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Story 2007 Junior Tournament

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 10 years, 2 months ago

St Lawrence Junior Tournament 2007


When August 16th to 21st, 2007
Where St Lawrence river, Waddington
Who The entire Moisand family!


Before the tournament


I enjoyed the Junior tournament so much last year that my wife and I decided that the entire family needed to come and participate to the show this year!


Before the event's grand opening, I went fishing with Valentin and Alexis and put them to work! We got thoroughly soaked by intermittent showers, struggled against heavy weeds, but Alexis finally landed our first fish.


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Then it was time to go to the Waddington Civic center, and figure out who I was going to mentor. Terry Fishlock had suggested that I'd take care of a small group of "special needs" kids. I had seen Rob Nappi do a very impressive job with his group last year, but I was a tad nervous about it...


Here is a pic of Terry with Ellen Nesbitt in their "bunker", where Ellen fields 10,000 last minute questions. Big big kudos to Ellen for her dedication, dealing with 180+ registrations, all the kids and their parents, this is an amazing job that she pulls off every year. 


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After the event's opening, the usual carp school helped making newcomers more comfortable with the gear, and then Angela (grand marshall this year) did a great job of making the kids (and some adults!) dance, dance and dance...


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Tournament - Day 1


I met with my group in the morning, and well, this was much easier that I thought, good contact was quickly established. Only trouble was that, try hard as we did, fish weren't biting in our area (inside bay of Whittaker Park). We got a single run, lost it, and that was it for the day...


So the kids practiced playing a big dummy fish (impersonated by myself!), watched a couple of fish being caught in a nearby swim, had a chat with Tom Felton who came to visit us (what a nice guy!), and the only fish of the day was a small catfish from one of our "groupies". Then the storm kicked in, with very impressive gusts of wind, and it was time to send everybody home for a rest.


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I learned in the evening that Mike Dragone found a way to catch a 32 pounder at Wheathouse Bay, which is quite amazing since he did exactly the same thing last year! Mike was kind enough to take care of my son Alexis who fished with Gate. Alexis got a monster run during the storm, but alas, lost the fish and 50+ yards of line!


Tournament - Day 2


Day2 was located at Wheathouse Bay, on the port's dock. When I arrived, the wind was blowing hard, but the spot looked real good. So I prebaited a bit, and waited for the kids to arrive, but they got lost in Ogdensburg and came in an hour late! This gave me time to meet with another challenged kid (Devin), who had a rod set up with 50lb mono and a gigantic hook! I had to send him (and his mother) to Walmart to go buy a more suitable line...


The kids finally set up, and the wait started. After two hours, the outcome looked a bit bleak, but yes, a screaming run woke us up, and Brendon was fighting against a very angry carp. We got a hell of a time to land it, but yes, here was a hefty 23 pounder! This was quickly followed by another big run for Joe, but no luck, this one broke the line (we had bad rocks in front of us). Tough. A few minutes later, Jeri was on and landed a mid-teen. And what a smile she had... Finally, Joe's mom (Valerie) skillfully landed a nice 21 pounder. Four runs in an hour, the morale had improved quite dramatically!


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During the lunch break, I baited a bit more, changed all the hooks, time flied, and the kids were already back. Oh wait, the entire families came in this time, having heard the exciting morning's news! The wind kept blowing hard, and we used the cars as shelters!


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No take for a little while, but then a nice run at our very first swim, and Sarah was on. We started to play the fish together (this fish knew very well that rocks were his best friend!), and... another run, this time for Joe. Valerie helped Joe while Sarah anxiously worked on her fish, and yes, a great upper teen (18lb) was netted. Checking on Joe, he was holding his rod looking very puzzled and told me that his line was stuck. I took the rod, pulled gently, and there was definitely a big fish in there... So Joe finished playing it, and a great fish it was... 27 pounds, no less! So the two kids who didn't catch in the morning were the ones who landed a terrific brace! We couldn't ask for more! Sarah ended up bursting into tears, this was just too much. But she was smiling a few minutes later!


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Jeri landed another teen later on, just when Terry came to visit us. Then Sarah got a 19 pounder, and Jeri got the last fish of the day, slightly over 20 pounds.


All the 20 pounders fell to a pop-up boilie, dipped into pinapple - great quality bait from Concept for You. The smaller fish fell to Tutti Frutti Pescaviva, accompanied by a method ball.


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So here we were, 10 minutes to 5PM, ready to pack up after a great day of fishing. But wait, remember this kid Devin I sent to Walmart? He came back after a while, we set him up and he was sitting there, watching the other kids catch, and he didn't get a move for the entire afternoon. Well, he got a surprise run just a few minutes before the end of the tournament. Imagine the excitement! This fish took quite some line, and of course aimed for the rocks. We tried to gently pull it out of there, and... nnnnooooo... the line snapped... This poor kid switched from over the top excitement to sheer misery in half a second. That was too bad... sad.gif


Back to Waddington for the pizzas and the closing ceremony. We learned that Alexis lost several fish, then finally landed two, and that Gate Dragone fared remarkably well in his division. As to Valentin, no luck on day 1, no luck on day 2, but I was pleased to hear that he didn't get discouraged, tried multiple approaches, and really stuck to it.


Time for the final results, and here are some pics of a few winners with the ever gracious Tom Felton. Yep, including Gate Dragone and Charlotte Saunders who won their divisions, well done! Please note the ever generous Ed Sheffield, who worked so hard for this tournament, and gave this beautiful rod to the junior having caught of the biggest fish (31 pounds, I believe). Kevin Sharlow was the overall champion, with a top-4 of 83 pounds.


Finally, a silver lining for Devin, the poor kid who lost his fish at the last minute; he got a special prize (not sure why, but this sure was great to see!), and he was running across the auditorium with a gigantic smile on his face! His mom told me later she had never seen him so happy! Cool.


PS. I got a bit confused when the team's results were announced, but I figured out later on that the kids I was mentoring ended up in fourth position in the team ranking. One more fish, and they were on the podium, oh so close... Joe also got the 2nd biggest fish in his division, right behind the unavoidable Gate Dragone!


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After the tournament - Sunday 


Ed Sheffield was kind enough to bring us to a few beautiful fishing spots, first the Ogen island (nice boat ride!), then on the shore of Waddington, and Valentin finally landed his first fish. Val still suffered from bad luck though, losing two very strong fish in a row, the line snapped on an underwater ledge... He was amazed at the power of some of those St Lawrence fish!


The other pic is a screaming run in the sunset, and I took the pic just when the fish stopped running and the rod bounced back in the air!


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After the tournament - Tuesday


After a day of local sightseeing with the family (visiting Alexandria Bay), we heard that Scott, Vinny and Andy did extremely well in Ogdensburg and decided that our last chance to get a nice fish was to go there. I was there early in the morning while the rest of the family happily kept sleeping, and Andy Phinn was still at it! Sure enough, after a beautiful sunrise, fish started to bite, and Andy landed a nice 26 pounder, I got a nice 24 pounder and a good number of upper teens.


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After dumping a bucket of maize in the water, I drove back to the rental house, Edith and kids jumped in the car, and after a great lunch at a local restaurant, we were back, ready to catch! And catch, we did... I have no clue how many runs we had in 5 hours, but there was not a minute where I wasn't busy retying rigs or landing fish, or commiserating on a lost fish...


Fish weren't that big though, but Alexis finally got a a big round one, and to our surprise, this turned out to be a fatty, his new Personal Best at 22 pounds and 4 ounces. Even Felix played a fish, which got badly stuck in the weeds, but we got it out!


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At the end of the day, what I thought would happen did happen, and we had two simultaneous runs. I helped Valentin to deal with another fish stuck in the weeds, while Alexis was holding for his life on a monster run. This fish almost unspooled him, but he played it like a champ, and amazingly enough, landed another 22-4lb fish, this time a very lean and muscular carp!


Terry and his wife came to pay us a visit then set up to fish for the evening (or the night?), and when we left, they had already landed their first 20 pounder. And Andy was still at it... Did I mention he caught his new PB (36 pounds) at this spot? Big congrats!


One last night in Waddington, and it was time for the long drive home to Boston...


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Post Scriptum


One last word on the event. Sure enough, the stories and pics posted about this event showed a bunch of happy kids with big carp and big smiles. Still, out of the 170+ participants, quite a few kids didn't catch this year and very few caught more than a single fish. And fishing for two long days without catching, this is asking a lot to a junior.


In many occasions, like many marshalls experienced, when a reasonably knowledgeable carp angler is there to help and provide advices, this makes all the difference between catching and blanking. And this is just so rewarding not only for the lucky angler, but also for the helper! Plus there is also the incentive of fishing for yourself in such a unique venue before or after the event. Yet... well... we didn't have that many CAG members as marshalls this year. Definitely much less than in 2006.


So let me make a call to experienced anglers here. Please do come to help, and you'll see, you will make the day of many young anglers, and also have a blast by yourself! See you in 2008, I hope!

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