Skamania Mania '05
Written by The New Dispatch   
Tuesday, 12 July 2005 14:21
Charter boat a good catch for anglers.? The Flapper slappered the competition during the 15th annual Skamania Mania fishing contest held in Michigan City over the weekend.

Captain Jeff Smith of LaPorte steered clients aboard the charterboat Flapper to first, second and seventh place catches in the area's largest free fishing event.

"There's a lot of fish out there right now," Smith said. "They're (boaters) clobbering the chinook and we were fortunate to get these big steelies for our guys."

Robert Bagley of South Bend whipped a 15 pound, 15 ounce steelhead on Sunday to claim the championship and the $100 first place certificate to Lake Michigan Tackle.

On Saturday, Steve Handel of Crown Point landed a 15 pound, one ounce Skamania that held up for the second place $50 certificate.

The other winner caught off the Flapper was a 12-9 beauty (7th place/$20) taken by Matt Turner of Chicago.

"The Spin Doctor in Blue Bubble and a Blue Bubble fly took the big fish," Smith said. "This one (the winning fish) had all the backing stripped out on a lead line before we got it stopped."

The odds of multiple winners coming off of one boat are huge considering there were an estimated 1,200 anglers fishing this weekend and over 700 steelhead caught.

Most trollers landed a steelie or two while piling up impressive salmon catches within a couple miles of Michigan City and a fair number of Skamania were pulled out of Trail Creek and Salt Creek.

The real bonanza was on the pier and along the harbor walls in Michigan City.

Northeast winds at the end of the week shoved warm surface waters down the lake and rolled in cool temperatures along with scads of steelies.

It was a spectacle to behold. Under a searing sun and in the midst of an endless flotilla of boat traffic, shore anglers battled bunches of the silvery Skamania.

Richard Jendrzejczyk of Westville landed the lucky 13th best steelie, a 10-13 (good for the $175 rod/reel combo), at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday behind the Yacht Club.

"I was netting a fish for another guy when I saw my rod nearly get pulled in," Jendrzejczyk said. "It was on shrimp under a bobber like most of the others."

John Marshall of Michigan City did have a rod yanked in Sunday, but was able to retrieve it.

"I had the bail open, but it must have flipped when the fish started going," Marshall said.

"I snagged a line while casting and I got the rod back but the line was all the way down to the knot. When John (7-year old son) reeled all the line in the steelie was still there."

The steelhead was a typical seven-pound scrapper.

Skamania Mania '05 was sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders.

The contest was free, open to the public and no preregistration was required. Gift certificates to Lake Michigan Tackle were awarded for the 10 largest steelhead caught over the two days, starting at $100 and going down to $20 for 10th. The 13th best Skamania received the top prize, a $175 rod/reel and 11th and 12th received prizes as well. And every angler registering a steelie received a Fuzzy Bear spoon.

? Skamania Mania Winners.

1-Robert Bagley, South Bend, 15 pounds, 15 ounces; 2-Steve Handel, Crown Point, 15-1; 3-Bob Foldenauer, Michigan City, 14-15; 4-Dave Rehus, Downers Grove, Ill., 14-8; 5-Carl Thomas, Valparaiso, 13-0; 6-Jaremiah Kinsey, Etna Green, Ind., 12-12; 7-Matt Turner, Chicago, Ill., 12-9; 8-Dalton Dabkowski, LaPorte, 11-14; 9-Steve Braddy, Michigan City, 11-13; 10-Rich Hedgepeth, Valparaiso, 11-10; 11-Jose Nunez, Chicago, 11-3; 12-Ted Fenicle, Chesterton, 11-1; 13-Rich Jendrzejczyk, Westville, 10-13

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