By Wil Wegman
June 9, 2010 — On June 6, 2010, I fished my first ‘open water’ tournament of the season. It was the 2010 Law Enforcement Fishing Classic (LEFC) on Lake Simcoe and was hosted by the Toronto Police Amateur Athletic Association and the Toronto Police Association. More than 120 participants came to fish this Northern Pike tournament and support the two charities that benefit from the proceeds of the LEFC. Participants were made up of anglers from across the province who are law enforcement officials — Toronto Police Service, OPP, York Regional Police, Peel Regional Police, Halton Regional Police and Durham Regional Police — as well some of the top-name anglers and sponsors in Ontario.
A Great Double Charity Tournament
Once again the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Children`s Tackle Share Program and the Tema Conter Memorial Trust (TCMT )will receive a significant donation on behalf of the participants of the LEFC. The TCMT provides assistance for emergency services personnel who have faced traumatic events resulting in serious physical, psychological and emotional effects. The TCMT was founded to give our heroes the attention they deserve. The OFAH Tackle Share program is designed to lend fishing rods, reels and basic tackle to children and novice anglers who do not have their own fishing equipment and are eager to experience the excitement of fishing. The OFAH Tackle Share program has arrived to more than 100 communities across Ontario, giving aspiring anglers an opportunity to go fishing. Participating Ontario Provincial Parks, public libraries, conservation authorities, youth camps and Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations host OFAH Tackle Share loaner sites. Through these locations, children and new anglers can sign out a rod and reel and an assortment of tackle, the same way they would borrow library materials.
The first tournament of the season began much like the last one I fished in 2009. Fighting the elements is par for the course on Lake Simcoe, with heavy rain, wild winds and four-foot waves. I was fishing with fellow Aurora Bassmaster Bob Kendall of Newmarket, who has caught his share of tournament-winning pike over the years. We were proud to be representing Lake Simcoe Living magazine, a local quarterly, full-colour magazine that is distributed around the lake. I have been the Hooked On Fishing columnist for Lake Simcoe Living since day one and wrote about this event in the Spring issue.
Getting Bit and How:
We tried battling the waves for the first couple of hours but neither Bob nor I "got bit" by any of the toothy critters we were after. Finally, we had enough of battling the wind.
“Let’s try that windward shore where it’s calmer and we can work these baits properly, ” I said to Bob.
“Just what I was thinking,” was all the response I got and before you knew it we were trolling our jerkbaits on the deep edge of the weedgrowth. My Rapala X Rap was just tickling the luscious green coontail plants — much of which overwintered nicely, thanks to plenty of light penetration we had this past winter without too much snow cover. Bob caught the first pike — a nice six-pounder that hit the bait hard. Mine, a twin to Bob’s, came only a few minutes later but didn’t strike hard at all — just engulfing my X Rap instead. Fortunately, the 25-lb. test Suffix Floro I was using as a leader held up to the razor-sharp teeth of the pike and didn’t break off.
With this tournament we were permitted to weigh in one pike each — so we had our count. Fishing slowed down after that but Bob was able to upgrade with a nice fish that we estimated might be pushing 10 pounds — not a bad fish for tough conditions on Cook Bay. That fish did slice Bob’s hand pretty good though.
Before we knew it, it was time to travel back to Boston Pizza in Keswick, the tournament headquarters, to weigh in. We heard last year’s winner — Mark Kulik and his tournament partner this year Mike Morson (representing Strike Zone Baits) had a nice fish. The tension built for awhile but when all was said and done, Bob’s pike was nicer at 9.15 pounds. Morson’s fish was good enough for 2nd place at 7.22 pounds but Steve Jojos also caught a 7.22 pounder that tied it. Jojos was fishing with one of Metro’s finest — and a fellow Aurora Bassmaster — Rob Takeda, representing Ouzo Baits.
1. Andy Oddi- PIKE PUNISHERS 9.6 lbs.
2. Volodymyr Zvezdomkin- PIKE FURY 7.13 lbs.
3. Matt Emptage- DERBY KINGS 7.0 lbs.
Glen Abate-MARINES 1.11 lbs.
Lake Simcoe Living, Rapala, (Normark Canada), Molson Coors Canada, Bass Pro Shop, Tracker Marine, Ouzo Baits, Radio World, Strike Zone Tournament Baits, Extreme Angler, Canadian Tire Markham, Siltec Design, Canadian Sport Fishing League, Mizmo Baits, Pizza Nova, GnG Electronics, Boston Pizza and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. A special thanks to Corrado Rabbito and his assistant Rob Takeda for all the hard work they did planning this tournament. There were enough great draw prizes for practically everyone who entered ... including a 32-inch Sony Bravia HD television won by one of Toronto Police Service's finest — Jeremy DiPoce.
For more information about the tournament, please visit: www.lefc-ontario.com.
For more about fishing on Lake Simcoe, visit Wil Wegman's Focus on Fishing at www.wilwegman.com.
Photos: TOP — 157: Wil holding both his pike (right) and Bob’s winning pike (left). Bob sliced his hand on his pike and was unable to hold his fish – Wil gladly obliged for this photo op.
Bob with his big pike shortly after it was caught.
On stage – LSL team member Bob Kendal with other winners
2nd place – Mike Morson(left) and Mark Kulik with their 7.22 pound pike