Reelin’ for a Cure, a women-only fishing derby, raising money for Ovarian Cancer Project

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 August 2022 at 2:01 pm

Provided photo: Robin Boyle of Waterport holds two of the fish she caught in last year’s Reelin’ for the Cure derby. She is shown with captain Mitch Polkinkowski of Hemlock. He keeps his fishing boat at Point Breeze.

OLCOTT – Reelin’ for a Cure is a group of ladies and captains who gather annually in August to fish for top prize money in an All-Ladies Fishing tournament to raise money for women fighting cancer.

Each year the RFAC committee selects a different benefactor to receive proceeds of the derby. This year’s event will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Project.

This year’s Reelin’ for a Cure takes place on Friday, with fishing from 6 a.m. to noon. The goal of the ladies’ teams is to catch the biggest trout or salmon and/or most up to six during the six-hour time frame. They are always looking for more captains and lady angler teams to participate each year, bringing more attention to the awesome sportfishing on Lake Ontario as well as coming together for one day to help in the fight of women’s cancers, said organizer of the derby, Stephanie Pierleoni of Newfane.

All boats leave from Olcott or Wilson harbors.

An after party for participants, their families and volunteers takes place after the weigh-in at 1 p.m. in Krull Park.

Pierleoni started the women’s fishing derby in 2016, after hearing about a similar one in Oswego.

“They donated the proceeds to support causes dealing with women’s cancer,” Pierleoni said. “I thought why can’t we do something like that on this end of the lake.”

She has always loved to fish and often fishes with her husband Vince, who has been a fishing boat captain since 2009. Her first Fishin’ for a Cure was huge success, and she has done it every year since. Ten boats participated the first year and 45 are registered this year.

Three captains are participating from Point Breeze – Tom Boddy, Mitch Polkinkowski and Rick Hajecki. Several others are entering from Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall.

Robin Boyle of Waterport participated in the derby last year in support of her sister Sherri Boyle of Morristown, Tenn., who was battling a metastatic breast cancer. Sadly, Sherri died July 16, prompting Robin to enter the derby this year to support the event in memory of her sister. Robin is a member of the team on Polkinkowski’s boat.

Some of the charities Pierleoni has donated to in the past include the Wig Room, Look Good Feel Better and the Breast Cancer Network of Western New York. Individuals may donate by logging on the Reelin’ for a Cure website and clicking on “Donate money.”

Women each pay a fee of $250 to enter the derby.