‘Whopper’ of a day for husband, wife team at DAV fishing tourney

The 2014 Disabled American Veterans Chapter 75 Giordano Memorial Tournament yielded a few surprises on Sunday, including unwanted high and muddy waters.

One of the biggest surprises, however, was that a husband and wife team from New York won both the tournament and the biggest fish award.

Gary Wert, spokesman for the DAV, said, “David and Bonnie Wise arrived in Kinzua country two days before the event and let it be known that they were there to win the tournament as well as take the Alan Ward Whopper Walleye Award for the big fish of the day.”

Clearly they weren’t just talking smack, as they did just that by taking the first-place prize of $2,348 and the Whopper award of $2,400. “Not bad pay for a day of fishing,” he said.

The Wise team hails from Dansville, N.Y., about 40 miles south of Rochester, N.Y.

Later, Wise said that was the most he had ever won fishing. He said that he had been fishing for 50 years, and in tournaments for money for the last 15 years, but he doesn’t call himself a professional fisherman. He said last year he won around $3,000 in a bass tournament.

His wife or daughter fishes with him quite a bit, and if they can’t make it, he gets a buddy to team up with him.

Wert said two DAV walleye tournaments are held each year on the Allegheny Reservoir to benefit their van program, which transports veterans to hospital and doctor appointments, as well as to various outings. “The need is great and the cause is just,” he added.

On June 15, the second tournament will be held at Wolf Run Marina and Docksiders’ Cafe. There will be another Alan Ward Whopper Walleye Award, with a minimum of $2,000 plus an additional $10 for every entry.

The Wise’s scoring came from 9.94 pounds of fish, and the big walleye weighed 3.7 pounds.

The top five winners were, second place, Jesse and Dylan Nussbaum 8.70 total pounds, including one weighing 3.18 pounds for $1,761. Third, Andy Travis and Mack Engstrom, 7.60 pounds for $880; fourth, John Maholic and Matt Clark, 7.42 pounds for $587, and fifth, Jason Grubbs and Matthew Odonish, 7.38 pounds for $293.

The top five teams all brought in five walleye each.