On August 25-26th, the Bergen Bassmasters conducted their annual Classic. This year's event featured a new concept that included one competition day on each of two lakes. Lakes Bomoseen and St. Catherine in Vermont provided some excellent, yet difficult fishing for the 27 anglers who attended. With half of the club on each lake, each day, there was plenty of room to spread out until a Vermont Federation event Sunday on Bomoseen limited that amount of free space. Anglers were challenged to not only locate one or two good spots but to locate fish on each lake.
In an exciting finish where anglers waited for the results to be tallied from the other lake, Steve Rusert squeaked by Rich Gerken by a mere ounce. The two anglers fished opposite lakes which added to the tension. Steve had an unbelievable practice on each lake including catching numerous fish over 5 pounds. Saturday on St. Catherine, his shallow dock pattern held up. Although he was boating numerous fish early, it wasn't until noon when he started fishing isolated docks that he was able to cull up to a 16 pound 8 ounce total. Steve claims to have boated nearly 30 fish on Saturday. Sunday on Bomoseen proved to be more difficult however as Steve attempted to locate some weed fish. After a few hours, he went back to his trusty dock pattern to boat 8 keepers. His two day total was 10 fish and 25 pounds 4 ounces.
Rich Gerken only had one practice day and spent it locating some nice fish on Bomoseen. On Day 1 at Bomoseen, his pattern held up as he weighed-in a limit at 14 pounds 5 ounces. Rich had his limit by 10am fishing worms along the deeper weedlines in the northern section of the lake. He attempted to cull throughout the day until the final half hour when he boated his best fish of the day. Although Rich was in second place after day 1, he was going blind to St. Catherine, a lake he had never seen before. Utilizing a similar pattern of worms fished along deeper weedlines, Rich managed to once again bag a limit. This time, his weight was 10 pounds 4 ounces. His total weight of 25 pounds 3 ounces landed Rich in the runner-up spot overall.
John Ernest struggled in practice on Bomoseen but landed two "bubba's on day 1. His three fish bag totaled 13 pounds 10 ounces and included the day 1 lunker on Bomoseen at 5 pounds 5 ounces. John had fared much better on St. Catherine in practice and managed his limit on day 2 there. He cranked deeper weed edges and fished some shallow docks to total 8 pounds 9 ounces. His 22 pounds 3 ounces placed John in third overall for the second consecutive Classic.
Eric Lehmann was unable to pre-fish and relied heavily on the information provided to him by his teammates. Fishing with Bob Murphy on St. Catherine's day 1, Eric managed to bag a nice limit weighing 12 pounds 11 ounces which included the 4 pounds 12 ounce lunker. He fished small worms on outside weed edges. On day 2 at Bomoseen, Eric, along with the rest of the field, struggled. Although he only managed 2 fish, he once again caught the lunker at 4 pounds 9 ounces. Adding another solid fish, his day 2 weight of 7 pounds 11 ounces gave him a total of 20 pounds 6 ounces and fourth place overall.
Rounding out the top 5 was Brian Mahoney. Brian also enjoyed a good practice on St. Catherine but his crankbait pattern fell apart. Switching to 6" power worms along weedlines near rocks, Brian managed his limit. He then went to the "slop" and was able to cull out a few more eventually winding up with 11 pounds 8 ounces on day 1. At Bomoseen, Brian relied on a few familiar spots to produce a few fish early on topwaters. He then headed north to the slop above float bridge and landed 2 more keepers on pearl Senkos. Returning to the main lake, Brian finally landed his limit fish giving him 8 pounds 2 ounces at Bomoseen and 19 pounds 7 ounces, and 5th place overall.
The winning team was captained by Ron Fairbanks and included Mark Scocco, Eric Lehmann, Greg Trass, Bill Vella, Jason Mordhorst, Ed Schickman, Bob Murphy, and Bob Benjamin. Trailing by 9 pounds after the first day, the team knew it had work to do. Eddie, "the Anchor" Schickman quickly boated his limit by 7:30 am on Sunday to set the tone. When the final results were tallied, Ron's team won by over 11 pounds. Although Eric was the only team member in the top 5, each angler contributed over 7 pounds to the team's total. It was a team effort as the nine anglers shared information on productive patterns, baits, and spots and a few of the anglers stated that they would never have caught a few of their fish had it not been for a teammate sharing some info.