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Story 2006 Junior Tournament

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 10 years, 8 months ago

St Lawrence Junior Tournament 2006

 

When August 21st to 24th, 2006
Where St Lawrence river, Waddington
Who Jerome, Alexis and many more

 


Before the tournament 

 

Took me a couple of days to recover... My mind is still out there... Yup, after a couple of failed attempts, I finally made it to the Jr tournament, and man, am I pleased that I did it!

 

I went there with my son Alexis, who was initially more interested in getting an autograph with Tom "Malfoy" Felton than fishing, but he ended up catching a 21 pounder during the tournament, quite a few carp the day after, and teaching carp angling to other kids.

 

Thanks to Mike Dragone and his son Gaeton, we quickly were onto fish on Thursday morning, and the Dragones took great care of Alexis during the tournament while I was marshalling other areas. Many thanks, sir! 

 

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Anyway, back to the first day. We registered mid-afternoon and were lucky enough to get *THE* autograph, and even a couple of pics with Tom Felton. He's really a gracious guy, this must be very demanding to smile and chat with everybody, to be photographed 10,000 times, etc. Tom was quite amused to learn that we carp-fish on Jan 1st in the US because (check his bio on the Internet!), he thought he was the only crazy guy doing it!

 

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After a few speeches, Scott -as the honorary grand marshall- officially opened the event!

 

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First of all, the juniors had to be fed! Many sandwiches were waiting for them, and you know how kids can eat! Then we moved to the two hours of carp school. This was quite improvised, but I think it went ok. My son assisted me in the teaching process, among other things, we had this idea of making the participants play a "fish", practicing the pumping/reeling technique and the fish was... my son pulling on the line! Was fun! We brought the kids to the bank after a while, and I had to leave because of a marshall meeting. When I came back, my son was soaked... Huh? Whay happened? He felt in charge after I left, and the fool had jumped in the water to go untangle a rig which was stuck under a rock... (*please* don't tell the story to his mom!).

 

Afterwards, super Angela took care of animating a noisy dancing party in the civic center until 9PM. Well, I tell you, the kids loved it! I still can't understand how she found the energy to do it, but on fire she was! And multiple gifts were given at the end of the party for all those new anglers...

 

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Tournament - Day 1

 
Back to marshalling and the tourney itself. First day was Cole's creek. When I arrived early in the morning, fish were crashing all over the place. I was lucky enough to be assisted by cool local marshalls to deal with a great collection of kids, most of them reasonably experienced with fishing. One of them (Jason) did incredibly well and ended up with the best total-weight in his category, and second for the top-4. He kept catching for the entire day, while most of the other participants caught a fish or two. Here is a 27 pounder Jason caught.

 

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Just two stories among others on day 1. First, a mother and her daughter who fished together, and guess who was the lucky beginner who kept catching fish? Mom! At the end of the tournament, they came to see me and yes, the daughter (who was obviously much more experienced) did catch a fish in the last couple of hours, and she was finally smiling!

 

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And then this tiny kid who was watching Jason land fish after a fish while he wasn't getting anything... Around 5PM, I tried to wake up everybody, spodded everywhere, made everybody check their rigs and recast, and this paid off with this little kid who caught his very first fish, no less than a 20 pounder. He didn't say much, but he had such a grin on his face! (except that I don't have a pic of this one, grrr)

 

A few more catches... I have plenty more pics...

 

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Day 1 was really exhausting. I spodded like crazy, kept going back & forth, helping people to cast far away, landed fish, weighing fish, worked my ass off from 5AM to 9PM. And I was so excited that I didn't sleep much during the night...

 

Tournament - Day 2

 

Day 2 in the morning was quite different. First off, I was a complete zombie... Luckily enough, I was no longer the lead marshall, but just there to assist Ed and Fran in their respective sections. Fran's section was basically dead, but I marveled at the patience he displayed helping and teaching various techniques to kids who were obviously true beginners. Nicely done, sir.

 

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So I focused more on helping on Ed's section, where there was quite good action. And a great cheerleader, master Rob Nappi himself. Well, first time I met the guy on the bank, and believe it or not, he's really such a sweetie. He had a big group of somewhat challenged kids with him, and he worked so hard for them. At the end of the day, each of them had caught at least one nice fish (and Rob himself had landed a good number of fish as well), keeping Ed and his dad constantly busy with netting and weighing fish. Rob, you really impressed me here, big kudos.

 

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Oh, and two phone calls made my day! Mike had caught a 32-something at Ogdensburg (turned out to be the biggie of the tournament). And then Alexis caught his first twenty at the same location, a nice 20-12lb fish, by far his personal best. Here is a nice pic of Alexis' new PB, courtesy of Mike.

 
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Before the lunch break, I was still in a coma. Fran dryly commented that I was an accident waiting to happen, and he was quite right... I found a way to bump my car on one of the rusted grills, darn. So the mid-day break was really welcome, including a good nap!

 

Ed assigned me to go help another section (Brandy's brook, I believe) where 6 participants were struggling a bit. Now that I had more energy, inspired by Rob Nappi's work, I took them one per one, used various strong dips, checked rigs, and YES, 20 minutes later, a kid caught a nice one. He was quite pleased since he had lost two in the morning... And his grandfather, who acted as marshall as well was ecstatic! I didn't stay long since Ed called me with a request to move to a third area, but I've heard afterwards that they had a couple of other nice fish at Brandy, and the same kid caught a 20+, cool.

 

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So I moved to Sucker brook where the marshall (Krys) needed support. So back to the "let's shake it and let's dip it" approach, and soon enough, the kid at the first peg caught a nice 20 pounder, his first fish of the tourney. I had to wade in the water to get the line out of a tree, but the fish was secured. The kid was bouncing!

 

Our attention quickly got distracted by another junior who landed a 32 pounder with Krys' expert assistance. That was a massive fish. And the kid was 4 feet tall... Scott arrived just at this time (big fish must follow him! or the reverse way around?), and all 3 marshalls were competing to be on a pic with the happy kid and his monster catch!  It turned out to be the 2nd biggest fish of the tournament, and the biggest caught by a junior.

 

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The event was scheduled to end at 5PM, and guess what happened at 4:55PM? The magic dip worked again (tutti-frutti) and another junior was on his first fish of the tourney. I can't even begin to explain how exhilarating it is to see that happen...

 

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So everybody slowly made it back to the civic center, checked the results (Charlotte Saunders' name was all over the place!), swapped stories, and waited for the official announcements.

 

Many kids (and a few adults) got rewarded, I didn't memorize the list of names, but they are on the Chamber of Commerce Web site.

 

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And even more winners...

 

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CAG had sponsored a dozen promotional memberships, this made for a good pic! And a great thank you note to CAG from the Chamber of Commerce rep (Karen). You're welcome!

 

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Ed's protege (who helps at his store) won the big money with the highest top-4, well done, Jared! He didn't quite make the $10,000, but he was close, with a 91lb total (100lb+ was required). He still made $4500, not bad...

 

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While Ed was generously paying drinks to many people, Mike and I focused on our kids, and came to the apartment for a poker game. That was intense! Alexis was quickly eliminated, but Mike was kind enough to give him his seat & chips. Gaeton was the lucky b*&^%, but patience and some occasional bluff finally helped me to get rid of him (and Alexis), and show those 2 young brats how this is done! tongue.gif

 

After the tournament

 

The day after... Mike, Gaeton, Alexis and myself came back to Whiteaker and caught like crazy... We lost count, but I'd say something like 50 landed and 30 missed... Mike has all the pics, my battery was dead by then! We got a couple of 20s at the end of the day, the big fish were in Ogdensburg (where Sarah Stevens caught her new PB and first 30 pounder), but we had plenty more in Waddington! Here are Gate and Alexis with a nice brace, very amused to make the fish kiss!
 
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Conclusion

 

Overall, I've seen fantastic dedication from the local organizers (Ellen, Kathy, Terry, Ed and the others), terrific help from the marshalls (a good number of CAG marshalls, nice!), but most of all, I was so impressed by how hard the kids worked at catching a fish. I didn't see anybody complaining or misbehaving, everybody was so focused on catching a fish, and so gracious even when they didn't succeed.

 

I believe this is actually a great testimony to the organizers & helpers that, probably without even thinking about it, they created this friendly & supportive atmosphere where everybody had fun together and had a fantastic time. Oh... and Alexis begged me to go back next year. And this time, I don't think this is only because of Tom Felton!

 

Overall... Three fantastic days spent out there. What a blast it was!  

 

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