Chor Vue, 36 of Fresno, had no idea Saturday morning what it meant when he caught fish No. 409 at the once-again beautiful Bass Lake.
But Vue soon found out - after the fish was verified by Michelle Miller, chairperson of the 33rd Annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby - he was $10,000 richer.
Vue was one of 930 anglers on and around Bass Lake who entered the two-day derby sponsored by the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce, offering up a total of $55,000 in prize money.
Vue, who entered the derby for the first time, was accompanied by his four-year-old son Ryan. He caught the $10,000 rainbow trout using Powerbait from the shore adjacent to a public boat ramp at the dam.
Vue, an avid fisherman, had asked a friend to join him in the derby.
“I told him if we catch a big one, we could split the money,” said a smiling Vue on the dock at Miller’s Landing Resort, one of three derby headquarters.“He didn’t want to go and told me I wouldn’t catch a fish. He was the first person I called when I found out it was a $10,000 fish. He didn’t believe me.”
Vue, who has worked 14 years at Table Mountain Casino, the past four as a table games supervisor, said he would use the money to make payments on his credit cards, but there was something more important he wanted to do with the funds.
Vue married Maikoy Lee a year ago, and said he bought her “sort of a cheap” wedding ring.
“Now I can buy her a much nicer ring,” Vue said.
Vue was presented with his $10,000 check by Miller and Nancy Gunning, chamber treasurer.
Vue couldn’t talk very long. He grabbed his son and jumped in his truck - he was anxious to go catch another fish.
A total of 100 fish were caught during the two-day derby, with a total of $12,380 being paid out by the chamber. In addition to the $10,000 trout, four fish worth $100 were caught, along with 94 valued at $20 each.
A total of 855 fisherman participated in the derby last year, catching 260 tagged fish with the chamber paying out $19,180 in prize money.
Fourth $10,000 fish in four years
In 2014, a tagged trout worth $10,000 was caught on the second day of the derby by Jerry Vang, then 21 years old, of Fresno. He was fly fishing at Brown’s Ditch at the east end of the lake near the dam at about 3 p.m. when he caught the ‘big’ one.
That year was Vang’s third time to fishing in the derby, catching one $20 trout in 2012 and another in 2013.
In 2013, a $10,000 fish was caught by Pete Antonino, 87, of Fresno.
In 2007, Terry Rickards of Oakhurst caught a $25,000 trout, and a $10,000 fish was landed in 1993.