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Junior Carp Tournament kicks off with fishing school

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WADDINGTON – The 10th Annual Junior Carp Tournament sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce was under way Thursday, with registration, an orientation and a fishing school.

Well over 110 children lined the registration table waiting for their free T-shirts and back packs, to catch a glimpse of the winners’ trophies and to find out where their pods are.

“Pods are the area of where they will be, pegs are the exact spot they will fish from,” county Chamber Executive Director Patricia L. McKeown said. “Everyone’s pretty excited to find out where their pegs will be, but we don’t reveal them until the competition begins tomorrow.”

Some kids traveled from great distances to participate in the tournament. Austin J. Pass, 16, of Detroit, Mich., said the tournament was the first time he’s fished outside of his home state.

“Our parents surprised us,” Mr. Pass said. “It’s a great thing for kids to do.”

Mr. Pass said he and his brother, Brendan M., 14, have been fishing for carp for about three years.

“It’s the excitement of getting that run and it’s cool looking for carp,” Mr. Pass said. “They’re fat, short fish. And it’s always an exciting challenge to reel them in.”

Both brothers said they were not confident that they would win the coveted $10,000 prize, but, Brendan Pass said that he would “buy more carp stuff — rods, reels and baits,” if they did.

Veteran carp tournament winners were also there to help guide newcomers.

Ashley A. Beldock, 19, who has won four tournaments in her age group in the women’s category, is now too old to compete, but she is back this year to volunteer as grand marshall and to support her sister and cousins.

“I am excited to be grand marshall this year,” Ms. Beldoc said. “I love the competition. I was sad when I finished. It gets youth outside, interested in fishing and brings kids back into the sport.”

The competition will be held Friday and Saturday along the St. Lawrence River from Ogdensburg to Massena, with winners announced Saturday. To follow all the fishing action, the Junior Carp leader board can be viewed at tournament.northcountryguide.com.

“It’s very exciting,” Ms. Beldock said. “You get to meet people and visit with everyone I’ve met over the years. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about the money. It’s about meeting people and the joy of catching your fish.”

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