Photos by Phil Livingston
Rob Abbott of Geneseo on the ice with his second-place winning pike.
The ice is nice
It was another big turnout on Conesus Lake Saturday for the annual ice derby, which was the last of a four-part series of events on Loon, Silver, and Honeoye Lakes sponsored by Avon Anglers. The Conesus event continues the tradition started and long carried on by Art’s Bait Shop in Lakeville, maintaining a bit of history that is part and parcel to the lore of the lake.
The four species categories included: Tiger Muskellunge (most weight for one), Northern Pike, (most weight for one), Perch (most weight for five), and Bluegill/Sunfish, (most weight for five).
Some local boys came up big, with Livonia’s Bob Foos dragging in a haul of monster perch that eclipsed the rest of the field, the biggest coming in at 1.86 pounds. That beat the solo catch of Lakeville’s Tom Hughes, who for a while seemed to have the top spot in hand with his 1.44-pounder.
Foos’ five perch load weighed in at 7.33 pounds.
“I just kept laughing as I pulled them in,” he said, his enthusiasm apparently well-oiled by an ample supply of ice fishermen’s favorite liquid lubricant.
“I caught two of them on jitterbugs and the rest on hula poppers,” he added, breaking up the crowd at the weigh-in with his response to the standard, “What did you use (for bait?)” query.
In a tight race for the winning pike, Geneseo’s Rob Abbott looked to have the edge at 12.16 pounds, until a fisherman from Greece nipped him with one weighing 12.69 pounds. Hemlock’s Jeremy Gamble came in third with a 10.86-pounder.
Geneseo’s Jason Neus came in second in the bluegill division, with a weigh-in of 2.09 pounds, behind Hamlin’s Robert Westcott with a catch of 2.15 pounds.
Only one tiger muskie was entered, an 8.47 pounder, caught appropriately enough by Rochester’s Tyger Tallon.
“It was a great turnout,” said Avon Anglers’ tournament director Ken McGee. “We’re a not-for-profit organization, and it helps because all of the proceeds from the tournaments go towards sponsoring our kids events.”
One of those events was held Sunday from Vitale Park, the clubs’ first-ever Conesus Lake kids fishing clinic.
“We had kids from three years old to twelve,” said McGee, “and they had a ball. That’s what Avon Anglers is really all about.”
The club will be sponsoring another kid’s clinic this weekend at the north end of Canandaigua Lake. On Feb. 27 they will be holding their $10,000 purse (based on participation) Masters Elite Ice Fishing Tournament on Honeoye Lake. For information look on their website.