Great Lakes Angler Blog

Weekend Heroics Mean Big Bucks for LOC Derby Winners

Thursday, September 08, 2016
Share |

By Bill Hilts Jr.

It was some last-minute heroics for several of the big winners in this year’s Fall Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derby held August 19-September 5, starting with the Grand Prize winner in the Salmon Division. Drew Kersic of Philadephia, Pennsylvania had his own story to tell as he caught the biggest Chinook overall to win the $25,000 check – his first salmon ever on his first fishing trip ever on Lake Ontario! Call it fate, chance or just being in the right place at the right time, Kersic was excited at the awards ceremony held Labor Day at Captain Jack’s in Sodus Point when he presented his 34 pound, 9 ounce king for photos.

On Saturday, September 4, he was fishing with Capt. Chad Gehrig of Oswego aboard the “Son of a Gun,” a 40 foot Jersey operating out of Oswego. On board were first mate Mike Ariola of Oswego; Kevin Trainor of Philadelphia; Rob Shaak of Philadephia; Pete Shaak of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania; Matt Stellabotte of Philadelphia; and Nick Norton of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. They were trolling in 75 feet of water in front of the power plant and had seen a few short hits when the eventual winner grabbed hold of a cut bait rig around 9:30 am. Kersic was up and he didn’t disappoint. At 9:55 am they were taking a picture of the fish that would be the eventual winner.

“We were trolling with a dipsy diver in 75 feet of water, 210 feet back on a No. 3 setting using a gold and chrome Golden Boy attractor and a charteuse Jon King cutbait head loaded with cut bait,” said Gehrig at the awards gathering. “The cut bait was Dreamweaver Ballyhoo that was colored with Pautzke blue brine. When we put the fish on the Boga scale on the boat, it wasn’t reading right so I contacted Capt. Tom Burke with Cold Steel nearby and he floated me over his scale. It bounced between 34 and 36. When we saw that, we headed right in to the official scales.”

Kersic, who works ground maintenance at the Philadelphia airport, was hoping to use some money on his kids and to help start up a new landscaping business. He will split some up among the other anglers, thankful they had invited him along. However, his winning catch was almost beat out the last day!

Lynn Thomson, Jr. of Syracuse was fishing with Paul Powers of Oswego and Matt Riebenfeld of Oswego on Labor Day when they hit a big fish around 10:15 am right in front of Oswego Harbor. Some 15 minutes later, they were holding up a big king that was jumping around 34 to 35 pounds on the hand-held scale and decided to run in for a quick weigh in, not taking any chances. They had been using a custom-taped Pro Troller flasher with chrome and green UV tape in front of an A-Tom-Mik meat rig, 60 feet down over 65 feet of water on a downrigger. They were fishing out of Powers’ 27 foot Sportcraft named “Ruka.”

When they hit the scales at K & G Lodge, they knew it was going to be close. The final weight was 34 pounds, six ounce – just three ounces shy of the overall winner. The trio still won $5,000 for first place in the Salmon Division. As far as what the money was going to be used for, Thomson declined to say. “It’s a secret for now … but I will let you know,” he said at Sodus Point.

Second place in the Salmon Division was Richard Clark of Tyler Hill, Pennsylvania with a 33 pound, 13 ounce king caught off the Salmon River on the second day of the derby, August 20. It led the contest for nearly 16 days. He was fishing with Dave Trachte of Sandgate, Vermont; Doug Bell of Stanhope, New Jersey; and Myrna Loy of Rock Hill, South Carolina aboard his 25-foot Carolina Classic named “Sinbad the Sinner.” They caught the fish at 8:30 am trolling a green Pro Troll flasher and a Big Weenie Pole Dancer fly 130 feet down over 140 feet of water. The fish was a personal best for Clark and he’s been fishing the derbies for 25 years. He won $2,000. 

First place brown trout was caught by Earl “Skip” Foster of Wilson, fishing with his son, Scott from North Tonawanda on August 30. The two second year anglers found a “secret” brown trout spot between Wilson and Olcott that produced not only the winning fish at 17 pounds, 4 ounces but also produced the third place fish at 15 pounds, 13 ounces. “We were fishing in 50 feet of water with our dipsy diver set back 120 feet on a No. 3.5 setting when the big brown hit,” said Foster. “The lure was called ‘My Secret’ from Bay Rat lures, a lime green and yellow stickbait.” It was his biggest brown trout ever. They were fishing out of Scott’s 22-foot Boston Whaler, quick to give credit to Capt. Roger Young with Papa Smurf Charters who gave them fishing advice prior to them going out. The Fosters won $2,500.

Ironically, the second place brown trout came from virtually the same area between Wilson and Olcott, but a little bit deeper. Dennis Stabler of Lockport was fishing with Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga aboard his 18.5 foot Fisher/Tracker named Ame-less on August 23, trolling a white and green spin doctor and A-Tom-Mik green hammer fly – targeting kings. At 9:30 am, a fish hit and they thought it was a small king, taken from 80 feet of water with a copper set-up that stretched back 300 feet. It turned out to be a 17 pound brown trout! “It’s the first time I’ve ever caught a brown on a fly and it turned out to be my biggest ever,” said Stabler. He earned $1,000 for his catch, not counting the $200 for fish of the day. He also won $750 in the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey for the trophy fish.

In the Steelhead Division, it was David Cole of Brooktondale, NY setting the pace for 17 days with a 14 pound fish he caught August 19, the first day of the derby. It was the first fish weighed in, too. But it was not meant to be. Enter John Jankowski of Sloan, fishing with his wife Laurie on Sept. 4 in the afternoon out of Olcott.

“We had been trolling just west of Olcott near Wilson, 65 feet down over 490 feet of water,” said Jankowski to the awards attendees. “My wife was actually taking a little nap and I decided it was time to head in around 3:30 pm in the afternoon. As I was reeling in some of my other lines, the 65 foot rigger went off, hitting my silver and black Dreamweaver spoon that I doctored up with a pink ladderback.” The fish turned out to be a personal best, a 15 pound, 15 ounce steelie, winning the $2,500 check for the Division. However, it was not the personal best for the 23 foot Sylvan named Triple J. His son boated a 21 pounder off it 10 years ago. 

Back to Cole, who had been fishing with Dave Baublitz of Gillett, Pennsylvania and Faith Reimers of Gillett, Pennsylvania out of Wayne County. They had been fishing out to 220 feet of water when they made a turn south. They had one rod that was trailing 600 feet of copper and that was the lure the trout decided to hit – a Twinkie rig behind an ITO two-face flasher. Baublitz and Reimers immediately pointed to Cole to grab the rod. “It’s your 600 feet of copper!” The fish turned out to be worth $1,000. It wasn’t his biggest steelie ever. His biggest was a 15 pound, 3 ounce fish … and he wasn’t in the derby. He’s fished in every one since then! It has certainly paid off for him in the long run.

For a complete leaderboard go to Be sure to like the derby on Facebook, too. Dates for 2017 are already up on the website. 

Recent Posts


iPilot Trout Unlimited Mark Zona Games Muskie Lure Simrad Whale Pumps Ascend Headgear Cannon Tommy Skarlis Turning Point Props CMP Global Bass Soft Jigwobbler PRADCO Brian Brosdahl Rain suit Gunnison, CO New York Mack's Lures Tom Neustrom Boga Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo Aqua Vu Boat maintenance Humminbird SeaLife Cameras HELLA WeatherStation spinning rod inReach blue marlin Gary Dollahon Beckson Marine 1675 Pro Guide Andrew Semprevivo Costa Sunglasses Slender Spoon Davis Instruments New Lures Fiberglass tiller Aluminum Deep V Series VMC Full Throttle Sport Shows Frigibar Aqualuma Soo Locks Mosquito repellent Mark Chmura Future Fisherman Foundation Records Titan Chain National Guard Tyee Mary Snyder Lake Michigan Legend Gold FLW Salmon Unlimited of Illinois Topwater Wind Power Forage Minnow Blue Heron Communications Pro Polish Sharpeners ONIX Smart Guide to Freshwater Fishing Marcum Larson Electronics Owners tournament Skarlis Ultracoat ASA ChartSelect Optima Boating safety Ultimate Flannel Shirts Traditions spreader light theft Walleyes DuraSafe Electronics Lock Ranger Crankbait Net Personal Flotation Device Evinrude Cliff Pace Jack Links John E. Phillips Fish America Foundation Mr. Twister Sun protection Monel Metal Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plate Sheldon's Catch & Cook redfish marlin Shock Wave Big Bear Products Video Hevi-Beads PulseTech IGFA MULL BLOG Walleye Rapala LCWCC Shelter Martin-Flory Mercury Marine Snow-Shoe Tip-Up Streams Fishing Clubs Flat Slider 75 Baitcast Fishing Pole BBQ Lighter Boat Covers Sunglasses Side Imaging Insect repellent Fishing Shoes Grady-White Bait Rigs Mystery Tackle Box Bass fishing Grand Rapids Ultimate Outdoors Show Lake Superior Buff TRAC Goby Marine General Audio Bethel University Wild River series Great Lakes Troller Alaskan Marine Lighting Plano Synergy MATE USA Swim Whizz Reef Runner Serious Shine Traditions Media Hobie Pro Angler Kurt Mazurek tree stand injury Bass Pro Shops Gift Card SeaEra QC Matt Straw award Plano Silver Horde EZ BoatPort Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Electronics Downriggers bimini top Angler 175T Dogwood Canyon Trail Runs Swim bait Air show Accessories great lakes NAIFC Championship Marine Radio River Fishing Lip-Stix Insurance Acme Mike Seymour Dave Mull Blog Gravity Tackle Bag Innovative Outdoors Beckson Marine Deck Plate Torpedo Divers Grunden's Betsy Foul weather gear Absolute Outdoor, Inc. Chronglobal Shurhold Shipping Michigan DNR Deck Plate Ditty bag Bob Schmidt Lights RedHead WileyX Boating USO Gary Giudice Kayak Masters Walleye Circuit Coast Guard The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls Fuel AKOYA Todd Sokolow Catfish Church Tackle Power Odd'ball Fin Spin High school bass fishing Ice Fishing Soul5 Tackle Labs Ranger VS1780 Scott Glorvigen Micro-Mobile Pro Viewing Case Rushton Gregory Telescoping JIggler Long Rod Frabill Multitools Rescue Batteries Hobie Marine NewsWire ShowSpan Chaco 580P lenses Barry Brown Marine LOTSA Magnum Flow-Troll Raritan Sportsman's rights 360 Contaminants Tim Popfinger Wounded Warriors Tournament Homeport Marine Marketing EZ Dock Tides Dave Mull Invasive species LineSnubber LineGrabber La Mar Black Velvet treestand injury Oshkosh EVOLVE FISHING CO Corey Schmidt Bristol Bay Salmon Lake Huron Fishouflage Coleman Walleye tournament Autotether Bug repellent OHIO Mazurek Fish Hawk XD4 Accon Marine Synergy Outdoors USSA spoon Ethanol Berkley Jeff Wenzel InvisaSnap Chargers Rippin' Lips Uncle Norm's Spencer Yachts Green Bay Green Bay, Wisconsin JVD Plano Tackle Boxes Angler Faria USCG Port of Indiana Glacier Glove Matt Serbenski Whale Dollohan Bass Pro Shops DuraSafe trailer tongue Tools Rough Weather Kevin Van Dam Aquatic AV splice Up Stream Hydration Back Pack Yamaha ATV KVD Speedbag Wormfile Prosepec Electronics weather Oakley Sunglasses Lund Boats BASSMASTER CLASSIC Rain gear Line sunglass Interlux Lake trout F-Series Storm Gear Brandon Newby Izaak Walton League Alaska Costa Bass Pro Balog Footwear Ryan Kleckner Lake Erie Knives BoatUS Angler Okuma Orca Fin System Bass lure Smartfind S20 Personal AIS Beacon YUM ATV Extreme Baitcast Reel Normark News Ned Rig JBL Ryan Wilson Lead Swedish FireKnife Lures LakeMaster Western States Version Lund Team Aqua-Vu Lock Lake Ontario Rugged Shark Pharmaceuticals Trade Shows Aqua-Vu Tip-Up Smart Guide Publications Z-Man St. Croix Muscle Squared 65 On board Swanson-Russell Bad Elf Bro Brosdahl Personal Flotation Devices University of Buffalo YUMphibian Wisconsin Husky Jerk ODNR Marine Speakers Delorme Michigan City, Indiana Salmon METS Manistee The Harry Lure Tournaments Tournament Grade Circle Hooks WFN Triton Boats Brian "Bro" Brosdahl thieves U.S.S.A. Thermacell Ice Features Shoremaster Bheestie Bag Gull Lake Marine Slide Moor boat rental Evolve Fiberglass boat Grab Rail Kayaks Dunkirk, NY Northland Rods toilet B.A.S.S. hardbaits Lake Assault RAT FINKEE Michigan MWC Boat names Airmar Onyx Rubrail New Zealand Jeff's Tackle Shop Northwest Indiana Steelheaders dock lines USCGA Fort Wayne, Indiana Blue Collar Outdoors Spreads Practical Sailor GPS for Lightning Connector Radio KVD Speedbag Contest Quantum Steve Wood MUSHING Alabama Rig Clay Dyer Brite Wash iPad Clam Mag Light Rippin Lips Marsh Madness Strike King Ravenswood Media Nautical St. Croix Rods PLB Iaconelli Ditch Brown trout Global Spectrum Ranger Boats NMEA Whistler Spoon eZSplice Water Buddies Scholarship exotic invader EZ Splice Fasteners Lighting Brad's Dave Genz Free Fishing Weekend Dollahon News/Social Princecraft STRATTEC Storage Milennia MIL-iDock Endura South Haven, Michigan TRAC Ecological Asian carp Reese Custom Jigs & Spins cruzin One-Handle-Does-It-All System Dogs Scott Martin mudsnail Radial Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plates and Kits Stabenow Apps Navigation Hunting GPS Speedometer iPilot Link clubs Jerky Wedding Ring Mack's Lure Gill NA Traxstech Boat lifts Glorvigen Chicago barrier Beckson FRIDAY FUNNIES Jonathon VanDam Venice, Louisiana Rig'N Tails Tracker Marine Bug bite relief Wildlife Forever Safety Costa Del Mar PFDs Andrew Dordek Safe boating Lowrance Gear Louie Stout Conservation Marathon Bristol Bay Home Port Marine Marketing Oculus Lakemaster Boat US Multi-species ABT X-2 Countdown Knife sharpening Olcott, NY KVD YUM Dinger Pop-Up LED Bowlights Bait Holder Kill switch Army Corp of Engineers Niagara Falls Earth Day Sunstream Boat Lifts Dan Egan Kindle book BASSMASTER Ranger Aluminum Deep V Series Minn Kota CLASSIC Vick BoatUS fitness Launch ramp Deep Sea Diver Legend Extreme Technology Patrick Hurst Coleman cooler Boats SOG Moisture Muncher BOLT Padlock Volvo Penta Indiana DNR Minnesota Black Earth Creek CUSTOM JIGS 'N' SPINS Sphaera Line Recycle Bin exotic species Lake of the Woods Camera mount iPhone DSC Rovermax LR 100 jigs binoculars Yamaha Jeff Gustafson Hamlin Size limits ABT Macho Minnow Holland thieves trailer tongue Weather Buoy McMurdo Skamania Mania Promise Keeper Chatterbait Bibs Kevin VanDam Seakeeper gyro Youth Honda Speakers Tight Lines Jewelry AmVets Conservation Wake Fishing Bait head radar Gene Larew South Haven Bass Pro Shops Four-Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch ice fishing, Bro Show, Traditions Media Mustad Keep Kool Side Thruster Extended Warranty Cabela's tackle storage