By Jill Richardson
Kuna Melba News reporter
Hundreds of boaters and fishermen flocked to Black Sands Resort on CJ Strike Reservoir on Saturday Sept. 15 for the 16th Annual Fishing Tournament.
Whether fishing by bank or by boat, each fisherman, starting at 8 a.m., had until 3 p.m. to return back to the resort with the days catch.
Jet boats, pontoon, drift, bass, speed and just about any other type of boat steadily entered the water all morning.
There were 13 competitive classes, but not a single one included any bass fish.
While CJ Strike may be known for the bass in the reservoir, this derby gives the bass a reprieve.
Fish were judged by species, including crappie, trout, perch, bluegill, catfish, carp and trash fish, highest weight or length and one category remained for the winner of the most fish combined.
The Bruneau and Snake Rivers come together at the 7500 acre reservoir, making various paths to explore and thriving environments for fish to live and breed.
Out on the reservoir, ten to fifteen boats at a time would cluster up to catch crappie in the area called “the hump,” a shallow shelf or delta at the mouth of the Snake River.
Up the Bruneau arm was a similar sight of boats looking for their big catch of perch.
The tree lined banks were dotted with boats looking to find their winning fish.
Some were luckier than others.
Kevin Johnson, of Melba, somehow managed to reel in a lava rock.
“It’s the only one of its kind caught today,” said Johnson. “It’s the heaviest and the longest too.”
Most fishermen were pretty quiet about their catches through the day, and waited to brag after returning to shore.
Some others had to a little prioritizing to do for the day.
“I am getting dropped back off at noon to get a table for the BSU game,” Val Fahey, of Melba, said while out fishing in the boat with her husband, Dale. “That’s why I started fishing at 8 o’clock this morning,” she added.
Lee Cook stopped his jet boat in an area of the Snake River called “The Island” and caught a trout to start off his day.
Mike Baker, of Kuna, in his handmade drift boat rowed all the way across the lake to find the perfect spot for his fiancée, Tammy Roberts, of Melba, and friend, Bud Knapp, of Kuna, to fish.
Upon returning from the long row back to the dock, Bud dropped his line in the water and caught a 19 inch trout just off the end of the dock.
As three o’clock approached, the fish were brought in for official weight and measurements.
Raffle tickets were sold for weeks before the event and right up to that morning.
Caba’s Restaurant and Lounge prepared a steak dinner for $15 and hundreds of raffle items were given away including several cash prizes of $100 or more.
Trevor Postlewait, of Meridian, won $150 and a $50 gift certificate to Howard’s tackle.
The 1918 Lounge, of Nampa, was the seemingly big winner of the night with so many items won, that they actually started donating stuff back to be re-raffled.
This year the stakes increased in the raffle, Mirage Trailers, of Nampa, donated a 5 x 8 utility trailer as a raffle item.
The trailer was taken home by Bob Griggs of Bruneau.
The derby all started 16 years ago, inside Tiny’s Lounge in Nampa with a group of friends, Lee Cook, “Tiny” and Dee Richardson.
As Cook retells the story, “Dee said to us, ‘Let’s have a fishing derby.’ And Tiny said to her, ‘Go ahead and have one but don’t involve us.”
By that fall, the first fishing derby was organized with Lee Cook of Cook’s Two Hole Bar and “Tiny” of Tiny’s Lounge as the sponsors at Black Sands Resort with about 57 entrees.
Every year since, in September people set up camp, bring their boats, poles, and bait to try their luck another year.
Trout by length Tom Charters 19 1/2”
Trout by weight Tom Charters 2.7 #
Perch by length Darlene Aldridge 12”
Perch by weight Tyler Nicholson 1.1 #
Crappie length Rod Hoskins 12”
Crappie weight Rod Hoskins 1.1 #
Blue Gill by length Darlene Aldridge 10”
Smallest Fish Connie Simmons 1 1/8”
Catfish by length Robert Osklokoff 34 3/8”
Catfish by weight Robert Osklokoff 19.2 #
Carp by weight No entrees
Trash fish by length Sharon Beckerer 23 1/2“
Most fish combined Rich Honebein 201