Fishing festival takes note of the ones that got away


October 15, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ANGLERS HOPING to catch a prize tiger muskie and the largest cash prize at this year's Fall Fishing Tournament at Piney Run Park will have to wait until spring to try again.

The coveted predator eluded capture again, having slipped off the lures of at least three anglers at the event Saturday.

Many participating in the tournament claimed to have seen the feisty fish swimming beneath the surface, but none has been caught during a park tournament.

"We know of three fish hooked up against the boat, and lost," park manager Loren Lustig told his assistant, Jim Gronow, who was in charge of weighing and measuring the fish that day.

Michael Hester of Dundalk told Gronow he lost two muskies in five minutes, hooking and pulling them in to have them break free. The fish have large teeth and are difficult to catch, usually putting up quite a fight. They fight harder once they are out of the water, and often will flip back in.

Last year was believed to be the first year that the fish, which are stocked at the lake, reached 36 inches- the size required for the $400 cash prize. Hopes were high that the prize, the tournament's largest, would be awarded.

According to park records, a tiger muskie pulled from the lake in January (but not during a tournament) measured 41 inches. Rick Lintner broke that record May 28 with a fish that measured 45 inches and weighed 22.29 pounds. It was caught off the pier in front of the boathouse, where a photograph of Lintner holding the giant fish is displayed, with photographs of other prize catches.

Not every angler at the event was trying to catch a tiger muskie. Prizes also were offered for largemouth bass; striped bass, or rockfish; and catfish. First place in each category was $300, $150 for second, and $75 for third, with a trophy award for the largest fish overall.

The weather was perfect for the event, Lustig said, with overcast skies (which are supposed to be good for fishing) and mild temperatures. Ninety-eight anglers were registered, and fishing began at 6 a.m. By 7:30 that morning, possible prize-winners were weighed and measured, and posted on the leader board. But the board continued to change throughout the morning.

By 11 a.m., Lustig had made the final run in a pontoon boat to pick up anglers at remote locations throughout the lake and take their catches to the weigh station. All other anglers in boats or on docks had to return to the weigh station by noon to qualify their catches.

This year's results:

For catfish, first place was awarded to Tom Testa of Sykesville, second place to Don Washington, and third place to Stan Windsor. For striped bass, first and second place were awarded to Steve DiLeonardi of Reisterstown. This category had no third-place qualifier. For largemouth bass, first place was awarded to Richard Peacock of Sykesville, second place to Robert Dooms, and third place to David Kyle.

Testa's first-place catfish was the big winner of the day, qualifying for the trophy with largest catch of the day. His trophy fish weighed 6.26 pounds. DiLeonardi was the big cash-prize winner for his first- and second-place catches, taking home $450. DiLeonardi promised to share his winnings with his fishing partner, Daniel Leonard of Owings Mills.

Surprisingly, two of the first-place fish and many other winners were caught from piers or the shoreline. Lustig said the park creates habitats at various locations around the shoreline to attract fish.

One method Lustig used recently was to take fallen 20-foot trees and surround the bases with concrete. He and members of park maintenance sank the bases offshore in 30 feet of water, but close enough for a shoreline angler to reach. With the tree standing upright, it creates an artificial habitat that attracts small fish, and ultimately larger predator fish.

The last day for anglers to launch boats on the lake is Oct. 31, after which the park will close for the season. Lustig said anglers may continue to fish from the shore all winter.

Liberty High concert

The Liberty High School mu- sic department will hold a concert from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at the school auditorium. The concert will feature vocal and instrumental music groups. Chorus, orchestra, wind ensemble, concert band and symphonic band are scheduled to play popular music.

The public is invited. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended because of limited seating. Prices are $8; $5 for students; and children younger than age 5 will be admitted free.

Information: 410-751-3560.

Debra Taylor Young's neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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