By Bill Hilts
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Buffalo Sabres Alumni crew rolled into Olcott Beach on Thursday to hold their seventh annual Charity Fishing Tournament, and the day on the water and the time in Krull Park was a near perfect situation.
In the end, it was Capt. Jerry Felluca of Hilton with Runnin’ Rebel guiding his customers for the day to the biggest fish of the friendly tournament — a 19-pound, 2-ounce salmon. It was the second year in a row that Felluca has accomplished this feat. Dave Williams and Dave Pulombo, both of Rochester, were fishing on the boat with Felluca, along with one of the Sabres’ trainers.
Second place in the contest was Capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville with On The Rocks and weighing in a 19-pound king with former Sabres Wilf Paiement and Team Dan Dy; third was Capt. Dan Evans of Wilson with Lone Wolf, hauling in an 18-pound, 12-ounce fish with team John Previty and Sabre Alumni Randy Cunneyworth.
The money raised from the day helps to support youth fishing contests, as well as the Pro-Am tournament. In addition, some money is earmarked for Buffalo-area charities that the Sabres work closely with. It’s a classic win-win situation all the way around.
Events like these just don’t happen. Rob Ray of Amherst is involved from the Sabres’ end of things to get the ball rolling. Scott McManigle, Director of Player Relations for the Alumni Association, handles the money end of things and organizes the one end of the event. At the other end is Capt. Bob Cinelli of Newfane-Olcott, who helps to organize the boats, as well as the local logistics for running the contest. That’s the basic foundation.
Then there’s the Town of Newfane, supplying a trolley from Krull Park to the Town of Newfane Marina. The Marina itself is also involved, docking the boats for the charity event. The County Parks Department is involved, too, stepping up to the plate to help with the Lions Club pavilion, ensuring there are plenty of picnic tables and things are cleaned up for the hockey legends and guests. Legislator John Syracuse was working behind the scenes to make sure everything was running smoothly.
Niagara Tourism and Convention Corportation was also helping by setting up a PA system, coordinating a City of Lockport stage, handling the weigh in of the fish and more. When it’s all said and done, it makes for a very enjoyable day.
As far as the fishing is concerned, no one was sharing any catching information. This is Pro-Am tournament week and this Sabres outing also serves as an opportunity for teams to pre-fish and figure out what the best approach might be on the water for the big money contest going into the weekend.
That’s one of the reasons the Sabres Alumni event is held at this time of year — because of all the big boats in town fishing the tournament.
Opening day bass contests and kids derbies
The state’s regular bass season opens up on June 15 this year and once again the kick-off contest will be hosted by the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Niagara Falls. As in years past, only New York waters apply (the Ontario season isn’t open yet), with the contest based on your best two smallmouth bass.
The fishing contest is from sunrise to 4 p.m. with the scales being open from 3 to 4 p.m. only. Of course, a fish fry will follow with all the fixings. If you have any questions, give the restaurant a call at 283-9861. The restaurant, located at 7201 Niagara Falls Blvd., opens at 2 p.m. every day. Stop in and register.
In an effort to try something new, Rosemellia’s Burt Hotel in Burt, Town of Newfane will also be hosting an opening day bass competition, but this one includes both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The biggest two fish win the cash prizes.
The contest runs from sunrise to 4 p.m. as well, with the scales being open from 3 to 4 p.m. Weigh-in, awards and food will all be at Burt Hotel (near fisherman’s park). To make things a bit more interesting, they are restricting anglers to Lake Ontario and the tributaries.
In the kids fishing derby department, June 15 is also the day that there will be two youth fishing events — one in Wilson by the members of the Wilson Conservation Club and held in the public waters around Niagara County; a second along the upper Niagara River in Tonawanda. There will be a kids contest at Niawanda Park in Tonawanda along the upper Niagara River. Registration opens at 8 a.m.
Big Anti-SAFE rally set for June 11
Round two of the next big rally in Albany to oppose the SAFE Act is set for June 11 in the Legislative Office Building. The last rally on Feb. 28 was one of the largest ever recorded in the history of sportsmen’s causes, legislation that flies in the face of the state’s constitution, as well as this country’s.
Second Amendment supporters will be convening in the parking lot of the Eastern Hills Mall once again at 4 a.m. around Sears Automotive. If you want to hook up with one of the buses, you will need to contact Rich Davenport at 510-7952 (after 4:30 p.m.). Riders are being asked for a nominal donation to help cover costs for the trip. These buses are being coordinated by the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.
Last time around, numbers as high as 15,000 people were recorded — all opposing the SAFE Act and supporting Second Amendment rights. We would like to see this bigger and better! You can also email Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A hearing was held in Albany addressing the use of crossbows in the state. A dozen major sportsmen’s organizations were present and all were in support of crossbow usage. It was the unanimous opinion, according to outdoor writer Bill Conner who was in attendance, of those present that the state legislature should pass crossbow legislation that would make the crossbow a legal hunting implement and let DEC manage accordingly.
Crossbows should also be used in all seasons. The 500 foot rule for hunting around structures should be amended to 150 feet for archers, including crossbows. There should be no sunset clause in any legislation, giving sportsmen the opportunity to invest in a crossbow — ensuring it will be around for a long time to come.
According to Larry Becker, a representative of the state’s Sportsmen’s Advisory Committee and also in attendance in Albany, he felt it was important for sportsmen to get involved on several levels. First, ask your legislators to co-sign S1699A and A283 — especially in the Assembly where they could use some help. It was also important to send a letter to Assemblyman Robert Sweeney who chairs the Assembly’s Encon Committee.
He continues to make statements that crossbow legislation will never see the light of day … unless it’s for the gun season only. Tell him you want to see Assemblyman Ryan’s A283 on the next agenda and to release it. Write all legislators and tell them you support the crossbow.
In addition, if you are already an archer, mention it in your letter. Phone calls are important, too. It’s critical to join the cause by joining up with the New York Crossbow Coalition and become a member. Showing off numbers is important.
Bottom line here is that if you want to hunt with crossbows, you’ll need to be proactive. There’s no reason in the world why we shouldn’t be able to hunt with a crossbow in New York during a time that we want to hunt. It should be our decision how we want to harvest a deer — or at least the opportunity to.Today • Final Day, 29th annual Skip Hartman Memorial/Niagara County Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament out of the ports of Wilson and Olcott. Weigh in opens at noon in Krull Park, Olcott.. Fishing concludes at 2 p.m. for the Pro-Am Division; Recreational Open teams must be in line for weigh in by 12:30 p.m. Awards ceremony to follow weigh in. Monday • LaSalle Sportsmen's Club, 2445 Tuscarora Road, Niagara Falls will hold their monthly general membership meeting starting at 7 p.m. Call 297-0410 for more info. • North Forest Rod and Gun Club monthly meeting, Old Niagara Road, Lockport starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday • Niagara Musky Association will hold their monthly meetingat Eldridge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda starting at 7 p.m. • Environmental Education Field Days at Royalton Ravine Park, Gasport from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District. For more info contact Darcy Rae Tone at 434-4949. Friday • Orleans County Fourth Annual Condor Memorial one day/three fish derby out of Point Breeze as a lead in to the Pro-Am Tournament. For more info call 390-0085. You must be signed up by 7 a.m. the morning of the event. • Final walk-in registration for the 29th annual Southtowns Walleye Association tournament set for June 8-16. You must register by 9 p.m. at the club house located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. • Orleans County Pro-Am Captain's meeting at the Orleans County Marine park. Doors open at 5 p.m. Meeting is at 6 p.m. Saturday • Pendleton Lions Club Kids Fishing Derby tentatively being run out of West Canal Marine Park, Pendleton from 9 a.m. to noon. Call 625-8122 to confirm. • Orleans County Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament Day one out of the Orleans County Marine Park starting at 5 a.m. with collection of disclaimers. Weigh-ins will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Day 2 is Sunday. • Southtown's Walleye Association's annual walleye derby on Lake Erie from June 8-16, with awards picnic to follow on June 22. Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor sports writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at email@example.com.