The 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby ended last Sunday and the first-place winners are waiting for the awards ceremony to take place July 23 at the Gasport Fire Hall starting at 3 p.m. All the first-place winners – both for the adults and for the kids – will be in two separate drawings for the grand prize in their respective divisions. For the adults, a boat, motor and trailer from Brobeil Marine in Buffalo is the top prize. Some great fish came to the scales during the 12-day event. Top bass was a 4.94-pound largemouth reeled in by Chris Walczak of Amherst. His son, Keegan, checked in with a 9.65-pound northern pike to take that division. Albert Whaley of Tonawanda was the winner in the walleye category with a 5.19-pound fish. Big bullhead was a 2.25-pound fish reeled in by Anthony Moule of Lyndonville. Top catfish was a 14-pounder weighed in by Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda. First-place carp was a 28.02-pound fish out-muscled by Mike Boncore of Buffalo. Sheepshead winner was Todd Wells of Medina with an 11.39-pound fish.
In the Kid’s Division, James Benzinger of North Carolina set the pace in the bass category with a 3.06-pound fish. Walleye winner was Blake Hicks of Lockport with a 2.18 pounder. Top pike was Gianni Etopia of Lewiston with a 4.42-pound canal fish. Bullhead leader was Lillian Arida of Pendleton weighing in a 1.44-pound fish. Catfish winner was Joe Cwiklinski of Depew with a 4.76 pounder. Carp category winner was Joe Terranova of Gasport with a 19.23-pound fish. Biggest sheepshead for the kid’s contest was a 3.35-pound fish. Grand prize drawing for the kids will receive a new kayak. We’ll have a full recap next week and some of the stories of how the winners were caught in next week’s outdoor column.