It wasn’t your typical day fishing on Lake Ontario for a father and son from Brighton.
Jon Manners and his fifteen-year-old son Grant were fishing in the families 23-foot boat when the landed a salmon that weighed over 40-pounds off of Wicklow east of Cobourg on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.
Even though it’s only the first week of the second annual Silver Salmon Challenge, the father/son team have landed themselves into a hefty lead with the fish weighing in at 42.86 pounds.
Second place so far weighs in at 32.22 pounds.
The father and son were trolling in 85-feet of water south of Wicklow around 5 p.m. with the downriggers approximately 40-feet down when, “one went off real good” said Jon Manners.
At first the pair could tell it was a good size salmon, but they still weren’t sure how good.
“Not till we saw it about 50-feet out and could see it come out of the water,” said Jon.
“We knew then it was about 40-45 pounds,” said Grant.
“It was a great feeling. Adrenaline was pumping – it was tiring.”
Grant reeled the fish in most of the way until his arms became to tired, then his father took over with both sharing duties.
After approximately 40-minutes the salmon was in the boat and the father and son were giving high-fives to each other in celebration.
“It was the greatest feeling in the world to have caught this,” said Grant.
“It was the greatest moment of my life.”
What made it more special was the father and son share the thrill of the catch.
Soon after were on their way to Cobourg to weigh it.
Typically the father and son team are bass anglers, but have taken up salmon fishing last year.
Both said the catch was about 20-pounds heavier than any salmon they have ever caught.
Nick Foxcroft who is the tournament director was so elated with the catch they he drove down immediately from Toronto.
The Silver Salmon Challenge runs from June 19 to August 28 with over $350,000 in cash and prizes.
The grand prize is $100,000 and anglers have the chance to win up to $7,500 per week.
Foxcroft said the weigh-ins for the day are 8 p.m. so officials were waiting for calls from various locations including Cobourg to phone in if any salmon had been caught and how much they weighed.
“We heard this rumour of a 44-pounder. Fishing rumours never pan out to what they are, but this one sure did.”
When Cobourg Marina called in the weight of the fish, Foxcroft said he jumped in his car and made his way down to Cobourg as fast and safely as he could.
“This is a big moment, father and son, start of the event, we couldn’t be happier. Especially for the town of Cobourg.”
“They are so supportive of the fishing community.”
Foxcroft said as far as he is aware the last salmon to weigh over 40-pounds coming from Lake Ontario was approximately 10-years ago. The record for the largest salmon caught in Lake Ontario weighed in at 47.13 pounds.
Last years winner for the Silver Salmon Challenge weighed in at approximately 35-pounds.
With COVID, Foxcroft said, “we’ve been couped up for so long, there is nothing better than getting out on the water.
There is no better way of social distancing with our favourite past time.”
With the father and son catching a fish of a lifetime for them, Foxcroft said, “I don’t know whether you could script a better story.”
But for all the other anglers in the tournament, he said don’t lose hope, there is still lots of time left.
“I believe this is the year,” said Foxcroft.
“We’d love to see the 50 (pound). I honestly believe from what we are seeing, this fish might not be the $100,000 one. So everyone should keep on going because it’s exciting.”
Two people that will be keeping a very close eye on the weigh-ins will be the father and son from Brighton
Even though the tournament has just started, and the Manners feel good about their catch, but, “there is always a bigger fish in the lake,” said Jon.
“You never know till it’s over.”