Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another Pickle Has Passed

I can’t believe that the 2011 Ditch Pickle Classic is a part of history and we’ve got to wait a whole year until the 2012 DPC, but believe me when I say I couldn’t be happier with how things went down on Saturday. 

Check-in

The fishing was far from fast and furious and I could have fried an egg on the deck of the boat it was so hot, but most anglers caught fish despite the conditions and one common theme across the board was that everyone had a great time both on the water and at the awards BBQ! 
The final entries were 35 anglers divided amongst 16 teams.  We had anglers from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut all wanting to get their mitts on that trophy and the incredible pool of prizes up for grabs.  Vessels ranged from canoes to jon boats to full on flats boats and we had a mixed field of contestants, some of which were guides, some that never casted a fly rod and others that just wanted to enjoy a great day on the water with friends. 
The fishing was definitely tough!  Bright sun…85 degrees…algae blooms…relentless wind, but damn was it fun being out there and taking part in such a great event!  The action was pretty consistent for most anglers in the field…consistently slow!  Most teams put at least a couple fish in the boat and we only had a handful or so of 16”+ fish weighed in.  It was those multi-point fish that carried the winning individual anglers and teams to the podium.

2011 DPC Champion Brian Lang

In the end it was Brian Lang from team “Lucky Bassturds” that took home the trophy, pontoon boat and title of “2011 Ditch Pickle Classic Champ.”  I would imagine that Brian spent the remainder of the weekend cleaning off a nice place on the mantle for his shiny new trophy AND pondering the many things he could buy with his “Big Pickle” winnings of $320!!!!  If that’s not enough, you might see Brian out on the lake with his teammate Shreve Soule of the 2011 DPC’s 1st place team, “Lucky Bassturds” slingin’ some of their new (HAND TIED BY THE MAN HIMSELF!) pike/musky flies donated by pike legend Barry Reynolds!  As the winning team, Brian and Shreve also each took home autographed copies of “Bass: The Movie” by Jamie Howard and a couple Buffs for those bright sunny days.

Matt Cain proudly displays one of the bass that
landed him a 2nd place spot on the podium

In the individual ranks we had Matt Cain of team “Good Luck Charlie” taking second place with a pair of real nice smallies.  Matt took home the Sea Level Fly Rod and Scientific Anglers Pike Fly Line.  Our 3rd place individual finisher was Tom Getz of team “Hair of the Dog.”  Tom put 4 nice fish in the boat and walked with a Fishpond Guide Pack and $25 gift certificate to J. Stockard Fly Fishing.
Tom Getz and his teammate Arne McKinley also brought home the 2nd place team award for their team, “Hair of the Dog.”  They were awarded some fly lines donated by Barry Reynolds as well as a brandy new Buff for each of them!
Matt Cain and Mike Ryan’s team, “Good Luck Charlie” were the 3rd place team finishers and took home a copy of Barry Reynolds’ “Urban Warfare.”

Drew Price with his "gar-gantuan" 1st place exotic entry

Drew Price of team “Bass-assasins” swept the exotic species category with his 46” longnose gar!  Drew was awarded a fly reel donated by Ken Capsey’s Pike Adventures and Barry Reynolds movie, “Urban Warfare.”
Graig Smith of team “Good Swift Kick in da Bass” was awarded a very small Redington fly reel for catching the smallest fish of the day at a whopping 7”.
The post-event awards ceremony and BBQ was held at the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Tabor Road in Swanton and I really cannot say enough great things about Ken Sturm of Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge and Paul Madden of Friends of Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge!  These gentlemen made us feel right at home in a venue that couldn’t have been better for the DPC and I’m very much looking forward to a continued relationship with Paul, Ken and the refuge.  It’s an amazing slice of heaven up there and we’re lucky to have it right out the back door!
The 2011 DPC was a success on many different levels.  First and foremost it brought together 35 individuals on one of the finest warm water fisheries in the country.  The DPC demonstrated that a fishing tournament can be friendly and casual in nature.  It displayed a new set of tournament ethics that documented success with photographs rather than live wells, 35 anglers went home with prizes of all shapes and sizes and $555 found its way to a great cause!

Awards Ceremony / BBQ

I want to send sincere thanks out to everyone that made this crazy idea a reality.  Thanks to all 2011 competitors for showing up and acting like real sportsmen.  Thanks to some of the best names in the industry that showed their support through sponsorships of varying degrees.  Thanks to Paul Madden of the Friends of Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge for providing us the opportunity to demonstrate what the DPC could do for his great organization.  Thanks to Ken Sturm for opening the doors to the refuge headquarters and celebrating a great day with us.  Thanks to Hanna, Naomi and Hillary for all their help and hard work preparing food and making sure everyone had a full belly at the BBQ.  Thanks to Brian Price for his amazing grillin’ skills and devotion to making the DPC cry heard across continents.  Thanks to Mike Kontos for handling the permitting process, assuring the DPC would comply with all statewide tournament guidelines.  Thanks to Ken Capsey for suggesting this big’ole venue up north called Missisquoi Bay for the home of the DPC.  Thanks to Brendan Hare for his vision of what the Ditch Pickle Classic could be and his perseverance to make that vision the reality it is today.
The Winners Circle : Arne Mckinley, Tom Getz, Shreve Soule, Brian Lang,
Matt Cain, Mike Ryan, Drew Price
From here on out you might wanna give second thought to attending that distant cousin’s wedding in New Jersey or that family cruise Aunt Hilda’s been trying to get you on for years.  There’s a new summer-time holiday we like to celebrate in Vermont…..it’s called the Ditch Pickle Classic and it might as well be called Christmas!

See ya on the pond!

                               ~Chris

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