Wounded Warrior Fishing Competition in Ogdensburg June 4, 5
Friday, June 3, 2011 - 6:27 am

OGDENSBURG -- This weekend’s Wounded Warrior Competition in Ogdensburg invites vets to wet a line a pull in a winning fish.

This tournament is the second community event in the past month for FISHCAP, the St. Lawrence River Valley’s sport fishing initiative that aims to put St. Lawrence County on the global angling map.

“On Saturday, more than two dozen soldiers from Fort Drum will be treated to five hours of great fishing on the St. Lawrence River,” says nationally-known angler Don Meissner, the public face of FISHCAP. “It is a great opportunity for all of us who love our freedoms to repay these valiant warriors for their service to our country.”

Buses and carloads of soldiers and their families arrive at 7 a.m. at Ogdensburg’s Dobisky Center, near the Vietnam War Moving Wall display. Once registered, each fishing soldier will be given a rod, a reel, bait and tackle, plus a FISHCAP T-shirt and a “good luck” sendoff from helpers on hand.

Five certified St. Lawrence River captains have volunteered their services to the event: Capt. Mike Seymour, columnist and known for “Hooks & Antlers,” Capt. Ed Reyes of Let’s Go Fishin’, Capt. Don Lucas of Muskie Magic, Capt. Nate Laskiewicz of Lakes Region Fishing, and Mohawk Trails Guide Capt. Will Clute. In addition, five 20-foot pontoon boats and volunteers to run them are coming from Black Lake, courtesy of David Powelczyk.

Anglers will fish until noon, when the whistle will blow and lines are pulled out. Winners will be determined by the two longest fish caught, one each walleye and pike.

“It’s going to be a fun day,” says Pat McKeown, St. Lawrence County Chamber Executive Director and co-founder of FISHCAP. “But it’s really not about winning big prizes. It’s all volunteering, about providing our soldiers with a glorious day on the water and making sure they have plenty to eat, plenty to do, and that they and their families feel welcome.

Awards will be given out at about 1:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to drop by and “salute” the soldiers.

“If all goes as hoped,” McKeown said, “we believe these neighbors will come back again and again to take advantage of what the St. Lawrence River Valley has to offer.”

FISHCAP was instrumental in working with the Waddington Chamber of Commerce to push Waddington into the national fishing spotlight over the past month with the Ultimate Fishing Town contest sponsored by the World Fishing Network. Although Waddington seems to have finished in second place, the final results of that competition will not be known until June 6.

The Wounded Warrior Derby is sponsored by the City of Ogdensburg, North Country Savings Bank, Mort Backus & Sons, Nature’s Trophies, Pepsi-Cola Ogdensburg Bottlers, US Reel, Gander Mountain, Great Northern Printing, El Grande Lures, Howie’s Naughty Times Bar, Temple Fork Outfitters, Walmart, Wireless Zone, and the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce/FISHCAP.