It was a long summer for Brighton residents Jon Manners and his fifteen-year-old son Grant waiting to see if they’d won the grand prize is the Silver Salmon Challenge.
But on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the father and son were awarded the grand prize of $100,000 for catching a 42.86 pound salmon off Wicklow on June 23.
The 10-week tournament started in June and ended up at the end of August.
Jon said, called the summer a “little nerve racking” waiting for the end of the tournament.
Grant said he remembers the day very clearly and said they got “completely lucky.”
“Dad hooked it on and gave it to me. I reeled about 10-feet and it went about 200-feet out.”
“It was one of my happiest days.”
He’s been bass fishing for his father for the last 10 years and has only taken up salmon fishing in the last two years.
Catching the biggest fish he’d ever caught, waiting for the final results was the hardest part.
“My parents were very nervous. Me and my dad were very happy to give Cobourg that excitement of giving Cobourg the “42-pound salmon” name. It was one of the best feelings of a father and son.”
Grant said his parents were keeping track with weekly results but he was just trying to go about the summer.
“But I had a feeling we were going to win it.”
Jon said one of the hardest part were his friends and colleagues texting and sending messages asking if he was nervous.
“But tournaments are tournaments. They’re not over till they’re over.”
But admits sharing the moment with his son, “that’s what it’s all about.”
“You always dream of catching it. That’s why you go in these tournaments,” but admits, “it was pure luck.”
The fish was donated to find out it’s age which was determined to be approximately four-years-old. There is a five-percent chance a salmon will live that long.
Even though the fish was caught by both Manners, the split worked out to be a bit different.
“There is a wife tax – that’s a new kitchen. There is a son tax. He wants a new truck.”
So his son is getting $20,000 for a new truck when he turns 16-years-old.
So when he was presented with the real cheque, he quickly turned it over to his wife who cheered waving the cheque.
Jon said he has nothing but praise of the organizers of the Silver Salmon Tournament saying they are “second-to-none.”
“They’re amazing, they’re passionate and they work endless hours to make everyone happy and promote the salmon industry.”
Jon said he has a bit of advice for those who have never tried salmon fishing.
“Just try it because anyone can do it. And it’s all about family right now. And it’s a great way to spend life long memories.”
Nick Foxcroft who is the director of the non-profit tournament said when he got the call about the salmon he knew it had a pretty good chance to win.
Saying Cobourg is now the home of the “42-pounder” which will resonate throughout the fishing community.
It’s been over 25-years since a salmon this large has been caught in Lake Ontario said Foxcroft and although it was “deflating” for other competitors, there was a 39-pound and 37-pound salmon caught around the same time.
“So guys just shook it off and went out looking for a bigger fish.”
The tournament ran from Niagara Falls to Prince Edward County with approximately 20,000 people participating.
A lot of anglers are introduced to fishing from their father or grandfather so it’s great to see the winners.
“Everyone can resonate with that story. Very positive, very friendly father which I think is his best interest is to spend some time out with the boy out fishing – which is what fishing is.”
Rob Henry from Colborne also picked up his prize today.
Henry has been running a 22-foot Charter Boat that is sponsored by Bay Marine in Trenton.
On Week 5 his charter came in first place and he received $7,000 from the Silver Salmon tournament.
Henry explains that charter boats can buy a ticket for the Silver Salmon Challenge and anyone who charters his boat is automatically entered.
“When you’re a charter client and you reel in a fish that places on the board, you’re (the owner of the charter boat) is eligible for a prize.”
In Henry’s case, if they win a weeks prize, the client and charter split the $7,000 prize.
Henry has been chartering his boat for five years and said it was a “fantastic tournament.”
“Very well run.”