Outdoor Journal: Lure of Bassmasters competition too hard to resist

You don't need your own boat to enjoy the competition
Columnist Ed Noonan holds the two largemouth bass that helped him win a Bassmasters Tournament on Saratoga Lake in 1977.
Columnist Ed Noonan holds the two largemouth bass that helped him win a Bassmasters Tournament on Saratoga Lake in 1977.

Categories: Sports

It has been over 20 years since I became inactive in the Capital District Bassmasters. All my bass tournament activity right now is putting the results of area bass clubs in my column.

I enjoy attending some of these weigh-ins but not as much as if I was standing in the line to weigh in my bass. The “bug” is definitely back, and I have sent in a letter with my check to the Capital District Bassmasters to reinstate me to an Active No Boater status. That means I will fish with one of the boating anglers at the tournaments.

Actually, I am quite excited and looking forward to the next tournament on Sacandaga Lake, launching out of Northville, on July 21. Hey guys! You don’t need a boat; go no boat!


I recently received an email of the results of a new club — the Tri County Elite Bass Club that fished out of South Bay on Lake Champlain. The top three who cashed were Joe Tefft of South Glens Falls with 17.41 pounds worth $392. $216 went to Tim Lyones of Whitehall with 17.39 pounds worth $216 and Frank Heibler of Benson, Vermont, with 16.96 pounds for $68. Big bass of the day and $150 went to Greg Holcomb of Queensbury with a 5.02-pound largemouth. Tri-County Bass Club is looking for members; if you are interested, go to [email protected] and you can follow them on Facebook.

Mohawk Valley Anglers held their bass tournament on the Mohawk River between Locks 9 and 10.  All the winners were from Rotterdam. Leading the way (fishing without a partner) was Leon Vanwormer with a 5-bass limit weighing 12.50 pounds worth $592 (that’s more than $100 a fish). Second place with 11.45 pounds was Derek and Ken Fredricks who received $393. Third place and $300 was taken by Chris Colin and Todd Keenan with 11.34 pounds. All fish weighed in were smallies. Fourth place and lunker went to Bart Metzold and Larry Andrews with 11.33 pounds worth $60, and an additional $110 for their 4.20-pound smallie. In addition, they got free haircuts from Larry’s Studio.


While recreating with friends and family at Pixley Falls in Oneida County, forest ranger Lt. Gregory Hoag observed two children swimming near the falls. The current below the falls was significant and caught the kids by surprise, pulling them toward the cascading water. The 7-year old boy was suddenly pulled under by the current. Hoag ran to the base of the falls, jumped in, located the boy and pulled him out. The boy’s sister, who tried to help, was also overcome. Peter Gillander, a school teacher from Oneida, was nearby and jumped into the water and rescued the girl. The boy was transported to a local hospital for precautionary reasons. But both kids were in good condition.  

Last month, ECO Jason Smith of Rochester received a call from a resident in his hometown that a rattlesnake was in a fenced-in backyard. But before Smith could get there, the snake found its way out. While the ECO was getting information from the caller, he heard the snake rattling nearby. When he got there, he saw a cat apparently playing with the coiled snake. Once he got the cat away from the snake, Smith was able to coax the rattler into a pet carrier and released it in a more appropriate habitat, a wooded area a short distance away.

This reminded me of my first rattlesnake encounter, which I experienced in my first year of college. Three of my Theta Gamma Xi fraternity brothers invited me to walk up to the Black Mountain Fire Tower. They wanted to begin to complete all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks. I took the lead, and about an hour into it I stopped to tie my shoe. My friends continued up. Once I got it tied, I stood up and saw something move. Looking me in the face was a rattling timber rattlesnake.

That was the end of my hike. I yelled to my buddies, told them I was OK and would meet them back at the car.  Back down the mountain I went without stopping until I got to the locked car. There I sat against the car and waited for my brothers. The next day, the whole school (Hudson Valley Community College) knew about it.


On the Fourth of July I visited the Saratoga Lake boat launch and talked to a number of bass-fishing boaters and was surprised when one of them said: “What about crappie?” It took me by surprise. He continued: “You write a lot about bass, walleye and pike and how and where to catch them. What about crappie?”

He was right, and I promised him I would include all I know about crappie fishing. He told me he lived in Albany but did not want his name in the paper. Here is something that I have learned about summer crappie fishing over the years.

The very first thing is: Buy a fish depth finder.” Right now, they have moved to deeper water and can be a little bit harder to find. What you need to do is look for wood, which is one of their favorite types of cover. This would be near submerged dead trees and brush as well as docks. In these areas, be sure you get your bait/lure close to the wood. I have been told that crappie fishing around Saratoga Lake is good down in Fish Creek. On the lake, fish along the drop-offs; in rivers focus on channels.

According to anglers, if what you are using isn’t working, change colors.  And try a jig tipped with minnow and crankbaits, Lindy Rigs, a tube bait. Try them all. How deep can the crappie be? Twenty to 30 feet! Lastly, the pros recommend slow retrieves and trolling. Let me know if you are successful.

Contact Ed Noonan at [email protected].

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