Despite slow fishing, Buffalo Bill winners turn in impressive catches
Written by Gary Post-Tribune   
Sunday, 17 April 2005 15:44
Sunny skies, temperatures in the seventies and a lot of enthusiasm awaited the 64 teams of fishermen that participated in the fifth annual Buffalo Bill Fishing Tournament on Saturday.

The event, named after the late Bill Bauer, is the first of three tournaments that will be take place in Michigan City on consecutive weekends.

?Bill was not only a good fishermen, he also was the kind of guy that every other fishermen looked up to and went to with questions,? said Michiana Steelheader Butch Hensley whose organization hosts the tournament.

Overall, fishing was deemed slow, although the top three winners did manage to turn in impressive catches.

First-place winner Dad Miller of New Buffalo, Mich., and his crew aboard ?Happy Daze? weighed in a total of 10 salmon and trout that weighed 44.05 pounds. Their efforts netted them $1,883.25 in prize money.

?We started out in 20 feet of water outside of the Dunes State Park and worked our way out into 60 to 80 feet of water where we located steelhead,? Miller said. ?Most of the steelies were caught on spoons that I had painted black and were taken on Dipsy-Divers.?

Miller?s crew also checked in four coho salmon that he said were caught nearer to shore.

Throughout the past week most charter boats plying the waters of Michigan City were locating, catching and boating coho in 10 to 30 feet of water. However, Friday brought with it a shift in the wind direction and that, many believed, may have caused the fish to either scatter or slow down feeding activity.

?Fishing had been excellent close to shore and we managed to take a limit of coho early Friday,? noted Burns Ditch charter captain Eric Mock. ?But as the day went on the wind switched and the barometer changed drastically.?

Like many other participants Mock and his crew aboard Triple Catch had to settle for a small bag of 1- and 2.5-pound coho, excellent eaters but hardly the kind of big fish that will win tournaments.

Tournaments such as the Buffalo Bill are based on both points per fish and weight for a combined score. Each fish is worth 10 points, with a maximum of 10 fish per team allowed to be weighed in. Then the weight of the catch is added to the points to make up the total points.

The total weight of fish aboard second place winner Jim DeCraene of Granger and his crew on Happy Hour was 47.95 pounds, the highest in the tournament.

However, their total catch was eight fish, two shy of the maximum. Two of the fish were chinook salmon that weighed 14.05 and 14 pounds, the first one winning the big fish of the tournament.

Dave Donelly of Mishawaka who was a member of the Happy Hour Crew said they had picked up the chinook about an hour before the mandatory 1 p.m. stop time.

?While we had caught four coho and one steelhead closer to shore we decided to head deeper and try to locate some bigger fish,? Donelly said. ?We found the kings in 90 feet of water. They were caught on Northern King Lures in green-glo 22 feet below the surface.?

On tap for next Saturday is the Hoosier Coho Club?s Mini-Classic

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