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Welch Wins 3 Rivers Challenge

By Staff | Oct 10, 2012

Provided by Pittsburgh Tribune Review For The Wetzel Chronicle

A fair number of fish – and a couple of big ones, too – marked the pro-am portion of the 3 Rivers Challenge fishing tournament. Friday’s competition on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers featured seven professional bass anglers and seven pro walleye anglers, all teamed up with local dignitaries.

On the bass side, three teams weighed in five-fish limits, two weighed in four fish each and one had two.

The winning team was pro Dan Welch of New Martinsville, W.Va., and Chris Abruzzo, deputy chief of staff for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. They had a five-bass limit weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

“The Ohio river is in great shape. It’s full of fish right now,” Welch said.

On the walleye side, all seven teams weighed in at least one fish, and one, made up of pro angler Scott Geitgey of Canton, Ohio, and Kathryn Fredrickson, senior vice president of Consol, had a limit of five.

The winning team – pro Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., and John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission – weighed in just three fish. But they were all nice, 17-, 18- and 24-inches long, and weighed a combined 7 pounds, 7 ounces. All were caught on the Allegheny River in similar situations.

“Every time we caught a fish, we looked at the depth finder, and we were at 18 feet,” Arway said. “I don’t know if that’s exactly where the fish were, but we were bouncing off the bottom.”

Overall, everyone caught fish, from smallmouth and spotted bass to walleyes, white bass, freshwater drum and carp. Even the only team not to weigh in a fish – bass pro Brad Rightnour of Centre County and former Pirates pitcher Elroy Face – caught fish. “They were just all an inch or a half inch short, so we had to put them back,” Face said.

Randall Tharp, a bass pro from Gardendale, Ala., said he was impressed with the abundance of fish in his first visit to Pittsburgh. “We caught fish from the time we started until just a few minutes ago,” he said. “I don’t know how many big ones you’ll see. But the numbers are here.”

Dan Morehead, a Paducah, Ky., said the fishing seems better now since he last fished Pittsburgh in 2009, when the city hosted the FLW Outdoors’ Forrest Wood Cup. “We caught probably 35 fish today. Now, some were small. But there are a lot of fish in these rivers,” Morehead said.