A "reel" day of success on 1st day of the Oswego County Pro/Am
Written by The Palladium Times   
Sunday, 10 July 2005 04:37
There were plenty of fish tales on Friday as competition began in the Gander Mountain Oswego County Pro-Am Salmon and Trout Team Tournament.

There were stories of "short hitting" and big ones that got away, and strenuous fights with lunkers that made it to the boats.

Some teams had no success during the morning rain, while others found that to be their most productive time.

Following the game plan was the path to success for some, while others simply adjusted on the fly to the conditions.

So what's going to happen when the tourney wraps up today is anybody's guess.

A record 78 teams registered to compete in the 11th edition of the Oswego County Pro-Am, and most enjoyed a productive day on Friday.

Top Pro team

Leading the Pro Division is Thrillseeker, which finished third last year. Captain Vince Pierleoni's team caught 12 fish on Friday with a total weight of 147.65 points. They earned 267.65 points.

"We were fortunate that the fish we caught were all big," said Pierleoni, who is from Newfane. The other members of his team are Fred Saia of Kenmore, Lance Van Dusen of Elma, and John Jackson of Rochester.

Most of Thrillseeker's success occurred early Friday morning.

"The fishing was very good. This is a good time of the year for Oswego. The salmon population in the lake is good," Pierleoni said. "But it's a two-day tournament. We have to have another good day."

Tourney information

Captain Troy Creasy of Pulaski and his wife Shelley are coordinating this year's event, along with the Pulaski-Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. Teams may fish out of the ports of Oswego or Mexico.

Forty-three teams signed up for the Pro Division, 35 for the Amateur Division. Because of the high number of entries, the prize package for the tournament is the best ever. The first-place team in the Pro Division will receive $8,200 in cash and prizes. First place in the Amateur Division will pay $4,750 in cash and prizes, Creasy said.

The total in cash and prizes to be awarded in the event is about $30,000, Creasy said.

The Oswego County event is the second of three tournaments in the Lake Ontario Challenge, which wraps up next weekend with the Wayne County Pro-Am.

Gander Mountain is the major sponsor of all three Lake Ontario Pro-Am tournaments, and Great Lakes Tackle Supply is the sponsor for the Challenge Cup Series.

The Oswego County event has fishing through 1:30 p.m. today, with weigh-ins from 2:30-4 p.m. behind the Best Western Captain's Quarters in Oswego. The tourney awards ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. today.

More Pro results

Thrillseeker's lead in the Pro Division is 25 points over second-place T-K. In third place is Prime Time/A-Tom-Mik Fly, which caught 11 fish on Friday. That team includes Paul Czarnecki of Point Breeze, Chad Terlitsky of Lake City, Pa., Kevin Jerge of Wilson, and Chris Sheridan of Bergen.

Sheridan said the team was pleased with its Friday catch. "It was great. We didn't mind the rain, we were just glad to be on the water," he said.

A key for the team was sticking with its game plan, enduring a dry spell during the rain storm. "We fished yesterday and we found a good number of fish. We went there and did it again," said Czarnecki. "We started out OK in the morning. When the rain came, there was a period of about two and a half hours where we never had a hit. We didn't panic. We stayed with it and kept on after them."

Czarnecki, whose team is also going for the Challenge Cup crown, was cautiously optimistic about his team's chances in the Oswego County event. "The trouble with this tournament is you've got to do it two days in a row," he said.

The Prime Time Fishing Team stood sixth after Friday's action in the Pro Division, but had the day's biggest catch, a 31.81-pound king salmon.

The team caught 12 fish in all, but most of them were smaller salmon, said Captain Pete Lahosky, who is from Pennsylvania.

The 31-pounder was caught at 7:23 a.m., and the team fished the Little Salmon River. A Stinger spoon was used, Lahosky said.

Ready For Action was ninth after Friday's fishing. The team caught eight qualifying fish weighing a total of 98.41 pounds. The team included Rochester's Ed Reik and his sons Eddie and Kevin. Two of their catches were salmon weighing in excess of 20 pounds.

"We did a lot of sitting around, but when the fish came, they came in flurries," the eldest Reik said.

"It was fun, but it was hard catching the bigger ones," Kevin said.

Amateur Division

Lightning, a team comprised of New Jersey fishermen, stood atop the Amateur Division through Friday's action.

Lightning caught nine fish with a combined weight of 109.79 pounds. The team earned 199.79 points.

Their biggest fish was a king salmon weighing 24.56 pounds, caught early in the morning with a Pro Troll and a Howie Fly.

"It was fun. We had a good day," said John Williams. "The fishing here has been really good the last few years."

Other members of the team are Steve Smith and Rick Hough.

The Show Stoppers sit in sixth place in the Amateur Division, but caught the heaviest fish in that division on Friday. Mike DeNaro hauled in the 27.65-pound king salmon.

"It took me a half hour to get him in," DeNaro said. "He took a run when I first got him. He took 300 feet of line."

Other members of the team are Captain Charles Kalinowski and Pat Mallon. All three are from Smallwood.

Kalinowski noted that he nearly boated another 20-pounder, but the fish escaped just before being netted.

Trophy Teasers, winners of the Amateur Division the past two years, were seventh entering today's action.

The New Jersey team caught seven fish on Friday. "We're happy. The fish were 'short hitting.' Fish we thought we had hooked came off," said Dick Tither. "We had some good luck when the storm went through."

Other members of the team are Captain Bill Heller and Gene Herm. None of them seemed too worried about having to make up some ground today, even though they are more than 60 points from the lead.

After all, it's a two-day tournament.

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