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Ode to a superhero

I didnt see this one coming. Nope. Never would have predicted a downrigger leaping off the side of our boat during this years LCI fishing derby and plunging into the Lake Champlain depths. No Sireeee. Snagged on bottom and torn off? Sure. Smashed to oblivion docking in the dark. Certainly. Been there, done that. But not this. Im not sure if it was suicidal. Maybe it was something one of us said. The hard truth of it is well probably never know. All we can do is hope for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Like a downrigger jumping overboard. Fortunately for all, the story doesnt end there. Turns out this was a thing we could change - we just needed the man with the courage to do it. Enter Mike The White Dog White. Just as the rigger started to disappear into the 300-plus feet of water off Split Rock point, The White Dog sprang into action like a cat with its tail on fire. Tossing care to the wind, he threw his 6-foot 5-inch frame over the side, somehow nabbing an attached electric wire between his spindly fingers. At the same time, he expertly hooked all 10 toes under the side rail of our craft while hollering HELP, HELP, HELP just before his head went under. (Honestly the final HELP was a bit garbled by frothy Champlain water, but its hard to paint that mental picture without actually having been there.) The other three equally valiant members of our team then joined the fray ripping, pulling, punching, kicking and yarning The White Dog until he was back safely aboard said vessel. He sat for a long while just holding that downrigger - a tear glistening in the corner of one eye. Hes courageous, sure, but even superheros show their emotions from time to time. How we did when we werent chasing downriggers The action was pleasantly consistent during the LCI Fathers Day Derby June 14, 15 and 16. We had a crew that went after cold water species and another that went after warm. Everyone caught fish many of which just missed inclusion in the top 10 payout spots. One fish, a 5.3-pound largemouth caught by my bud James Derrick, Jr. better known as Iggy took fifth in the largemouth category. Way to go Igster. Of particular interest to me was the health of the fish. Only one came aboard with a lamprey attached, and many lacked any signs of lamprey damage. The fish were plentiful and seem to be getting plump on our lake full of alewives. Not sure if they are good or bad news for the Big Pond. Guess time will tell. Notable LCI catches released as of press time included a 13.2-pound laker caught by Ricky H. Reyor of Malone; a 7.15-pound landlock caught by Randy J. Gagne of Hillsboro NH; a 17.5 pound northern pike caught by Jerry L. Landry of Waterford, NY; a 7.8 pound walleye caught by Donald W. Kirkpatrick of Willinston, Vt; a 6.4 pound largemouth caught by Jason T. D'Avignon of Orwell, Vt; a 4.7 pound smallmouth caught by Richard B. Volski of Arlington, Vt; a 26.6 pound catfish caught by Bruce Moffit of Bennington, Vt and a 22.4 pound carp caught by James Howland of Fair Haven, Vt. Each took top honors in their categories. In the junior division, Anders L. Trainer of St. Albans took the yellow perch category with a fish weighing just under a pound. Adam C. Dunkling took first and second in the junior cold water division with two lakers that weighed 10.8 and 10.6 pounds; Richard M. Burdic Jr. of Cambridge had the winner in the junior cool water division with a 12.3 pound northern pike and Jake Fregeau of Franklin, Vt topped the leader board in the junior warm water division with a 15 pound sheepshead. Speaking of derbies The Annual Roe Pond Fishing Tournament for kids was held in Mineville Saturday, June 7. Well over 200 young anglers participated, the fishing action was hot, as well as the weather. After the prize ceremony hot dogs and soda was served by the Whitetails Unlimited. Winners for 2008 Fishing Derby included: Ages to 5 yrs. 1st Todd Malbon 1lb. 12oz. 2nd Jase Martinez 1 lb. 12oz. 3rd Jayden Gibbs 1lb. 11oz. Ages 6-8 1st Steve Baraby 2lb. 4oz. 2nd Maddy Olcott 1lb. 12oz. 3rd Derek Manfred 1lb. 12oz. Ages 9-11 1st Judd Debro 1lb. 15oz. 2nd Cole Gaddor 1lb. 15oz. 3rd Brice Dubbe 1lb. 15oz. Ages 12-13 1st Nicole Baker 1lb. 12oz. 2nd Skyler Sheldon 1lb. 12oz. 3rd Dillon Adkins 1lb. 12oz. Ages 14-15 1st Jacob Stevenson 2lbs. 1oz. 2nd Landon Cross 2lbs. 3rd Erica Niles 1lb. 14oz. First place winners were awarded $25 cash, second and third place winners received a rod and reel. All anglers received a bag of fishing lures. Any misspelled names are a result of weigh station attendants; we may not get the names correct, but we get the correct weights!!! John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications, a guide and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at johng@denpubs.com.

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