by Gene Pauszek
Pictured from left to right, are: Greg Stoos and Ken Jones from Team 2, which was led by captain Roger Vorhees. The pair are displaying the second-heaviest stringer of walleye, including a 9.88-pound fish, which is being held by Jones, who played guard for the Buffalo Bills from 1976 to 1986.
Not everyone caught five or more as two teams did not weigh-in any fish. One young angler was a bit surprized when Bob Zoeller, the New York Walleye Association president, commented that he loved him when he weighed in his lone walleye that weighed about 4 pounds. Zoeller explained that after weighing in about 340 walleye, which averaged six pounds or more, that "eater-sized walleye" was a much-appreciated relief.
With the deadlines for the two shift start times of 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. concluding at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., the anglers patiently waited their turn. At the end of day one, some familiar names were in the lead.
Team 93, led by captain Rick Kaczmarski, took a commanding lead with a total of 45.58 pounds complimented by the heaviest fish of the day weighing in at 10.44 pounds.
Note that Team 93 also weighed in a second 10-pound plus fish, but the rules state that a team can only win one Big Fish of the Day prize per day.
The second spot was claimed by Team 29 captained by Roger Vorhees, weighing in 42.94 pounds. Team 29 also won a big fish prize with a 9.88 pound entry that took third place.
Team 32 captain Robert VanDette weighed in 42.64 pounds and Team 30, led by Don Skellie, weighed in 42.12 pounds.
Team 16 captain Scott Addison totaled 42 pounds and last year's AMARA-CAN winner Don Ruppert weighed in 41.66 pounds.
Team 27 captain Don Bognar weighed in 41.52 while Team 15 captain Dennis Pillard weighed 41.18.
Team 28 captain Nick Schmitt weighed in 41.16 pounds including the second-heaviest walleye of the day weighing in at 9.90 pounds.
Team 2, led by Jim Bromstead, weighed in 40.84 pounds. Three other teams weighed in 40 pounds of fish, including Team 11's Chuck Stone, Team 20's Bob Rustowicz and Team 91's Joe Jemiolo.
This is a two day event and all too often first day leaders struggle to find five heavy fish the next day.
There are 32 other teams that weighed in over 35 pounds of fish on Saturday so this event is not over by any means.
Today the flights reverse the start times with the Saturday 8 a.m. starters leaving at 7 a.m. and the 7 a.m. Saturday starters leaving at 8 a.m.
However, the return times are shortened by two hours, returning by 2 and 3 p.m. Note that the teams must pick up their assigned numbered "Pucks" before departing and be inside the harbor area by the deadline. You must also surrender your puck before weighing in your fish.
The weather forecast for Sunday could provide a "walleye chop" with some wind and possible thunderstorms rolling in. New York Walleye has a dugout at the Clarion pavilion located off Route 5 with food, beverages, apparel and raffles available. The public is invited to attend the festivities. The results of the tournament will be featured in Monday's OBSERVER.
Upcoming Lake Erie fishing tournaments include:
The Sunset Bay Shoot Out Big Fish Friday is July 25 and the main event is Saturday, July 26. This event is sold out. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Derby is a three-day event that is also sold out. The event is Aug. 1-3. Contact information is available by calling 640-2776.
The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host 3-D archery shoots on July 13, Aug. 24 and Sept. 14. They will also host a 200-yard gun shoot on Sept. 21. New members are welcome and the club's monthly meetings are on the first Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. They start the meeting off with a hot meal, so come hungry.
The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be hosting their Youth Day event called JAKES Day, on Saturday, July 19 at the Westfield Fish & Game Club located on Ogden Road in Westfield. During JAKES Day, sign in starts at 9 a.m. and the groups will visit various learning stations located at the Westfield Fish & Game Club located on Ogden Road in Westfield. Youngsters must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and there is a $10 fee, which will cover their membership in the NWTF, the cost of a T -shirt, lunch for the kids and guardians as well as turkey box calls and other goodies. Attendees are urged to pre-register by calling Bob and Judi Turk at 934-4538. Same day sign in is available, however you are encouraged to pre-register. The Longbeards are also looking for volunteers to dispense food, and general assistance.
There will be a Pistol Course on Aug. 16 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Note that the price for attending these courses is now set by the county, and is now $75. Pre-sign for the course by calling Gary at 366-3397
If your club is hosting a shooting event or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar. I also am available to take photos and hear your success stories by calling 366-1772 or 467-2079.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.