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Fishing derby raises $1,000 for Haida Gwaii cultural, stewardship camp

Billy Yovanovich is the first two-time champion of the tournament
Billy Yovanovich is the first person to win the Paul Bentley Memorial Fishing tournament twice in the 14 years it has been running. (Photo: supplied)

The 14th annual Paul Bentley Memorial Fishing tournament on July 11 raised $1,000 for Swan Bay Rediscovery Program, Leah Walker, one of the tournament organizers, stated on July 17.

Billy Yovanovich reeled in the top prize of $3,000 with his 34.6-pound spring salmon, making him the first person to win the tournament twice. In addition to the prize money, he was awarded a blue MR3 reel for his first-place catch.

“This year’s tournament was wet, as usual, and overall very fun,” Walker wrote in an email.

Contestants were able to drop their lines from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. before heading to the Daajing Giids dock to weigh their catch officially.

Wally Pelton came in second place in the adult category of the tournament with his 31.08-pound spring salmon, and Richard Fenton came in third after catching a 29.98-pound fish.

Only one youth angler participated this year, Payden Ismay, who automatically won first place with an 18.95-pound catch.

There were also 31 cash and gift prize draws that all participants were eligible to win.

Entry fees for the tournament were $100 per rod, and this year 60 adult rods and one youth rod registered.

“We didn’t have as many participants as last year, but as long as we have some and are able to continue each year, that is all that matters to me,” Walker stated.

Randy Pryce Jr. started the tournament in memory of his friend Paul Bentley.

Bentley was an avid fisherman and hunter and shared his wealth with many people, “the Haida way” states the tournament’s Facebook page.

He and his siblings grew up at Swan Bay.

READ MORE: Winner of Skidegate’s food gathering fest reeled in a 25.9 lb. salmon

 Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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