The one that didn’t get away

Lambertville resident Dick Welsh reeled in a nearly 20-pound brown trout in a fishing tournament this summer in Chicago.

By: Linda Seida
   LAMBERTVILLE — It sounds like a fish story, one of those tall tales told by fishermen about the big one finally landed but lost.
   But the nearly 20-pound brown trout is no fish tale for longtime Lambertville businessman Dick Welsh. His catch made him one of the winners this summer in the Richard J. Daley Memorial Fishing Tournament in Chicago.
   Mr. Welsh, 65, the semi-retired proprietor of Welsh’s Wines, was on a vacation fishing trip in the Windy City with his son, Eric, when he caught the prize-winning 19-pound, 5-ounce brown trout July 8. He took first place, which earned him $100 and a trophy. The trophy will be presented Sept. 17 at a ceremony on Northerly Island in Chicago.
   A veteran fisherman, Mr. Welsh has pursued the sport in Wyoming, Montana and the Carolinas. The Chicago trip this summer was supposed to be a similar time of relaxation, not competition.
   "I didn’t even expect to enter a tournament," he said.
   "Let’s go weigh it in," Bob Poteshman, captain of the Lake Michigan charter boat, Confusion Too, said he suggested to the Welshes. "It was a hell of a fish. It was a good fighter, too."
   Father and son got double bites — two trout biting at the same time. Dick Welsh landed his award-winner, and his son caught a 15-pounder.
   According to the captain, a brown trout between 6 and 8 pounds is common, 8 to 12 pounds is "nice," 12 to 16 pounds is "really big," but 19.5 pounds — "That’s a hog."
   In Lake Michigan, fishermen aim to catch five main species, according to Mr. Poteshman: king salmon, coho salmon, steelhead trout, brown trout and lake trout.
   "The brown trout is probably the most elusive of all of them," he said.
   Catches vary from trip to trip, Mr. Poteshman said. Some days, fishermen catch just a few.
   "Some trips we knock the living daylights out of them," he said.
   And the Welshes were knocking out the daylights on Lake Michigan.
   After the fish was weighed for the tournament, Mr. Welsh gave it to Captain Poteshman.
   Most people who know Mr. Welsh "are aware of his fondness for fishing.
   "At any given moment, he may pull a picture out of his front pocket of his latest catch," Eric Welsh said. "I would love nothing more than to let my father and all of his friends enjoy an article in The Beacon to appreciate the catch and also let all of them have a good laugh as well."
   Mr. Welsh downplayed his own skills, instead pointing to others in the local community.
   "There are a few people in Lambertville that are really legends," he said. "We just lucked out that day."
   The tournament is sponsored by Henry’s Sport and Bait Shop in Chicago in association with the Chicago Parks District.