CONSTANCE BAY – It was the biggest turnout in its 13-year history and no surprise, because Mike Fines and Peter Strong were paying out $5,000 for the tournament’s biggest fish.
Mike and Peter’s 13th Annual Fishing Derby, held between Constance and Horseshoe bays on the Ottawa River yesterday (March 1) drew 425 registered anglers all looking to land the big one. The derby is the biggest cash ice fishing tournament in West Carleton with $5,000 going to the winner, $2,300 to second and $1,200 to third place – not bad for a day on the river under the beautiful sun.
“It’s been nice, the winds are just starting to pick up,” Fines told West Carleton Online from the barbecue yesterday just around 1 p.m.
The tournament was already more than half over at that time, but Fines had good news for anyone registering after lunch.
“Last year the guy who won registered at 1 p.m. and caught his fish at 2 p.m.,” he said.
Although this year, the winners had already all been caught by the time West Carleton Online arrived.
Constance Bay’s Mike Johnson brought in the big one at 7.4 pounds. Dwayne Reckenbury, who was the leader for the early part of the day, came second with his 7.3 lb fish. Robert Carruthers came third with a catch of 5.14 lb. The tournament is catch and release.
Fitzroy Harbour resident Jody Brenton says she’s attended the derby about five times over the years. This year was one of her most successful outings catching two fish early in the day (although she said they weren’t worth weighing), but the West Carleton Online curse followed us on to the ice as there was nary a jiggle on her and her team’s lines as we talked.
“The ice is thick, it was the entire length of the auger when we were drilling,” she said.
Fines says the 13-year-old tournament started as a fun day out with friends and has been growing ever since including this year’s huge turnout.
The tournament takes all the registration fees and awards them back to the top three pike caught during the derby. This year $8,500 was handed out in prize money – up more than $1,300 over last year.
The charity tournament also raised $3,150 through its 50/50 draw which goes back in to the tournament’s prize table for next year.