Despite almost constant rain and miserable fishing conditions, 78 teams competed in the first annual Perchin for MS Fundraiser Perch Fishing Tournament on Saturday, March 5, at Sibbald Point Provincial Park.
“I was completely flabbergasted that so many anglers came out to fish this event,” said host and organizer Doug Poirier. “These anglers all heard the same weather forecasts we did — and all knew the rains were coming. They decided to fish anyway and although they got wet, they did not let the rain dampen their spirits."
Each team paid a $40 entry fee: half went toward the Muscular Sclerosis Walk in their name, and the other half went toward cash awards. The 10 heaviest perch would win the tournament. There was also a separate BIG Fish Pot that anglers could enter for $5 each.
At 8 a.m., all anglers took off from the newly renovated public launch area at Sibbald Point. They could fish anywhere within the 1.5 to two-kilometre designated zone, which was well marked with orange pylons.
Some elected to stay in one area and capitalize on the roaming abundant perch found within most of the zone. Others, like the eventual winners, Wil Wegman and his son Izaak, of Bradford, used their cross sleds to traverse within the zone to upgrade their catch.
“We had our 10 perch within 20 minutes or so, but then the trick was to try to find the jumbos that Simcoe is famous for," Izaak said. "We elected to move around a lot, and hope for a bigger fish here and there to upgrade. We found HT Marmooska jigs were most productive in the morning but by afternoon we switched to HT dropper spoons to get our fish.” The father-son team weighed in with 5.78 pounds of perch for their win.
Winning team member Wil Wegman writes Lake Simcoe Living's Hooked on Fishing column and hosts Lake Simcoe Living's Hooked on Fishing show on LSLTV. (Click on the LSLTV logo on the Home Page at lakesimcoeliving.com.)
The biggest single fish of the event was caught by Brad Jamieson, who landed a beautiful 1.2-lb, 13-inch perch. Jamieson won a taxidermy replica mount of his fish, to be done by Advanced Taxidermy and Wildlife Designs.
Although most anglers who fished the MS Perch Fundraiser were from the Greater Toronto Area, others came from Owen Sound and Niagara in the west to Muskoka and Haliburton in the north and east to Ottawa. There were even some anglers from the U.S. Many were hard-core competitive anglers who look for competitions such as this to test their skills. Others were recreational ice anglers who enjoy meeting others in a fun-filled event where proceeds go to a worthwhile cause.
The fundraiser was supported by a large number of prizes from company and individual sponsors.
The MS Connection:
Poirier started the Perchin for MS event to promote education and awareness around MS. As an avid angler and conservation officer who lives with MS, Poirier knows firsthand about its limitations, but says that unless you have a friend or relative with it, people seldom have a good understanding of the disease. “The goal of the event was also to raise a bit of money for MS and I am pleased to announce that thanks to some generous monetary donations we raised almost $4,000 that will go directly to the MS Society of Canada,” Poirier said.
TOP EIGHT ... and their weight
1. Team Wegman - Wil and Izaak Wegman, Bradford - 5.785 lb - $500 cash & 2 Fish TV Cameras
2. Team VR - David Hamilton and Mike L., Sutton - 5.170 lb - $500 Cash
3. Team Northenders - Richard Colangelo - 4.885 lb - $300 Cash
4. Team Malaguti - Paul Malaguti, Peterborough, and Matt McNeice, Barrie - 4.345 lb - 2 Clam Kanai Fish Trap portable huts
5. Team Dean Mizmo - Kelly Dean, Keswick - 4.185 lb - $200 cash
6. Team Killoran/Taylor - Justin Killoran and Ryan Taylor, both from Willow Beach - 3.955 lb - 2 Eagle Portable Fish Finders
7. Team Perch Masters - Gary Kernohan, Minden, and Brad Jamieson, Bradford - 3.780 lb - 2 Mustang Survival Suits
8. Team Double "V" - Paul Valeriote and Mike Valeriote, Elmira - 3.775 lb - Pick from the prize table
Doug Poirier (centre) with winning father-and-son team Wil and Izaak Wegman.
Prizes For All:
Other top prizes included local fish hut rentals for the day with fish fryers and luncheons at the Briars Resort and Spa. All other teams were given the opportunity to pick a prize from the prize table, and everyone walked away with a prize!