Cabela’s, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, presented the top two Fish for Millions winners today at their store in Hamburg.
Harold Luther, Cabela’s Retail Manager, presented a $5,000 shopping spree check to Wayne Ziegler of Butler, Pa for his tagged contest fish, and a voucher for a brand new $60,000 Ranger bass boat with 250-hp Evinrude motor, trailer and Minn Kota trolling motor to Raymond Biddle Jr. of Jefferson Hills, Pa, which is a suburb of Pittsburgh.
Jon Arway, PF&BC Executive Director, who helped present the awards, said that the contest is an idea to promote fishing in Pennsylvania as it can be a lifelong sport for those who give it a try as it’s certain they’ll be hooked as he was during his first fishing trip many years ago. Arway added that the contest, now in its third year, Pennsylvania anglers led in the number of participants nationwide where tagged fish were stocked in 22 states. And the contest was kicked off during the Fish for Free Day in May. Said, Arway, “Where else can you fish for free and have a chance to win a million dollars.”
According to Luther, of the 71,000 anglers who were registered for this years contest nationwide, 9,000 were from Pennsylvania. “And of the 313 fish that were caught nationwide, 33 came from Pennsylvania out of 144 tagged fish, Luther added. But no one caught the million dollar fish that was stocked in Covington Lake in Connecticut. Too late, the contest is over but it would make for frustrating conversation for the person who catches it.
Raymond Biddle, 48, who, for the past 29 years, has been a jet engine mechanic for the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 171st Wing Division, said that on the day he caught the winning largemouth bass, he caught five other bass before the big one hit.
“I was fishing in 2-3 feet of water from my Bass Tracker aluminum boat on Keystone Lake in Keystone State Park and tossing a smoked pepper colored 3-inch fat tail grub on an eighth-once jig head. When the fish hit near a log, I reeled it in and grabbed my net to land it. It’s at that time I noticed the tag and I got really nervous. And while removing the lure from the fish’s mouth, it slipped out of my hands and almost fell back into the water. I literally jumped on it and put it in my livewell. Since I’m a catch-and-release angler, I had photos taken of it for proof as the rules specify.”
Biddle said he thinks the fish weighed about four pounds and was probably 19 inches in length.
When asked what he’ll do with his current boat now that he’s the owner of a spiffy new fiberglass bass boat, Biddle said he’s going to keep it to fish smaller waters that the Ranger boat would be too large for – which, incidentally, he’ll tow with his older model Chevy Silverado 4WD dualie pickup. And to think, Biddle’s wife wanted him to go on a camping trip the day he caught his winning fish.
Aside from being an avid angler, Biddle said he’s also an avid trap shooter and has won several awards over the years at shoots in Elysburg.
At the end of the awards presentation, Luther thanked Chevrolet and Ranger Boats for making the contest possible.
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