By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — Water splashed and fish flopped at the Newspapers in Education bass tournament Saturday, where more than 20 teams competed to bring in the biggest fish.
The event, sponsored by The Daily Item, raised more than $4,300 this year for Newspapers in Education, said Brian Rodriguez, systems manager in the circulation department.
At 10 minutes to 2 p.m. Saturday, a parade of boats pulled up to docks near the Shikellamy State Park marina building, ready to weigh in their top five live fish.
For the first time, there was a tie in the “lunker,” or big-weight fish category, with the team of Tony DiDomenico and Nate Clark and the team of Bill and Eric Showers each pulling in a whopping 4.94-pound fish.
DiDomenico, of Selinsgrove, whose total of five fish came in at 17.39 pounds, good enough for fifth place in the total weight category, said his strategy was to “head west.”
The competitiveness and atmosphere keep DiDomenico coming back, he said.
“There’s a camaraderie among the guys,” he said.
In the total weight category, Butch Hoffmaster and Mike Stahl, of Mifflinburg, took home the title, with their five fish weighing in at 19.41. Last year, the pair came in second place.
“It’s a pretty good feeling,” Hoffmaster said.
Hoffmaster and Stahl headed up the West Branch toward Allenwood to catch their fish, Hoffmaster said.
“We tried to stay away from the algae that was floating there and we rotated baits,” he said.
Second place went to Tom Prowant, of Lewisburg, and Steve Gray, of Winfield, who brought in five fish for 19.22 pounds; third place went to Casey Magargle, of Turbotville and teammate Brian Burger, whose five fish weighed in at 18.93 pounds.
The first team in, Donald Long and Steve Snyder, both of Danville, said they tried to veer up the North Branch of the Susquehanna, but found the waters too muddy.
“It was just too bad to catch anything,” Snyder said.
The pair eventually made their way to the West Branch and caught five fish for 8.5 pounds, sticking near the Milton area, Snyder said.
“There was nothing big,” he said.
The tournament, in its 13th year, has raised an average of $2,500 annually for Newspapers in Education, Rodriguez said.
To raise funds for Newspapers in Education, The Daily Item also sponsors a golf tournament, donkey basketball, a beautiful baby contest.
Teams paid $60 to enter the tournament and $10 to weigh a lunker. Entrants received a registration gift and coffee and doughnuts upon arrival from Dunkin’ Donuts, Sunbury.
In the overall weight category, plaques were presented for first through third places; cash prizes through fifth place, and awards through 10th, such as lures, hats, T-shirts. Sponsors of the event included Valley businesses such as Robbins Marine, Milton; Northumberland National Bank; Zach Lloyd Construction, Lewisburg; Montandon Service Center and Kickin-Bass Baits, Milton.
Providing food for the tournament were The Squeeze-In in Sunbury; Pepsi Co., Selinsgrove; Brewers’ Outlet, Sunbury; Fetter’s Meat Market, Northumberland; Mertz Meats, Point Township; and Stroehmann-Holsum Bakery, Northumberland.
Newspapers in Education provides newspapers free to school districts in Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union and Dauphin counties, Rodriguez said.