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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Third-Annual One Bug A Big Success

The third-annual ―One Bug‖ trout fly-fishing fundraiser in the Hancock, N.Y., area was a resounding success, said Dan Plummer, chairman of the event‘s sponsor, Friends of the Upper Delaware River.
The weekend-long event was bigger and better than ever, raising more than $54,000 to benefit charitable causes in the region. Plummer estimated that the event pumped as much as $50,000 into the local and regional economies from purchases both by FUDR and contestants of goods and services from restaurants, hotels, guide services and fishing shops, and grocery and liquor stores.

"The One Bug weekend keeps getting bigger and bigger" said Plummer. "We see it as our way of giving back to everyone who helps us throughout the year, including local businesses. This is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and we hope our event helps spread the word of all that Hancock has to offer."

The One Bug raised the proceeds for FUDR from entry fees, an auction and ticket sales. The tourney is the most important fundraising event of the year for FUDR, a nonprofit stream advocacy group. FUDR has been a leader in the battle to get in place a more sensible water-release plan from the area‘s reservoirs, providing both safety from flooding and a sustainable world-class fishery.

This year‘s event, held April 23-25 on the upper Delaware River, was headquartered at the Old Capitol Theatre, 170 Front St. in Hancock. Guests at the Friday night opening reception included Pete Grannis, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Hancock Town Supervisor Sam Rowe and wife, Laura; Krystyna Wolniakowski, a director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Commissioner Bob Bachman of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The Stanley Cooper Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Indian Springs Flyfishing Club bought tables at the event.

Plummer and several friends and FUDR supporters spent nearly two weeks decorating the theater for the event. It was tricked out with temporary walls plastered to look rustic and aged, then framed with hemlock slabs that were scraps from local lumber mills. The centerpiece of the room was a 24-foot-tall white birch tree found that a utility crew had cut down and discarded. The room was illuminated with Chinese lanterns and decorated with wooden fish silhouettes, evergreen boughs, giant trout flies hand painted on canvas by artist Gordon Scott, and mounted trout, vintage paintings and hand-carved decoys from Plummer‘s personal collection. The ambience was enhanced by fish and wildlife images projected on a screen onstage by environmental filmmaker David Morris.

"Everyone thinks we‘re crazy for putting so much effort into the décor each year" said Plummer. "But I really want the event to feel special. We owe it to Hancock, the guides and all the participants who support FUDR."

This year‘s tournament included 13 teams, each of which paid a $2,200 entry fee to compete. Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company, paid $4,000 to become the tourney‘s first corporate entry. For the first time, the One Bug also had two all-women teams.

Under One Bug rules, each team selects a single artificial fly for each of the two days of competition. If it breaks off or is otherwise lost, the team‘s day of tournament fishing was finished. The event was fashioned after the Jackson Hole One Fly fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo. Each team was paired with a top-notch local guide and assigned to a specific beat, or stretch of water.

The favorite fly patterns selected this year were the Caddis, the Hendrickson and other mayflies. Despite low water levels, trout were plentiful, Plummer said, with nearly every fisherman and woman boating fish. The rules call for CPR: catch, photograph and release.

FUDR‘s struggles continue with the lack of common sense in water releases from the New York City Bureau of Water Supply reservoirs, Plummer said. "Fishermen encountered low water levels again this year, but we were lucky with cold days and nights that kept the water temps cold enough for bug hatches and feeding trout."

Team winners this year were One Bug three-year veterans Pete (Doc) Bousum and his brother, John Bousum, fishing as Team Eagles. Second place went to Andy (Big Fish) Tumalo and Glen Erickson, fishing as Team Big Fish. Third place was a tie between the Delaware Boys, Terry DiSabatino and Paul Robino of Indian Springs Fly Fishing Club, and the Undertakers, John Morris and Mike Romanowski, both from the Stanley Cooper Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The individual winner was Tumalo, following by Doc Bousum and Romanowski. The 2010 Big Fish Award was a tie between Tumalo and Romanowski. Each caught, photographed and released a beautiful 22-inch native brown trout.

The Jimmy Charron Top Guide Award was a very close competition, with guides John Endreson and Ben Rinker tied with the same score for the two days. Endreson was named the winner based on a big-fish tiebreaker. He had boated a 22-incher, while Rinker‘s biggest fish was 17 inches.

Proceeds from the event will help fund FUDR‘s charitable work, including an ongoing project to restore Sands and Cadosia Creeks, important Delaware River tributaries for wild spawning trout in Hancock that were seriously damaged by the June 2006 flood.

Food and catering for the three-day event was provided by a number of local businesses, including the Circle E Diner, the Bluestone Grill, the Hancock House and Grand Union supermarket. Susan Alper, chef and co-owner of the Bluestone Grill, which hosted dinner Saturday night, said she didn‘t have to ask whether contestants were having luck on the water ."I have never seen the guys this happy", Alper said. "I knew the fishing must be good."

For information about FUDR‘s work, please visit www.fudr.org or call Plummer at 607-363-7848.