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Outdoor Journal: Boy's smile is what fishing is all about

Outdoor Journal: Boy's smile is what fishing is all about

Couchman-Lavigne win weekly Saratoga Bass Challenge by mere 0.04 pounds.
Outdoor Journal: Boy's smile is what fishing is all about
Maximilian Semgo.
Photographer: Ed Noonan

Every once in a while, I visit the Saratoga boat launch to interview the shore fishermen. I found just who I wanted on a recent stop there -- 4-year old, smiling-from-ear-to-ear Maximilian Semgo of Latham, who was standing with a bent fishing rod that had a panfish wiggling on the end of the line. It was his first -- and both his dad Brenden and grandpa Ronald also were smiling. A photo of the happy youngster tells it all. This is what fishing is all about.


It was a first win for Charlie Couchman (Ballston Spa) and Gene Lavigne (Albany) in the most recent afternoon Saratoga Bass Challenge on Aug. 13. Their catch of five largemouth bass totaling 11.96 pounds was worth $630. In second place was Saratoga team John Hunter and Brent Ruggerio with 11.92 pounds worth $378. They also had lunker bass (5.49 pound largemouth) worth an additional $280. Third, with 11.82 pounds was the Perth team of Jessica Moore and John Burchell. They received $252.

The top 18 teams based on points accumulated from all the weekly contests on Saratoga Lake were to fish the Championship on Aug. 20 from the Lee’s Campgrounds launch. 

Thirteen teams fished the South Shore Marine’s afternoon bass fishing contest on Aug. 15. Leading the way were Clifton Park anglers Robert Batchelder Sr. and Robert Batchelder Jr. They weighed in five bass totaling 11.82 pounds and took home $400. Finishing second was Jim Bubb (Clifton Park) and Mike Manor or (Schenectady) with five fish totaling 10.51 pounds, for which they received $205. In third place were Mike and Carol Schleicher with 9.55 pounds. They received $100 for their finish and also received $130 for the lunker bass, a 3.70 pound largemouth.

Southshore will hold its championship on Aug. 29.


Basil Seggos, Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, wants to let new hunters and trappers know that registration for hunter-education classes are now open and will likely fill quickly. Before going afield, you need a license, whether trapping or hunting with a gun or bow. Seggos encourages all prospective hunters and trappers to sign up for one of the hundreds of courses offered across New York over the next several months by volunteer instructors.

"DEC is proud of the hunting safety record in New York, in part because of DEC's Hunter Education Programs, which teach the principles of safe, ethical hunting,” Seggos said.

DEC works closely with dedicated, state-certified instructors to provide these training courses free of charge. Courses are offered for Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, and Waterfowl Hunter Education. DEC's online registration system makes it easy to view a list of available courses. Students can register from any device -- smartphone, tablet, or computer -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Courses are added continuously throughout the year, so those interested should regularly check the online system to find a course near them. For more information on locating hunter or trapper ed courses contact DEC. 


Catfish anglers from 12 states traveled to the Mississippi River at Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, for a King Kat Tournament Trail event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. Twenty-four teams gathered to test their catfishing skills against other anglers and Mother Nature. The top 13 teams caught fish weighing more than 100 pounds! Tournament day was filled with reports of anglers throwing back fish over the slot limit. It is a good problem to have. Tournament rules allowed anglers to keep only two fish over 34 inches per boat, so culling was the name of the game for the top teams.

Competitors were vying for $6,650 in cash and prizes, and an opportunity to qualify for the $120,000 Classic Championship to be held Nov. 1 and 2 on the Tennessee River (Wheeler Lake) at Decatur, Alabama. Sam Brooks from West Lafayette, Indiana, and John Raines from Spring Valley, Illinois, took top prize of $3,500 for their cat that weighed in at 151.94 pounds.

Reach columnist Ed Noonan at [email protected].

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