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Local women take on the men in Seaway Six Pack Throwdown

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WADDINGTON - While their friends and family were inside their homes away from the rain Friday night and the temperatures had dropped into the 30s on Saturday, one pair of sisters were braving the elements and participating in their first overnight fishing tournament.

Ashley and Bridget Beldock of Waddington have both been fishing for as long as they can remember, taking up the sport of carp fishing when they were “10 or 11” years old.

“Our dad has always been a fisherman, so we’re following in his footsteps,” Ashley said, referring to her father, Steve.

Both women said they participated in the junior carp tournament for as long as they could, but with Ashley, 21, and Bridget, 19, participation in the junior tournament is no longer an option.

Enter the first of what is planned to be annual Seaway Six Pack Throwdown.

The tournament, which was coordinated by Bob Giordano, also of Waddington, has given both Bridget and Ashley a chance to once again get their competitive juices flowing.

“Bob has really helped us out,” Bridget said.

She said she and her sister were used to participating in tournaments where each angler has only one pole in the water. However, for “adult” tournaments each angler uses two poles at a time and typically has a third pole for backup in case something happens.

“We weren’t really prepared for this,” Bridget said, adding that now they know what to expect they’re looking forward to participating in future tournaments as well.

“This is our first overnight tournament, and it is definitely different. We heard they actually bite more at night,” she said.

Given that fishing began at 7 a.m. Friday and did not conclude until 2 p.m. Sunday, a bit of strategy does come into play.

“We tried to do shifts,” Ashley said, adding she stayed up until 1 a.m. Saturday, at which point Bridget took over fished until 3:30 a.m.

“We thought it would be rough, but we’re just as qualified as any of the other anglers,” Ashley said, noting in many instances they may even have more experience.

“We’ve been fishing for longer than many of the guys,” she said.

And although, the tournament didn’t go as well as they would have liked, Ashley said the next time they compete things could be totally different.

“It’s all about the luck of the draw and what peg you draw,” she said, referring to the site you end up fishing for the duration of the entire tournament.

The girls did catch one fish, an 18 pound, 8 ounce fish reeled in by Bridget, but did not qualify to finish “in the money” as they were unable to complete their six pack.

Mr. Giordano said in order to earn a qualifying finish anglers needed to catch six fish, each weighing more than 15 pounds to “complete their six pack.”

Of the 18 teams participating, Mr. Giordano said 10 were able to complete the six pack, including the team of Dave Moore, who traveled to Waddington from Oklahoma for the tournament and his partner, Phil Saunders, who came from Washington D.C.

With a total weight of 143 pounds, 9 ounces, Mr. Moore and Mr. Saunders claimed the tournaments first prize of $4,000. They also won an additional $1,000 for bringing in the biggest fish, a carp that tipped the scales at 30 pounds, 1 ounce.

A team from Central New York, Steve Bailey and Bobby Cooper, took second with 142 pounds 1 ounce and a local team, Tim Lago from Potsdam and Kevin Bateman from Ogdensburg took third with 137 pounds 9 ounces.

“It was very close,” Mr. Giordano said, adding the tournament also included participants from New York City, Boston, Romania and Hungary.

“These are people that come here and spend money at out hotels, restaurants and stores,” he said, pointing out he is already planning for next year’s tournament.

“We spoke with all the neighbors,” he said. “They were happy and would like to see this happen again.”

Mr. Giordano also said the tournament would not have been possible without the support of the town and village of Waddington, as well as the New York Power Authority, who owned much of the land along Brandy Brook where the tournament was held.


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