The 27th Annual Skip Hartman Memorial Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament was held June 4-5 out of Olcott and Wilson in Niagara USA and fishing was absolutely incredible. What normally is a transition time of year resulted in the largest catch ever seen in a Niagara USA two-day event. Spring fishing has finally arrived … just in time for summer!
Yvan Charrois of Port Colborne, Ontario and the Get It Wet fishing team, who fishes Lake Ontario out of St. Catharines, was in the perfect position after the first day. Sitting in fourth place after the first day’s massive catch, they knew what they had to do on the second day to win the event.
“We fished off the Niagara Bar area, an area we’ve been fishing all spring,” said Charrois at the Awards Ceremony in Krull Park, Olcott. “With the tremendous numbers of limit catches coming to the scales, we decided to focus on bigger king salmon by sticking strictly with spin doctors and flies in deeper water. All of our fish came 80 to 120 feet down. That made the difference.” The tournament is restricted to New York waters.
On the second day, the Get It Wet crew boated all king salmon ranging in size from five to 25 pounds, giving them a day two score of 271.90 points based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound for the 12 fish tournament Pro limit each day. Their two day total of 534.86 points was enough to win the $10,000 prize for first place in the Professional Division. Runnerup was Hi Voltage, a Rochester team led by Capt. Mark DeSantis with 518.35 points. Third place was Wilson’s Lone Wolf squad led by Capt. Dan Evans with 515.98 points. Evans was the first day leader with 275.76 points, a position that seems to carry a bit of a jinx with it.
“It was an incredible weekend for fishing,” said Charrois. “The competition was intense. I’m glad we won!” For the weekend, 1,714 fish came to the scales, weighing in an unbelievable 13,607.43 pounds! It was a record catch for the 27th Annual Skip Hartman Memorial Tournament – the opening act for the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament Series each year. What a fishing feat!
In the Amateur Division, it was Philip Marsh and the Prizefighter Fishing Team who took first place honors in the tournament held June 4 and 5, 2011 in Olcott and Wilson. “This is our first time fishing in Niagara,” said Marsh.
The Niagara fishing was nothing short of spectacular and the Prizefighter team was right in the middle of the phenomenal catches. “We boxed-out by 7:15 a.m. the first day of the tournament.” The official starting time for amateur teams is 5:30 a.m., and a full box of salmon is nine fish. If you are working numbers, that’s a salmon every 12 minutes.
Marsh, who was fishing with father Perry, and friends Randy Lattin, and Marty Brown, set-up in 150 feet of water straight out from Wilson Harbor. “Our program for day one was a mix of spoons and flasher /flies,” the winner said. “We like Dreamweaver and Moonshine spoons.”
Day two was a different program for the Berkshire, NY team. “To win the Pro-Am I know you have to box-out,” Marsh said. “We had our limit on day one, so we needed to locate bigger fish – and get a nine fish limit.”
The Prizefighter Team headed to 200 feet of water. “We have been fishing in Niagara County since April, and we knew the larger fish would be deeper,” Marsh said. Once again the kings were hitting with a vengeance, and the anglers took seven fish by 7a.m.
“We were looking for larger fish,” Marsh said, “so we headed to 450 feet of water. We were 12 miles out from Wilson. The last two salmon were 40 feet down and hit the Moonshine spoon.” The amateur winners used a dipsy/downrigger program. “We also had the copper out 500 feet,” Marsh said.
Marsh had plenty of praise for his angling partners. “This is a solid team,” he said. “We never dropped a fish.” They ended up with 368 points, just three points ahead of runnerup Underdog led by Brian Sullivan of Lockport. Marsh won a prize package valued at $3,300. Day one leader was Cold Water Affair led by Jeff Zimmer of Marion, NY with 194.20 points. They ended up in third overall.
Next up on the tournament circuit is Orleans County June 11-12.
1. Prize Fighter – Phillip Marsh, Berkshire – 368 points ($3,300 prize package)
2. Underdog – Brian Sullivan, Lockport – 364.93 points ($2,170 prize package)
3. Coldwater Affair – Jeff Zimmer, Marion – 361.61 points ($1,420 prize package)
4. Reel Scream – Frank Schmidhamer, Beaver Falls, PA – 351.97 points ($1,320 prize pkg.)
5. Leviathan – Marlo Beis, Grand Island – 339.74 points ($1,270 prize package)
6. Hannah Christine – Howard Nola, West Seneca – 332.62 points ($770 prize package)
7. Lucky Enuff – Jeff Jackson, Erie, PA – 329.70 points ($770 prize package)
Big Fish – Spoonfed – Glen Gervais, W. Springfield, MA – 29.85 pound king salmon ($350 prize from Sigg’s Rigs and Northern King Spoons)
Comeback Award – Gill-T Hooker – Chad Kahler, W. Seneca – (12 Pound weight)
1. Get It Wet – Yvan Charrois, Port Colborne, Ontario – 534.86 points ($10,000)
2. Hi Voltage – Mark DeSantis, Rochester – 518.35 points ($4,500)
3. Lone Wolf/Flat Out – Dan Evans, Wilson – 515.98 points ($3,500)
4. Big Fatty – Al Bodulus, Athens, PA – 502.62 points ($2,500)
5. Yankee Troller – Richard Hajecki, Rochester – 496.77 points ($2,250)
6. Screamer – Dave Antenori, Clarks Summit, PA – 493.48 points ($2,000)
7. Billy V – Bill Ruth, Ithaca – 492.98 points ($2,000)
8. Ace Charters – Jimmy Samia, North Adams, MA – 491.74 points ($2,000)+
9. Reel Excitement – Bob Songin, Rochester – 486.42 points ($2,000)
10. At Last – Mike Lis, Newfane – 484.88 points ($2,000)
11. Free Spirit – Paul Czarnecki, Waterford, PA 483.72 points ($1,000)
12. Vision Quest – Pete Alex, Erie, PA – 481.44 points ($1,000)
13. Oh-Baby – Matthew LeClair, Plattsburgh – 477.21 points ($1,000)
14. Cold Steel – Tom Burke, Altmar – 476.58 points ($1,000)
15. Thrillseeker – Vince Pierleoni, Newfane – 475.23 points ($1,000)
Big Fish – Hideout – 26.66 pound king salmon (Twin Village Recycling award – $250)
Comeback Award – Landing Zone (15 Pound Shark Downrigger Weight)
Trouble Hook, Pole Position win Recreational Open –
The Recreational Open Division of the Niagara County Pro-Am Tournament, held June 4 and 5 on separate days, had three winners each day. On Saturday, June 4, Mike Stablewski, Sr. of Lancaster with the Pole Position team won with a score of 82.25 points (based on a team’s three best fish – 10 points per fish and a point per pound). Second place was Ron Slaby of Wilson with his Get Bent team with 76.56 points. Amazingly, the two teams tied for first place in the big fish category with a 20.28 pound king salmon. Third place was John Baris of Fairport with Team Lund and a score of 75.26 points.
On Sunday June 5, Joshua Held of Wilson with the Trouble Hook team won with a score of 74.62 points. Second place was Slaby’s Get Bent team with 72.42 points. They also had big fish, a 17.55 pound king salmon. Third place was Team Lund once again, this time with a score of 52.42 points.