The fourteenth annual Knee Deep Club Leo August Memorial Breakfast was held Saturday morning at the Windlass Restaurant on Lake Hopatcong. About 30 people attended the event, including Robin Devaney, daughter of Leo August, her husband Tim, contest winners, club members and invited guests. Awards were given to three local fisherman including Jim Welsh, 68, from Andover who now owns the club record with his catch of a channel catfish weighing in at 20 lbs. 1 ounce. Shawn Lee, 19, from Hopatcong took second place with a rainbow trout weighing in at 5 lbs. 6 ounces. He was at Land’s End Marina in Landing when he made his catch. The third place winner, Roman Pera, was unable to attend the breakfast.
In 1997, Leo August, a long-time Knee Deep member, passed away at the age of 84. He left an endowment of $25,000.00 to the club with specific instructions on how to distribute the money. According to Lou Marucci, the money, a US Treasury Bond, yields about $1500 a year. That money is split between three winners with rewards of $500 for the top angler, $200 for second place finisher and $100 for the third place finisher. The rest of the money is used to pay for the breakfast.
Also in attendance was the winner of the sixth annual William G. Clark youth award, given annually to a local youngster who registers a big catch. This year’s winner was eight-year-old Matt Campagna from Lake Hopatcong. “Danger,” as Matt is known to his family and his friends, caught an 8 lb. 5 ounce hybrid striped bass while fishing off the dock at Dow’s Marina. Along with a plaque, Matt also received a $100 dollar cash award. When asked how he will spend his winnings, Matt said he was going to “buy some hunting equipment.”
At the end of the anglers awards ceremony a special life-time award was given to long-time member Lou Marcucci. Marcucci has served the Knee Deep Club as trustee, treasurer, president and director. The award officially gives Marcucci the title of Director Emeritus.
As part of the morning’s events, member Tim Clancy put together a visual history of the club. On display were old photos of original members, old bumper stickers, posters and membership cards, including the first card issued to one of the original members, Al Birkenmeiser. He also found some footage from the late 50’s of a fishing contest at Dow’s Marina which he transferred to a DVD and played for the crowd. Unbeknownst to him and everyone else watching were scenes of Robin Devaney when she was a little girl. Even Robin was surprised to see herself on the video.
Jim Salerno with Lou Marcucci.
Matt “Danger” Campagna, Jim Salerno, Shawn Lee and Jim Welsh.