|"802 Flies" at check in!
Well, the 2023 DPC is in the books and what a year it was! It all started Saturday morning at a very wet check in. A steady downpour lead anglers to believe they were in for a most soggy day of fishing. Dressed in rain gear, picklers got their captains bags full of swag and some great flies donated by 802 flies & fly pucks from Stream & Brook Fly Fishing. Speaking of 802 Flies, there was an impressive assortment of flies for purchase that most any bass or angler could refuse. As soon as check in was over the rain stopped and anglers were greeted by the most glassy conditions Lake Champlain could possibly dish out. Depending on where you were, some people got wet in the afternoon/evening but the winds never came. You could literally be in the middle of the broad lake and be throwing poppers. Definitely a welcome treat from the sometimes moody lake. The next morning was another first. Around 8am we looked north and saw what we thought was rain coming towards us. It wasn’t rain but wildfire smoke from the north. Within 20 minutes visibility was reduced and the air smelt of a campfire. Never a dull moment at the Pickle!!!
Anglers returned to the awards to submit scorecards and tell of their adventures while eating pizza from Pie in the Sky. This year we skipped a visual slideshow. As enjoyable as it is to see the winning fishes, with intermittent service, it just takes too long to download the photos. As a result we were able to wrap up awards by 1:00pm! The awards are a great time for all but after 17 hrs of casting, people are ready for a hot shower and a couch. So, here is how it all panned out………………….
This years picklers put up some very impressive numbers with the whole lake being in play. In the end we had another 1st. A three way tie for top individual angler! Ben Wilcox & Matt Stein of team Bash Badge X, along with Brendan Hare of team Basscar all boated 28 points each! Congrats to all three of them for such a solid performance. In the end there can only be one winner and per the DPC tie breaking rules, it was Ben Wilcox who took home the top indy prize and trophy. 2nd place was awarded to Matt Stedina and 3rd to Brendan Hare. Well done gentlemen!
|Ben Wilcox & Matt Stedina of team "Bash Badge X"
In the team category, we saw more very outstanding scores. In 1st place it was Ben Wilcox and Matt Stedina of team Bash Badge X who put on a clinic and submitted 56 points! 2nd place was awarded to Brendan Hare and Tom Getz of team Basscar with an impressive 48 points. Just behind them in 3rd it was former champs Dan Russel and Dillon Brooker with 47 points. All and all, a huge showing from our top teams.
The largest fish is called the big pickle and for said fish there is a cash prize derived from a separate cash pool. This year that pool was worth $830 dollars! Once again, we had another very close call to make as both Brendan Hare and Matt Stedina had bass measuring 20.25 inches. Under close review by our eagle eye/impartial judge ie. “Bubba” it was Brendan Hare who barely surpassed Mr. Wilcox and took home the big pickle prize of $830 dollars.
|To Jr. angler Finn Barden of team "80 Grit Thumb"
The Jr. angler category is always a favorite of ours as it is often a family team making memories on the water together and we get to see budding anglers coming into their own. This years top Jr. angler put up some large numbers just like the adults. The top 2023 Jr. angler was Finn Barden of team “80 Grit Thumb” with a whopping 20 pts! That just might be a Jr. angler record. We would have to look back in the DPC database but either way, this young man hit it out of the park. To our Jr. anglers, Finn, Piper, Iris (our youngest) & Quinn, I think we can all agree, the kids are alright:)
In the pike category its was Mr. Tom Getz of team “Basscar” in 1st with a 32’ pike who just squeaked by Jake Borgenson of team “Smashing Pumpkin Seeds” who landed a 31” incher. The 3rd place pike was caught by Matt Dickstein of team “No Kiss Micropterus” measuring 26”.
|Brian Cadoret of team "Kiss My Bass" with top exotic
This years exotic category was yet another close call. Brian Cadoret of team “Kiss My Bass” took home the prize with a 31.5” bowfin, inching out Matt Dickstein of team “No Kiss Micropterus” who caught an impressive 31+ inch carp.
|Brian Cadoret takes 1st in the "unoffical" paddle divsion
In the paddle divsion we had an unfortunate scoring snafu. Two score cards slipped through as a motor team which has changed the offical results. This year the top paddler is Sean Cook of team "Basstards" with a solid 13 pts. His team mate J.D. came in second with 11 points. Thus, leaving Brian Cadoret with 3rd palce and 10 points. We have reach out to the offical winners and they will be awarded prizes of equal value as the unoffical winners.
At the barn, before we realized, it was Brian Cadoret of team “Kiss My Bass” who won the prize with 10pts. He was followed by long time pickler Erik Hurley of team “Lay Down Sally” with 7 pts. Last but not least was Erik’s partner, John Hurley with 3pts.
|Quinn Lynch of team "Fish & Chip" with da dink
With all these big fish being registered lets not forget about the dink award. This years smallest bass was awarded to Jr. angler Quinn Lynch of team “Fish & Chip” for a most not impressive 4.5” bass. Way to go Quinn!
|Andrew Frasier of team "Prickley Picklers" dead in the parking lot
Every year at the DPC there are mishaps that earn picklers the breakdown award. A broken prop, broken rods, a boat run aground, even cars losing tires! You name it, we have seen it. Yet what we have never seen is someone return to check in unable to launch. Apparently, Andrew Frasier of team “Prickly Picklers” had a boat battery as old as the DPC itself that decided to retire of old age. Andrew was awarded 2 bottles of Whistle Pig Whiskey (Thank you Whistle Pig!) Which he promptly gave to the winners of the Jon Zukowski award.
The Jon Zukowski award is in remembrance of the late Jon Z. who was a friend to many picklers and beyond. Known as an all around good person, this award rewards those who selflessly do good things for others. It was Kevin Ramirez and Henry Rackcliff who came to the aid of our breakdown winner and as such they took home the prizes for their good deeds.
Lastly, we had some clever team names this year but Kevin Ramirez and John Abair of team “Neil Da Bass Tyson” could not be beat after the votes were counted. They took home some tasty maple syrup curtesy of Sterling Ridge Resort.
That’s the recap for 2023. A huge thanks to Nick Yardley & Fulling Mill Flies for donating many tasty flies to our winners. Whistle Pig Whiskey for their years of support. Sterling Ridge Resort for their local VT syrup. Steve “Bubba” Stanley for donating his time and tying flies for the captains bags. Stream & Brook Fly Fishing for a great boat box and fly pucks and much more. Brian Price and family for getting the pizza and housing/feeding many participants. Ken Sturm for lending us the Refuge parking lot. Chris Lynch for rocking the mic at awards and his help with the online techy stuff. Brendan Hare for scoring and tie breaking some close entries.
Most of all, thank you to those that attended. After 13 years, it doesn’t get old. When awards were wrapping up there was a group of people belly laughing in the barn. It was great to see people having fun regardless of their results on the water. The DPC is not about the competition, it’s about the experience. See you all in 2024, the weekend after fathers day (as always:)