Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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In New York, 39-pound, 3-ounce king takes $25,000 Fall LOC prize

Sodus Point, N.Y. — Daniel Clinger of Jersey Shore, Pa. was fishing in the Fall Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derby out of Wayne County like he did every year for the last two decades. This time, though, lady luck was with him as he hooked into the fish of a lifetime.

Fishing with his wife Ramona and Rich Raidline (of Pen Argyl, Pa.), they teamed to battle a hulk of a fish. Forty minutes later, they finally netted – and boated – the massive king salmon. When they hoisted it up on the scale, it registered 39 pounds, 3 ounces on the official scale located at Davenport’s in North Rose. It was the biggest salmon he’s ever caught and they won the $25,000 grand prize by nearly 5 pounds.

“After 20 years of trying, I finally caught the winning LOC fish,” said Clinger. “We were fishing in a little over 200 feet of water on Aug. 29 at 10:30 a.m., with a Dreamweaver spin doctor and an A-Tom-Mik stud meat rig that was hand-tied by Raidline’s son, Ryan.” The bait was 382 feet back on a wire diver set-up, positioned on a No. 2.5 setting when the fish hit.

“On the first run, it screamed out 600 feet of line like it was nothing,” Clinger told the crowd at Marlin’s Restaurant at Sodus Point on Labor Day. “In fact, I yelled at my wife to turn the boat around (Clinger’s 24-foot Thompson named Why Knot) because I couldn’t get the rod out of the rod holder, the fish was pulling that hard.

“My biggest salmon previously was a 36-pound king,” said the Erie Building Materials worker. He also runs Clinger’s Bait and Tackle out of Jersey Shore. “We’ll be splitting the money up. I would like to buy a new garage to park my boat in during the winter.”

He will also be getting his fish mounted at Clingerman Taxidermy in North Rose to help commemorate the special feat. The team also won $500 for big fish for the day it was caught.

First place in the Salmon Division was a 34-pound, 11-ounce salmon reeled in by Robert Reynolds of Auburn. He was fishing with Nick Netti of Auburn and Scott Opiela of Scotia in the latter’s 30-foot Sportcraft named Finatic. Trolling 140 feet down off their downrigger over 225 feet of water with a Hulk DW spin doctor and a yellow Rhys Davis head and cut bait, they hit the big king at 12:30 p.m.

“It was the biggest salmon I’ve ever caught,” said Reynolds. The fish earned $5,000 plus $500 for big fish of the day. They also won big fish in the Fair Haven Challenge.

Second place salmon was caught by Joe Oakes of Lockport. He was fishing with his father Dan of Ransomville out of Wilson in 375 feet of water. Trolling a Pro Troll flasher and A-Tom-Mik stud fly behind a diver 180 feet back on a 1.5 setting (about 90 feet down), they had a busy morning, catching 18 kings over 20 pounds. They were just about ready to call it a day when a 34.5-pound king hit. They just missed weighing it in for the Orleans County Rotary Derby, which would have won them the grand prize. They also won the Salmon Division in the 41st Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby.

In the Steelhead Division, Steve Gardinsky of Mantua, Ohio won the category with a 16-pound 9-ounce steelhead caught out of Point Breeze in Orleans County.

“We were trolling in 240 feet of water around 1:30 p.m. straight out of the point,” said Gardinasky. His boat mates were Jake Huth, Tom Huth and John Burke, all from Mogadore, Ohio – fishing out of Jake’s 21-foot Ranger 621 Fisherman named Lines Down. “We were running six divers at the same time and the steelhead hit an Atomic Neon Moonshine spoon on a wire diver set back 185 feet on a No. 1 setting. We thought it was a king the way it hit and we had just caught five kings at the same time prior to catching the winning trout.” He won the $2,500 first place prize as well as a $250 daily prize.

Second place steelie was a 14-pound, 5-ounce outbattled by Rebecca Frye of Ashville. Fishing with her husband Charles out of their 20.5 foot Seamaster boat named Main Line, they ran into a boat problem and had to be towed in at Olcott. Enter Jim Evarts and the Boat Doctor, working with Charles to install a new coupler while also running the shop due to some recent surgery involving his wife Karen. They were able to get the boat running that same day. Rebecca caught the prize fish the next day while pulling a Northern King blue dolphin spoon behind a diver back 96 feet on a No. 3 setting. They were fishing off the power plant east of Olcott in 134 feet of water.

First place in the Brown Trout Division was Anthony DiGiovanni of Rochester, registering a 16-pound, 15-ounce fish while fishing off Webster east of Rochester. Trolling in 20 to 30 feet of water using 10 colors of lead core line with a Stinger Monkeyshine spoon on the end, he hit the trophy trout at 4 p.m. in very cold water. “The trout were stacked up in there after the lake flipped and we took advantage of it,” said DiGiovanni. He was fishing with Capt. Larry Hammond of Rochester, but they were fishing out of DiGiovanni’s 21-foot Wellcraft named Bravo. It was the biggest brown of his life and he won $2,500 plus an extra $250 for big brown of the day.

John Nardone of Wayland was the second place brown winner with a 15-pound, 5-ounce trout he caught while fishing with Ken Yanicky of Rochester (who also caught an eighth-place brown). They had been fishing out of Braddocks Bay all season due to the high lake water levels and decided to try fishing out of Irondequoit Bay when that launch opened back up. The result was the biggest brown of his life, caught on a Hulk Spin Doctor and an A-Tom-Mik stud fly behind 450 feet of copper over 85 feet of water.

The Fall LOC Derby handed out of $68,000 in prize money. Dates for the 2018 Spring contest have been pushed back by a week, slated for May 11-20, 2018. For more information and for a complete leaderboard, visit www.loc.org.

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