The walleye flexed and flopped in a laundry basket atop a scale.
Up and down the digits went before the fish and the readout settled — 14 pounds.
The walleye was the last to be weighed Saturday afternoon at the Rossford Marina, ending the first day of fishing at the inaugural Bass Pro Shops Walleye Roundup and Festival, a collaboration with the Rossford Convention and Visitors Bureau and the city of Rossford.
Dan Timmerman, of Highland, Mich., and Brent Brophy, of Milford, Mich., the team with the 14-pounder, headed out early in the morning, as did all of the 13 fishing duos from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana who registered for the event.
They first tried a spot they’d chosen on the Maumee River.
“We figured we’d try a spot on the lake,” said Mr. Timmerman, 31.
And, before noon, they had their walleye.
The father-son team of Brent Wright, 53, and Ethan Wright, 26, both of Saginaw, Mich., had the biggest catch of the day — four walleye, totaling 36.17 pounds, the heftiest of which was 15.12 pounds. The group huddled around the weigh station as onlookers broke into applause.
Asked where they made their catches, the younger Mr. Wright said: “We’ll tell you guys tomorrow” — as in, at the end of the contest.
“They’ve caught some monsters. I’ve never seen one that big,” said Rossford Mayor Neil MacKinnon III.
The teams could fish the Maumee River or Lake Erie in Ohio and Michigan, up to the Canadian border, the mayor said.
“I heard one team say they had a hundred-mile run today,” Mr. MacKinnon said.
He predicted growth for the tournament each year, in participants and community involvement.
“We’ll build a celebration around it,” Mr. MacKinnon said.
Bass Pro Shops sponsors bass fishing tournaments, but the Rossford event is the first walleye tournament for the outdoors-themed retailer, said Scott Liebert, general manager of the Rossford store.
The first-place team is to receive $3,500, plus two fishing rods and reels from Bass Pro Shops and free registration and lodging for next year’s tournament, said Beth Genson, executive director of the Rossford Convention and Visitors Bureau. The second place prize is $1,750, and third place, $750. Fourth place will pay out $500 — the amount each team paid to register.
The fishing boats are to launch at 7:30 a.m. today from the Rossford Marina. A walleye festival, with displays and food trucks and children’s activities, resumes at noon today at Bass Pro Shop. The final weigh-in is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at the store.
Many teams chose to donate their catches, the beneficiary on Saturday being the annual fish fry at St. Mary on the Lake Church at Manitou Beach, Mich., and today, the Cherry Street Mission.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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