Teammates worked together Thursday at the opening of the 11th annual St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament, which spans 30 miles from Ogdensburg to Massena.
Teams have become a popular way to compete in the three-day 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 dont know by exactly how much, said Alison Powers of the chamber.
Its really good. We stress to the kids that the main point of the tournament is to make friends and have fun with each other.
This years tournament for ages 11 to 18 had 122 participants, 89 of whom formed 30 teams.
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 Chelseas grandfather, James Vanroo.
Jacksons family first brought us up here about four years ago, and we have come back up here ever since, Matthew said. Its become kind of like a family tradition.
The teammates said that they regularly fish together in the Erie Canal near their home and that the tournament has inspired them to fish more often.
Down there, the fish dont get as big because the canal is only about 30 feet wide at the most, Matthew said. The size of fish doesnt get past 20 pounds.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Team Jim caught one 15-pound fish by Lighthouse Point, Ogdensburg, but the teammates are hoping to catch a lot more when they fish in Waddington.
Theyre a lot bigger and stronger here, Michael said. Michael said his personal best on the St. Lawrence River 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 years 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 Bridgets last year competing in the tournament, but her cousin said she will keep up the tradition.
Best friends Colin J. Peacock, 17, Waddington; Ian P. Hawkins, 17, Chase Mills; and Kyle W. Pickering, 17, Madrid, who met at Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, formed Team Raptor. They spent Thursday fishing at Wheathouse Bay, Ogdensburg.
Ive got two; a 13-pounder and 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 didnt need it, but it was good to do. We did bait work, practiced and made rigs, whatever we needed to do.
They said that with good weather, they could catch five to six carp on a good day.
First day, you just want a couple on the board; second day, you just want to pound them, Ian said.
The boys said the tournament has brought them even closer. It brings everyone together and creates sportsmanship and all good fun, Ian said.
We meet new people and learn a lot each year.
But its 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 concludes today.
Follow the action by logging on to the Slic Networks Solution Leaderboard at http://tournament.northcountryguide.com.