THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST MARINE TRADE ASSOCIATION
Gary March of Worley, Idaho, had hit a low point in his life while on a recent mule deer hunting trip at Fort Peck Reservoir in northeastern Montana.
“I was in an area that didn’t have cell phone coverage, and nine miles from the boat launch when I lost control of my truck and boat, and went off a 30-foot embankment,” March said. “There was a little damage to the boat, but the truck is totaled. It took me a few days to get the trailer fixed before I could get it home.”
While waiting for repairs in Jordan, Montana, he sat in his hotel room, and noticed three voicemails on his cell phone that lifted his emotions.
Those calls were coming from Karsten McIntosh with the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA). McIntosh had great news: March’s name had been randomly drawn on Nov. 5 at the Everett No-Coho Blackmouth Derby from more than 4,000 anglers following the conclusion of the 2017 West Marine Northwest Salmon Derby Series.
McIntosh had notified March that he had won the grand prize, a fully-equipped 22-foot Hewescraft OceanPro aluminum boat with Honda motors and trailer valued at around $85,000.
And this is where the story gets interesting since the boat that slipped off the side of a remote road along the fifth largest artificial lake in the U.S. was also a 22-foot Hewescraft OceanPro!
“(McIntosh) called me, told me I won a boat and I said you’ve got to be kidding me,” March said. “My emotions were pretty low at the time, and then I was right back on top. I had a pretty big swing of emotions at that moment.”
Call it divine intervention or fate, but according to March, everyone has always called him “Lucky” his whole life and winning this beautiful boat definitely sealed the deal!
March’s name was entered into the derby series drawing after fishing in The Big One Salmon Derby on Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho on July 26-30.
“I had a really slow tournament this summer, and have fished it for over 20 years with my wife Claire,” said March. “This was the first time I fished the tournament after a few years off.”
March, who lived most of his life in Spokane, had just retired back in March after a 45-year career with White’s Boot Company in Spokane.
The boat is the 14th grand prize boat, motor, and trailer package that has been given away since the Series was created in 2004. This year’s Hewescraft 220 OceanPro boat is powered by a 250-horsepower Honda and a 9.9-horsepower Honda trolling motor, on an EZ Loader tandem axle trailer. The boat came fully-equipped with top-of-the-line extras including Raymarine electronics, Scotty Downriggers, and a Dual Electronics stereo.
“How exciting for Gary to win this fully-loaded boat, and I can’t wait to see him out on the water at Coeur d’Alene next summer,” said Mark Yuasa, who coordinates the Northwest Salmon Derby Series and chatted with the “Lucky” derby winner. “There was nothing more thrilling than to hear how happy he was after winning this impressive fully-geared fishing boat.”
The West Marine Northwest Salmon Derby Series is a fishing promotion program directed by the NMTA that encourages boating and fishing in the Northwest. In 2017, the Series included 14 derbies in Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada. For each derby an angler competes in, they get one entry into the drawing for the grand prize boat held at the final derby in the Series.
Now that March is retired and has a new home on Lake Coeur d’Alene he plans to make good use of the boat and hopefully eclipse his best chinook catch of 24.9 pounds on the expansive 25-mile lake.
“I’m retired and with this waterfront home on the lake and now the owner of a new boat, I will definitely be fishing this derby every summer,” he said with excitement.
For more information on the West Marine Northwest Salmon Derby Series, visit www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.