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.
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!
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.
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!
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" 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 .
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.