Lunkers invade North Shore Invitiational

EAGLE HARBOR – When a couple of Finns throw a free-form fishing tournament, you never know who’s going to come. A lot of big fish showed up for the Second Annual North Shore Invitational in Eagle Harbor Saturday, and so did a motley crew of the usual suspects to try and catch them for fame and fortune.

Flat seas and pea soup fog thick enough to hide an ore boat shrouded hard core anglers trolling 51-degree surface water along scum lines while others fished staggered depths with Dipsy Divers, still others mined 38-degree 80-100 foot depths with downriggers and good old fashioned geppus. All had fish on their hands.

As the morning fog burned off, most boats weighed in limits of lakers, splake and occasional king salmon caught on Rapalas, Finn Spoons, Laker Takers, Swedish Pimples and Little Cleos. Quite a few fish sported lamprey scars – see photos.

Mark and Mary Kingstrom fishing aboard the Mistress repeated their first place finish from last summer, weighing in five fish at 27.74 pounds, The Alston Anglers, Dennis Salbashian, Harold Filpus, Paul Tahtinen and Steve Oger, came in second with 24.90 pounds, and Team Dee-Bee, Jim & Pete Oikarinen, finished third with a 23.25-pound catch.

“Ever heard of a Bite Me Elmo?” asked Dennis Salbashian, flashing a bright 4-inch gold and orange spoon in the Eagle Harbor sun, “that’s what our 14-pound laker bit on.”

When all was said and done, weighed and measured, he came in a close second to George Riedel and grandson who caught the biggest fish, a 14.77-pound lake trout. Keith Brey finished third with a 13.5-pound laker, Mary Kingstrom’s 10.33-pound lake trout finished fourth.

“It was a pretty hot bite from top to bottom,” said tournament weigh masters Jim and Pete Oikarinen. Cash prizes were awarded for biggest fish and five fish total weight.

Only the biggest fish finish in the money; most are filleted and released to the all-you-can-eat tournament fish fry. For more information or to register for next year’s event, call Pete Oikarinen, 337-5062.