Dick Bouchey felt the weight of the fish and he knew it was big. Real Big.
But as the large bass headed for the surface for a jump it suddenly stopped and shook the hook.
There goes the derby said Bouchey with disgust to his fishing partner Bob Ethridge.
But it wasnt long before Bouchey felt the weight of another big bass and cooly reeled in first place honors and the grand prize of $500 at Saturdays St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmens Clubs Opening Day Bass Derby.
I couldnt believe it. It wasnt long after I lost that huge bass that I got another big one. But the first one was definitely bigger, said Bouchey who is one of most avid walleye anglers on the St. Lawrence River.
We were bottom bouncing with a worm and a spinner just like we do for walleyes. I make my own spinners and we found a great spot downriver. Our drift was very short and we caught some huge fish.
Bouchey and Ethridge, who entered a 4.76-pound pass, stood one-two on the leaderboard until the final minutes of the weigh-in when Ogdensburgs Bob Marceau and his long time BASS Tournament partner Dick Garlock of Alexandria arrived at the weigh-in from one of their favorite haunts in the 1000 Islands area.
Marceau moved into second place ($300) with a 5.07-pounder and Ethridge, a Heuvelton resident, earned $200 for third place. Garlock ($100) moved into fifth place with a 4.47-pound catch.
Fourth place went to Ogdensburgs John Seymour who won an underwater television system with a 4.48-pound pass.
The derby drew 200 entries which is the largest in the events history and produced the highest quality leaderboard ever. The depth of the that quality was illustrated by the fact 35 anglers weighed in fish supassing three pounds and 13 entries broke the four-pound level.
We had our best derby ever. I want to thank all of the people that took part and to Pepsi Cola for what they did as our major sponsor, said Tournament Director Greg Denny.
Anyone who bought Pepsi products at certain stores were entered in the tournament. That helped us draw 200 entries. Algonquin Power was another great sponsor. They donated $1500 which we used for the prize money.
All of the funds raised at Saturdays derby will go toward the St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmens Clubs Walleye Stocking Program.
Last years winner Gabe Szfranski was on hand to receive a mount of last years 5.25 lbs derby-winner from Ralph Miller of Natures Trophies of Waddington which will soon be moving to Flackville.
SLVSC BASS DERBY LEADERBOARD
TOP 20: Dick Bouchey 5.5, Bob Marceau 5.07, Bob Ethridge 4.76, John Seymour 4.48, Dick Garlock 4.47, Gabe Szfranski 4.33, Derek Hubsch 4.27, Justin Patterson 4.24, Chuck Roach 4.18, Chris Beebie 4.09, Chris Roach 4.05, Jim Tulip 3.98, Rick Conger 3.93, Trent Miller 3.92, Raymon Ashlaw 3.90, Mike Emlaw 3.79, Steve Szfranski 3,78, Mike Allard 3.76, Andy Ashlaw 3.73, Andy Ashlaw 3.73, Ashley Travers 3.69.