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Junior Carp Tourney draws young fishing enthusiasts from Michigan

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WADDINGTON — The St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament starts today, bringing 122 young anglers from across the country to the St. Lawrence River.

The tournament is for boys and girls ages 11 to 18 who will fish along a 30-mile stretch of the St. Lawrence River, from Ogdensburg to Massena, and compete for more than $7,000 in cash prizes and trophies.

Brothers Austin J. and Brendan M. Pass will be traveling from their hometown in Allen Park, Mich., to compete in the tournament for the second year in a row.

The two brothers have competed throughout the country, including in Austin, Texas, and Lake Erie. The St. Lawrence River is one of their favorite places to fish for carp.

“It’s a great river,” Austin, 17, said. “There are a lot of big fish to be caught.”

The junior carp tournament was Austin’s first competition. He caught the biggest fish in the tournament last year — a 32-pounder — in Ogdensburg. He hopes to be placed in Ogdensburg again.

“I got really excited,” Austin said. “The St. Lawrence is a really challenging venue. It really helps you out as an angler.”

Brendan, 15, said that the St. Lawrence is one of the most challenging places he’s ever fished.

“You don’t know what you can get,” he said. “With the St. Lawrence there’s current, and a lot snags. Most other places, we fish in lakes, so we catch mostly smaller fish. There might be fewer fish in the St. Lawrence, but they are also bigger. And the fish are really strong because they have a lot of food there, so they get really big.”

The boys decided to participate in the tournament when their mother, Christy M., found an ad for it online. Mrs. Pass said she was happy to bring the boys back for another year.

“It’s a big tournament and it was really well organized,” Mrs. Pass said. “It’s really top-notch.”

Registration is from 1 to 3 p.m. today at Madrid-Waddington Central School, followed by opening ceremonies and the Mort Backus & Sons Carp School, then a festival and bank-side fishing at Whittaker Park in Waddington from 5 to 8 p.m.

Fishing will take place Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and again on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fishing locations are in Ogdensburg at Lighthouse Point, the Robert C. McEwen Customs House and Wheathouse Bay; in Waddington along River Road, in Whittaker Park and on Little Sucker Brook, Brandy Brook and Coles Creek; and in Massena along Route 131 and at Hawkins Point.

The grand champion will receive $1,500 based on total weight for up to four fish. There are also four other cash-prize categories: boys ages 11-14, girls ages 11-14, boys ages 15-18 and girls ages 15-18. The first prize is $800, second prize is $400 and third prize is $200 in each of the categories.

Medals will be given to the top three teams, all based on fish weights for up to four fish. Adult anglers fishing with children also are eligible for medals. Other prizes will be offered for categories such as first fish caught, last fish caught, etc.

Those looking to follow the tournament’s leaders can keep up on the stats on the SLIC Network Solutions Leaderboard at http://tournament. northcountryguide.com.

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