Prospects good for a big Coho Derby
Written by Sheboygan Press   
Wednesday, 03 August 2005 11:07
Grace Brown has 1,000 tickets printed out for the Coho Derby, scheduled for Aug. 13-14.? And she wouldn?t mind printing out more if necessary.

"We?d have no problem going the day before to have more printed up," said Brown, who with husband Jeff Brown owns The Wharf, which is hosting the 35th annual Coho Derby along with the rest of the merchants on Sheboygan?s Riverfront.

With the way the fish have been biting this summer, there?s a possibility the Browns may be making a late run to the printer. Fishing on Lake Michigan has been as hot as the temperatures lately, and if it continues for another couple of weeks it could be a boon for the event.

"Everybody talks about the good old days of fishing, but the good old days are here now," said Roy Kalmerton, a captain and owner of Wolf Pack Adventures, one of Sheboygan?s charter fishing businesses. "When the Derby comes and if Mother Nature cooperates, a lot of the people that didn?t buy tickets last year will buy this year."

Last year?s Derby drew 847 entrants, even though conditions for the Saturday of fishing were less than pleasant. But it was still an increase of more than 40 entrants from 2003, the first year the event moved back from Deland Park to The Wharf.

Before the Derby moved back to the riverfront, serious anglers were concerned that fishing sometimes took a back seat to entertainment and other events held during the weekend.

"It was starting to turn into a carnival, and that?s not good," said John Repphun, of Plymouth, who is a past president of the Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sports Fishermen club. "If you want to draw fishermen, you have to cater to fishermen."

With the list of prizes that value well into the thousands of dollars, organizers are certainly doing that.

The regular derby has five categories ? brown, rainbow and lake trout and king and coho salmon. Four of the top finishers will win $1,000. The fifth winner (determined by a drawing) is a 15-foot Smoker Craft Alaskan Boat along with a 25 horsepower-4 stroke Mercury outboard and Shoreland?r Trailer donated by Thomson and Mercury Marine. Other finishers in the top five in the categories will receive cash prizes ranging from $500 to $100.

A first-place prize of $3,000 awaits the boat that wins the two-day Super Derby, which runs from 5:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Aug. 13-14. The second-place boat wins $1,000 and third takes home $750. The fourth place boat, determined by a draw from the remaining boats that register fish, wins $500.

People who aren?t fishing in the Derby are invited to visit the grounds, located between the Wharf and Dockside, and take part in the brat fry and ongoing raffles.

Chuck Huenink of Sheboygan, who plans to enter his boat in the Super Derby, likes the two-day aspect of the Super Derby, which measures the cumulative weight of fish caught by each boat to determine a winner. Most fishing derbies only have one day.

"You have to know what you?re doing over two days," said Huenink. "You can always be lucky for one day."

Tickets for the regular derby are $20 and $100 per boat for the Super Derby (participants must also purchase a regular derby ticket). Tickets for the regular derby must be purchased by midnight, Aug. 13. Super Derby tickets need to be purchased before 6 p.m. Aug. 12.

Once again, proceeds from the Derby will benefit local charities. Camp-Y-Koda Outdoor Skill and Education for the Sheboygan County YMCA has received $20,000 over the last two years, and the Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sports Fishermen have received $8,000 from the Derby in 2003 and 2004.

Ward Torke of Torke Coffee, one of the event?s major sponsors, hopes 2005 will be the best Derby yet.

"This has become a first-class fishing tournament, nothing more," he said. "We?re giving money back to the community and want to make this the best yet. Hopefully the weather gives us great fishing."




Entry fee:

Where to purchase tickets:

Entry deadline:


Fish categories:

New for 2005:

Current record fish:

King, 28.06 lbs; Coho, 11.39 lbs; Brown, 15.19 lbs; Rainbow, 16.13 lbs; and Lake Trout, 18.6 lbs.
Genuine Mechanics Progressive Pot. A $100 prize will be given for the largest fish in each category beating the previous Coho Derby record. The last fish beating the record in each category at the end of the Derby wins $100. If the record is not beaten the money rolls over and is added to next year?s event.
Brown, rainbow and lake trout and king and coho salmon
The Wharf
All contestants must purchase a derby ticket before Aug. 13, 12:01 a.m. Super Derby tickets must be purchased before 6 p.m. Aug. 12.
The Wharf, 733 Riverfront Drive; Gander Mountain, 4308 County Road J; Genuine Mechanics, 1453 North 40th Street; Thomson Marine, 5424 Racetrack Road.
$20 per ticket and $100 per boat to enter two-day Super Derby
Sheboygan Riverfront and Lake Michigan
Aug. 13-14
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