LACONIA — A Bay State angler who landed what proved to be the winning landlocked salmon in the 32nd annual Winni Derby on the first day of the derby last Friday had to sweat it out over the weekend to see if his catch would prove to be the winner.
''It was a long wait,'' said Todd Gilbo of Georgetown, Mass., whose 3.98 pound, 22.625-inch-long fish was landed around 11:30 Friday morning just north of Alton Bay and weighed in at 2:45 that afternoon.
He won the $10,000 top prize in the derby and will receive his prize later this week after taking a polygraph test, which Winni Derby Chair Diane LaBrie says she's certain he'll pass with flying colors.
The derby is hosted by the Laconia Rotary Club. Net proceeds from the tournament are donated to local causes and charities.
It was the fifth year that Gilbo, a splicer for Verizon, and his fishing buddy Matt Brown have taken part in the derby and the first time that either one of them has had a fish weighed in.
''We had one that could have won a lower prize last year but didn't realize how many prizes were awarded so we didn't have it weighed in, We're kicking ourselves now,'' said Gilbo.
He said he landed the fish using regular spoons and knew right off that it was big enough to challenge for the top prize.
Ron Gilman of Weare won was second in the Adult Salmon Division with a 3.60-pound, 21.50-inch salmon, also landed on Friday and won $3,000.
The lake trout division winner was Anthony Antonis of Gilford with a 5.48 pound, 24.74 inch long catch that he landed Saturday morning in the Broads section of the big lake.
''It's practically in my backyard,'' said Antonis, who lives on Terrace Hill Rad which overlooks that part of the lake. ''There are a lot of honey holes there and I worked all of them,'' said Antonis, who was fishing with his long-time friend Al Bagley of Gilford, with whom he will split the prize.
Antonis, who works in construction and has built himself a luxury bob house for ice fishing, said his nephew, Dakota Wright of Laconia, won last year's Winni Derby.
Ed Kelleher of Nashua won the $1,200 second place prize in the lake trout division with 5.14-pound, 25 inch long fish that he landed Sunday.
Five-year-old Nicholas Gelinas of Loudon won the junior lake trout division with a fish that weighed 3.32 pounds. and measured 21 inches long and took home a $2,500 prize. Myles Muir, 12, of Concord won the junior lake trout division with a 3.98 pound, 22.25 inch long trout and took home $2,500. His was the only fish entered in that category.
Winner of the Rick Davis Sportsmanship Award was James Day of of Parsonsfield, Maine, who caught 2.94-pound, 21.125-inch salmon which was the closest to the average weight of all salmon entered in the adult category. The award was presented by Glen Davis, son of the founder of the Winni Derby Rick Davis.
LaBrie said that about 1,300 anglers took part in the tournament and that the best fishing was on Friday and Saturday morning, when it was overcast and raining. ''There were a lot of good-sized fish entered this year and on the average they were bigger than in previous years,''
She said there was an outstanding display of sportsmanship in the junior division on Sunday and described it on the Derby's Facebook page.
''As we handed out the Daily prizes — there was one junior who was not present at the time we called his name. We announced his name three times, and then moved on to the next entry. I always hate to see when a child does not get what he/she earned.....
''After the awards ceremony, the father of the child who missed the award ask to speak with me. As he started to say that they had arrived late and missed the calling of the name... I started to feel bad. But then I heard this:
''The boy who won the next prize down — Ethan Kinney from Hancock, NH — heard that Adam had arrived too late to receive his prize. Ethan made the surprising choice to give his award to Adam since Adam had earned it. I was so moved! I was able to thank Ethan, give him a hug — and have to say that I am so proud of him!
''Rotary has a motto - "service above self".....and I truly believe that Ethan went above and beyond for his fellow fisherman!'' LaBrie wrote.
Winni Derby winners Todd Gilbo of Georgetown, Mass., adult salmon, Anthony Antonis, Gilford, adult lake trout, and Nicholas Gelinas, 5, of Loudon, junior Salmon winner, pose with the Winni Derby
banner. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Winni Derby winner Todd Gilbo of Georgetown, Mass., with his winning catch, a 3.98 pound salmon, shortly after it was weighed in Friday. (Courtesy photo)