This weekend saw me enter my first ever tournament, the annual Belwood Lions Pike Derby, held on Belwood Lake. There were over 500 entrants, and while I had no expectation of winning the tournament, my brother Chris and I did have expectations to put a fish or two up on the qualifying board. The minimum length for this derby was only 22inches, so we felt confident that over the course of the weekend, we’d be able to notch a couple. We were wrong.
On the Friday night before the tournament a cold front moved in, in fact there was frost on the ground as we left the house on Saturday morning to join over 500 other anglers. For those of you who don’t fish, a cold front can shut down the feeding habits of many species of fish. Over the weekend, we put in a total of 17 hours on the water, and caught only ONE FISH. It was a 19 inch pike, that was so small I had to be careful when handling it to not cause damage. Most of the folks we talked to experienced that same luck, almost no fish in the boat, many groups completely skunked for the weekend. I mean, I can understand not getting a Pike, but to not get perch, or bass, or walleye, or carp, or catfish…you get the picture.
So my first tournament was not a positive experience for fishing. The Belwood Lions did raise a lot of money for their charities, and many kids and adults received door prizes, not to mention the $2000 that went to the first place winner for his 28inch Pike. I think it’s too early to decide if we’d do it again, the sting is still there, but after another long winter of no fishing, I expect our opinions will change and we’ll be looking to enter again. Hopefully with better results!