First Time is the Charm for Fall LOC Grand Prize Winner
By Bill Hilts, Jr.
Fredrick “Rick” Dedrick of Cairo, NY finally went fishing on Lake Ontario after being prompted by a co-worker, 22 year fishing veteran of Lake Ontario Brian Lacko of Westerlo. On opening weekend of the Lake Ontario Counties Derby, the GSK employee managed to hook into his first salmon ever on his first fishing trip and competing in his first derby. Forty-five minutes later they netted a 36 pound, 8 ounce salmon out of Mexico Bay – a fish that held up in the 18 day derby to win the $25,100 Grand Prize. The derby was held August 16 – September 2, 2013.
“We were trolling a custom Spin Doctor flasher named the “Flyin’ Brian” that Lacko taped up with a UV190 A-Tom-Mik fly in 280 feet of water off Mexico,” said Dedrick at the Awards Ceremony held at Captain Jack’s in Sodus Point on Labor Day. “We had 500 feet of copper line out when the fish hit at 8:30 a.m. It ended up taking out over 1,300 feet of line before we had to turn the boat around and chase it down. I could see the spool of the reel!” Dedrick is no stranger to fishing, spending most of his time on the Hudson River chasing striped bass. When asked how the two fish compare, he said: “There was no comparison to catching a salmon – stripers don’t fight anything like that!”
The two GSK employees planned to split the winning cash. Lacko was thinking about a new boat; Dedrick wanted to get his fish mounted, but the rest would probably be “decided by my wife.” They were fishing out of Lacko’s 23-foot Trophy named “Total Chaos.” After the big win, though, he was having second thoughts about selling it.
First place in the Salmon Division was Lena-Jean Poulin of New Hampton, New Hampshire, catching a 35 pound, 15 ounce salmon on her 50th birthday the final weekend of the contest. She earned a check for $5,000 for her Oswego-based fish. Fishing with her husband Roland and their chocolate lab M&M, they were trolling 300 feet of copper line over 120 feet of water when the fish hit at 7:30 a.m. on August 30.
“It took me 45 minutes to bring the fish to the boat, in part because our boat was hampered with a broken lower unit,” said Poulin. “We had to use our 8 horse Honda kicker motor to try and control the boat.” The first thing they plan to use the money for is to fix the lower unit. They were fishing out of their 21.5 foot Sea Swirl Striper named Wood-N-Water. They’ve been fishing the fall derby for ten years, placing three previous times but never winning a division.
Second place in the Salmon Division was David Tylenda of Sandy Pond, NY with a 35 pound, 8 ounce king that he reeled in the final morning of the derby. Fishing out of the boat of Angelo Petitto of Sandy Pond aboard his 27-foot Sportcraft Fisherman named “Golden Dream,” Tylenda reeled in his biggest king ever in 130 feet of water off Nine Mile Point using a Spin Doctor and A-Tom-Mik fly 95 feet down. He brought the fish in to the boat in just 10 minutes. They’ve been fishing derbies since the old ESLO days.
Top youth angler in the fall contest for salmon was Ronald Wincek of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania with a 31 pound 5 ounce king out of Port Ontario. He was fishing aboard “Moose Moss.” Twentieth place in the Salmon Division was 32 pounds, 11 ounces.
In the Rainbow/steelhead Division, Scott Brownell of Penfield hauled in an 18 pound, 11 ounce fish to win a check for $2,500 while fishing out of Irondequoit Bay. Fishing the last Saturday of the derby with his angling partner Rick Messner of Penfield out of his 230 Sportcraft named the Nancy B II, Brownell decided to stay in 60-80 feet of water when everyone else ran out deep to seek out fish. Using a Slide Diver 160-feet back on a No. 3 setting over 75 feet of water, they hit the big steelie on an E-Chip Flasher and fly. It took them 15 minutes to bring in the winning fish. Brownell has won first place before, taking both the salmon and brown trout categories previously.
Second place in the Rainbow/Steelhead grouping was Mary Ellen Fosbrink of Delmont, Pennsylvania, with a 14 pound, 7 ounce steelhead. She was fishing east of Olcott Beach with her fishing pal Frank Yantos of Delmont, PA 70 feet down over 213 feet of water with a black-raspberry Northern King spoon on the rigger. At the head of the spoon they placed an E-chip, which seemed to do the trick. They were fishing out of Yantos’ 28-foot homemade pontoon boat, a key component to the “Wander Fishing Team.”
Top youth angler for the Rainbow/Steelhead Division was Ashton Mickatavage of Ashton, Pennsylvania with a 14 pound, 4 ounce fish that he caught the first day of the derby off Wayne County. He was fishing with his uncle, Brian Mickatavage of Ashton, PA on his 23-foot Rankin named “Subject to Change.” His fish placed fourth overall.
Top brown trout was the 17 pound, 13 ounce fish that was reeled in by Larry Goehring of Spraggs, Pennsylvania while fishing east of Olcott in 72 feet of water. He was fishing with his wife Mariann aboard their 28-foot Baha named “Wizzard” when the big brown hit a Dalmation Northern King spoon – the second biggest brown of his life. He’s getting this one mounted. Goehring was the poster child for getting in any derby that’s available when he’s fishing on the lake. Not only did he win the Grand Prize in the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey with the brown, he also won the weekly port prize in the trout division at Olcott – winning nearly $6,000 when it was all said and done. Not bad.
Second place in the Brown Trout Division was Keely Pinkelman of Toledo, Ohio with a 17 pound, 8 ounce brown caught aboard “At Last” with Capt. Mike Lis of Wilson. Also on board was Keely father, Bob, brother Rob and Bob Schira, all of Toledo. They were trolling in 65 feet of water in front of Wilson with a white E-Chip Flasher and a Pro-Am A-Tom-Mik fly when the big brownie hit – the largest brown that Keely has ever caught. It was also her first brown trout. “I had so much fun that I will be back next year for sure,” said Keely at the Awards Ceremony.
Top youth brown trout was a 12 pound 14 ounce fish reeled in by Luke Sattizahn of Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania while fishing out of Port Ontario aboard “Angie Lynn.”
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.”