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Teams become a popular way to fish the Junior Carp Tournament

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MASSENA - Teams joined together Thursday at the opening of the St. Lawrence Junior Carp Tournament in search of landing a big win.

Teams have become a popular way to compete in the tournament, according to organizers from the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

“It definitely seems like we have higher amount of teams than last year, but we don’t know by exactly how much,” chamber spokeswoman Alison M. Power said. “It’s really good. We stress to the kids that the main point of the tournament is to make friends and have fun with each other.”

Eighty nine out of 122 kids ages 11 to 18 formed 30 teams that participated in this year’s tournament, which spans 30 miles from Ogdensburg to Massena.

Chelsea R. Vanroo, 12, Rochester, Matthew J. Henning, 15, Fairport, Mike P. Henning, 16, Fairport, and Jackson M. Vanroo, 15, Rochester, formed Team Jim, in honor of Jackson and Chelsea’s grandfather, James Vanroo.

“Jackson’s family first brought us up here about four years ago, and we have come back up here ever since,” Matthew said. “It’s become kind of like a family tradition.”

The team of family and friends said they regularly fish together in the Erie Canal near their home, and the tournament has inspired them to fish more often.

“Down there the fish don’t get as big because the canal is only about 30 feet wide at the most,” Matthew said. “The size of fish doesn’t get past 20 pounds.”

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Team Jim caught one 15-pound fish by Lighthouse Point, Ogdensburg, but they are hoping to catch a lot more when they fish today in Waddington.

“They’re a lot bigger and stronger here,” Michael said. Michael said his personal best on the St. Lawrence was a 34-pound carp he caught two years ago.

Cousins Breanna E. Bouchey, 13, Waddington, and Bridget B. Beldock, 18, Lisbon, formed Team Beldock for this year’s tournament.

“I have been doing this ever since I could, when I was 11,” Bridget said. “I fish a lot with my dad, Steve Beldock.”

This is her last year competing in the tournament, but her Breanna said she will keep up the tradition.

Best friends who met at Madrid-Waddington Central School, Colin J. Peacock, 17, Waddington, Ian P. Hawkins, 17, Chase Mills, and Kyle W. Pickering, Madrid, formed Team Raptor. They spent Friday fishing at Wheathouse Bay, Ogdensburg.

“I’ve got two 13-pounders and an 18-pounder so far,” said Colin, who has fished in the tournament for five years.

The boys spent a week preparing for the tournament.

“We spent a lot of work baiting and preparing,” Ian said. “We probably didn’t need it, but it was good to do. We did bait work, practiced and made rigs, whatever we needed to do.”

They said with good weather they could catch about five to six carp a good day.

“First day you just want a couple on the board, second day you just want to pound them,” Ian said.

The tournament has brought them even closer.

“Brings everyone together and creates sportsmanship and all good fun,” Ian said. “We meet new people and learn a lot each year.”

But it’s not just about fishing. Its real work, Colin said.

“It gets you to learn about having a good attitude towards learning to prepare and work together,” he said.

The tournament continues today until 5 p.m. Anyone can follow the action by logging onto the Slic Networks Solution Leaderboard at http://tournament.northcountryguide.com.


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