Sibbald Point Provincial Park, Lake Simcoe: Despite almost constant rain and miserable fishing conditions, an astounding 78 teams competed in the first annual PERCHIN FOR MS Fundraiser Perch Fishing Tournament Sat. March 12, 2011. “I was completely flabbergasted that so many anglers came out to fish this event,” said host and organizer Doug Poirier. “These anglers all heard the same weather forecasts we did – and all knew the rains were coming. They decided to fish anyway and although they got wet, they did not let the rain dampen their spirits,” he said.
Each team paid a $40 entry fee – and half would go towards the Muscular Sclerosis Walk in their name, and the other half would go towards cash awards. The 10 heaviest perch would win the tournament. There was also a separate BIG Fish Pot that anglers could enter for $5 each.
At 8am, all anglers took off from the newly renovated public launch area at Sibbald’s. They could fish anywhere within the 1 ½ x2 km designated zone- well marked with orange pylons. Some elected to stay in one area and capitalize on the roaming abundant perch found within most of the zone. Others, like the eventual winners – Wil and his son Izaak Wegman of Bradford, used their Cross Sleds to traverse within the zone to upgrade their catch. “We had our 10 perch within 20 minutes or so, but then the trick was to try and find the jumbo’s Simcoe is famous for. We elected to move around a lot- and hope for a bigger fish here and there to upgrade,” said Izaak. “We found HT Marmooska jigs were most productive in the morning but by afternoon we switched to HT dropper spoons to get our fish,” Izaak remarked. The father-son duo weighed in 5.78 lbs worth of perch for their win.
The biggest fish of the event was caught by Brad Jamieson who landed a beautiful 1.2 lb, 13 inch perch. Brad won a taxidermy replica mount of his fish to be done by Advanced Taxidermy and Wildlife Designs.
The MS Connection:
The tournament was more than just about the fish or the weather however. “I started this event because I wanted to promote education and awareness around MS and I thought what better way to do that than through a fishing derby.” As an avid angler and Conservation Officer who lives with MS daily, Poirier knows firsthand about its limitations, but says that unless you have a friend or relative with it, people seldom have a good understanding of the disease. “The goal of the event was also to raise a bit of money for MS and I am pleased to announce that thanks to some generous monetary donations we raised almost $4,000 that will go directly to the MS Society of Canada,” said Poirier.
Although most anglers who fished the MS Perch Fundraiser were from the GTA, others came from Owen Sound and Niagara in the west to Muskoka and Halliburton in the north and east to Ottawa. There were even some anglers from the US. Many were hard core competitive anglers who look for competitions like this to test their skills. Others were recreational ice anglers who enjoy meeting others in a fun-filled event where proceeds go to a worthwhile cause.
Not only did anglers come out in force to support the fundraiser, but so too did sponsor and individual support. “The prizes supplied by companies and individuals far exceeded my expectations. Our community really showed the true meaning of “Community” with the way they all came together to sponsor this event!” said Poirier.
TOP EIGHT … and Their Weight
1. Team Wegman – Wil and Izaak Wegman of Bradford – 5.785lbs – $500 cash & 2 Fish TV Camera’s
2. Team VR – David Hamilton and Mike L. of Sutton – 5.170 lbs – $500 Cash
3. Team Northenders – Richard Colangelo – 4.885 – $300.00 Cash
4. Team Malaguti – Paul Malaguti of Peterborough and Matt McNeice of Barrie – 4.345lb – 2 Clam Kanai Fish Trap portable huts
5. Team Dean Mizmo – Kelly Dean of Keswick – 4.185lb – $200 cash
6. Team Killoran/Taylor – Justin Killoran and Ryan Taylor both of Willow Beach – 3.955lbs – 2 Eagle Portable Fish Finders
7. Team Perch Masters – Gary Kernohan of Minden and Brad Jamieson of Bradford – 3.780lbs – 2 Mustang Survival Suits
8. Team Double “V” – Paul Valeriote and Mike Valeriote both of Elmira – 3.775lbs – Pick off the prize table