Grand Marshals chosen for 15th St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament Aug. 17 to 19 at Waddington
Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 11:46 am

This year’s St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament will have two Grand Marshals, Abby McNamara and Matt Delosh, seen here flanking St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Events and Promotions Manager Jo Ann Roberts.

WADDINGTON — Matt Delosh of Madrid and Abby McNamara of Colton will serve as Grand Marshals of the 15th annual St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament, Aug. 17 to 19 on the St. Lawrence River. Over nearly a decade, both have been familiar faces on the banks of the St. Lawrence during the yearly event.

Delosh, 19, fished the tournament for eight years until he “aged out” when he turned 18. In 2015, his efforts won him the grand championship. Along with that ultimate prize he has won other individual awards within his age division, as well as being part of fishing teams that brought home trophies. He credits his coaches for much of his success.

But it appears his personal work ethic was a factor, too. “Some things I have learned from fishing in these tournaments is that you have to work hard and keep going even if you are not catching any fish,” he said when he won the championship in 2015.

Delosh said he loves fishing for carp because it’s a challenge “to figure them out. You can read most fish, but carp are always changing.”

A graduate of Madrid-Waddington Central School and the son of Sherry Rafter and John Delosh, he works construction today.

Abby McNamara, 16, a senior at Colton-Pierrepont Central School, has never actually caught a carp — but she’s been a fixture at the tournament for the last 10 years. The daughter of Jo Ann Roberts of Colton and Bryan McNamara of South Colton, she became involved through her mother, who is St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Events and Promotions Manager. The chamber started the tournament in 2003, and currently co-hosts the event with the international Carp Anglers Group (CAG).

McNamara has provided all-around support at the tournament — she presented a carp carved from wood by her grandfather to a contestant when she was only seven, and has helped with registration, opening ceremonies and closing awards ceremonies. For the last few years, she’s assisted in the “headquarters” operation to ensure the accuracy of stats coming in from all fishing locations along the river. Early on, she also was able to hang out with British actor Tom Felton of the Harry Potter films when he was Grand Marshal of the tournament. Felton and his brother helped establish the event after they had visited the St. Lawrence for a carp fishing holiday.)

“I’ve loved meeting people and making friends” over the years, she said, “and especially, watching first-timers reel in their first carp.”

Discount Registration Before July 15

The junior carp tournament is open to boys and girls ages 11 to 18. The young anglers fish a roughly 30-mile stretch of the St. Lawrence from Ogdensburg to Massena, and vie for cash awards and prizes.

The entry fee remains the same as last year, $100 per angler if registered by July 15, amd after that, $125. Contestants register to fish individually and may also register as part of a two- to four-person team. Parents or guardians can sign up to fish, too.

Registration covers participation in all tournament-related events during the three days, including a pre-tournament fishing school sponsored by Mort Backus & Sons. All carp caught during the tournament are returned live to the St. Lawrence River.

For more information, and to download a registration form, visit www.northcountryguide.com or call the county chamber at 315-386-4000, or Carp Anglers Group at 315-323-4632. Registration forms may also be picked up at the chamber office, 101 Main St., Canton.