Big fishing tournament were on tap last weekend, and local anglers ranked tops in the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) held out of Youngstown July 21-22.
The winning MWC team of Jim Janese of Youngstown and Steven Levering of Niagara Falls caught all its fish on the second day to take both the team and individual honors.
Levering received notice at about 9 a.m. Saturday that his father had died. His team partner, Janese, continued fishing but said later, "I just couldn't think straight in the boat by myself."
The next day the duo decided to go out and give it their best. Levering said, "Today is for dad." They proceeded to boat five 'eyes that totaled 27.79 pounds, including one walleye that went 10.26 pounds.
Levering and Janese did most of their trolling with spinner blades around the Niagara Bar, working structures and avoiding bottom moss.
Their first-place finish paid $8,090 and their big-fish award gathered $500 for a winning total of $8,590.
Capt. Eric Elenfeldt and his 13-year-old son Eric Jr. of North Tonawanda boated 22.76 pounds on the second day for a total of 26.62 pounds and a second-place finish, just a pound and ounces behind the winners. Their first MWC entry as a team paid $3,942.
Pete Lewis of Webster teamed with Shawn Hannah of Totttenham, Ont., to weigh in 22.1 pounds and take home $1,988 for third-place honors.
A special MWC East Division Team of the Year award was presented to Bill and Bernadine Ayres of St. Helen, Mich. The Ayres regularly fish Western New York waters as well as many other popular northeast fisheries.
Niagara River Anglers Association (NRAA) assisted throughout the MWC tourney. NRAA received $15 per boat entered, funds which will be used to manage rearing ponds and the club's Walleye Fry Stocking Program.
The WNY Chapter of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) stages its 17th Annual Fundraising Banquet a week later this year, a gathering that brings together seasoned hunters and a friendly body of folk dedicated to big-game issues and concerns. Doors open to the Yodeler Lodge at 4 p.m. Aug. 11 at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville for viewing the many, fine auction and raffle items -- and for kibitzing with friends and acquaintances often seen only on these special-occasion gatherings.
Along with elk hunt prizes, a Nebraska turkey hunt will be given.
To check on the registration levels, call Berniece Raab (699-2525) or Rick Pangborn (496-8250).
Top teen shooters
Wyoming Valley Rod & Gun Club's Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) produced winning teams and individual shooters during competitions held at Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) grounds in Cicero on July 12-15.
Luke Eames of Varysburg took Singles Junior Champion honors July 12 with a 98 for 100 score.
By competition's end July 15, Eames headed the Java Clay Crushers I Varsity Division team of Travis Rockwood, Cody Rogers, Jenna Euscher and Steve Jennings, which finished in first place.
The SCTP Java Clay Crushers II Varsity Team of Dylan Anna, Danielle Warner, Jeremy Rockwood, Taylor Kensy and Matt Sevilla took third place.
In all, Eames totaled eight championship finishes; Jenna Euscher and Matt Sevilla took three each.
Erie anglers averages
A Department of Environmental Conservation Angler Survey of Lake Erie anglers in June indicates bass best, walleye worth the try and perch in the lurch.
Smallmouth bass catches for June jumped from 21,568 in 2006 to 28,863 this year. Walleye numbers dropped slightly, from 12,543 to 10,320 this year, but July catch numbers have increased steadily.
Yellow perch catches dropped drastically, falling from 15,555 in 2006 to 5,205 this year, both years well below the June five-year average of 17,151 perch caught.
Bass also led the catch rate per hour. Anglers in June averaged more than one fish per hour when targeting smallmouths. For details on this survey, check with Done Einhouse at the Lake Erie Unit (366-0228) or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.