Ones that got away: Second-place Zak longs for missed fish
Written by The Journal Times   
Monday, 18 July 2005 07:09
Before Lawrence Zak of Milwaukee talked about the big fish he registered for Salmon-A-Rama Saturday morning, he wanted to mention the bigger ones that got away. Zak, who is based at McKinley Marina in Milwaukee, caught a 21.92-pound chinook salmon shortly after sunset Friday night, good enough to take over second place in the off-shore division in the Lake Michigan fishing contest.

Zak, 50, was fishing off the towers off Milwaukee about 9:15 last night aboard his boat, Prospector, when he and his crew pulled in the fish, which is the fourth largest fish registered in this year's tournament. He was using a silver J-plug about 50 feet down.

Zak said he had at least three more on his lines that were bigger, but wasn't able to pull them into the boat.

"I saw three other chinook that were at least 25 pounds, but they were snapping lines and busting knots," Zak said. "They were nice fish and we had them to the net."

Zak apparently found the exact spot to find big fish. He said there were a few dozen other boats in the area where he was fishing and he moved farther out because of some smaller boats.

"We had nothing less than 12 pounds," Zak said. "There were 40 boats around and they got nothing."

Zak was eager to get back on the lake Saturday afternoon, but couldn't leave McKinley Marina until 6 p.m. because of the air show on Milwaukee's lakefront. He was planning to be back out on the lake Saturday night, however, and maybe he'll again find the ones that got away.

POGORZELSKI TAKES LAKER LEAD: Dean Pogorzelski has a pattern of success at Salmon-A-Rama over the years, so why should Saturday be any different? The Wind Lake resident, a perennial name on the leaderboard, registered a 19.22-pound lake trout early Saturday evening to easily pass Dale Roloff of Wonewoc for first place in the off-shore division. Roloff had the lead since Monday with a 17.98-pounder.

Pogorzelski, who was the off-shore brown trout winner in 2002, was fishing on his brother Dustin's boat, Predator.

Pogorzelski could not be reached for comment Saturday night.

Incidentally, another Roloff, Dennis, registered a 17.86-pound laker Saturday to move into third place.

QUIET NIGHT AT WEIGH-IN STATION: Some might expect a bunch of anglers to bring fish in to be registered on the second-to-last day of Salmon-A-Rama, but workers at the weigh-in tent had a pretty quiet Saturday night.

Only a few coolers of fish were brought in, none of which impacted the leaderboard.

It wasn't that unusual for Craig Bender, president of the Southeast Wisconsin chapter of Salmon Unlimited and a Salmon-A-Rama board member.

"There were a lot of fish weighed in today, it's just that it's kind of muggy out there," Bender said. "I think a lot of people know what the target fish are to beat and they probably haven't beat them yet.

"People have been mainly going out really early in the morning. There's a good bite from 3 to 5 in the morning, then it starts to dwindle at 6 (a.m.)."

Like last year, when a 25.26-pound chinook won the contest, the biggest fish caught so far, David Nielsen's 24.36-pound chinook, is small compared to previous years.

"That's still one of the biggest (chinook) that I've heard of caught on the lake this year," Bender said of Nielsen's catch. "I've only heard about fish in the 21-22 pound range, so that's a pretty nice fish this year. It's pretty much similar to last year.

"The sizes aren't as big, but there's a lot of fish."

TWO IN ONE: Johnny Johnson of Cudahy didn't limit himself to one big fish Saturday.

Johnson had the biggest On-Shore Division fish of the day in both the chinook (15.46) and rainbow trout (13.08) categories, moving into fifth place on both leaderboards.

The only other fish to make the top five was an 8.02-pound coho caught by Michael Jaeger of Greenfield that put him in a tie for fourth place in the Off-Shore Division.

FEATURED FISH: Zak's chinook earned him the prize for biggest featured fish of the day, for which he will receive $100.

The on-shore winner was Johnson, who will earn $50.

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