Like the drawn-out college bowl season, we’ve got one more championship to be decided before we close the book on 2011. I am, of course, referring to the Smoker of the Year Contest, in which we crown the angler who caught the ugliest, darkest…I’d never touch that thing with my bare hands…fish of the season. It’s gonna be tough to top the 2010 Smoker Champ, which was about as disgusting as you could imagine, but we’ll see how they do. So, without further adieu, here are your finalists: Who gets the coveted Harrison Ibach Smoker of the Year Trophy for 2011??
Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…along comes the latest incarnation of our beloved Smoker of the Year Contest!!
You know the deal…send us those pix of you and the darkest, nastiest fish you catch and at the end of the year, the public will get to vote to see who wins the coveted Harrison Ibach perpetual trophy. But here’s a new little twist on the 2011 version of the game: Normally, you’d call ’em “smokers” because you kept such a fish and justified it with the classic line: “It’ll smoke up nice,” but this season, only live smokers are eligible. You’ve got to release the fish…this is a little effort to help those of you addicted to white meat to get back up on the wagon. Plus, by definition, most smokers were likely engaged (or about to be) in procreation at the time of capture and thus are valuable resources that should be left to go about their business.
If you have a smoker, send us an email and we’ll tell ya how to submit it. For inspiration, look back at past year’s winners. Learn how to take better Smoker of the Year photos, take this lesson for Hall of Famer, Harry Ibach.
The polls are now closed and, it’s time to crown our new Smoker of the Year Champion! Shawn Schmidtke earned this year’s Harrison Ibach Smokie Trophy with this black beast that took a glob of Oregon guide David Johnson’s special “wake the dead” cured eggs.
At the crowning celebration, held in banquet room of the Rufus, OR McDonalds, Schmidtke was speechless as his boyhood idol and, up to this point, the only member of the Smoker Hall of Fame, Harrison Ibach, made a rare public appearance.
“The kid’s got a lot of potential,” was all Ibach said before he was quickly whisked away by his handlers, out the back door and then into a waiting limo. Click here to read more…
Trinity River king salmon don’t come much bigger (or darker) thank this 40-pound beast caught this fall by Dean McGrath…which just happens to be our most recent Smoker of the Year Contest entry.
While McGrath may not be the odd-on favorite for taking the Smoker crown this year, I’m thinking he should receive his fair share of first place votes. Not only is the size of the fish impressive, but he also mixed in some key elements that should impress the judges: Big kype, skinny flanks, rich brown color and, of course, lots of blood. Additionally, he gets bonus points for the camouflage hip boots…and what just may be a big ol’ dip in his lower lip. The only thing that could have made this shot better is maybe a Styrofoam nightcrawler cup and a couple empty Mickey’s Big Mouths bobbing around in the water behind him. Overall, very nice work indeed!