Friday, May 11, 2012
Son's monster catch lures dad back to Smith Mountain Lake
The 42.88-pound striped bass is the largest caught in the Optimist Club tournament's 44-year history.
Gus Gerakaris has cast his line in the Roanoke Valley Optimist Club's annual fishing tournament for the past five years.
This year, however, he was in Florida and unable to participate. Gerakaris missed the on-water action, but he headed back to the lake when it became obvious his son would win the tournament for the first time.
Gerakaris drove through the night Saturday, May 5 to see his son make history the next day.
Tom Gerakaris, 56, who has a vacation home beside his father's in Wirtz, took the trophy for reeling in the largest fish not only in this year's competition but the biggest of any species registered in the tournament's 44 years.
The striped bass weighed 42.88 pounds - that's more than 12 pounds heavier than the largest striper brought in since the species was brought back into the tournament in 2007.Gerakaris, a resident of Chapel Hill, N.C., said it took him and two fishing buddies, David "Mr. Boo" Williamson and Robert Baker, more than 30 minutes to hook the winner near Smith Mountain Dam on the morning of May 4.
The huge striper wasn't the only impressive fish registered. Ronnie Perdue reeled in a flathead catfish that weighed 39.56 pounds, shattering the tournament record by 4 pounds.
The second place catfish, a 38.50-pounder caught by Ken Lavinder, also topped the record. The third-largest catfish, a 35.36-pounder caught by Tony Perdue, Ronnie's brother, was just .02 of a pound shy of the record.
Rodney Coleman of Rocky Mount won the largemouth bass category with a 6.68-pound fish, while Dennis Morgan of Hardy had the top smallmouth, a 4.92-pounder.
The top crappie award went to Abner Overstreet, an angler from Wirtz who registered a fish weighing 2.22 pounds.