On the evening of July 21st, the Bergen Bassamsters conducted their annual marathon night tournament. This year's event featured a return trip to Greenwood Lake, the sight of Bergen's first ever night event back in 1994. The cool weather had made for tough conditions but the abundance of baitfish made this a feast or famine tournament for most Bergen anglers. Members either loaded up in an area where bass were chasing bait or they struggled in search of active fish. The challenge this event presented to the 32 members fishing was a delight for some and a disappointment to others. The standings would surely change.
At over 70 years old, Jim Logan has been fishing longer than some Bergen members have even been alive. He earned his nickname fishing back-to-back tournaments in many of the clubs he has belong to and continues to show us that there are no age limits in fishing. Fishing from the back of the boat, Jim utilized a bait that has stood the test of time as well, a jitterbug. The slow surface gurgle combined with the pulsing of a spinnerbait produced fish for Jim all night long in the southern end of the lake. His total limit of 5 largemouth weighed in at 14 pounds 8 ounces.
Brian Mahoney, the perennial bridesmaid, once again found himself in the runner-up position with a nice bag of fish weighing 13 pounds 12 ounces. Brian's first fish came around 11pm as he fished from Fox Island, south. Eventually, Brian went back to an area he had done well in about 5 years earlier(as Brian comments, "unlike Nick who pre-fishes 25 years earlier" referring to Nick's Sacandaga finish). There, he fished black buzzbaits and his Jim Logan modified Musky Jitterbug to boat numerous 2 &Mac189; pounders. "The fish were chasing herring and were quite active" Brian said. Eventually, Brian culled up with two larger fish to place second in the event.
Claiming his third top five finish of the season and continuing his string of 11 straight tournaments with a 5-bass limit, was last year's Angler of the Year, John Ernest. John's five bass totaled 13 pounds 9 ounces for third place in the event. With another top finish, John moves into first place overall and he is building a lead over the other boaters in an effort to repeat as the Angler of the Year, a feat never accomplished in Bergen's history.
Scott Mitchell has been tearing up Greenwood Lake for weeks and the night tournament would be no different. Concentrating on an area that was loaded with herring, Scott tried the Pop-R that had been producing fish for weeks, but to no avail. He switched to a spinnerbait and began loading the boat. He claims to have lost over 10 fish but and yet still managed to bring in a 13 pound 6 ounce limit. After missing the Sacandaga event, Scott has begun a climb back up the standings with another good showing.
Placing 5th and also taking his second straight top five finish was Bill Vella. Making a serious bid not only for most improved angler, but also trying to solidify a spot in the top six, Bill amassed a limit weighing in at 13 pounds even. He fished mainly in the southern end of the lake. Like many of the other top finishers, he concentrated in an area loaded with baitfish. He managed 2 fish by midnight but then his fish turned on and he had his limit before 1:30am.
Honorable mention goes to Frank Freguletti, another non-boater. Frank's five bass limit weighed 12 pounds 2 ounces. The tournament's big bass was caught by Bob Murphy with a 5 pound 4 ounce largemouth that falls just short of the lunker of the year by two ounces.
In total, the 32 club members brought in 13 limits and 105 fish and 239 pounds 14 ounces. That's an amazing average fish weighed in of 2.28 pounds each. Also, despite the 11 hour event, only 2 fish were not released to the water alive, better than a 98% release rate. All anglers should be congratulated on their efforts. The next event is the Connecticut River on August 4th.