Area tournament anglers are wrapping up their seasons and several clubs have already crowned their champions. In spite of the muddy and oftentimes fast-moving waters, they’ve been catching some very good large- and smallmouth bass.
On Saratoga Lake, the bass bite has definitely improved and appears to have begun its fall patterns as evidenced by the results of the recent South Shore Marina’s Tournament of Champions (TOC). Twelve of the thirteen teams that competed weighed in five-bass team limits.
Leading the way in the TOC were Saratoga Springs anglers Dan Dyer and Mike Towner with a five-bass catch totaling 14.39 pounds, which included the day’s lunker, a 4.21-pound largemouth. First place returned $1,045 and the big bass an additional $350. Runner-up was the Saratoga Springs team of John Jenkins and Dave Munger, 12.96 pounds. Third place went to Jim McHale of Ballston Spa and Gary Rhodes of Saratoga Springs, 10.80 pounds, and low to cash was the Ballston Spa team of Jeff and Andy Daubert. Second through fourth places returned $500, $300 and $150, respectively and an out-of-the-hat draw for $100 went to Saratoga Springs anglers Dave Cashera and Mike Scelsi.
The smallies were biting on the Mohawk River for the 13 teams that fished the Mohawk Valley Anglers Club at St. Johnsville. Anytime you have a limit of smallmouth bass averaging over 21⁄2 pounds each, your chances are very good of winning the event, and that is just what the top two teams did. Leading the way with 13.91 pounds was the team of Mike Marzullo and Sherwin So of Amsterdam, whose catch also included the 3.59-pound tournament lunker. They got $240 for the win and $60 for the big bass. Finishing in second with 13.50 pounds were Gloversville anglers Kristen Thomas and Charles Johnson, $160, while John D. Irons and John R. Irons of Herkimer were third with 11.62 pounds and received $120.
The 10th annual Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation (GSLFF) Fall Contest attracted 95 entries (93 adults and two youngsters), and the weather and fish both cooperated. Three places were paid ($275, $125, $50) in each of the four species categories.
The walleye winners were: Wayne Dingman, Johnstown, 201⁄8 inches; Scott Thomas, Middle Grove, 191⁄2, and Jason Dolan, Northville, 191⁄8 inches. The northern pike winners were: Forrest Higgins, Glenville, 353⁄4 inches; Ron Youmans, Tollan, Conn., 335⁄8, and Bill Dingman, Broadalbin, had a 283⁄8 incher. The bass winners were: Gary Godfrey, Northville, 187⁄8 inches; Art Georgelas, Scotia, 181⁄4, and Luke Olson, Northville, 181⁄8 inches.
The trout division winners were: Donald Higgins, Glenville, 183⁄4 inches; Dave Paniccia, Schenectady, won both second and third places with 177⁄8 and 153⁄4 inch trout. Higgins also received a plaque from GSLFF for his winning trout.
The 27 teams that competed in the East Greenbush open bass tournament on the Great Sacandaga Lake also found the smallies biting. The winners, by just .37 pounds, were Vince Fillippello of Albany and Jake Adams of Averill Park with five bass totaling 12.63 pounds. They got $565. The Ballston Spa team of Richard and Shawn Nolan was second with 12.26 pounds and earned $320. In third place were Amsterdam anglers Robert and Brian Bez with 12.25 pounds, and Bill Goodermote of Troy and Chuck Sidoti of Latham were fourth with 11.94 pounds. Third and fourth places returned $270 and $185, respectively. The $270 lunker award went to the team of Brandon Capron of Glenville and David Nally of Ballston Spa, who weighed in a 3.23-pound smallmouth.
The Adirondack Bass Club held back-to-back tournaments recently, bringing its season to a close. The first was held on Lake George and won by Jeff Hermance of Wilton with five bass totaling 10.97 pounds. Luke Musto of Lake George was second with 10.79 pounds, and Mike Galcik of Schuylerville was third with 10.75 pounds. Galcik’s bag of bass included the tournament lunker, a 5.2-pound largemouth.
The following week, Adirondack Bass held its final points tournament on Lake Champlain out of South Bay. Galcik fished flooded timber and milfoil to accumulate his five-bass winning catch of 14.61 pounds and also captured the club’s Angler of the Year title. Mike Wykes of Glens Falls was second with 13.43, and Musto was third with an 11.29-pound limit that included the big bass of the day, a 4.08-pound smallmouth.
PROS IN NEW YORK
Last week, the Walmart FLW Pro Tour attracted 270 anglers (135 pros and 135 co-anglers) to northern Lake Champlain at Plattsburgh for four days of competition. Leading the way with a four-day, 20-bass catch totaling 81 pounds was North Carolina pro David Wolak, who received $125,000. The winner, who has always done well on Lake Champlain, credited his win to finding places with moving water where he caught both large and smallmouth bass. As for his lures, he used Fin-tech Title Shot jigs, the half-ounce for largemouth and quarter-ounce for smallies. He said on the last day of competition, he caught more than 50 bass.
Second was Senko lures owner, Gary Yamamoto of Texas, who weighed in a four-day total of 74 pounds, 12 ounces, and earned $31,329. His bait choice should be no surprise — a Senko fished a little different than usual. He Texas-rigged the bait through the large end and used a small screw for weight in the other end.
Rounding out the top five in the event were: Daryl Biron of Connecticut with 72 pounds, 15 ounces ($26,829); Glen Browne of Florida, 72 pounds, six ounces ($22,329); and Wesley Stader of Tenneesse, 70 pounds, three ounces (17,829). The pro division paid the top 60 anglers, 60th place receiving $3,429.
The leading co-angler, Casey Martin of Alabama, weighed in 49 pounds, nine ounces (co-angler only fish the first three days) and received $20,000. The co-angler division also paid the top anglers, 60th place got $595.
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