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RESULTS - "Paul Wells Memorial - Thanksgiving Weekend" Big 4 Tournament - Nov. 25, 2017 - Joliet, IL

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Frank Rink, Jim Snyder, Emilio Montoya, Mike Olinger, Chuck Ferczok place 1st through 5th at tightly contested, November 25, Big 4 Tournament at Joliet, IL; Frank Rink, Mike Olinger go 1-2 in Most-Carp Contest; Emilio Montoya captures big carp of the day!

The “Paul Wells Memorial - Thanksgiving Weekend” Big 4 Tournament on November 25, 2017 marked the eleventh consecutive year that a carp tournament has been held at Joliet, Illinois on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Former CAG state chair and now departed Sam Snow started the event in 2007, and it has been continued, to this day, by Frank Rink since 2010. The event was named in memory of former CAG state chair Paul Wells in 2013 after Paul passed away earlier that year.

This year’s Thanksgiving weekend event was the most closely contested in recent memory! Twelve of the 14 participants caught fish, and Big 4 totals were such that a little over a pound separated the top three finishers. Just one fish could have vaulted any of the top eight anglers into first place!

We experienced bluebird skies on November 25 with above average temperatures in the mid-to-high 40’s and a brisk NW wind gusting to 18 mph. Most of the carp were captured prior to noon although tournament standings were shifted by some last minute catches just before the 4:00 p.m. ending bell.
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Frank Rink was lucky to draw the first peg choice, and his peg 1 selection paid off as Frank won his fourth Thanksgiving Weekend Tournament at Joliet (2009, 2011, 2014-p.m., 2017). Frank’s Big 4 carp of 13-11, 11-11, 9-15, and 8-7 totaled 43-12 for the championship.
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In addition, Frank won the optional Most-Carp Contest, having netted 11 fish for the day (13-11, 11-11, 9-15, 8-7, 8-6, 8-0, 7-14, 6-4, 4-13, 4-12, 3-4).
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As opposed to Frank’s first peg choice, Jim Snyder drew last peg choice for the tournament. That did not deter Jim, however, as he wisely chose peg J-14 at the Jackson Street venue and proceeded to record a 15-3, 10-7, 9-12, and 7-11. His Big 4 total of 43-1 was just 11 ounces shy of first place, but it was good for a second place medal and related prizes for Jim. Well done, Jim!
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Jim caught six carp for the day with the others weighing in at 6-14 and 2-1. That two-pound carp took honors for small fish of the tournament that won Jim a set of stereo headphones generously donated by Tracy Jourdan.
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The honors continued for Jim. His 9-12 captured at 3:56 p.m. resulted in a medal for last fish of the day!
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Emilio Montoya, fishing at the barge slip at Jackson Street’s peg J-1, reached his Big 4 quota with a 15-14, 9-5, 9-0, and 8-7. Those carp weighed in at 42-10, just seven ounces from second place, but capturing third pace honors for Emilio. Congratulations, Emilio!
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In addition, Emilio’s 15-14 at 9:20 a.m. held up for Big Fish of the Tournament honors!
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The awards at this tournament did not end at third place. Mike Olinger’s 11-13, 11-13, 8-7, 8-5, totaling 40-6, had Mike winning fourth place and the $50 Visa Gift Card, graciously donated by Larry Seeman. Nice work, Mike!
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Mike also pulled in a 7-9, 5-10, and 5-8 from peg 9 for a total bag of seven carp and second place honors/purse in the Most-Carp Contest.
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Chuck Ferczok “rejected” his usual Jackson Street peg selection and set up at peg 16. That choice and related catches of 12-4, 11-0, 6-4, 6-3, and 4-9 resulted in a fifth place finish for Chuck and a Daiwa Regal Plus BRi5000 reel for his 35-11 Big 4 total. Nice going, Chuck!
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Anthony Hartung, fishing at peg 2, was just one fish away from a top five podium finish and just a nine pounder away from winning it all! Anthony captured three carp at 13-11, 13-0, and 7-15 to take sixth place with a 34-10 total.
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Dave Marceau recorded six carp at his peg 8 location (10-10, 8-5, 6-12, 6-8, 6-6, 5-13) for a Big 4 total of 32-3 and seventh place. Unfortunately, the bridge peg held some snags as Dave reported that he lost five additional fish.

Chad Bettisch did well at his middle peg 11 with four carp (10-15, 7-14, 6-12, 5-10) totaling 31-3 for eighth place. His 7-14, caught at 7:13, took the specialty medal for first carp of the day.
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Additionally, Chad captured a 10-15, which was closest to the 11-2 weight criterion established for winning the Chicago Blackhawks clock, thoughtfully donated by Tracy Jourdan.
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Connor Reno pulled in an early 9-8 and 7-4 from peg 23 for a 12-2 total. He moved to a Jackson Street peg later in the day, but had no success there.

Tracy Jourdan netted a nice 14-7 from his J-3 peg at Jackson Street early in the tournament but the bite there died shortly thereafter.

Larry Seeman captured one carp at peg J-4 and Cory Bohmann pulled in four catfish to round out the catches for the day.

All in all, 50 carp were recorded at the event approaching a total of 500 pounds!

Carp that exceeded 10 pounds were as follows:
15-14 - Emilio Montoya
15-3 - Jim Snyder
14-7 - Tracy Jourdan
13-11 - Anthony Hartung
13-11 - Frank Rink
13-0 - Anthony Hartung
12-4 - Chuck Ferczok
11-13 - Mike Olinger
11-13 - Mike Olinger
11-11 - Frank Rink
11-0 - Chuck Ferczok
10-15 - Chad Bettisch
10-10 - Dave Marceau
10-7 - Jim Snyder


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Big thanks to all 14 anglers who attended and congratulations to the winners.

Thanksgiving Weekend Tournament Champions over the years:
2007: Paul Wells
2008: Mike Olinger
2009: Frank Rink
2010: Paul Wells
2011: Frank Rink
2012: Jim Rink
2013: Mike Woodworth (a.m.) and Cory Bohmann (p.m.)
2014: Chad Bettisch (a.m.) and Frank Rink (p.m.)
2015: Mike Olinger
2016: Chad Bettisch
2017: Frank Rink

Our next J-Town Fall 40’s Illinois Tournament Series event will be the “Sam Snow Memorial - Let it Snow” Big 8 Team Tournament scheduled for Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Joliet. Hope you can make it! —Frank Rink
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