Kirby Joe Diabo (left), his children (Kaymen, Poppy, Dash and Saha:kohe), father Mickey and cousin Cody Delormier (right with son Arakwatiio) along with cousin Clayton Bomberry. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)
While some were wrapped in a blanket burrito-style complaining of the cold, over 150 from Kahnawake zipped up their coats, got on the ice, and dropped lines looking for a catch last Sunday.
It was the first annual Reel Um In Fishing Derby, and launch of cousins Kirby Joe Diabo and Cody Delormier’s fishing business they plan to run near the Marina.
“It just started with an idea. One day we went fishing and it started like that,” said Diabo.
Though fishing derbies have been part of the annual Winter Carnival for years, Diabo and Delormier decided to host the event as a start for their business that provides supplies and expertise for people looking to do some fishing.
For the moment, the operation is available evenings and weekends, and those wanting to can message the Facebook page to meet up with the men who will hook you up (pun intended).
The cost for a day on the ice with gear and bait is $90 that includes a shack with wood stove, electricity, TV, and 12 tip ups. It’s $150 for the weekend, and if you just want six tip ups, two dozen minnows and holes drilled, it’s a straight $50.
Come the summer, Diabo and Delormier will set up shop at the building next to the Marina behind the pool.
“We’re going to open up a bait and fishing club,” said Diabo. “It’s going to be all year round.”
Diabo sees bass and walleye fishing tournaments in the future as well as taking customers on expeditions to catch big fish such as sturgeon in the St. Lawrence.
“We’ll take you because we know where they are,” said Diabo. “It’s just a matter of getting lucky and catching one. If you’ve seen some of the monsters that we’ve pulled out of the St. Lawrence, it’s crazy.”
Next winter, Diabo hopes to have five fully stocked fishing shacks for rent on the ice. On Sunday, the shop provided wooden tip ups, made by Diabo and his father Mickey Diabo.
“A lot of people don’t have the gear, so what we started out with was we would set you up with six tip ups or whatever you want, a dozen or two dozen minnows and drill the hole and set everything up for you, and you could just come and fish,” said Kirby Joe. “People were loving it because they didn’t have to do any of the work.”
Sunday saw Kirby Joe’s son Kaymen haul out the biggest pike at 27 ¼ inches (4.6 pounds). Wally Stacey caught the biggest mud puppy (8 ¼ inches), and most fish (four perch, one mud puppy). Kye Beauvais hauled in the biggest walleye, and George Glen won biggest perch (13 inches).
Organizers gave awards and prizes throughout the day that recorded 34 catches.
Before a line was even dropped in a hole, 136 people had registered in advance, and many more showed up throughout the day. Diabo estimated around 175-200 were on the ice at different times.
“There was a lot of people, it was awesome,” said Kirby Joe, who said he wanted to make the event a success to give back to the community and bring people out for a day in the cool sunshine.
For more information on the business check out the REEL UM IN fishing Facebook page.