Cikar finds right spot for chinook
Written by The Journal Times   
Monday, 17 July 2006 14:58

Despite all the modern technological conveniences of fish locators, electronic downriggers and custom-made lures, Andy Cikar of Janesville knows it all boils down to one thing when you're fishing in the Salmon-A-Rama Lake Michigan fishing contest: Being in the right place at the right time.

The 33-year-old Cikar took over the lead in the boat division chinook salmon category Sunday with a 23.84-pounder he caught late Saturday afternoon while fishing off Sheboygan with his friend Matt Pargman of Sheboygan Falls.

Cikar and Pargman were fishing in Pargman's boat in about 80 feet of water, about three miles out, when the king hit at about 5:30 p.m.

"It was actually pretty uneventful at the time we got that one,'' Cikar said. "It was actually pretty slow. We ended up changing baits and I put on this one (J-plug) that I particularly like. About a half hour later, it hit."

The fish took a good 20 minutes to land and the two kept fishing until dark. Cikar said he knew the fish was over 20 pounds. He just didn't know where it would land him on the leaderboard.

After keeping the chinook on ice overnight, Cikar registered the fish about 11:30 a.m. Sunday. It was one of five leader changes on the second day of Salmon-A-Rama's nine-day run.

"There were a lot of fish we were marking on the locator,'' Cikar said. "As soon as we marked some bait fish, we'd set the poles and we'd get a hit. There were a lot of fish out there."

Although he grew up in the Janesville area, Cikar has become quite proficient at Lake Michigan fishing.

"It all started when I was 8 years old," said Cikar, who works at an auto body shop in Janesville. "My dad and I took our first trip over there (Lake Michigan) in the fall and I've been hooked ever since."

Cikar estimates this is his 10th Salmon-A-Rama. Are there any secrets to his success? "There's not too many secrets you can keep on Lake Michigan,'' Cikar said with a laugh. "Everybody's pretty much got the same equipment, a lot of the same bait.

"It's just a matter of having the right one (lure) down at the right time."

Beside's Cikar's chinook, there were two other lead changes in the boat division. James Weippert of Racine took over the lead in the coho salmon category with a 9.48-pounder and Kenneth McDonald of Kenosha took over the lead in the brown trout category with a 22.4-pounder.

In the on-shore division, Johnny Johnson of Fond du Lac took over the lead in the chinook category with an 18.22-pounder and Tim Day of Racine took over the lead in the rainbow trout category with a 12.78-pounder.

Kevin O'Neill still has the overall contest lead with a 24.10-pound lake trout he caught Saturday.

PAY DAY: Nail Bender Too, captained by John Messina of Glenview, Ill., won the Sign Pro Two-On-A-Boat Tournament Sunday. Messina and his wife, Kathlynn, totaled 209.68 points (109.68 pounds) to beat Resolute, captained by David N. Scott. Resolute totaled 206.26 points (106.26 pounds) and won $430. Roger Hays Jr., aboard Old Mill II, was third with 196.96 points (96.98 pounds) and won $360.

Seventy-seven boats were entered in the contest. As the name implies, the boats are limited to two-person teams. Fishing was from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the contestants must stop once they reach their 10-fish limit (the daily bag limit is five fish per person, with no more than two lake trout). Points are based on the weight of the fish registered.

Ron Seeger, a Salmon-A-Rama registration station official, said a number of boats entered in the contest already were done by 8 a.m. because the team members had reached their limits.

Seeger said Sunday morning was a busy time for the volunteers manning the registration station. As was the case Saturday, contestants already were lined up when the registration station opened at 10 a.m. Seeger said registration remained steady until about 2:30 p.m.

On Saturday, more than 4,800 pounds of fish were registered.

ON TAP: The Humminbird/Cannon Super Sweepstakes will be held today. It is a one-day cash fish-off for boat fishermen with teams of at least three anglers per boat. Fishing is from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Forty-six boats are entered in the contest.

FEATURED FISH: The featured fish for today is rainbow trout for both the boat and on-shore divisions. The contestant registering the largest rainbow will earn $100 in the boat division and $50 in the on-shore division.

Coho salmon was the featured fish Sunday. James Weippert of Racine was the off-shore winner (9.48 pounds). There have not yet been any coho registered in the on-shore division.

There were three fish registered in the kayak division Sunday.

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