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!
I too am home, and reflecting. If nothing else, we can still call ourselves “tournament Pike anglers” can’t we? After all was said and done, I love fishing and that we did a LOT of! Thanks for driving us around Bellwood all weekend 😉
I think we can call ourselves tournament anglers…just not successful ones!
Good job anyhow boys, you would have had to throw them back anyhow. 🙂
We to got skunk.. well one pike at 18.1/2″. cold front was in the pike favor thats for sure.. What was the winning sizes.
thanks, tight lines everyone. 🙂
Thanks for the comment, the cold front for sure was the biggest challenge! The winning fish was 28inches, it was caught on the Sunday morning. 28 is a respectable fish, but the next one was around 25inches. It’s tough to swallow how easy it would have been to win, yet so hard at the same time…till next year!
You’ll have to enter again next year! It really is a lot of fun, and most people normally catch quite a few fish throughout the derby. This year was an exception. Last year we caught several pike (a couple of which would have made this year’s requirements of 22″) and a bunch of walleye. Glad you got out, even though the weather didn’t cooperate. Hope to see you out there!
Thanks argosgirl. I’m new to fishing Belwood and Conestoga, so I’m still in the mode of picking up what locations work, and what baits, and then trying to adapt that to the water levels and the time of year etc. I’ll keep at it.
I have fished that lake for 45 years. I knew by the way the weather was and all that rain that it was going to be a skunk week end There was to much rain and the fish were getting food else where. There is always next year I will be there at my cottage fishing right off my dock. Happy fishing season 2013
Thanks Tina. If was a tough one. Belwood and Conestoga are pretty finicky. I was out on Conestoga this morning, caught a few crappie in a few hours, and the other folks fishing were commenting on how slow it was, compared to yesterday where the fishing was great. Amazing what one day can do!
Hi Scott – I just sent an email to the Belwood Lions Club to ask them to consider changing the tournament to a point system for a pickerel/pike derby. I go into a point system tournament up north every year that works very well and is a lot more fun and involves the fishermen more. As I have home on Belwood, over the past few years I have caught a lot more pickerel than pike of significant size. I hope they consider the change.