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Fishing tournament a big hit

June 02, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

A host of children and adults recently enjoyed a fishing tournament on the Salton Sea. Sponsored by the Holtville Athletic Club.

Sixty-seven entrants competed for a top prize of $500 for the biggest fish. Tournament champion Ray Burlson of El Centro landed a 15-pound 1.5 ounce corvina. Second place went to Donald Walker of Brawley and third place went to Tyler Jantz, 10, of Imperial. Walker won $250 and Tyler won $125.

Tyler, a fourth-grader at Ben Hulse Elementary School, wasn't too confident during the tournament that he would be taking home a prize.

"A lot of people were saying someone caught a 20-pounder," Tyler said. "I caught a bunch of little fish and then one big one."

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Tyler is looking forward to entering the contest again next year. He has big plans for the $125 prize money. A new skateboard is one purchase he is considering. Tyler is the son of Chuck and Cecelia Jantz.

Gerry Merten, president of the Holtville Athletic Club, is prepared to make this an annual event.

He stated, "It's going to be big, very big."

Next year's goal is to attract 250 entrants.

"Every fisherman had to have a kid fishing with him," said Kurt Hoffman, athletic club member. "The athletic club was very pleased with the way everyone handled themselves. Everyone was very sociable and got along. There was a nice breeze in the morning and by the time we got everyone back to shore it had cooled off again. Twenty-three boats were used.

"For many kids it was the first fishing experience. One group fished from shore and caught the second biggest fish," Hoffman said.

The club was grateful to the county Board of Supervisors for waiving the usual ramp fees and for the help of Merrill Inglis, resident park ranger at Red Hill Marina, and Brad Straatman, game warden with the state Department of Fish & Game.

Straatman was especially pleased with the teamwork during the tournament.

"We launched 23 boats in half an hour," Ranger Inglis said. "Everyone really cooperated. I would like to see volunteers with boats sign up for next year to allow more kids to participate.

"You show me a kid that fishes and I'll show you a good kid," he said.

Corporate and individual event sponsors included Rain for Rent, Zendajas True Value Hardware, Coca-Cola of Imperial Valley, Al Kalin and Mike Feigenbaum of Rio Tel.

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