2013 LOC Derby Dates
Summer June 15th - July 28th
Fall August 16th - Sept 2nd
2014 Derby Dates
Spring May 2nd to 11th
Michigan Angler Tops Spring LOC Derby with 30 Pound King
Patrick Beckman, a retail store owner from Traverse City, MI, kicked off the 2013 Lake Ontario Counties derby season with a 29 pound, 11 ounce Niagara County king salmon to win the $15,000 Grand Prize. The derby was held May 3-12, 2013 on Lake Ontario and this year the weather was a bit more enjoyable.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever fished the LOC Derby before and we’ve already made plans to come back in 2014,” said Beckman at the Awards Ceremony held at Captain Jack’s in Sodus Point. Beckman, a member of the “Flat Out Fishing Team,” was joined by fellow anglers Steve Robbins of Traverse City, MI and Dave Baker of Pinkley, MI. “We were trolling between Wilson and the Niagara Bar in our 23-foot Wellcraft named ‘Fishin’ Fools’ when the fish hit on Friday morning between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. It took us about 15 minutes to bring the fish in.”
Trolling in 130 feet of water, the crew was pulling a 10-inch Spin Doctor and cut bait when the money fish hit. Using the new Traxtech downriggers, they had the unit set in a jigging motion that fluctuated between 91 and 100 feet down. The fish hit as it started to move up. The interesting part was that they actually had two other salmon on the board and all three fish were caught at the exact same coordinates on the exact same rig. “It’s the biggest king that I’ve ever caught,” said Beckman, who fishes the Lake Michigan tournament circuit seriously. “We’ll be back!”
First place in the Salmon Division, and Grand Prize leader for six days, was Justin Monin of Lewiston with a 27 pound, 10 ounce king salmon. He was fishing with Dave Scipione of Lewiston aboard his 2025 Lund named “Scipione Catering” in front of Four Mile Creek. Fishing in 100 feet of water and pulling a wire dipsy with a white Pro Troll flasher and a white A-Tom-Mik fly 232 feet back on a No. 3 setting, they hit the $1,000 fish.
“It’s a miracle we ever boated the fish,” said Monin, who’s been fishing the derbies for seven years. “The fish took a couple of long runs and almost ran into another boat. It was also a comedy of errors with the netting, too, so I guess it was just meant to be.”
Second place salmon was reeled in by Jerry McDermott of Jermyn, PA with a 27 pound, five ounce king. “We were pre-fishing a tournament and didn’t realize the fish was that big,” said McDermott. “It was in our cooler all day before we weighed in.” Fishing out of the 33-foot Wells Coaster “Screamer” boat, they were using a flasher and A-Tom-Mik fly on a wire diver set at No. 3. It was 150 feet back over 140 feet of water between Wilson and the Niagara Bar.
A total of 18 king salmon out of the top 21 were caught off Niagara County waters. A total of five different states were represented in the Salmon Division; seven for the complete leaderboard.
In the Lake Trout Division, Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown set the pace with a 27 pound, 13 ounce fish he caught on the Niagara Bar. “It was my personal best for me on my boat and it came at a good time,” said Yablonsky. He was fishing in 30 feet of water, power trolling a black and silver deep diving/jointed Challenger stickbait out of his 21-foot Lund Baron named “Wet Net.” He was fishing with his girlfriend, Christine Hunter of Cheektowaga.
Second place in the Division was a 26 pound, five ounce fish reeled in by Jeff Beers of Akron. He was fishing west of Point Breeze with Jim Way of Medina, using a copper wire set-up outfitted with a Spin Doctor and fly. It was the biggest lake trout he’s ever caught. How far west would determine whether 18 or 19 of the top 20 lake trout were caught off Niagara County waters.
It was a different story in the Brown Trout Division. It looked like it was going to be a 1-2-3 sweep out of Henderson Harbor until Jeffery Kurtz of Hilton teamed up with Capt. John Arena of Rochester on the final day of the derby. Trolling out of a Ten Meter Trojan International named “Reel ‘em In” in three to four foot seas, they headed out of the Genesee River to the best color they could find in 10-15 feet of water. Using planer boards, they put out orange colored Brad’s Killer Lures, a stickbait that’s been working well for them. Their leads were 60 to 80 feet back. It was around 8 a.m. when the 16 pound, eight ounce fish hit. It was the biggest brown of Kurtz’s life, fishing the derbies for many years.
Second, third and fourth place brown trout all came from one boat, with two coming within two hours of one another. The team of Peter Priest of Watertown, Don Jerry of Henderson and Robert Shelmidine of Pulaski (left to right below) were trolling out of Henderson Harbor aboard Jerry’s 26-foot Thompson named “XPLO.” All derby veterans, they caught all of their bigger fish while staying away from the other boats and moving out to deeper water around 20 foot.
“We caught the fish on Michigan Stinger spoons in black and silver,” said Priest, “using downriggers and boards. The riggers were set 10 feet down with leads of 75 to 90 feet back. The boards had 150-foot leads. We caught a lot of fish.”
The leaderboard was dominated by the Eastern Basin of the lake, with Henderson Harbor and Oswego area ports weighing in 12 of the top fish. Rochester also weighed in four winners.
In the Rainbow/Steelhead Division, Donna D’Ortona of Manchester showed the male contingent up with a 14 pound, six ounce fish she reeled in while fishing northeast of Hughes Marina in Wayne County waters. She was fishing with her son, Cody Bruce of Newark and owner of the boat – a 15-foot 1977 MFG called “The Bobber.” It was the first time that either one ever fished in the derby.
“We were using a natural alewife Stinger spoon 40 feet down over 160 feet of water when the fish hit,” said D’Ortona, a full-time electrician. “It was the largest steelhead I’ve ever caught and it took about 20 minutes to bring in. Next time it will be the biggest salmon!”
Second place Steelhead was caught by Andy Bliss of Oswego, a member of the Cold Steel Fishing Team out of Altmar. They were fishing 40-feet down on a free slider in 270 feet of water off Wilson when the 11 pound, two ounce fish hit their Stinger spoon. “It hit the free slider which was about 20 feet down and I just started reeling,” said Bliss. “We had it in the boat in just 15 seconds – I think we were as surprised as the fish!” There were only seven fish on the final leaderboard, spread from Youngstown to Mexico Bay.
Top fish in the Walleye Division was a 12 pound, two ounce fish reeled in by Paul Farmer of Dexter. He was fishing with his brother Richard, also of Dexter, and time was short. “We had to get our fishing in before Richard went to work and when I had to watch my daughter,” said Farmer, who placed second last year in his first derby. They were trolling in their 19-foot Lund Pro-V with a gold-colored Husky Jerk in 32 feet of water off planer boards 110 feet back when the fish hit. They didn’t even have time to weigh it in, keeping it in the cooler to weigh it in at lunch break.
Second place walleye was reeled in by Richard Redsicker of Macedon, an 11 pound, seven ounce fish that was caught on a Reef Runner lure. It led the derby until Farmer’s catch on Tuesday. A total of 13 walleye came from the eastern end of the lake, split between Henderson Harbor and Oswego. Point Breeze was responsible for three fish, as was the Ontario/Sodus area.
Top youth winners for the spring contest were: Jacob Mowry of Schellsburg, PA with a 21 pound, 12 ounce Olcott king; Connor Leous of Wolcott with an 18 pound 10 ounce lake trout out of Sodus Point; Andrew Ader of Califor, NJ with a 12 pound, 10 ounce brown trout caught out of Oswego with Cold Steel Charters; and Hunter Peschler of Pulaski with an eight pound, six ounce walleye caught out of his home port aboard the “Fish Magnet.”