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Diamond Classic Sturgeon Derby fun tine for almost 500 anglers

By DAVE HURLEY/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 31, 2019

MARTINEZ — The first of two large sturgeon derbies occurred over the past weekend with the 13th Annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby out of Martinez Marina.

Derby organizer Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing said, “Everyone had a blast, and all of our youth participants went home with gifts. Three youth participants caught and released a legal sturgeon along with a few shakers, and overall, we had 384 adult participants along with 80 youth. There was a total of 21 slot fish measured along with 5 oversized from the 37 dispatches for our weighmasters.


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FIRST PLACE WINNERS of the Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby were George Wight of Antioch, Don Longanecker of Brentwood, and Steve Nicholson of Delta Fishing Charters.


The seminar on Friday night was very well attended with standing-room only at the La Tapatia Restaurant in Martinez, and our six-pack captains put together an excellent event. Mike Andrews of Predator Sport Fishing presented information on the proper way to release a sturgeon. In addition to Andrews and myself, Captains Don Franklin of Soleman Sportfishing, Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sportfishing, John Badger of Barbarian Sportfishing, Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sportfishing, Zack Medinas of Gatecrasher Sportfishing, and Joey Gamez of Golden State Sportfishing all participated in the seminar.


We did keep our 7 weighmasters busy, and one of our weighmasters went above and beyond by pulling a catamaran off of the sandbar between Buoys 4 and 6. He got as close as he could to the beached boat and stripped down to wade out on the sandbar to the boat with his 300-foot tow rope. There were six children on the stranded boat, and they would have been there for a long time if our weighmaster didn’t take the extra effort to pull him off.”


The Diamond Classic provides a ticket for every legal sturgeon caught and released, and the tickets are placed into a bucket for the drawing at the end of the event. It is a blind draw, so everyone who has placed a ticket in the bucket has an equal chance. Talmadge said, “This format is transparent, and since we don’t have a target-length or longest fish, it is impossible to cheat. I bring out the empty bucket and have a child draw the tickets.”


Don Longanecker was fishing with George Wight of Antioch and Steve Nicholson of Delta Fishing, and he was the fortunate first-place winner with a 46-inch keeper for the first-place money of $3,360.00. All of the adult registration fees were distributed to the first seven tickets drawn for a total of $9600. Ronnie Dufour took the overall first-place in the Youth Division.


Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing, one of the seminar presenters, put Joseph Johnson of Stockton onto a ticket in the derby with a 50.5-inch keeper, and he said, “We were fortunate to pick up one keeper, and the key was to move around, since the bite was tough despite the water temperatures rising recently to 53 degrees.”


Talmadge said, “I want to thank all the fishermen that participated, releasing all the fish and demonstrating top-notch sportsmanship during the derby. And of course, we could not have accomplished everything, especially the kid’s program, without all of the donations and sponsors. During Friday’s raffle, there were a total of 11 fishing trips on professional charter boats, custom rods from Mac’s Rods, Phenix Rods, Avet reels, Penn reels, a Yamaha 4-stroke engine, and a 50-inch flat screen TV. Check out our website diamondclassic.org for a list of all of the sponsors.”


Diamond Classic Adult Winners

PlaceName Amount
1st Don Longanecker, Brentwood — 46” $3,360.00
2nd Kevin Madore, Vacaville — 41” $2,400.00
3rd Lyle Shores, Martinez — 58” $1,920.00
4th Les McCoy, Vallejo — 56” $480.00
5th Ramiro Pereda, Hayward — 46” $480.00
6th Jeff Masters, Fairfield — 52” $480.00
7th Vic Hazlett, Concord — 57” $480.00



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