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Small Frye wins big prizes with dad on Father's Day

Rob Frye and 8-year-old son Josh exchange big smiles as they hoist their winning catch at a bass tournament on Lake Winnisquam last Sunday. Josh's 4.53 lb. large mouth bass won first place making it a memorable Father's Day. The pair also won for the weightiest catch of the day. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
June 24, 2009
WINNISQUAM — It was a special Father's Day for some men last Sunday, courtesy of the depths of Lake Winnisquam.

Bubba Bassin is a fishing club begun in 1999 that holds tournaments around the state each year as members vie for record-sized fish, bragging rights and cash prizes.

The Lake Winnisquam Team Bubba Trail event, sponsored by Arma Coatings of N.H., started bright and early as approximately 66 anglers hit the water or the shoreline in search of the four largest bass they could catch. The two-person teams cast their lines throughout the day, hauling what they hoped would be the biggest or heaviest fish of the day. Large and small mouth bass were the target, and prizes were offered for the largest in both categories and for the highest overall weight of the four fish each team had caught by 3 p.m.

Event coordinators Tracy Gerbert and Paul England kept busy tracking weights of the fish brought up from each boat's "live well." After weigh-ins the fish were returned to the lake to be caught again another day.

Kelly McNamara and her father Mike were fishing together for Father's Day, an event she said they attend annually. Sister Katie was along as well but opted to be there only for the weigh-in to cheer them on.

Not all men had children along but were grateful they got to spend Father's Day fishing. The happiest dad, however, may have been club founder Rob Frye of Sandown, who brought his 8-year-old son Josh as his partner for the day. Dragged from his bed at 3:30 a.m., it was all worthwhile for Josh when he hooked the winning large mouth bass in the tournament.

"This was the first fish he caught at about six this morning," Rob Frye said. "Almost 5 pounds! It definitely made me a happy father."

The fish was caught by an inlet near the east shore of Winnisquam. It weighed in at 4.53 pounds. Josh's first place finish netted him $165. The pair also weighed in with the highest total of 14.70 pounds for $530, beating second place finishers Chris Jean and Jim Peak by more than a pound in total weight.

"This has been the best Father's Day," said Frye. "What a day! It wasn't fast and furious but we caught a keeper probably every hour all day long. We just kept swapping for the biggest ones."

Josh was full of ideas on how to spend the winnings he clutched in his hand. "Video games," he exclaimed with a big grin. "But Mom's not going to like that."

The tournament also paid a bonus to the winner if they were fishing from a Skeeter brand bass fishing boat.

"Guess what?" said Frye. "I have a Skeeter!"

That meant an additional $1,000 for the Frye fishermen, sealing the deal on this being dad Rob's best Father's Day yet. Father and son headed out to celebrate over dinner, reliving some of the great moments in their day.

Many of the dads said they were glad they had a chance to enjoy what turned out to be "not so bad" weather. And Lake Winnisquam, most agreed, was a great spot to cast a line and spend a day.

"It's just a great lake to fish," said one contestant as he hauled his catch back to release into the water. "We like coming here."

Bubba Bassin holds a variety of tournaments throughout the year, many open to members and non-members alike. The entrance fees allow participants a chance on prizes for largest bass in both categories, the top six total weights of the day and a consolation prize for first losers, the team with the seventh highest weight total. Everyone is also eligible for a host of prizes given away in drawings at the weigh-in. McNamara offered her prize of a New England Fresh Water fishing guide to her dad.

A Bubba Sweetheart Tournament, pairing men and women up for the day, will be held on Newfound Lake in Bristol this weekend. For more information on scheduling and other events visit bubbabassin.com.

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