Above Photo: Assemblyman John Ceretto of Lewiston (right) presents the $2,500 check to Jim Janese of Youngstown at the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby awards ceremony in Newfane.
Charlie the Chimp Fishing
The 36th Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby went off without a hitch as participants enjoyed fair weather and some great fishing for the nine day event held August 18-26, 2012. Once again, some very impressive catches came through in each of the six fish categories, proving that the Grand Prize Classic Challenge Draw really is a good idea. At the awards ceremony held at the Town of Newfane Community Center, all six first place winners were placed into a hat to draw for the $2,500 Grand Prize and this year’s winner was Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown, operator of Wet Net Charters.
Yablonsky, who held the lead in the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Fall Derby with the same fish until the final day of the Oydssey, weighed in a 26 pound, 11 ounce lake trout from the Niagara Bar to earn the right to compete in the special drawing.
“We’ve been fine-tuning our presentation for lake trout for years and what we are doing now seems to be producing some bigger fish,” said Yablonsky at the awards ceremony. “We were fishing in 100 feet of water near the bottom with Northern King Lake Troll cowbell attractors followed by a green banana-style bait. It was the biggest lake trout that I’ve ever reeled in personally, although bigger fish have been caught out of my boat.” It came at a perfect time.
As a result of Yablonsky’s win, everyone in the lake trout category moved up one slot and first place in the division was Herb Yablonsky of Elizabeth, PA – Matt’s dad. He weighed in a 20 pound, eight ounce laker, also from the Bar in the same general area around the red buoy marker at the drop off.
Top Salmon for the derby was Marlowe Beis of Grand Island. Not only did he win the $500 first place prize for his 29 pound, two ounce fish, he also collected a $500 prize for reeling in the largest salmon caught by a Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association member. The witness, Ed Kopra, also collected $200. It was a tight race with only four ounces separating first and third places. There were also daily cash prizes for the largest salmon caught each day in the tournament.
In the Rainbow/Brown Trout Division, David Ward of Lebanon, Ohio was fishing with Capt. Bob Cinelli of Newfane in front of Olcott - fishing for salmon with flasher and fly when a big brown trout hit their offering. It weighed in at The Boat Doctors at 16 pounds, eight ounces to win the category.
There was quite a battle going on in the Smallmouth Bass Division, too. Two fishing partners – Mike McGrath and Brendan Walsh, both of Niagara Falls – both had six pound-plus bass on the board until the final day. Enter Kathleen Muir of North Tonawanda, a previous Grand Prize winner in the category. On the final day of the Odyssey, while fishing with her husband Dave on Lake Erie around Seneca Shoal, she managed to haul in the biggest bass of her life – a six pound, 14 ounce bronzeback. She caught it on a large four-inch shiner.
For the Carp Division, Jason Long of Batavia set the pace with a 27 pound, eight ounce fish he caught on a tiger nut in the Oak Orchard River. He was fishing during the day with his normal carp program.
In the Walleye Division, there was another battle going on as the top four fish were all over 10 pounds. In the end, it was Jim Janese of Youngstown ending up on top with a 10 pound 10 ounce ‘eye that he caught with a worm harness on the Niagara Bar. Janese was not only the 2011 Walleye Division winner, but he was also the 2011 Grand Prize winner.
A big part of the Fish Odyssey is the Youth Division. Giving the next generation the opportunity to compete for some friendly prizes and allow them to actually weigh a fish in was a thrill in and of itself. A friendly drawing for a Wal-Mart gift card for the Grand Prize youth at the ceremony was also held and Erin Brolinski of Lewiston won the prize by weighing in a four pound, one ounce smallmouth bass off the Lewiston Landing area. Other youth division winners were: Justin Spinelli of Wellsville with a 28 pound, 1 ounce salmon caught on the Niagara Bar; James Knoerdel of Georgetown, PA with an 11 pound, 11 ounce Olcott trout; Nick Ferrino of Buffalo weighing in a seven pound, five ounce walleye from Lake Erie; Travis and Summer Schurr of Buffalo sharing first and second places with 15 ounce panfish (perch) weighed the same day; and Ariel Mrzygut of Lewiston setting the pace in the Carp Division with a 19 pound, 15 ounce Reservoir fish. The young lady angler also won a special prize given out by Carmen and Christie Presti with The Primate Sanctuary – a new bike. Not bad for a free contest for kids ages 15 and under!
At the top of the list of sponsors was Twin Village Recycling, on board as the headliner. Other huge sponsors that helped to support the event were: Fox Fence; WTS of Lewiston (Waste Technology Services); TAM Ceramics; Sevenson Environmental; Scrufari Construction; The Primate Sanctuary; Niagara County Legislature; Newfane Business Association; Robert M. Cinelli, Inc.; Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.; LOTSA; Super Walmart – Niagara Falls; Triple S Sporting Supplies; Town of Newfane; Pure Fishing; the Committee to Re-Elect Angelo Morinello; and The Boat Doctors. Special mention must go out to Karen Evarts of The Boat Doctors who handled the website (www.fishodyssey.net), as well as the leaderboard for the derby. Next time you are in Olcott, stop in and thank her for all her efforts.
Tentative dates for the Fish Odyssey Derby next year are August 17-25, 2013. Be sure to mark your calendars! Many thanks to all who fished this year!!
TWIN VILLAGE RECYCLING
Sevenson Environmental Services
Scrufari Construction Company of Niagara Falls
Niagara County Legistlature
Committee to Re-Elect Angelo Morinello
Robert M. Cinelli Inc.
Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Derby
(Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon Association)
Niagara River Anglers Association
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp.
Triple S Sporting Supplies
Super Walmart of Niagara Falls
Buffalo Sabres Alumni
The Primate Sanctuary
The Boat Doctors
Creekside Bait & Tackle
Town of Newfane
Newfane Business Association
A-1 Bait Supply
5425 Grauer Road
Niagara Falls, NY
The Boat Doctors
Lake and Jackson Streets
Creek Road Bait and Tackle
4419 Creek Road
Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.
10 Rainbow Blvd.
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
(716) 282-8992 Ext. 303
2815 River Road
Captain’s Cove Resort
14339 Route 18
Jeddo Tackle, Route 104, Jeddo
Narby’s Superette and Tackle
1292 Oak Orchard Rd.
1764 Oak Orchard Rd.