CF News Article – October 2018 Issue

Fishing Club News

By Ray Tuers

Officers seated

Our 2018-2019 slate of officers were to be elected at the September meeting. Nominations were closed at the August meeting and since there were no contests, election was to be by acclamation. Last year’s vice president, Jim Bailey, wass to assume the presidency, and a new face in the ranks, Carol Marines, was to move into the vice presidency.

Jim Ungaro is continuing as treasurer and Al Byrne as secretary.

Carol is the first woman officer in a number of years. She moved to Connestee two years ago from Savannah and soon became active in the club, often volunteering to help in Outreach events, in which the club hosts outside groups for fishing at Lake Atagahi.

Carol is a retired school administrator in special education. She and her husband, Buddy, a retired Air Force officer, live on Connestee Trail.

Fish Fry enjoys fair weather

In the midst of a summer pattern of daily afternoon showers, the weather declared an armistice July 20 for our Fish Fry: Sunny skies and pleasant temperatures put the final touch on a sold-out event that many declared was a highlight of the season.

Some 270 club members and their guests crowded into Atagahi Park to enjoy a feast for the eyes and tummy.

Deep-fried catfish filets that were so big they overlapped the plates were on the menu, along with baked cod, pulled pork, roasted corn-on-the-cob and all the usual picnic trimmings. As if that wasn’t enough, you could amble up to the open bar for two different kinds of draught beer – one a local craft brew – and barrels full of soda pop and lemonade.

Socializing with friends was what the annual Fish Fry is all about and much of that was centered in the 20- by 40-foot tent – 10 feet longer than last year’s – that contained a dazzling display of gifts in the raffle and silent auction. In the middle was a stack of more than 40 bottles of wine in our Wine Bonanza, a separate raffle open to all of Connestee. It was the second year for the Bonanza and club member Larry Kruse won it.

The crowd spilled over from the gaily decorated park pavilion, with a number of people setting up folding chairs on the grass and in nearby picnic pavilions.

Club Treasurer Jim Ungaro reported at the August meeting that the event netted $6,500. Proceeds from the Fry are used to support the club’s activities and services, including fish stocking, free events such as the Outreach sessions and the Fish-A-Rama, and our Community Spirit Program in which we donate improvements throughout Connestee.

After the Fry, George Hewertson, club president at the time, thanked those attending and the corps of volunteers who ran the event. The next day, he wrote on the Next Door social media platform, “A huge Thank You to the organizers, army of volunteers and especially you, our Fishing Club members, for making yesterday’s Fish Fry another successful, sell-out event.”

In the following week’s Friday Flyer, the club formally thanked former President Steve Seelinger and Kevin Henebry, co-chairmen of the Fry, for the months of hard work they put in planning the event. They, in turn, cited Chris Wunder and Jim Bailey, vice president at the time, for organizing the raffle, silent auction and Wine Bonanza. “Special thanks goes to them and their teams for rallying a cadre of generous donors,” the club notice said.

Employees Fund donation increased

The Executive Committee has authorized increasing the club’s annual donation to the CFPOA Employees Fund from $800 to $1,000.

“Our wonderful Association workers help us in innumerable ways, not the least of which is with our biggest event of the year, the Fish Fry,” said Jim Bailey, our new president. “The list goes on and on,” he added.

The Committee took the action at its August meeting after a suggestion by Treasurer Jim Ungaro. “I think we should send a strong message of appreciation to the employees,” he told the group. The vote of approval was unanimous.

Club donates to Scholarship Program

The Executive Committee authorized a donation of $250 to the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program again this year. It was to be presented at the Program’s annual gala last month.

The club stepped up its support of the program beyond its annual donation this year by hosting a 50/50 raffle for it at our Fish-A-Rama in June. (See item below.)

41 entries, 63 fish, 100+ hot dogs!

Those were the impressive statistics for this year’s successful Fish-A-Rama June 23 at Atagahi Park.

The weather cooperated with a sunny Saturday and the fish were willing by biting in substantial. Club veterans think our fish-feeder, up and running at the waterfront since early last year, is helping to build the fish population in around the park.

The total Fish-A-Rama catch: 57 bluegills, five bass and one rainbow trout.

After the 9-to-noon angling contest for the 41 children and adults who registered, the crowd adjourned to the park pavilion for a hot dog lunch with all the trimmings. There, they consumed more than 100 Nathan’s “tube steaks” hot off the grill.

Then came the awards. Carol Marines, volunteering in the club’s Outreach Program, which organized the free-to-all event, recorded the winners. She noted that in the youngest group, there was a four-way tie for the most fish caught; each child landed two fish.

One of the most impressive catches of the day was by 10-year-old Jayden Smith, of Tinequa Drive in Ticoa View Hills. He caught a lunker of a bluegill a foot long, a catch that would have thrilled any experienced angler.

Here’s Carol’s official tally:

Ages 1-6:  Most Fish Caught:    Brent Tibstra      – 2

                                                          Alden Singer       – 2

                                                          Elijah Columbo   – 2

                                                          Jared Ackerman – 2

                        Largest Fish:   Elijah Columbo –  12″ bass

                        Smallest Fish: Bently Tibstra   –    6″ bass

    Ages 7-9:   Most Fish Caught  – Titus Walters   – 12

                         Largest Fish:    Robbie Halstead – 11″ bass

                         Smallest Fish: Ella Ackerman –  7.5″ bluegill

    Ages 10-12: Most Fish Caught -Lila Waters – 7

                           Largest Fish:  Jayden Smith      – 12″ bluegill

                           Smallest Fish: George Hensley – 8.5″ bluegill

     Ages 13-17: Most Fish Caught – Marshall Motts – 5

                            Largest Fish:  Marshall Motts  – 17.5″ trout

                            Smallest Fish: Marshall Motts – 9″ bluegill

     Ages 18 – Plus: Most Fish Caught – Kevin Singer – 2

                                Largest Fish  – Kevin Singer – 11″ bluegill

                                Smallest Fish – Reed Rosborough – 8″ bluegill

For the first time, the club hosted a 50/50 raffle during the event to benefit the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program. Bill Buchler ran it for the program and said it yielded $270 in ticket sales. The program got the entire pot because the winner, club volunteer George Goyette, who coincidentally also helps run the program, donated his winning half back.

“It’s wonderful to live in such a generous community,” said Bill afterward.

Then-club President George Hewertson, one of the score of volunteers who helped run the Fish-A-Rama, said he was pleased with the attendance and the numerous expressions of thanks from the participants. “It’s just one of the many things the Fishing Club does for the community, but it’s one of the most rewarding,” said George.

Shad stocked

The club’s Fishery Management Committee stocked upwards of 30,000 threadfin shad in early summer in Lakes Wanteska and Tiaroga in its program to improve the forage fish population for bass.

The stocking occurred July 2 after a three-month delay. The supplier, Southeastern Pond Management, said an unusually cold winter caused the delay in delivery.

Fishery Management’s Rick Hybil said the fish survived the 328-mile trip from Alabama well, with only a very small number of fatalities. “Southeastern has very good equipment and that ensures a low fatality rate,” he said.

The shad ranged in size from 2 to 4 inches. “Wanteska got two loads, an estimated 21,300 shad, and Tiaroga got one load, about 10,700,” said Rick.

Unloading the fish from transportation tanks was done thru large flexible hoses. “Soon after,” Rick said, “the shad could be seen actively swimming and schooling far off shore.”

Lunker winners

Congratulations to the latest reported winners in the Club’s Lunker Awards competition:

On July 30 club officials recorded two lunker fish: Les Saucier, of Gawanv Court, landed an 11-inch bluegill using a fly rod near the Lake Atagahi dam. That same day, during an Outreach event at nearby Atagahi Park, a young girl from the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County, Kaitlyn Owen, caught an even bigger bluegill, 11 ¼ inches.

In mid-July we recorded two other young winners: Justin Santilli, 13, caught a 14 ½ -inch perch at Lake Tiaroga on the 14th and four days later Quentin Bahr, 15, landed a 20-inch bass at Lake Ticoa.

Chris Wunder, of Connestee Trail, landed a 21 ½-inch, 3-pound rainbow trout July 2 while fishing in Lake Ticoa. He was using an ultralite spinning rod with a Berkley natural colored pinched night crawler.

Allan Jones, of Ulvda Court, landed a 20-inch rainbow trout May 26 in Lake Atagahi.

The Lunker contest is open to anyone holding a current Connestee fishing license or guests in the Outreach Program or the Fish-A-Rama. If you catch an exceptional fish, call Bill Roehrich at 884 6642 or club Secretary Al Byrne at 553 9284.

Lunker winners get a custom certificate suitable for framing. And for the first 20 bass lunkers of the year there is a $25 clubhouse gift certificate (limit of one per person per year) for both Club members and non-members, with non-members also receiving a free one-year club membership.

Minimum sizes to get a Lunker Award: bass, 19 inches; trout, 20; catfish, 25; sunfish, 11, and perch, 14.

Trout Contest report

Congratulations to the latest reported winners in the Fishing Club’s Trout Contest:

Bruce Redler, of Oakanoah Court, caught a 2-pound, 4-ounce tagged trout July 29 from the Lake Ticoa dam. He was fishing around 3 p.m., using Power Bait on the bottom. The fish carried a green tag and was from 2017’s stocking; this year’s tag color is blue.

Dan Hartley, also of Oakanoah Court, caught an 18 ½-inch green-tagged fish June 23, also off the shore near the dam at Lake Ticoa. That fish, too, was from 2017’s stocking. Dan caught it using an unusual bait: chicken skin and garlic.

On June 8, Steve Pyle, of Ayugidv Court, landed a blue-tagged rainbow from this year’s stocking in Lake Wanteska.

Each year the Club places 35 rainbow trout with colored plastic tags embedded just behind their dorsal fins. The color is different every year to help our Fishery Management Committee keep track of survival and growth rates.

Winners must hold current Connestee fishing licenses. A Club member who wins gets a $50 gift certificate for our Overlook restaurants. The contest is also open to persons who are not members of the Club; if they catch a tagged trout they get a $25 certificate plus a free Club membership for one year, if eligible for membership.

Any color tag wins. Just one award per color per Club membership year is allowed. Only the tag is necessary to win. It must be turned in to Ray Tuers along with information on the catch. Ray may be reached at 877 5572.


In early July the Club stocked more than 30,000 threadfin shad in Lakes Tiaroga and Wanteska as forage fish to improve bass fishing.





The Atagahi Park pavilion was crowded to capacity at the club’s annual Fish Fry July 20, with spill-over parties camping out on nearby lawns and at picnic shelters. Some 270 club members and guests attended.