Big fish helps Brakeley win pike rodeo

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury resident Megan Brakeley won the Middlebury Mountaineer’s month-long Green Mountain Pike Rodeo by hauling in the second-largest Northern pike (38.5 inches) of any of the 20 competitors, plus another five pike that exceeded the event’s 22-inch minimum.
Brakeley did so in the tournament’s allowable 24-hour span and all with the required fly rod and reel and synthetic flies, according to Middlebury Mountaineer manager and head guide Jesse Haller, the organizer of the catch-and-release Pike Rodeo. Only live fish scored.
Brakeley earned one point for each inch of her longest fish, plus a point apiece for each of her other fish, all of which were between 22 and 29 inches, Haller said, for a total of 43.
Second place went to Ross Crowne of Weybridge, who only caught two fish in the 24 hours he chose to cast flies, but one of which came in at 39.5 inches, giving him 41 points. Haller said Crowne won the amateur division in the Mountaineer’s season-opening Otter Creek Classic.
Paul Warner of Middlebury took third and caught the most fish, nine, but scored only 37 points because his largest pike measured 29 inches.
Pike Rodeo rules required competitors to check into Middlebury Mountaineer, pick up their tournament cards, and then return within 24 hours. They also had to supply photos of their fish taken with tournament tokens.
Anglers were allowed to cast their flies into any Vermont waterways, but Haller said most chose Addison County as their bases of operation to minimize travel and maximize fishing time, although some drove as far as Lake Champlain near Burlington.
The winners of what Haller said the shop plans to grow into an annual event will receive fly fishing gear at an upcoming barbecue. 

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