On August 4th, the Bergen Bassmasters headed north to the Connecticut River, near Haddam. Fishing had reportedly been tough on the river this year and for the 22 anglers who made the trip, this day would be no different. Facing a rising tide most of the day, many anglers struggled not only with the tide but with simply being unfamiliar with the water. In fact, more than a few anglers had empty livewells until the final hour when the tide reversed and started dropping. But, as is always the case, someone always finds fish.
Once again, it was Nick Albano, this year's tournament director, who finished far above the rest of the field when his hot spot finally produced. While checking his best area down south the prior week, Nick found the bite to be very slow and that continued right until around 11am on tournament day. Fishless at that point, Nick decided to give the area another shot and it paid off in a huge way. Using spinnerbaits, Nick quickly caught his limit amassing a huge 13 pounds 8 ounces including the 4 pound five ounce tournament lunker. The win was his record-setting 10th regular club victory and 2nd this season.
The runner up on the river was the leader in this year's overall standings. Once again John Ernest brought a limit to the scales. His final weight of 8 pounds 10 ounces was nearly five pounds behind Nick but still good enough for second place. John utilized a number of baits including a spinnerbait, a crankbait, and Senkos all fished around rocky bluff areas on the main river. Amazingly, John had never seen the river prior to his one practice day on Friday. John is demonstrating the fish locating skills that has provided him with limits in 12 straight tournaments.
Third place went to Kirk Stober who recorded the only other limit in the event. Kirk is known to be an excellent river fisherman, however, he had only spent one day ever on the Connecticut River and struggled throughout the tournament day. With one fish in the well and the tournament winding down, Kirk decided to concentrate on an area he was confident in that held fish. As the tide shifted and started falling, Kirk quickly caught 4 more keepers in 45 minutes to complete his limit and bring his final weight up to 7 pounds 15 ounces. While he caught one fish on a spinnerbait, his pattern was a typical one in a current situation. Kirk pitched Senkos to anything that blocked the current where a fish could easily ambush prey.
Thanks to a nice kicker fish, Steve Rusert's three bass and 6 pounds 9 ounces was good enough for fourth place. Steve fished Senkos and 4" power worms south of the Salmon River launch. He concentrated on three areas and kept rotating until the tides pushed the fish into those areas. His top five finish here moves Steve back up in the standings and positions him for a run at the top six overall.
Rounding out the top five and placing for the first time in a regular event was Rich Kalanz with 6 pounds 5 ounces. Like Steve, Rich's bag included only 3 bass but one nice kicker to put him in the top five. Rich also concentrated south of the ramp. He is continuing an excellent season thus far and his high finish here has Rich in 8th place overall, challenging for a top 6 spot and also making a strong bid for most improved angler.
Honorable mention goes to Mark Scocco who fished as a non-boater in the event and placed 6th with 4 bass for 5 pounds 13 ounces.
In total, the 22 anglers brought in a scarce 45 fish for a total weight of 87 pounds 9 ounces. The club's next event is the two-day Classic on Lake Bomoseen and St. Catherine in Vermont. The next regular points event will be at Greenwood Lake on September 15th.