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Young anglers sample city's fishing

| Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 9:14 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Nick Osmond and professional angler Scott Geitgey celebrate after winning the walleye competition during the weigh-ins for the 3 Rivers Challenge Saturday September 29, 2012 on the North Shore. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Fortunately, fish were more plentiful than words Saturday night.

Seven professional bass anglers and seven professional walleye anglers fished Pittsburgh's rivers Saturday in Day 2 of the 3 Rivers Challenge, a made-for-TV event sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Each was paired with an FLW Outdoors junior bass fishermen from around the state.

The teens, who ranged in age from 13 to 16, are some of the best young anglers in Pennsylvania. The group included several state championships.

Talkative, though, they were not.

When called on stage to discuss their day's fishing, most answered with “yeps” and “awesomes” and sometimes a “yes, sir.”

But they proved they could fish.

Every bass and walleye team weighed in fish, and four of the bass teams weighed in five-bass limits.

It was a team with just four smallmouths that won the tournament, though. Pro Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala., and Austin Gaab of Montoursville in Lycoming County won with 7 pounds, 4 ounces of smallmouth bass. Gaab caught three of the four fish.

“Oh, this is awesome,” Gaab said when asked to describe his feelings, in what was one of the longest comments offered by a young fisherman all night.

He caught the fish by dropshot fishing. It was, he said, the first time he'd ever fished that way.

The team of pro Brad Rightnour of Centre County and Ian Miller of Cambria County took second with a bag of 6 pounds, 12 ounces; pro Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., and Ryan Orsargos of Indiana County took third with a bag of 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

Pro Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky., and Jess Erb of Cambria County, the other junior bass angler from Western Pennsylvania, took fifth.

On the walleye side, the team of pro angler Scott Geitgey of Canton, Ohio, and Nick Osman of Beavertown in Snyder County eked out the win with a bag that included two 20-plus-inch walleyes. The total weight was 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

That was just enough to beat the team of pro Glenn Vinton of Winona, Minn., and Quinton Owen of Pittsburgh, a student at Central Catholic. They weighed in four fish at 5 pounds, 10 ounces. They had to release one last fish that would have won the title.

“We had one that was just a hair short of (the legal minimum) 15 inches, but we couldn't risk it,” Vinton said.

“But we tried, so that's all that matters,” Owen added.

Third place went to the team of pro Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., and Elizabeth Anderson, of Hilliards in Butler County. She was the only girl in the tournament. They had three walleyes weighing a combined 5 pounds, 9 ounces.

Pro John Balla of Bartlett, Ill., and Ryan Boch, a Pittsburgh resident and student of Shaler High School, took fourth with a 2-pound, 11-ounce fish. Pro Dan Stier of Mina, S.D., and Ryan Bedont of Cambria County finished sixth with a 1-pound, 11-ounce walleye.

All in all, the city and its rivers represented themselves well over the last few days, Przekurat said.

“To get up every morning and look out over these rivers, and to find the fish in them we did, that was really something,” he said.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bfrye@tribweb.com or 724-838-5148.

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