Polovick Lightning Strikes Twice in Lake Ontario

Master Angler Wins Second Grand Prize, says, “Timing is Everything!”

Marty Polovick of Lockport, New York, believes that lightning CAN strike twice in the same spot, that is, as far as winning the Grand Prize in the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derbies and his fishing rod is concerned.

Polovick won his second Grand Prize, this time in the spring contest held May 6-15, 2016, by reeling in a 26 pound, four ounce king salmon to take the $15,000 top prize.  He also earned an extra $500 for big fish of the day and a check for $1,000 by catching the largest salmon by a Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Assn. (LOTSA) member.  He had previously won a Grand Prize in the 2011 Summer Derby with a 36 pound, 14 ounce king.

On the final weekend of the derby, the weather forecast wasn’t pretty.  They were calling for high winds on the lake Saturday, but not until after 11 am or so.  The crew of Doug Parker of Lockport; Matt Dunn of Newfane; and Matt’s father, Marc Dunn of Lockport along with Polovick boarded Matt’s 27-foot Tiara aptly named “Streaker” out of Bootleggers Cove in Wilson.  The water was flat early in the morning and they headed west to an area off Six Mile Creek where they boated three nice salmon in the high teens.  Using an 8-inch Dreamweaver Spindoctor (white glow and green dots) rigged with a white John King Baithead with a piece of Crowes Cut Bait, they put their downrigger on the bottom in 100 to 110 feet of water.  The fish hit between 8:30 and 9 am, taking Polovick about 20 minutes to reel the king to the boat.  When they hoisted the fish up onto the handheld scale, it was heavier than they thought so they pulled lines and ran into port to weigh their prize catch at Bootleggers.  By the time they finished up weighing in the new leader and filling out the paperwork, it was too rough to go back out into the lake.  Timing is everything.  It’s interesting to note that Parker, Dunn and Dunn tagged teamed to tie for the Grand Prize in the spring of 2014, but the timing was off by a week. They had to settle for first place in the Salmon Division. Again, it was that timing thing…but this time they got it right. They will split the cash up equally between the four of them.

“It was a team effort all the way around,” said Polovick who is no stranger around local Niagara County fishing circles. He is active with LOTSA, serving on its Board of Directors. “We also won this for Pat Comerford of East Aurora who passed away earlier this year. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him as a mentor and fellow fisherman.” Pat was also a previous LOC Derby winner. Unfortunately, sometimes time is too short.

First place in the Salmon Division was Tracy Lindsay of Seneca Falls, NY with a 25 pound, four once king caught opening weekend, May 7. He was fishing with Capt. Scott Fletcher of Kings Ferry, NY aboard his 25 foot Starcraft named “Blue Moon”; and friends Eric Carlson of North Syracuse and Steve Fiorello of Liverpool, NY. Lindsay won the $2,000 first place prize plus big fish of the day at $500.

“We were fishing west of Wilson about two miles during the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament,” said Lindsay at the Awards Ceremony. “We were using a Michigan Stinger “42nd Spoon” working a double header at 7 am. Our downrigger was 130 feet down over 180 feet of water. Twenty minutes later we boated the big fish. It helped us to place second in the WHI, too.” He hopes to use some of the winning proceeds for a new deck at home.

In the Brown Trout Division, Ryan Massey of Oriskany Falls, NY was fishing with Capt. Dave Wilson of Oswego aboard the captain’s 28-foot Baha named “Spankmayer.” Also on board was Ryan’s nine year old son, Aidan, and a couple of buddies from Vermont (Steve and Dave). On the first Saturday, they were fishing east of Oswego when they hooked into a nice fish at 7:45 am. They had been using Otter boards and placed a Smithwick stickbait in blue and silver about 100 feet back of the board. Less than 10 minutes later, they were netting his 16 pound, two ounce brownie.

“It wasn’t the biggest brown that I’ve ever caught, though,” said Massey. “The biggest I ever caught was one better than this one … but I wasn’t in the derby. I would have won. Now the rule is for everyone in the boat to be in the derby and it finally paid off.”

Second place brown trout was a 15 pound, seven ounce fish that was hauled in by Mike Spinelli of Rochester. To go with the whole “timing” theme, he caught is fish the final day of the derby in Irondequoit Bay – because the lake was too rough from high winds.

“I was fishing with Steve Greive of Irondequoit and Dave Allison of Greece aboard Steve’s 25-foot Sea Ray named ‘Skamaniac.’ I knew there were browns in the bay, so we just trolled around with a chartreuse Rebel Fastrac 100 feet behind the board and we hit the fish over 60 feet of water. It only took about five minutes to bring the fish in.”

Greive also had a fish on the board, a 15th place brown at 11 pounds, four ounces; and Spinelli also helped David McGowam of Rush, NY with a, 11th place fish – a 12 pound, eight ouncer caught off Mike’s boat. Both of those fish were caught in the lake.

The lucky Laker Taker was no stranger to the winner’s circle either. Patrick Barber of Niagara Falls was fishing with his brother Richard (also from Niagara Falls) on Friday the 13th. While trolling the Niagara Bar off the mouth of the famed Niagara River aboard the infamous “Killer B’s” Crestliner, the duo was starting to face rough conditions on the lake. Dick wanted to go in. As he started to pull rods, the 27 pound, 8 ounce fork tail hit their chartreuse holographic Kwikfish rigged with Hammerhead cowbells. “And this time my brother was able to net it successfully!” That’s another story for another time.

Richard placed fourth in the spring contest with a 21 pound, six ounce lake trout. All told, their derby winnings are over $80,000 now for the “Killer B’s” fishing squad. It was weighed in at Creek Road Bait and Tackle, a new last minute addition for the spring to save the day in the weigh station department.

Second place lake trout was a 25 pound, 11 ounce fish out-fought by Robert Batchelder of West Burke, Vermont. He was fishing out of Wilson with Norm Paquette of Lyndonville, VT (aboard Norm’s 24-foot Thompson named “Care Free”); Richard Rice of Sutton, VT; and Michael Rice of Lyndonville, VT. They were trolling a flasher-fly rig west of Wilson about half way to the Niagara Bar, 135 feet down over 150 feet of water on the downrigger, when the fish hit on May 10 at 7:15 am. “We use to fish with a friend who made his own ‘Harris’ fly – green, yellow and white with sparkles – behind an E-Chip flasher that was green and white. That’s what we used this time. It was the biggest laker of my life and it came at a good time.” Timing is everything.

Top Youth Lake Trout was a 13 pound, 12 ounce fish reeled in by Zachary Enos of Canandaigua. He “caught it in Lake Ontario” according to his expert testimony, weighed in at Hughes Marina in Williamson.

In the Walleye Division, Tim Farmer of Dexter led the pack with an 11 pound 14 ounce fish from Chaumont Bay off Jefferson County. He was fishing with his sons, Paul and Richard, as well as Jan Coburn of Henderson on the opening day of walleye season, May 7. They were fishing out of the “Lucky Lund,” a 19 footer that does them well. The elder Farmer, a charter captain for over 30 years, attributes his success to the “luck of the Irish … and being at the right place at the right time.” In addition, his mom had passed away around St. Patty’s Day this year and it could have been a little gift from above.

“I like fishing worm harnesses and tried to get the boys to put one out that afternoon,” said Farmer. “They finally listened to me and we put a blue and silver Northland Bait worm harness out 100 feet back from the board. Our next fish was the winner. We thought it was a pike when it hit. This was a proud moment with my boys.” Speaking of the sons, they also place high in the contest, finishing in third and fifth with an 11 pound, six ounce and a 10 pound, 13 ounce fish respectively. They have also placed in the top two in the Walleye Division four times previously, winning twice.

Sometimes the timing is off just a little bit, like Dan Peschler of Pulaski can attest. He weighed in an 11 pound, 14 ounce walleye the day after Farmer’s catch with a fish of the same weight. First angler in to the scales is the tie-breaker. Peschler was fishing with Robert Holdsworth of Pennsylvania at 2 am in Oswego Harbor and his fishing partner was sleeping aboard Peschler’s 16-foot Mini-Fish Magnet, a DuraNautic. The walleye hit a black and silver Smithwick lure trolled 50 feet behind a mini-Off Shore board over eight feet of water. Peschler is another regular in the winner’s circle.

Jared DiFrancesco of Baldwinsville took home the youth trophy in the walleye division with a nine pound, three ounce fish. “We were fishing in 20 to 30 feet of water using planer boards,” the 14-year-old youngster said. “During the week we fished there were a lot of snags. We lost nine lures.”

His lunker walleye was caught on May 8th around 4 pm in the afternoon. The youngster was fishing with his father and Tony Chatt of West Monroe, last year’s Lake Ontario Pro-Am Challenge Cup winner with “Five More Minutes.” The winning fish took a Smithwick stickbait. It was weighed in at Woody’s Tackle in Pulaski. DiFrancesco is a ninth grade student at Durgee Junior High School and plays soccer and is on the track team. Asked if fishing, soccer, and track are his favorite sports the youngster quipped, “No… messing around is my favorite.”

Next up on the LOC Derby calendar is the Summer Derby, set for July 1-31. The Fall Derby is slated for August 19-September 5, 2016. For a complete leaderboard for the spring contest go to www.loc.org.