One week ago today, I did something I haven’t done in more than 20 years — go fishing with an “old” fishing buddy, Sam Mormino of Albany.
Our friendship dates back to the day I joined the Capital District Bassmasters Club in 1976. Sam and Barry Bowman of Troy were co-founders of the club, and it’s really where my love for bass fishing and bass fishing tournaments began. In 1979, I became a true bassmaster when I traded in my 35-horsepower aluminum runabout for a shiny new Ranger 1600 bass boat, powered by a mighty 70-horse Evinrude. It was the beginning of a string of 13 more bass boat changes that ended in 2000 with a 21-foot Triton, powered by a 225 Evinrude.
When the partners bass tournament started to become popular in the mid-80s, Sam and I teamed up and fished a number of them. We fished on the Hudson River out of Catskill in 1986, competing against more than 70 other teams, and won with a five-bass team limit totaling 24.82 pounds, which included the tournament big bass of more than five pounds. Two years later, we teamed up and fished the newly established FISH USA, where after fishing the six qualifying tournaments, we were one of only 10 teams out of over 100 to make the first two-day CLASSIC on Saratoga Lake. This was truly our biggest win of our career.
You would expect that after all these years of being away from any serious bass tournament fishing, our competitiveness would be gone, and it was — until the two of us got into the same boat. It actually began with a bit of trash-talking in my truck on the way to the launch and continued after I put his tackle box, that had to have weighed at least 70 pounds, and a stack of rods in my boat. It was definitely the beginning of a great day of fishing and fond reminiscing. But I still wanted to beat him.
It began slowly with about a half-hour of no bites, and then we ran into the panfish bite followed by several misses by both of us, probably because we were talking and not fishing. Sam was the first to boat a game fish, a largemouth that measured less than five inches, and I explained to him that he couldn’t use live bait.
Not long after that, I caught a bigger largemouth and then lost another of similar size. It was then that he became a believer in my wacky worming with the Stik-O-Worm. I shouldn’t have given him any, and just let him keep tossing those spider grub jigs and Texas-rigged worms. But I gave him some and he definitely put me away, especially when he hooked up with and landed a largemouth that was about four pounds on a 20-year-old rod and reel spooled with 10-year-old monofilament.
At mid-afternoon, when we ended our day, I had to admit to the loss only because I was taught to be polite to my elders. And it was this statement that triggered the rematch that will take place Saturday morning. But we both agreed it was a great day.
Speaking of great times, Bill Chicaway of Cohoes took his three kids to Lake Lonely, rented a boat and electric motor and they had a lot of fun, in addition to some very good fishing. Seven-year-old Nick caught and released two pickerel and a smallmouth. Eleven-year-old Hunter caught a smallmouth and
8-year-old Camryn caught two bluegills. Dad tossed a wacky worm and caught two largemouth, the biggest of which was 3 1⁄2 pounds.
In the Tuesday night Saratoga Tackle Bass Challenge, Jim Bubb of Clifton Park and Sean Noonan of Saratoga Springs said they had their five-bass limit within the first 30 minutes of the three-hour tournament, and their big bite continued all afternoon. Their final winning catch totaled 15.12 pounds, and included the tournament’s big bass, a 4.60-pound largemouth. Jim and Sean (I taught him everything he knows) collected a total of $650. Second was the Saratoga Springs team of Dave Munger and John Jenkins with 13.80 pounds. The Saratoga Springs team of P.J. Peculis and Henry Marshall, with 10.62 pounds, was third. Second and third places paid $270 and $180, respectively.
The Mohawk Valley Anglers Club held its Three-Man Member-Guest bass tournament on the Great Sacandaga Lake, and the bass were biting. Leading the field of 12 teams were Rexford anglers Larry Andrews, Ed Lebron and Warren Brown with 12.02 pounds. The Rexford team of Floyd Squires, Vince Monini and Jay Lane was second with 10.69. Third was the Rotterdam team of Tim Squires, Reed Poultan and Rob Brower with 10.08 pounds. First through third returned $290, $205 and $165, respectively. Big bass cash of $60 went to the Utica team of Dan Drennan, Roger Pritchard and Phil Carcone with a 2.45-pound smallmouth.
NYS FISHING AWARDS
If you’ve caught a big fish in New York state, there are several recognition awards available to you. Obviously, the hardest is a state record, but there are two others that are easier to qualify for. The first, the Annual Award, is for anglers who catch one of the top three heaviest fish of the calendar year. All fish entered must meet the minimum weight for each species.
The other award is Catch and Release, which honors anglers who release their qualifying fish into the water alive. This award is limited to 21 major sporting species.
Winner in the Annual Award will receive an Angler Achievement Award lapel pin and a Certificate of Achievement. The Catch and Release winner will receive a letter and a distinctive Catch and Release lapel pin. These are great awards, especially for young anglers. Last year, I had two young anglers that fished with me receive Catch and Release Awards for largemouth bass over 20 inches released alive.
For more information and an application, go to http://www.-basstrails.com/images/bgBanner.-png or the New York Freshwater Fishing 2012-13 official regulations guide.