Despite the rain, it looks like the drop in temperature has turned on all the freshwater fish, especially the bass. One group that has taken advantage of the bite is the Mohawk Valley Anglers Club, which has experienced very good catches in its last two tournaments on the upper Mohawk River.
The first was out of the Kiwanis launch site, where Rotterdam anglers Jeff Squires and Barton Metzol weighed in five smallmouth bass totaling 18.49 pounds, which is almost a 3 1⁄2-pound average per fish. Their bag of bass included the tournament lunker, a 5.39-pound smallie. The winners earned $220 for first and $70 for big bass.
Finishing in the runner-up position with 17.06 pounds was the Tribes Hill team of Robert and William Streeter, while Rotterdam anglers Vince Monini and Brian Ouillette were third with 17.05 pounds. Second and third places returned $135 and $115, respectively.
The top three teams all reported that they moved west through the locks to another pool, where they used a variety of lures that included top-water, swimbaits and plastics.
Last Saturday, the Mohawk Valley Anglers Club’s top 10 teams fished off on the Mohawk River out of Duffels launch, and they, too, had some outstanding catches. The winners, Squires and Metzold, made it three in a row winning this last event. Their five-bass catch totaled 19.77 pounds, and they received $400. They also won the Anglers of the Year title.
Finishing in second place was Rotterdam’s Jim Capron and Bob Cooper with 16.54 pounds, and the Johnstown team of Randy and Michele King was third with 16.05 pounds. Second and third returned $250 and $150, and Capron and Cooper receive an additional $100 for the 4.57-pound lunker.
The winners stayed within the Duffel’s stretch of the Mohawk, while the second- and third-place traveled down one lock.
The Mohawk Valley Anglers will be hosting an open team tournament on Oct. 28 at Duffels from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entry fee is $100 per team, and it is a five-bass team limit. For more information call Barton at 701-6520.
The smallmouth bass on the Great Sacandaga Lake are also biting, and it took a 19 5⁄8-incher by Jen Witting of Rotterdam to win the Dave’s Bait and Tackle monthly award in the bass category. It has to be a good time to get out those top-water lures like the Pop-R, Chug Bug and the swim baits.
The northern pike winner, which was the only one weighed in, was a 41-inch trophy caught by Keith Simonds of Gloversville. Keith also won the top honors for biggest trout with a 16 1⁄2-inch catch, and his 23 3⁄4-inch walleye won that category. Dave Harper of Rotterdam won the yellow perch and white perch categories, both with 12 1⁄2-inch fish.
Saratoga Lake’s big largemouths have come out of hiding, as evidenced by two recent tournaments held there. The first was an invitational event called the Rower’s Bass Derby that is run by the Saratoga Tackle shop. This event is sponsored and funded by the groups that are rowers on the lake, which this year offered a total of $3,000 in prize money, as well as food for the anglers after the event.
Despite the rain the anglers faced the morning of this event, the catches weighed in at the end of the day were outstanding. Running away with the title were Dan Dyer of Saratoga Springs and Tom Kail of Burnt Hills with a five-bass bag totaling 20.14 pounds that included the big bass of the tournament, a 5.80-pounder. Their total winnings were $700.
Runners-up with 14.22 pounds were Carl Paquette of Saratoga Springs and Phil Calarusso of Stillwater, who received $400. They anchored their bag with a 5.76-pound largemouth. Third place and $300 was awarded to Saratoga Springs anglers Scena Meader and Dave Munger for their 10.98-pound catch. They, too, weighed in a big largemouth that tipped the scales at 5.10 pounds.
According to the successful anglers I spoke with (and fishermen do not lie), their go-to-bait was a half-ounce living rubber jig tipped with a plastic frog-like trailer in a black/blue combination. But I am willing to bet that some of them were also taken on wacky worms.
The Capital District Bassmasters ended their club tournaments this year on Lake Champlain at Ticonderoga. Winner of the tournament was Bill Davis of Troy with a five-bass total of 14.19 pounds. Tom LaRose of Troy was second with 13.95, Mike Slowikowski of Ballston Lake was third with 13.70, and John Whaley of Troy was fourth with 10.70 pounds. Dave Reynolds caught the biggest bass of the tournament, a 4.37-pound largemouth. Averill Park angler Dave Beemer won the club’s Angler of the Year title by one point over Slowikowski.
The upper Hudson River fishing for bass is now in full swing with good catches throughout the 17 miles of water between Stillwater and Schuylerville. The best way to fish the river right now is to launch at Stillwater and zigzag your way north, fishing both the east and the west sides. Key in on the wood, both in and hanging over the water, as well as those spots with on/underwater rock and weed structures. All of these areas — and there are plenty of them — can be fished best with the wacky worm, a quarter- or three-eighths-ounce black or blue living rubber jig heads tipped the plastic chunks. It is also a good idea to crank a shad-colored diving bait along the deeper weed edges.
For pike, think big, large spinner baits and any of the big Mepps offerings. I am not a troller, but I know of those who do, and they also catch pike. Try it.
Good luck, and let me know how you do.
The second annual Joe Johnson Memorial Bass Tournament will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the Mohawk River at Holly Marine, 4 Freemans Bridge Road, Glenville.
This is a one- or two-man team tournament because of the five-bass limit, and the $110 entry fee includes lunker. Anglers can sign up the morning of the tournament, but must be registered by 7.
Awards will be given for lunker smallmouth, largemouth, pike, walleye, rock bass and odd fish. Last year, there were 37 teams, and the tournament paid 20 positions. For more information, call Gerry Rosenbarker at 669-4759.