|Henderson Harbor, NY - Local anglers Steve Gould (Watertown) and Chris Monica (Adams) weighed in a record five fish basket of 46.65 pounds on day two of the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit tournament at Henderson Harbor, New York on June 3rd. Added to the four fish they weighed on day one, their two day total reached an all-time circuit record breaking 85.07 pounds - with only nine fish rather than the allotted ten. The previous records were set in April of 2006 by Michiganders David Kolb and Dan Byers on Lake Erie, with 43.52 pounds for a one-day record and 82.23 pounds for the two-day record (ten fish). |
In 2004, the first year of the MWC East, Gould & Monica took second place, and in 2005 they captured the biggest fish of the tournament over 11 pounds. This was the pair's first circuit victory netting $9,104 in payout plus $700 in big fish money - totaling $9,804 in cash prizes. Gould guides out of Henderson Harbor under the name McCrea Charters and fishes the entire summer. The secret to their win was trolling a very small spot-on-spot toward the South end of Grenadier Island. They were trolling 1.6 to 1.7 miles per hour with black and silver stick baits, running 24' to 26' down in 30' to 60' of water. The secret to their success was working the small 300 yard spot and constantly turning to go back and forth over the same area - over and over again. "The other teams working in our area were making really long passes, but we kept ours to a short distance where we consistently caught fish," said Gould. And BIG fish they were, with a 9.6 pound average on day one and 9.33 pound average on day two!
Gary Zart of Hinckley, Ohio won the Toyota Tundra bonus of $1,000 for being the top finishing team towing their boat with a Tundra truck. Zart and partner Scott Bower of Macedonia, Ohio finished in third place with four fish totaling 35.91 pounds, worth $2,526, together worth $3,526. Scott Yarman of Mt. Vernon, Ohio won the Ranger Cup bonus of $1,000 as the top finishing team in a Ranger Boat. Yarman and partner Jason Walls of Chillicothe, Ohio finished in fourth place with four fish totaling 30.01 pounds netting $1,822. With the Ranger Cup bonus they cashed in $2,822. Second place went to Pete Lewis of Webster, New York and Shawn Hannah of Tottenham, Ontario for their two day baskets totaling 42.41 pounds for five fish. Second place paid out $4,188. They also cashed $200 in big fish money for the second largest fish on Sunday at 10.63 pounds, winnings totaled $4,388.
The biggest fish of the tournament was an even eleven-pounder from Alan Baumgardner of White Hall, Maryland and Jeff Lash of North Lawrence, Ohio. They finished in sixth place overall with three fish totaling 26.12 pounds for $1,100 in purse plus $500 in big fish cash for a total of $1,600. Fifth place and $1,420 went to 2004 winners Bob Hollingsworth of Kenmore, New York and Jim Navis of Grand Island, New York for a two day four fish total of 28.69 pounds. Hollingsworth and Navis also won two new Ice Armor cold-weather gear suits that they didn't need for this hot weather tournament, but will be glad to have come fall and winter.
"We've always known that the Eastern basin of Lake Ontario held record breaking quality walleyes - and this tournament really proved it," shared Kristine Houtman, director of the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit. "The anglers know the reputation for size, which makes it fun to compete here. The challenge at Henderson Harbor is putting two consistent days together. Steve and Chris did it this weekend. Imagine the record we would have set had they weighed the allowable ten fish limit - it would have been nearly 95 pounds!"
But it isn't just big fish that makes a tournament in Henderson Harbor special. Many anglers commented on stage that they love the hospitality of the community. "This is a great place to fish - whether for a tournament or just for fun," shared Gary Zart from on stage.
Many anglers echoed that sentiment.
The Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit hosted a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic after the day-one weigh-in with the help of NPAA anglers. Sponsors such as Lowrance Electronics, Cabela's and North American Fishing Club donated rod & reel combos along with start-up tackle boxes. The anglers taught the kids that attended how to tie-on slip bobbers, and then they got to keep their new gear. Toyota donated three new bikes rigged up with rod holders so that the kids could ride their bikes to go fishing. Claire Beshures, age 10, Webster, NY, Katelyn Van Brocklin, age 8, Woodville, NY and Nathaniel Roberts, age 6, from Liverpool, NY each won a bike.
The top six places in the tournament were paid $20,160 plus $1,400 in big fish money and $2,000 in sponsor contingencies totaling $23,560. Currently, Baumgardner and Lash are in the lead for MWC East Team of the Year with Doug Yohe of Bradford, PA and Tim Waltz of Williamsport, PA in second place and Yarman and Walls in third place.
A walleye conservation fund check of $540 was presented to the Lake Ontario Fisheries Coalition (LOFC) from the Cabela's MWC. The LOFC has nine ponds in place for stocking programs.