JEFFERSON – The Knee Deep Club held its annual Leo August Memorial Breakfast Saturday, honoring the club’s outstanding fishermen from 2014. Also recognized was the winner of the William G. Clark Youth Fishing Award.
Back in October, first place winner Arty Huttemeyer from Budd Lake, hooked a 24 and a half-inch long large mouth bass, which weighed in at 8 lbs. 9 oz., a club record for large mouth bass. According to
Huttemeyer, who received a $500 check from the club, the fish had a 19-inch girth.
Landing resident Dominick Sarinelli took second place with a 10 lb. hybrid stripper bass and received
a $200 check.
Third place went to Kevin Dempsey from Morristown, who caught a 4 lb. 10oz chain pickerel and received a $100 check.
Scott Wallgren from Stillwater, 12, won the youth fishing award and received a $100 check. Wallgren hooked a 4 lb. 10oz. small mouth bass, shattering a 10-year-old record held by club president Eddie Makin.
Wallgren said he and his cousin, Abbey Murphy, also 12, were fishing out near Raccoon Island in a boat skippered by Lou Marcucci in August when he caught the record-setting fish.
“When is saw the fish jump out of the water I knew it was something big,” said a smiling Wallgren who he will donate $25 of his winnings back to the Knee Deep Club and use the rest to buy a new reel.
Huttemeyer, 52, said he’s been fishing on Lake Hopatcong his entire life, first going out with his grandfather and uncle when he was four years old.
“It is my favorite lake,” said Huttemeyer.
According to Huttemeyer on the day he caught his record large mouth he also caught what would have been a record small mouth bass.
“I didn’t have a live well on board so I weighed and photographed the small mouth and released it back into the lake,” said Huttemeyer who was later told of the record fish he released back into the lake.
Moments later in the same spot just off Sharp’s Rock Huttemeyer hooked the large mouth. Knowing he had a special fish and knowing he had to keep the fish alive to get credit for the catch, Huttemeyer used a bait bag to hold the fish, changing the water and even stopping at a local marina for ice, before heading to Dow’s Bait Shop for the official weigh in.
Huttemeyer said catching this fish was even more special because he used one of his own flies, made with yellow, brown and white feathers and topped with strands of his wife’s black hair. He is having the fish mounted by local taxidermist Jim Dowd, he said.