By Frank Rizzo
MONGAUP VALLEY February 20, 2001 Swinging Bridge Reservoir is already one of Ernie Quick Jr.s favorite fisheries he fishes there 30-40 times a year.
On Sunday the lake rewarded his effort when he nabbed a 231&Mac218;8-inch long, 3-lb. 3-oz (51 oz.) pickerel at 9:30 a.m. using a live minnow.
That combined score of 741&Mac218;8 won Quick, of Glen Spey, the King of the Ice title at the 16th annual ice fishing contest, named in honor of Muriel Hupalo and sponsored by the Sullivan County Conservation Club.
Thats an average size, Quick said of his winning entry. Ive caught much bigger ones here. I never thought Id ever win the contest with it.
This is Quicks 12th participation at the contest, whose $2,000 in prizes drew 380 fishermen and women from a wide area.
The lake was tough [today], Quick said. It was very slow.
Quick has won prizes in other categories in the past. The first place was worth $300 and a huge trophy.
Wayne Schroeder of Youngsville, winner of the yellow perch category, bemoaned the 2001 change in rules which stipulated only one winner in each division otherwise he would have swept the category, having the top four scores.
Veteran weighmaster Vincent LoCascio said he got good feedback.
Some would only fish if we had it at White Lake (the alternate site). Others would only fish here. You cant please everybody, I guess, he said.
But even those who came away empty handed were satisfied.
Christian Smith made the one hour trip from Hurley, near Woodstock, for his second go-round at the contest. With him was his stepson, Joe Turley.
Last year I was really disappointed that I didnt catch anything, so I stayed on the ice after the [3 p.m. deadline] and finally caught a perch at 3:20, Smith said. It felt great.
Smith and Turley set up close to a dozen tip-ups. At around 2 p.m. a neighbor yelled over to say that a flag came up.
The excited pair gingerly made their way over the glassy surface (there was no snow cover for traction, as in previous years) to check it out only to be disappointed.
The wind must have pushed it up, Smith concluded after looking fruitlessly for a fish.
At 8:30 that morning, Smith related, they had had a bite on Joes ice fishing pole.
That was our best opportunity, but the fish just took his cheap pole, he said.
Shortly after the false alarm at 2 p.m., a group of nearby anglers packed up to leave.
The neighbors are leaving. Good, maybe it will mean more chances for us, Turley noted.
Smith said they planned to fish until the last possible minute, giving themselves 10 minutes to pack and make the trek to the weigh station.
Like many others, they walked away without a fish but smiling.
1. Robert Festa, Liberty 653&Mac218;4; 2. Mike Meyers, Pocatello 581&Mac218;8; 3. Joe Januszeski, Napanoch 523&Mac218;8; 4. Joe Fedorick, Sparrowbush n/a.
1. Wayne Schroeder, Youngsville 221&Mac218;2; 2. Bud Floyand, 211&Mac218;4; 3. Wayne Hardick, Valley Cottage 21; 4. Joe DePano, Elmont 203&Mac218;4.
Crappie, Sunfish, Bluegill
1. Fred Wilson, Liberty 251&Mac218;2; 2. William Curry, Loch Sheldrake 253&Mac218;8; 3. Pat Deagle, Monticello 231&Mac218;4; 4. Chris Albe, 231&Mac218;8.