Walleye tourney organizers hook anglers with Smokehouse contest October 1

Brian Zarembsky and Craig Lewis have a novel way to hook anglers into signing up for Walleye Slam – and it’s smokin’ hot.

Craig Lewis loves fishing. The owner of Sheffield Lake’s popular Erie Outfitters on Lake Road loves it so much that he devotes hours of his free time putting on Walleye Slam to give fishermen, women and kids from across Ohio and dozens of states a chance to visit his hometown and Lake Erie. As a bonus, they can take home some great prizes if they catch a winning fish.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, two weeks before the official start of this Fall’s Slam, he’s organized a sign up party to reel in participants and he is using some unusual bait – smoked foods for an event called King of the Smokehouse.

Lewis is busy recruiting teams who will provide at least ten pounds of finished smoked product. Could be ribs, pork, beef or poultry. He says some teams may be cooking up surprise entries, but did not want to reveal their secrets in order to lure in the curious.

Food will be served up from 5-7 p.m. Cost is a modest $10 plus canned or other nonperishable food donations. It will be donated to Hooks for Hunger of Community Resource Services, a local food pantry connected to Second Harvest. “Everyone will get their money’s worth after sampling more than a dozen entries,” Lewis said, adding he hopes even more teams are recruited in the next week. Those interested, contact Tyler Randell at 440 787-5290.

From 12 noon to 3 p.m. that day, Brian Zarembsky, owner of Erie Marine, another Sheffield Lake business, and Lewis’s business partner, will give boat rides to those interested in learning more about the fishing boats and equipment sold by his business. Interested individuals should meet at the Sheffield Lake Boat Launch across the street from Shoreway Shopping Center. At the same time, Lewis said anyone interested in registering for the Fall Slam can stop by his store at 5404 Lake Road. They will be able to register on-site through the end of the day’s activities at 7 p.m.

The Slam begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, and runs through 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 27. Erie Outifitters is the official weigh station for Walleye Slam.

If history repeats itself, 7,000 anglers of all ages from Ohio and 35 states as far away as Colorado and the Dakotas will visit Sheffield Lake – and other local lakeshore communties – during those weeks. Top prize for the biggest fish is a Warrior V238 fishing boat valued at more than $150,000. There also are more than a dozen cash prizes. You must register to win now through midnight, Oct. 14. Fee is $35. Register here: https://www.walleyeslam.com/registration

Last Fall’s big prize winner was Jacob Runyan of Andover, Ohio who hooked a 12.79 pound, 20 inch walleye. He won a fishing boat valued at nearly $150,000. Winner of a $100,000 fishing boat during this Summer’s slam was Adam Flachbart, 16, of Fairview Park.

Asked why he immerses himself in the Walleye Slam, Lewis said, “I live here. I care about my neighbors. It’s a beautiful area.”