Recreational Sports: ‘Cold Steel’ Wins Pro Division at Oswego Pro Am Tournament | Leisure sports
OSWEGO – Longtime members and newcomers to the “Cold Steel” fishing team were equally moved after their victory in the pro division at the Oswego Pro Am Trout and Salmon tournament.
The unit led by Captain Tom Burke won $ 4,300 for its first place among the contending pros at the two-day tournament held July 10-11 at Oswego Harbor.
The victory marks the fifth in the prestigious regional event for Burke, Andy Bliss and Rob Ripka, while John Williams added another title with the team and newcomer Rob Clark won his first championship at the Oswego Pro Am.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your tenth,” Bliss said afterward. “It’s one of those things where you don’t do it for the money, you do it for the respect and admiration of your peers, so to compete with all these people who are really great fishermen day in and day out. , you might not catch them, but if you can put two good days together and finish first, that’s what we’re looking for.
The team caught a total of 17 fish during the two-day outing for a total weight of 224 pounds to dominate the 12-team field and lead the second-place unit, “Five More Minutes”, as well as the third place team, “Mr. Squirrel. “
Cold Steel also received the “Big Fish Award,” for $ 1,000 after coiling a 24-pound specimen.
“It means everything,” Clark said of his first win. “I’ll probably come home and cry. I’m sick of talking about it now.
Burke of Altmar and Bliss of Oswego, who both charter fishing boats in the county, formed the Cold Steel team together in May 1999. Ripka, who lives in Pulaski and co-founded “Fat Nancy’s Tackle Shop”, was quickly added to the group. while Williams and Clark were more recent additions.
The group play together in several tournaments each year and have been a perennial threat to win the Oswego Pro Am title for most of the past two decades.
“Fishing with these guys over the years has been so much fun,” said Ripka. “They are so good at what they do and I kind of come with the team, and I really appreciate that they have me on the team.”
In addition to their five titles, the group of Burke and Bliss has placed second on three occasions.
The Oswego Pro Am has just completed its 25th outing overall, having lasted 23 straight years before high water levels resulted in a cancellation in 2019. Captain Ken Krott has led a new committee to bring the tournament back to l ‘last summer.
Burke noted that the competition has steadily improved throughout his years of involvement.
“You realize after a while that almost everyone in Pro-Am has a decent chance of winning it, so it’s actually more difficult to just be consistent,” said Burke. “We’re just trying to finish in the top five every year, mostly because it’s our home turf.”
Bliss said Cold Steel was forced to change their strategy once they hit the water on both days and credited the group’s overall versatility and work ethic to win the title. They lost a fish three minutes from time on the last day and left the water with the worrying feeling that it would cost them dearly.
They were aiming to regroup quickly for a new performance at Sodus Pro Am, which was scheduled for this weekend. The team with the best combined score from the Oswego and Sodus Pro Am events will receive the “East End Pro Cup”.
“I think back to those days and the losses we suffered, the fish we missed 15 years ago still haunt me in my dreams, so being successful today is the top of the mountain,” Bliss said about of victory. “We’re going to savor this victory and can’t wait to go to Sodus and try to start over.”
The amateur division was won by “Warship”, who led the field of 18 teams. The Oswego Pro Am is scheduled to be held again next year on July 9-10.