Tournament Fishing: Lavictoire team captures Northeast season opener

Cast-for-cash anglers on Lake Champlain found the bass — both largemouths and smallmouths — in a bit

Cast-for-cash anglers on Lake Champlain found the bass — both largemouths and smallmouths — in a biting mood last weekend.

On Sunday, the Northeast Team Bass Trail attracted a field of 86 two-person teams to its first qualifying event of the season, and at the 2 p.m. weigh-in, 69 of these teams had their six-bass team limits. Imagine coming into the scales with a bag of three-pound bass — that’s 18 pounds — and finishing in 22nd place. And how about the four teams that weighed in a 21-pound bag of bass and were not in the top three in the tournament?

The fishing was that good, but to win this event, you had to be willing to run north to Plattsburgh, home of the big Lake Champlain smallmouths.

And that is exactly what the winning father-and-son team of Tom Lavictoire Sr. and Jr. did. That’s about 70 miles on the water, one way. Always the team to beat whenever they team up in a bass tournament on Lake Champlain, the Lavictoires weighed in six smallmouths weighing 23.09 pounds, and collected a check for $3,096.

This trip to Plattsburgh was the second day for Tom Jr. On Saturday, he and his partner, his 8-year-old son, Ty, made the trip in the Rutland County Bassmaster’s Plunder Bay tournament, which they won with a total of 20-plus pounds. First place in the event was $2,700.

“Ty actually hooked and landed two four-pound smallies that we weighed in as part of our limit,” said Tom Jr., “and he caught another half-dozen throughout the day. He has become quite a little fisherman.”

Finishing in second place, just .38 pounds behind, was the Grafton team of Chris Evans and Peter MacVeigh with 22.71 pounds. The catch included the tournament lunker, a 5.41-pound largemouth. As runners-up, they received $2,000 and an additional $860 fo their big bass. Finishing in third place and receiving a check for $1,102 were James and Clayton Pollock of Ballston Spa with a limit totaling 22.30 pounds.

Rounding out the top five cash positions were Kingston anglers Ted Peck and Ed Klepeis, with 21.98 pounds, and the Vermont team of Kevin Davidson and Don Wilson, with 21.97 pounds. Fourth and fifth places returned $824 and $720, res­pectively.

The day before the NETB tourn­ament at Ticonderoga, 38 Schenec­tady Elite angler teams competed in their club event on Lake Champlain, and they also experienced some outstanding bass fishing.

Leading the field with six bass, averaging over four pounds each, were Clayton Pollock of Ballston Spa and Dave Munger of Saratoga Springs with 24 pounds, seven ounces. First place returned $950. The Albany team of Gerald Simmons and John Zakarewski was second with 20 pounds, eight ounces, and received $650. Third place and $455 was awarded to Andy Brozdonski of Middletown and Robert Fairweather of Westbrookville with 19 pounds, 12 ounces.

The remaining three cash pos­itions were awarded to: Broad­albin anglers Wayne Gottobed and Mark Massacesi with 19 pounds, 11 ounces; Bill Goodermote of Troy and Chuck Sidito of Latham, with 19 pounds, eight ounces, and the Rotterdam team of Mark Amedore and Josh Plue with 19 pounds, three ounces. Fourth through sixth places returned $325, $205 and $125, respectively. The tournament big bass honors and $380 went to Gottobed and Massacesi for their five-pound, eight-ounce largemouth.

Last week’s 11th annual W.F. Ryan’s Produce/Make-A-Wish Kid’s Fishing Contest at Six Mile Waterworks in Albany attracted a record 260 youngsters. The entry-free event again awarded trophies to the top five winners in each of three age category groups and a special prize to the youngster catching the biggest fish. As always, the competition was very close.

In the up to 7-year-old category, the winners were: Brook DeSipio of Latham, Aidan Fusco of Alb­any, Ariana Becker of Albany, Mike Ragese of Voorhesville and Jon Ecker of Coxsackie. The 8–12-year-old winners were:

William Kested of Dormansvile, Matt and Chris Donnelly of Clifton Park, Cory Germaine of Watervliet and Stephen Millington of Troy. William Kested caught the biggest fish, a 17-inch largemouth bass that was released. His big catch earned him a $25 gift card for Bass Pro Shops.

The final group, ages 13–16, winners were: James Waters of Troy, Mike McCormick of Albany, Ashley Fiero of Ravena, Zak Channey of Albany and J.P. LaBlanc of Colonie.

Throughout the day, there were a number of raffle prizes, including all types of tackle, gift certificates to local eateries, etc. In addition, there were a number of donated pre-owned bikes that were part of a silent auction. And the two main give-aways were two guided fishing trips from tournament angler Nathan Knapp and Daily Gazette outdoors writer Ed Noonan.

Nathan will be taking 9-year-old Jenna and 10-year-old Eric Nimmer of Albany on the Mohawk River fishing for bass, and 8-year-old Dylan Olson of Schenectady will be joining me on the upper Hudson River, where we will fish and navigate through one of the canal locks.

Adding the $2,400 collected this year, the W.F. Ryan’s Produce/Make-A-Wish Kid’s contests have raised a total of almost $15,000.


Saturday, you have three choices for participating in cast-for-cash events in the area. For bass only, Greenbush Bass will host an open partners at the State Launch on Saratoga Lake from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can register at the launch the morning of the tournament.

The Mohawk Masters will host the first singleman bass contest on the Mohawk River at the AlCathys launch from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can register at the launch the morning of the tournament.

The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation will host their annual fishing contest Saturday. Cash prizes will be awarded for the three biggest (inches) bass, walleye and trout. Tournament hours are from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all meas­uring will be at the Sport Island Pub in Northampton. For further information, call Jack Smith at 863-4271, or go to

Categories: Sports

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