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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Aurora angler dominates ice fishing championship

Aurora angler dominates ice fishing championship
Former champs couldn't crack top 10 in weekend event

The Georgina Cup is heading south.
The Canadian Ice Fishing Championship, long dominated by hometown anglers, was won by Aurora's Cam Moore and partner Leon Maloney from Hillsdale.

Mr. Moore was also the top male angler, leading the scoring parade after day one of last weekend's event off Georgina Island.

Mr. Moore and Mr. Maloney grabbed the lead in shallow water Saturday, limiting out on perch and landing buckets full of panfish as well.

They padded their lead by hooking several jumbo perch among their haul.

They were skunked on the second day in deep water and were nervously looking over their shoulders to see if lake trout and whitefish specialists like the Joyce clan, Rick Rogers, John Benyik and partner Mike McNab -- all former champs -- could make up the difference, but the fish were reluctant to bite all day.

Brothers Mike and Norm Burden, who had won the tourney two years in a row, couldn't crack the top 10.

While about 4,800 panfish were caught on the first day in occasional blizzard conditions, a sunny but bitterly cold Sunday only saw 16 lakers and whities take the bait.

Close to 100 per cent were live released over the weekend.

Benyik and McNab did win the largest fish category with McNab landing a 30-inch lake trout and Benyik a 27-inch whitefish.

For their efforts, McNab will have his name inscribed on the Dan Perry Memorial trophy and his partner on the John Reddings Memorial.

The pair caught their winning lunkers at the same time fishing side by side. "I said I had one on and Mike said he did, too. I thought we might have the same fish," Benyik said, declining to reveal their bait or method.

"That's our secret," Benyik said grinning.

In addition to the hardware, Moore and Maloney walked off with a cheque for $10,000.

Locals Shane Young and Tom Sedore were second, winning $5,000 and Aubrey Gould and John Best were third, grabbing $3,500. All anglers in the top 10 won cash.

"I've fished this four years now, and Leon for 11 years, but this is the first year we've fished together," Moore said.

Councillor Ken Hackenbrook was named recipient of the prestigious Bill Bond Memorial Trophy for his contributions to the sport of ice fishing over the years.

"He's a real community man, a worthy individual," organizer Rocky Madsen said.

"I couldn't believe it," Mr. Hackenbrook said.

"It was a total surprise."

Wife Lorraine remarked smiling, "It was one of the few times I saw him at a loss for words."

Past recipients include John Power, Wil Wegman and Charlie Johnston.

The top mixed couples award, a new prize this year, was won by Susie Pike and Fred Haywood. The appropriately named Pike repeated as female champ, a category she has dominated over the 12-year history of the tourney. The pair also picked up $700 for finishing seventh overall. Pike said she's enjoying her winning streak and will be looking to repeat next year.

Sixty-two teams of competitors from Ontario, Quebec and the United States battled it out this year, down from previous years, with Madsen blaming earlier reports of poor ice conditions and the cancellation for that reason of the recent Lake Simcoe Ice Fishing Contest in Keswick, the biggest in Canada.

The winter storm that hit the area late Friday hurt the usual last-minute sign-ups.

"The ice was fine, but the word didn't get out," he said.

In addition to the $35,000 in shared cash and prizes, Madsen said $1,335 will be donated to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority Foundation for improvements to the fishery.

Madsen said he is aiming to increase the cash payout next year.

For more on the CIFC and complete results, see the website next week.


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