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How the numbers stacked up in walleye, BassEye tourneys

Competition anglers saw different seas while fishing tournaments on Lake Erie in June. The Southtowns Walleye Association Tournament held June 11 to 19 saw some days with ocean-like rollers while the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation BassEye Challenge on June 24 had farm-pond calm for much of the day. Both tourneys resulted in nice numbers and sizes caught.

Southtowns tourney

On average, Southtowns Walleye entrants brought in fewer walleye weighing in double figures, but 12 ’eyes saw the 10-pound mark. During the awards picnic on June 25, announced weights for the top three winners were within 2 ounces of each other.

Jim Horbett of Lancaster fished with wife Debby seven of the nine tournament days, including between those 7-8-foot waves the first day. Horbett weighed in his winner, an 11.63 pounder, on June 14. His winning fish hit a pink-and-purple Renosky lure at noon while fishing 50-55-foot depths west of Cattaraugus Creek. That fish garnered the top prize of $5,000.

Debby Horbett weighed in a 9-pounder. The couple also caught a walleye on the last Saturday of the tourney that had a DEC transducer used in a telemetry study.

Colton Beres, 18, of Springville, one of youngest entrants to finish in the top three, weighed in an 11.60-pound ’eye. That Saturday was a busy day for Beres. It was also the day of his high school graduation.

Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga took third place with an 11.42-pound entry, which won $1,500. Since his top fish was caught on June 13, it also took a $1,000 prize from Emerling Chevrolet.

Rustowicz has posted several fishing-contest winnings in 2016, including the Niagara River Anglers Steelhead Tournament in February and the Capt. Bob’s Winter Tournament Walleye Division.

Just four fish made the 11-pound mark, and those were all caught in the same general area west of the Catt. Regulars in this contest saw the big-fish catch as slow and low, but many hooked into good numbers of smaller walleyes schooling from Barcelona to Buffalo Harbor.

BassEye Challenge

Jim Dolly Jr. of Gasport pulled multiple honors as captain of the crew that took Grand Champion Team honors in the BassEye challenge. Dolly, of Strictly Fishing Charters, fished both Buffalo Harbor and open waters of Lake Erie.

The team amassed a score of 3,800 points, which included 21 bass measuring at least 15 inches and 10 walleye over the 18-inch mark. Crew member Patrick Sgroi of West Seneca received Grand Champion Angler honors with 1,600 BassEye points for the most bass (seven) and the most walleye (five) weighed in by a single angler.

The team also included John Clouden of West Seneca and Urmas Lupkin of Hamburg. Lupkin finished as Runner-Up Grand Champion Angler with 1,400 points, five bass and three walleye.

Dolly pulled his bass from Fish Market waters at the north end of Buffalo Harbor and his walleye while bottom bouncing at 51-foot depths a quarter mile inside the International Line in open water.

Beth Grieshober of North Buffalo took Grand Champion Female Angler honors with five bass caught while fishing with Steve Reynolds of Big Easy Sport Fishing Charters.

Gia Coone, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation executive director, said the tournament launched 15 years ago by Bob and Mindy Rich has raised $1.65 million since its inception.

For more details on this and past tourneys, visit

Bear trophy

David Baskerville of Eden, on his first bear hunt in Pasadena, Newfoundland, took a 240-pound sow black bear on a hunt with his uncle, Nick Menrath, and cousin, Michael Leoyski, both of Long Island and veteran hunters in this area.

Baskerville saw seven bears while on this hunt. His relatives saw several and passed smaller bruins in search of a trophy-sized harvest.


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