Pritchard, Vanderhoff big winners in Evart fishing contest

EVART — It was a great day for fishing in Evart.

The second annual Reel Down the River Tournament was conducted Saturday throughout the day with awards ceremonies provided at the new Evart Park Pavilion.

It was sponsored by the Evart Parks & Recreation Commission. Anchor Wizard was the main sponsor of the event, represented by Kameron VanSoyoc of Evart.

“They specialize in a specific type of boat anchor for kayaks and other boats,” Jason O’Dell, a tournament official said.

Contest entrants were registered at the city hall 6-8 a.m. on Saturday.

“When they registered, they could take off from registration and go to a 40-mile radius from city hall and fish any public water they wanted. It could be a river or lake,” VanSoyoc said. “They could fish from 7:30 (a.m.) to 3 (p.m.). If they used an apps, it would send the information straight to my computer. If they didn’t, they could bring pictures of the fish to me then I  would submit it to judge it.

“My program would tell me the lengths, who won and stuff like that.”

There were 14 entries.

There was a bass/trout category, VanSoyoc said

“There’s two different pot winnings, both worth $500,” he said. “We have three combined bass lengths and the combined length would win it, the same with the trout. We had a critter pot as well, whoever caught the big nonspecies of bass for trout. Everyone did pretty well. There were quite a few fish caught.”

Cody Pritchard, a senior at Evart High School, won for the critter pot with a 23 1/2-inch dog fish.

Andy Vanderhoff of LeRoy won for the bass division. He got three bass  a 14 1/2 , 1 4 3/4 and 18 3/4, inches plus other small ones. He won for largest bass. He fished at an Osceola County public lake but would not divulge the exact location.

“It was great where we were,” he said. “A couple of people didn’t catch much. I fish as much as I can.”

He especially like bass and pike.

“It’s been pretty good all summer,” Vanderhoff said. “Every once in awhile, you would have a cold front move through and slow them down. It turned out pretty good.”

Carter Pritchard was a runnerup to Vanderhoff. His brother, Cody Pritchard not only won for the critter pot but also for the trout category.

He caught three brook trout for combined inches (33). He fished in a creek behind his Evart area house.

“I fish all the time there,” he said. “They’ve been (biting) good.”

Pritchard is a four-sport athlete at Evart with football, baseball, basketball and track. He also finds fishing to be extremely challenging.

“There’s sometimes they just don’t bite,” Pritchard said, adding that changing baits is among the strategies that could be used to try changing an angler’s fortunes.

His favorite fish is trout.