MASSENA - While Waddington may be known as the Carp Capital of the World, in the early hours of this years St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament Massena was the place to be.
As of 3 p.m. the tournaments leader was fishing in Massena and the top two fishing sites were both located in Massena with anglers fishing off of Route 131 and at Hawkins Point both reeling in more than 130 pounds of fish.
Fishing continued until 8 p.m. Friday and will resume at 7 a.m. today. The tournament will come to close at 5 p.m. tonight with an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. at Madrid-Waddington Central School.
The tourneys early leader, Matt Delosh, 14, of Madrid had hauled in four fish totaling 61 pounds, 3 ounces of carp by Friday afternoon.
St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Director Pat McKeown explained that scoring is based on an anglers best four fish.
Right now hes trying to replace his smaller fish, she said. And when I say smaller, Im talking about 14 or 15 pound fish.
Thats one of the things many of the competitors including Matt said they enjoyed most about carp fishing.
Theyre strong. Theyre fast and theyre big fish, Matt said, adding fishing for carp was something he enjoyed doing with his family.
His brother, Austin Delosh, 12, was also participating in the tournament.
When asked what he liked most about carp fishing, Austin replied, Everything.
Unfortunately for Austin though, the tournaments early hours werent quite as kind to him.
Ive lost seven fish, he said, adding that as of Friday afternoon he had yet to bring in a single fish.
Today when fishing resumes, both boys will be fishing at Coles Creek.
So will Joseph Green, 11, of Waddington, who was participating in his first carp tournament.
While it may have been his first tournament, Joseph said it was not the first time hes been carp fishing.
Its really fun to fight the fish, he said. Its a really fun moment when that fish is right in your hand.
Joseph too though was having hard luck Friday morning, noting that he had two bites, but was unable to reel in either catch.
Should he catch a fish though before the tournament is over, Joseph said hes looking forward to the old carp anglers tradition of kissing the fish before releasing it back into the river.
Ill kiss my fish when it comes in, he said.
Ms. McKeown said that as of Friday afternoon 46 fish totaling 664 pounds were caught. The biggest fish caught as of that time was a 24 pound fish caught in Ogdensburg near the Customs House.
The overall winner of the tournament will receive a $10,000 prize.
Prizes are also awarded for second and third place with sportsmanship awards, team awards and a big fish award also presented.
Ms. McKeown, who was among the volunteers at Hawkins Point Friday, said the fish arent the only reason Hawkins Point is a good place to be.
This is a great place for us, because people come to visit the power dam and they see us here with these bright yellow shirts, she said. They ask us what were doing and it gives me a chance to tell our story.
After telling the story, Ms. McKeown then joked she often asks people if they would like to buy a house here.
Its all about tourism for me, she said.