Time running out to qualify for Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic Early Bird draw

“This is the money shot!” laughs Glen McCosham, left, after reeling in this 11.5 pound Chinook salmon on the fishing charter owned and operated by Neil Debassige, right.

The sand in the Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic fishing derby Early Bird Draw hourglass is quickly running out, so if you have been putting off stopping into one of the ticket depots to pick your ticket up you better hustle. The deadline to qualify for the $500 Early Bird draw is Thursday, June 22 by 5 pm.

Now the good news is that there are now two new outlets at which you can secure your ticket. The General Outdoor Store in Spanish and the Bait House in Wahnapitae have been added to the Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic family of outlets that include Moxie’s Bait and Tackle in Lively, Up Top Sports Shop in Mindemoya, Ramakko’s Source for Adventure in Sudbury and Trail Side Sports in Espanola, or you can secure your ballot by going online at www.fishmanitoulin.com to buy your ticket.

A new weigh station on the North Shore, located at the beautiful Spanish Marina, has also been added to this year’s roster of stations for both convenience and safety of North Shore anglers.

“It’s primarily a safety thing,” said derby coordinator Dave Patterson. “We looked at the number of people who were coming across to Gore Bay to weigh in. It is a long crossing and probably not a great idea, especially if there is inclement weather. We had a chat with Pam Lortie (CAO of the Town of Spanish) and put it together for this year.”

Another great new addition to the derby this year is the chance to grab one of 600-plus salmon lures being offered to the first 600 people to weigh in a fish. “Jack Hicks of Osprey Lures generously donated the lures,” said Mr. Patterson. “They are high-quality lures—I use them myself.” The opportunity to secure one of the lures is limited though, as they are “while quantities last.”

There will also be a $100 daily prize this year for the heaviest fish to be weighed in that day. “So you should definitely weigh in your fish,” said Mr. Patterson. “That five-pound salmon or trout might be just enough to win if everyone else is having a bad day.”

Mr. Patterson is an avid angler himself and just a little bit competitive, so a new contest offers a chance to “out fish Dave.” Each day that Mr. Patterson weighs in a fish (no, he doesn’t qualify for prizes) if your salmon or trout weighed in is heavier than his, your name goes into a draw for $500 to be drawn at the close of the derby.

Also new for this year is a youth ticket (14 and under) that sells for $35 and not only qualifies for any of the prizes, but also for a special youth prize of $500. “We want to encourage families to get out and get fishing together,” said Mr. Patterson.

This year’s Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic fishing derby opens on Saturday, July 29 and runs until noon August 27. But remember, to qualify for the Early Bird draw your ticket has to be purchased by 5 pm on Thursday, June 22. The Early Bird draw will take place on Friday, June 23 at 2 pm.