Tuesday, June 29, 2021

                              The new 2021 champs "Bash Badge Plus" cash in with 42 points!

The 2021 DPC was one for the books and what a good time it was! 46 teams and over 100 anglers gathered on northern Lake Champlain in late June to enjoy the many delights this lake has to offer. This year was like the 11 before. Old and new friends from near and far sharing strategies and game plans in the parking lot of the Missisquoi Refugee headquarters during check in. What was different this year was it was hard to hear those plans over the relentless wind! An evil south wind had taken hold and was not about to let go for 48 hours.  Many peoples go to spots were now not an option.  This left much of the field scrambling and sometimes settling to fish the area they were dealt.  I commend all the participants for putting safety over fame and playing it safe while the lake dished out 3-5 ft. waves.

When boats were pulled and scores were tallied on Sunday it was Ben Wilcox and Michael Woulf of team "Bash Badge Plus" who took home the top team prizes with a whopping 42 points! Ben Wilcox also took home top angler with 26 individual points. As if that is not impressive enough, Ben also won the big pickle pool worth $1140.00 with a 20.5 inch bass.  These guys are no strangers to the podium but this is their 1st top place finish.  Like I said to Ben & Mike at check in, they were due!
It wasn't all easy for the winners though, who suffered through wind like everyone else.  They said the bulk of their points came in a short window after Saturdays morning rains when the wind sat for just a bit.  Just long enough to put some 4 & 5 pointers in the boat.
The second place team has done the pickle for a long time and never had a podium finish (to my knowledge) but this year they had a huge lead over the nearest team.  Tim & Jared Shaw of team "Shaws Law" took 2nd place with 37 points.  Besides skill, which many teams have, Shaws Law had something a lot of other teams don't, local knowledge.  These guys are fishing in their backyards and obviously know what to do when a fierce south wind kicks up. 
The 3rd place team this year was Nate Scott & C.V. Howe of "Did We Change The Battery" coming in with 23 points. Often times 2 guys standing next to each other throwing the same fly to the same fish have different results. No reflection on ability but an odd occurrence that we see often. In fact, this year for both the 3rd and 4th place team,  90+% of the points were scored by one angler.  It makes zero sense and thats why fishing is so much fun, because its unpredictable. 

As mentioned, 1st place Indy was taken by Ben Wilcox with 26 pts, 2nd place indy goes to Tim Shaw with 20 pts, and 3rd place goes to Nate Scott also with 20 pts.  FYI, tie breakers are decided by largest fish in ones bag and working down until tie the is broken.  These three gentlemen put up some impressive numbers in unfathomable conditions and have therefore earned themselves some major street cred. Kudos.

Nate Scott with his $100 dink.

Don't feel bad for Nate Scott getting 3rd after a tie though.  He was lucky enough to win the 2021 dink (smallest bass) award. Nate managed to weave his way through a very competitive field inching out his nearest competitor by mere micrometers and earned himself a fly box loaded with midges worth $100.

                                                      Evan Dickenson with his 29" 1st place pike

In the Pike division it was Evan Dickenson of team "Full Sink" who took home 1st place with a 29" northern. 2nd place was awarded to Marc Guy of team "Old Dirty Basstards" and 3rd place was given to Brian Cadoret of team "Bass & Blunts".   All 3 winners received a great selection of Fulling Mill predator flies and boxes.  A huge thank you goes out to Fulling Mill Flies.  If you're in need of flies, hit them up!

Brenden will recieve a beautiful print from Nick Mayer Art

The exotic category was quiet this year. There might or might not have been an angler who landed a nice hybrid pike/pickerel and thought it was a pike until he later looked at the photo, which would have won the exotic prize but, as it were, this years winner was Brendan Barden of team "80 Grit Thumb" with a 20" bowfin.  For his catch Brenden will be awarded a print generouly donated by Nick Mayer Art. 

Team "Dirk Pickler" with a close breakdown award contender

Yet, thats not all that Brenden won, which brings us to this years break down award. The breakdown award can be anything from a shattered prop to a wheel flying off a truck driving to check in. It doesn't matter because from broken rods to broken boats, at this point, we have seen it all.  3 teams came up to plead their case to the crowd at the awards ceremony and the decision was made by the audience applause. Brandon Weaver and John Bond of team "One Fine Piece of Bass' had a good chance after their battery exploded and Kevin Welch and Tony Lewis of team "Dirk Pickler" was within reach after their trolling motor caught a fly line and chewed up their rod. This was a tough one but the field chose Brenden and Finn Barden of "80 Grit Thumb" after they were dead in the water after lines out with a broken motor and with 3 batteries that didn't work.  Finally beaching the boat somewhere Brenden walked for help on a foot that had surgery just weeks earlier.  For their troubles Brenden, not Finn, was awarded some Whistle Pig Whiskey.  Thank you Whistle Pig for the kind donation!

                                        Brian Cadoret takes 1st place paddler for 2021 with 7 pts

On to the paddle division. This was a tough year to have to paddle with limited wind love but these three guys made it happen.  1st place paddler went to Brian Cadoret of team "Bass & Blunts" who took a home a fly rod from Stream and Brook Fly Fishing. 2nd place went to his team mate Bill Sylvester with 4 pts. who won a umpqua backpack & VT Tout Streams book.  3rd place was awarded to John Hurley of team "Lay Down Sally" who had 3 points and took home a Hydros fly line. 

Dillion Brooker of team "You're Killing Me Smallies " tied into 4 pointer

Every year we get some clever team names and this year was no different.  We have never had a tie in the team name award and in fact, this year we had a 4 way tie! "Dirk Pickler" "Triple Dutch Rudder" "Big Poppa Dill & my lil Gherkin  and "You're Killing Me Smallies' all had 4 votes.  To break the tie we found an impartial someone who had not yet voted and asked them to vote.  The decision was made and it was Dillon Brooker and Dan Russel of team "You're Killing Me Smallies" who won best team name. They were awarded 2 fly boxes and 2 1/2 gallons of maple syrup generously donated by Sterling Ridge Resort. If you're looking for an epic VT retreat, check out Sterling Ridge in Jeffersonville!   

"Your Killing Me Smallies" going full send for the Costa Del Mar Photo contest 

"Your Killing Me Smallies" not only came up with a funny team name but also managed to capture the extent of the gail force winds on Lake Champlain with this clever "kite hat" photo.  For going full sail, these guys won the Costa Del Mar photo contest and will be awarded 2 pairs of Costa glasses!  We had some great photo entries this year and a big thanks goes to everyone who submitted.  The winner was picked by our friend Joe G.  at Costa who said it was a tough decsion! Thank you Joe & Costa Del Mar! You can veiw the other photos on Insta by searching #dpcvt2021 or #seewhatsoutthere .                                      

1st place Jr. angler Calvin Kontos with a 4 pointer
Noah Lynch shows off a nice pickle!

Last but not least is my fav, the Jr. division. This year 7 Jr. anglers joined us to battle the winds on mighty Lake Champlain. In the end it was Calvin Kontos of team "Basstrazeneca" (12pts)  who narrowly took home 1st in front of Henry Dowhan of team "James Westfall & Dr. Kenneth Noisewater"  (11 pts).  Congrats to both of these anglers who are the first Jrs. to ever crack the top ten. To all our Jr. anglers, Noah, Quinn, Calvin, Maya, Finn, Scanlan & Henry, remember it's not about catching the biggest fish. It's about the little things in between.   We hope you had as much fun as we did spending time with friends and family and we are proud of you all! 

Whelp, that about sums it up. If you were not here to join us, I hope you felt like the re cap filled you in on this years happenings.  We are not a professional tourney. We are just some guys who love to fish the lake with friends every June. We mess up and have issues from time to time but all we care about is that everyone gets off the lake safe and has fun. The DPC has shrunk a bit in the past couple years but the DPC crew is fine with that. In fact, we think the numbers are great as is because even if the numbers have shrunk, every year the DPC family continues to grow.
Peace out and lines out till 2022. 
DPC Crew
                                                                      Individual scores

                                                                Team Scores


Sunday, June 27, 2021

2021 DPC Scoring

 Use the form below to send your scores, visit the scoring table to share your photos!


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Day 1 Scoring Update

Windy, wavy... fishy? 

How'd your day 1 go? Fill out the form below, and use the link to view responses to check in on how your day compared to the field. This is preliminary, no need to share photos.  Just a simple google form to let us know how it went out there. 

Share your score here:


View scores here:


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Let's go!

 Here are a couple details about the 2021 DPC.

-Detailed rules are located on the desktop version of the website. (If on a mobile device scroll to bottom of page for desktop option). Please read them!

-Check in on 6/26 will be at the Missisquoi refuge headquarters from 8:30am-10am. 

-It is now law to have your kill switch attached while underway while boating on Lake Champlain. 

-At the end of day 1 of fishing please head to fishthepickle.com and upload your scores & info to the link provided. We'll put that link up on Saturday - no photos need to be uploaded, this is just informational

-Be at the barn (28 Lakewood Drive, Swanton, VT) for awards by noon on 6/27 so you do not get point reduction or a DQ! 

-With the changing state guidance leading up to the event it was hard to plan ahead. We opted to provided pizza from Pie in the Sky. There should be plenty for everyone so come and enjoy. With that said if anyone doesn't want pizza and feels like tailgating at the barn, go for it! We also ask that if you have lawn chairs, bring them to the awards. The picnic tables at the barn seat about 80 but just to be sure it cant hurt if you have a chair to bring it along. Thanks! 

-Most importantly, as always, weather can change fast. Some breezy weather is expected so stay safe and fish smart. lake champlain open water forecast

Saturday, May 1, 2021

2021 DPC

 Welcome to the 2021 Ditch Pickle Classic! We are excited to once again ply the waters of Lake Champlain with anglers from the Northeast and beyond.  Last year, due to restrictions, we were unable to hold our awards ceremony in person.  Tentatively, we plan on holding in person awards at the Campbell barn as we have years prior. Catering is still being considered as state guidance unfolds and we hope to feed hungry anglers as they tell fishing tales from the weekend. Stay tuned on that front.

2020 Champ Ralph Kucharek hoists the grail with Lake Champlain in the background.
Ralph and his teammate Nathan Thurbur of team (Master Bass Anglers) also took home the top team of 2020 with 21 points!

Last year the event was held in August as we adapted to the ever changing times.  We couldn't be more happy to return to our regularly scheduled programing and be fishing in late June. All we need is you so, tell your friends, tune up the boat, think of some edgy team names and let's go!

Registration is shorter this year so sign up as soon as possible to be guaranteed a tournament shirt.

Click the green angler registration button to your left to register or follow this link to our the registration form.  

**Note that your team will not appear on the roster until all team members have registered. Shoot an email to ditchpickleclassic@gmail.com if you need to contact us** 

Payment links will appear after you click SUBMIT on the form, but if you miss them, we've added them below. 

Adult Payment Link: $50 Adult Registration
Junior Payment Link: $25 Junior Registration


#1. "BassKing in the Sun"
Brian Lang
Shreve Soule

#2. "Big Pappa Dill & My Lil Gherkin"
John Dziedzic
Maya Dziedzic

#3. "Hoggers"
Adam Mapes
Logan Mapes

#4. "Sobu Strippers"
Kristen Donnelly
Christopher Donnelly

#5. "Masshole Fly Guys"
Bennett Chadbourne
Kyle Forest

#6. "Bad Monkey"
Jay Modry
Matt Dickstein

#7. "Flyaholics"
Nick Citro
Mike Fernandez

#8. "Shaw's Law"
Jared Shaw
Tim Shaw

#9. "Is it Next Years Pickle Yet?"
John Gamble
Mario Gagliardi

#10. "BasstraZeneca"
Mike Kontos
James Kontos
Calvin Kontos

#11. "Bread N Buttah"
Ryan Fitzgerald
Kyle Travis

#12. "Bash Badge Plus"
Ben Wilcox
Mike Woulf

#13. "Triple Dutch Rudder"
Kevin Oxford
Paul Scaramucci
Gerry Nugent

#14. "Fish & Chips"
Chris Lynch
Noah Lynch
Quinn Lynch

#15. "Dirk Pickler"
Kevin Welch
Tony Lewis

#16. "You're Killing Me Smallies"
Dillon Brooker
Dan Rusell

#17. "It'd Be A Lot Cooler If You Did"
Scott Edwards
Tim Birmingham

#18. "Pickle My Bass"
Nick Chiarelli
Brendan Lanoue

#19. "Little Blue Pills"
Chris Bernier
Michael Hill

#20. "The Crispy Cannabastards"
Dave Aronson
Andrew Costagliola

#21. "One Fine Piece of Bass"
Brandon Weaver
John Bond

#22. "Fish Tank"
Adin Girard
David Girard
Joshua Girard

#23.  "Full Sink"
Evan Dickinson
Nate Dickinson

#24. "Go Bass or Go Home"
Bubba Stanley
Johnathan Debono

#25. "Mountain High Fly"
Jon Zukowski
C.J. Freeman

#26.  "Lay Down Sally"
Erik Hurley
John Hurley

#27. "Did We Charge the Battery?"
Nathan Scott
C.V. Howe

#28. "Team AJ"
Jay Seals
Andrew Fraser

#29.  "The Bill Pickles"
Mackenzie Cayer
Bill Sullivan
Maddy Zukowski

#30. "James Westfall and Doctor Kenneth Noisewater"
Henry Dowhan
Andy Conlan
Tom Dowhan

#31. "Basscar"
Brendan Hare
Tom Getz

#32. "Castaways"
Brian Zinger
John Synnott

#33. "Bass & Blunts"
Brian Cadoret
Willam Sylvester

#34. "SS Bass Nasties"
Matt Hart
Elton Bonneville

#35. "Old Dirty Basstards"
Dana Evans
Marc Guy

#36. "Fish Phood"
Brian Forest
Scanian Forest

#37. "Bassymtomatic"
Matt Cain
Kemener Whalen

#38. "Between Two Flies"
Andrew Mesenas
Sean Moriarty

#39. "Dad Take Me Fishing"
Chad Johnson
Chris Samson
Chris Samson Senior

#40. "Meat Slingers"
Max Hogg
Leo Nerbak

#41. "Bee Stings & Smelly Water"
Jon Lindeberg
Dave Underwood

#42. "High Life"
Matthew Rackliff
Randell Tucker

#43. "80 Grit Thumb"
Brenden Barden
Finn Barden

#44. "Hogan Bros"
Drew Hogan
Dan Hogan

#45. "Bionic Duck"
Shawn Ricker

#46. "Paradise"
Corey Barrows
Joe White

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

2020 Scores

Copy and paste links into your browser. 
  2020 Team Scores 


  2020 Individual scores


Thursday, September 3, 2020

That's a wrap

Registration at the Missquoi National Refugee
on a wet August Morning 8/29

Where to even start? This year the DPC was like no other than we have ever held before yet, it was the same.  It all started on a rainy Saturday morning where everyone checked in wearing waders and rain gear looking like they were on an episode of wild tuna.  People collected their captains bag full of swag including their tourney shirts and buffs from Predator Fly Gear featuring the art of Chole Salomone who donated her time and talent to produce some awesome rewards for participants entries fees. The bags also included flies from 802 Flies and Green Mtn. Troutfitters as well as other goodies. After a soggy check in, approximately 100 anglers set out to an angry Lake Champlain who was grappling with the remnants of hurricane Laura.   A steady rain and winds creating waves of 2-4 ft kept most boats pinned to sheltered areas at best.  By mid day a few anglers had had enough and called it quits. Others stuck it out only to be greeted by severe T-storms in the early evening. Luckily, everyone played it safe and got off the water when the weather went south.
Sunday was dry but the winds picked up even more and most teams struggled to find a happy place to call home. We all met back at the Missquoi National refuge Headquarters who graciously donated their parking lot for our event check in /check out.

2020 DPC Champ Ralph Kucharek with one of his many bass

After it was all said and done it was angler Ralph Kucharek who took home the DPC Trophy with a total of 15 individual points.  Ralph did his homework and pre fished using different methods to locate the bass.  For his efforts Ralph went home with an Orvis Helios outfit donated by Green Mtn. Troutfitters.  Second Place angler was captured by Mike Kontos with a total of 12 points and Mike won a sweet pack from Lycos designs and an Orvis Hydros 111 SL reel courtesy of the DPC. The 3rd place indy spot went to Brian Zinger with a total of 9 points and Brian will walk away with an Orvis Boat bag.

The top team award went to Master Bass Anglers. Ralph Kurarek and his teammate Nathan Thurbur (Bass Master Anglers) put up 21 point in the most tough conditions you can imagine! They found some sheltered water but kept an eye across the bay where the waves kept building and they would have to cross to return to port.  Watching the waves climb they pulled the plug and as it turns out, they had tallied enough points to take the win. They were rewarded with a pair of Cheeky Boost reels and a pair of Wingo belts. 2nd place team went to long time picklers Ben Wilcox and Michael Woulff of team Bass Badge Plus. Their combined 16pts. won them a pair of Orvis encounter outfits and some nice Wingo belts.  For the 3rd place team it was John Synott & Brian Zinger of team Castaways who put up 15pts. and took home 2 Orvis pro fly lines and a couple Wingo belts.
In the paddle division it was Eric Hurley who scored 8 pts which was enough to earn him 1st place and an Orvis Hydros reel with a Wingo belt to boot. 2nd place angler went to Brian Cadoret who dodged the storms up north in some tribs and won a loaded fly box from Vermont Fly Guys and a Wingo belt.  Former DPC Champ Kemener Whalen took down 3rd place paddler with a total of 6 pts. and earned himself a Scientific Anglers Fly Line and a Wingo belt.

Angler Henry Rackliff catching and releasing an exotic mink.

This year was different for sure but one first we experienced was that nobody entered an exotic fish. Not one bowfin, carp, sheepshead, gar etc. So....... true to 2020 form it was Henry Rackliff of team Bass Maskers who caught the most exotic catch of all.  Henry was surprise to find a mink on the end of his line!  That's not a typo, Henry caught a mink on a clouser minnow. We all know there isn't anything that won't eat a clouser and Henry proved it. For breaking the mold, Henry is getting a Orvis Hydros Line and a Quart of maple syrup from Sterling Ridge Resort 

Jr. Angler Quinn Lynch with his 1st qualifier while his brother Noah looks on.

On the Jr. angler front it was Calvin Kontos who braved the weather and caught a nice 3 pointer on a popper which was enough to get him 1st place. Calvin will be getting a Orvis pro sinking line donated by Green Mtn. Fly Fishing Camps.  An honorable mention should go out to Noah Lynch who broke his collar bone Mtn. biking days before the DPC. Noah fished with his arm in a sling all day and never gave up. His brother Quinn has fished the pickle for years and through persistence put up his 1st qualifying bass in the DPC ! To all of our Jr. anglers (Calvin, Noah, Quinn, Adin, Finn, Mia, Eddie)  keep it up! We love having you all on board.

The 1st place pike award goes to Mario Gagliardi with a 34' pike! Mario won himself a Rock River Rods Lug model 8wt. to keep the pike stoke alive. 2nd place pike was taken by Chris Eaton of team Basstopia with a 33 inch pike that took a close second and got him a beautiful bass print from Nick Mayer Art.  The 3rd place pike went to a familiar face, Matt Dickstein of team "Bad Monkey" will take hone a brand new Rio fly line. 

Size matters in the DPC and this year it was Ryan Fitzgerald who gets bragging rights to the smallest bass award(Dink award). Ryan managed to land an impressive 5 inch bass.  For going small Ryan is getting a signed copy of Pat Cohens new book from RuSuperfly,  and assortment of Ahrex hooks and a box of midges for chasing dinks.

This year the water was low as every and at least 4 teams dinged or destroyed their props. The breakdown award goes to Nate Scott & Mathew Rogerson of team SS Minnow who used some ingenuity and went to ace hardware and bought a hammer and hammered their prop back into working condition to continue fishing into Sunday. For their efforts they will take home 2 bottles of Whistle Pig Whiskey & a bunch of Whistle Pig hand sanitizer.

Every year anglers get creative and play with words to pick a team name that stands out.  This year it was John Gamble & Mario Gagliardi of team "Is it 2021 Yet?" that spoke to the crowd and won the vote for best team name. Mario & John will be getting a couple of Orvis Hydros fly lines.

John D. with his "almost" big pickle

A couple years back we lost a friend and DPC participant Alex McDonald. We had talked about having a good sportsmanship award in his name. Alex was a passionate angler and amazing person all around.  Sometimes anglers go above and beyond and tow each other or lend rods to other anglers who broke theirs etc. This year angler John Dziedzic caught a large bass that would have won the big pickle side pool. At registration John had forgotten extra cash and did not enter. Instead of being upset & complaining John sent a heartfelt email taking about his late father Dan. Dan would always fish the tourney with him and encourage him to enter the big pickle. His email talked about his father looking down now and shaking his head saying "I told you so". So, this year the new Alex McD and Dan D award goes to John Dziedzic for being a good sport and appreciating what the DPC really is, a fun time to spend time with friends and family. John will get a fly line and a quart of maple syrup from Sterling Ridge Resort.

This year Costa Del Mar Sunglasses reached out to sponsor our event and offer two pairs of costas to the winner of a photo contest. The dramatic weather made for some amazing entries. The winner of the contest was Sean Platt who had an a great capture on the water. Congrats to Sean for the win. If you didn't win, don't fret.  For just submitting photos Costa is offering a free hat or shirt of choice to anyone who participated. 

Sean Platt took home some costa glasses for this great pic!

Finally, the big pickle this year was $930.00 in cash and was won by yours truly, Mike Kontos. I was lucky enough to battle a 19 & 3/4 in bass in an epic battle I won't soon forget. As tournament director, I will not keep the cash but instead donate it to the human fund. Just kidding, the money will be split three ways between the DPC, a charity of our choice and next years big pickle pool.

Well, that's a wrap! This year was different to say the least but we can't thank you all enough for participating in a safe fashion. We were not sure whether or not to even hold the tourney this year.  When I was collecting pickle sticks and we were winding down I looked out in the parking lot as anglers were leaning on their gunnels 6 feet across from each other laughing & I was reminded, the DPC isn't about catering or having a barn to party in.  It's about the people that make the DPC what it is and as i looked at the people laughing in the parking lot, for a minute things felt as normal as they have in a long while. See you all in 2021! Thx DPC Crew