The first-ever Niagara County Bullhead Contest, held April 1 and 2 in area waterways, proved a success with 105 contestants participating. Presented by Pete Marotta of Feather and Fur Bait Shop in Wilson and Mark Daul of OutdoorsNiagara.com, fish were caught from all over, according to Daul.
"Lots of fishing concentration was at 12 Mile Creek West, right at the mouth to the lake and also at the inner end of the Wilson piers," says Daul. He adds that some fish entered were caught at Duck Island in Gill Creek, Niagara Falls.
Winners included: First place, Jeff Budziszewski of Newfane, total weight 3.72 pounds; second place, Joel Feagin of Lockport, total weight 3.32 pounds; and third place, John Pittsley of Lockport, total weight 3.22 pounds. First, second and third prizes were cash payouts of $50, $30 and $20 after expenses.
Lesser prize winners were: fourth place, Cameron McKee - 3.07 pounds; fifth place, Mark Gertz - 3.00 pounds; sixth place, Shawn Galyan - 3.00 pounds; and seventh place, Eric Hyjek - 2.92 pounds. All took home cap lights, which hook on the edge of a baseball cap and are used for night fishing.
Daul noted that of the fish weighed in, only two per entrant were allowed. All weights listed were the total of the two fish. Electronic digital scales borrowed from Niagara County, the same as used in the county derbies, were used in the contest. Weigh master for the contest was Richard Fortier.
"There were quite a few fish brought to the weigh-in and most were kept by the anglers and what wasn't kept was taken home to cook by a Wilson Conservation Club member," says Daul.
"Quite a few parents got their children out and that was something that made our day," he adds. "We had a box of Thinsulate winter children's caps that were donated by captain Frank Campbell to give away to the tiny kids. All the tiny kids got one, and Feather and Fur Bait Shop gave away fishing stuff to what kids were left."
He thanks the following for helping to make the event a success:
•The Wilson Conservation Club, which opened their doors for the post-contest awards and picnic. A 50/50 split was held to benefit the club.
•Volunteers: Chris J. (hot dog cooker), Dave Astasia (chili cooker), Terry Swann (club liaison and photos), Delma Daul (salad maker and "go-fer"), and Debbie, Ellen and an unidentified woman from the Wilson Conservation Club who sold 50/50 tickets.
"Oh, of course Pete's wife, Wendy, kept everything organized and made the baked beans," Daul adds. "Next year, if we do this again, we would like to have a fish fry picnic and some volunteers to come out and take charge of cleaning and cooking these critters, and we can do up some potatoes and have a real nice lunch. But we need volunteers."