LIVONIA – Final weigh-in at an ice fishing tournament is serious business. Over 520 anglers are vying for huge bragging rights and, as a bonus, a $500 prize. So when the crowd parted for a young man with a monster pike that almost touched the floor, all eyes turned to the scale.
By the end of the day, the scale had said that Aiddan Gascon and his 14.93-pound pike had won first place 2018 Frostbite Ice Fishing Derby.
“We’re weighing in fish and here comes this young guy barely holding up this pike,” said Ted Decker of Ted’s Tackle in Lakeville, host of the derby. “When the weight came back, everybody cheered. It was awesome that a youngster won.”
The ice was packed with anglers all weekend for the derby, a well-established benefit for Honor Flight of Rochester and the Myers Memorial Foundation. Prizes went to the biggest pike, bass, tiger musky and most total poundage of panfish.
An easy second fiddle to Gascon’s giant ‘freshwater barracuda’ was the beefy perch caught by Phil Zschoche of Howard, NY. It looked like it had eaten two baseballs. It tipped the scale at 1.9 pounds, part of Zschoche’s winning catch of panfish, which totaled 8.38 pounds.
Larry Vanorman brought in a 5.62-pound largemouth bass. Nick George brought in a 4.76-pound smallmouth, just edging out John Belcki with a 4.75-pound smallmouth.
Jim Meyers landed an 8.99-pound tiger musky.
The tournament is backed by friends and neighbors around the lake and beyond. The Hook & Spoon offered their parking area across Rte. 20A from Vitale Park to anglers. The Conesus Lake Sportsman’s Club offered use of their grounds for not only the anglers but for food and live music.