Brandon Paul Bushee was fishing under the Crown Point Bridge on Sunday evening with his son when a fish took the bait. He could immediately tell it was a big one.
“It felt like I needed heavier line,” says Bushee, who has been fishing on Lake Champlain for the past 30 years. “It just about broke the swivel as soon as we got it in the net.”
Bushee was one of over more than 5,000 anglers who came from around the coutnry for the 35th running of the Lake Champlain International Father’s Day Derby presented by Yamaha.
Bushee’s 28-pound carp was enough to win his division and was the largest fish caught in the three-day event. He’ll be at the awards ceremony this evening in Burlington to receive his $1,000 prize for winning the VT Beef Council Crazy Carp Challenge.
“My wife’s already got it spent on car parts,” he says with a laugh. “But I’d rather spend it on fishing gear.”
Two fishermen came close to catching record fish, which would have earned them the $10,000 Coca Cola Classic Lake Record award. Shane Lamos caught a sheepshead that was 33 inches long and weighed in at 21.67 pounds, just 0.02 lbs under the Lake Champlain record for sheepshead (21.69 pounds). And Larry Charbonneau of Champlain, N.Y. 10.88-pound Atlantic Salmon was just a little shy of the previous record, 11.24 pounds.
LCI will hold the awards ceremony for the winners at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington, Vt. this evening.
The event starts at 7 p.m and Senator Patrick Leahy will be in attendance and will announce $1,925,000 in funds that will be used to preserve the health of Lake Champlain, including.
Among the Lake Champlain Project funds provided by Great Lakes Fishery Commission FY16:
• Sea Lamprey control, US Fish and Wildlife Service: $850,000
• Atlantic Salmon Research, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: $150,000
• Aquatic Habitat Restoration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: $525,000
• Wetland and Riparian Habitat Restoration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: $200,000
• Lake Trout Research, University of Vermont: $200,000
Now, THAT’s a catch.
In the Smallmouth Bass category:
Cody Rowe of Isle La Motte, Vt. took first with a 4.91-pound catch. He was followed by Kirk Pigeon of St. Albans, Vt. with a catch of 4.83 pounds and Derek Prue of Derby Line, Vt. who caught a 4.68-pound fish.
In the Walleye category:
Keith J. Levesque of Adams, Mass. won with a recorded catch of 8.64 pounds. Edward Lamos of St. Albans, Vt. came in a close second with a catch of 8.6 pounds. Robert Paradee of Enosburg, Vt. caught a 8.39 Walleye for a third place.
In the Northern Pike category:
Mariah Kelly of Randolph, Vt. caught a 12.87-pound fish to claim first. Nihad Basic from Colchester took second with a 12.54-pound catch and Timothy Royea of Swanton had a third place catch of 12.41 pounds.
In the Lake Trout category:
Jason Russell of Vergennes took first at 14.42-pound catch, followed closely by Renee DuShane of Crown Point N.Y. with 14.4 pounds. Libby Ringer of Addison, Vt. came in third with a catch of 14.05 pounds.
In the Atlantic Salmon category:
Larry Charbonneau of Champlain, N.Y. won with a 10.88-pound catch. Stephen Mastine of Gilford, N.H. caught a 9.81 pounder for second place and Thomas Sucharzewski of Willsboro, N.Y. had a third place catch weighing in at 9.6 pounds.
In the “Extraordinary” category:
Shane Lamos caught a Sheepshead 33 inches long and weighing 21.67 pounds. Lucas Sweeney of Bristol came in second with a 35-inch long, 26.27-pound Catfish. Dennis Landry of Waterford, N.Y. came in third with a 17.63-pound, 32-inch long Sheepshead.
In the Largemouth Bass category:
Jason Roberts of Rutland, Vt. was first, with a 5.8-pound catch. Daniel Burkholder of Cranston, R.I. had a second place finish with a 5.72-pound catch. Grand Isle, Vt. resident Christopher Gay finished third with a 5.57-pound catch.
In the Carp category:
Paul Bushee of Brandon, Vt. won with the largest catch of the day at 28 pounds. Kenneth Sweatt of Willsboro, N.Y. had a second place finish with 24.09 pounds. Gregory White of Bethel, Vt. took third with a 22.7-pound catch.