Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Well, thats it folks! The 2024 DPC has come and gone and another epic year it was! 90 of us set out on a 16 hour tour that that was full of adventures.  Check in went smooth at the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refugee despite some spitting rain & then it was off to the races.  The rain continued off and on throughout the day but nothing heavy and the lake was calm. Pigs were caught, as well as dinks, and many stories were made about the one that got away. As beautiful as day one was, day 2 was the complete opposite with a tornado watch, rain and gusts over 30 mph. I would say half the field didn't fish Sunday but the ones that did stayed safe in sheltered coves and lived to fish another day. In fact, I saw 2 picklers in a canoe in Swanton on Sunday and one was casting up front while the other was spot locking with the paddle in the stern, kudos gentlemen! Lake Champlain is big water that can turn angry instantly and we have all read news of those who succumbed to her wrath. Alas, the picklers all returned and we could not be more happy that everyone used common sense and had fun. So, here is what went down in 2024.

2024 Dpc Indy winner Ben Wilcox

This years top angler is no other than last years top angler, Mr. Ben Wilcox! Ben is no stranger to the podium and with good reason, he has put in his hours on Lake Champlain, which is a puzzle that can take a lifetime to piece together. Ben's 26 pts. just surpassed our 2nd place indy winner, Jeremy Restuci. Jeremy put up 25 pts. with an impressive bag of fishes. Our 3rd place indy went to our founding father Brendan Hare. Brenden put up 24 pts. without the use of spot lock and active target! He also computed all the scores at the barn so, a big thanks to him. Congrats to all our winners!

The top team this year was team "Basscar" with an impressive total of 45 points. Brendan Hare and Dana Evans of team Basscar didn't exactly crush the competition though. Our 2nd place team "Fishizzle" also had 45 points. As per the rules, we always round down to the next biggest fish and Jeremy Restucci and Kyle Matkze of team Fishizzle were total sports and enjoyed the second place team prize. In 3rd we had team Bash Badge Plus, last years champs coming in with 41 points! They have been on a hot streak and next year will be no different.

CV Howe with a 20" worth $950 in cold hard bass

This year in the big pickle division we had a tie. CV Howe and Devon Gulick both had 20" bass. They couldn't have been closer laid out on the pickle stick! So, per our rules we went down to the next biggest fish. Thus, CV Howe took the big pickle award with a cool $950 in cold hard cash.

Eery year we look for someone who helps another pickler out, shows good sportsmanship, or does a nice deed. When Devon learned of the tie, he was not concerned about the cash but, rather happy to split the loot with his fellow pickler. For that, he earned the Jon Zukoski award in memory of our friend Jon Z. The pickle is like family and Jon will not be forgotten.

Finn Barden with the top exotic

On to the exotic award. This year might be the first time we have had a Jr. angler win the exotic! It was taken by young Finn Barden with a 25.5" bowfin. Congrats to Finn on beating the field of old men!

Kyle Forest with the dinkiest of dinks

This year I thought I had a good chance at the dink award (smallest bass). Turns out, my 4.25" bass couldn't compete with that of Kyle Forest who wrangled a monster 3.75' bass. Damn you Kyle! Kyle brought home a sweet extendable boat net for his efforts and sore arms.
Max Hoag with a 36.5 pike

In the Pike category we had a good one. Probably the biggest pike the DPC has seen, caught by Max Hoag, 36.5 inches of predatory madness. Max took home some great gifts from Mountain High Fly shop in N.H. We thank them for their support! 2nd place pike was caught by Ryan Fitzgerald coming in at 29"& in 3rd was Chris Wiley with a nice 24" hammerhead. Nice work gentlemen!

In the paddle division it was Stefan King who pulled off a solid 16pts. A great score for a kayaker and a great showing for his 1st time at the pickle. Our second place paddle was last years winner Mr. Sean Cook with 13pts. Followed by Alex Giroux in 3rd with 11pts. The paddlers put up some big numbers this year!

The youth division was small this year. I'd like to see more youth so, bring your kids! I fish it every year with my son and it is times I'll never forget. Nor will Brendan Barden who's son Finn Barden took down the youth award with 4 pts. Finn and Ethan West (our other Jr. angler) are the future and kids like them will be tying our knots someday when we can no longer see!

This years best team name was a close one but in the end it was Jay Modry and Matt Dickstein of team "Hog Island Strippers" who won the crowd over. For their ingenuity, they won some fly boxes and some maple syrup generously donated from Sterling Ridge Resort.

Team "Popper Dropper' using the bildge

Last but def not least is the breakdown award. It almost went to Dave Underwood and Jon Linedgurgh after they missed the pickle on account of some mice dining on their electronics in their boat but Eli Martell-Crawford and Alex Skowron took the cake when they flipped their canoe in snapping turtle infested waters.  They won the breakdown award. Thanks to the good folks at Whistle pig who donated some bottles of whiskey to ease their pain.

Thanks to Fulling Mill Flies who really stepped up with a generous donation, Sterling Ridge Resort, Stream & Brook Fly Fishing, Whistle Pig Whiskey, Laura & Mounatin High Fly Shop, Ken at the Refugee, Kelly at the Barn, Denis at Pie in the Sky Pizza & anyone I might have missed.

I think that's it! I can't thank everyone enough for coming out. You all rock and we have come so far and made so many memories together. Weather on Lake Champlain will always be unpredictable but our friendship and camaraderie will not. Picklers till the end. See you all in 2025.

Below are this years scores from those who handed in score sheets.