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Lake Lillinonah Report

Lehmann Wins Lillinonah on "Senko" DeMayo

The Bergen Bassmasters kicked off their 2001 season with an opening event on Lake Lillinonah on May 5th. An unseasonable heat wave raised water temperatures over 15 degrees in the week leading up to the event. Combined with a nearing full moon, the smallmouth bass were eager to spawn and were in the shallows. Targeting these smallmouth, the 34 club members registered 21 5-bass limits in the event and the 142 bass weighed-in was the third most in a club event. A large number of the smaller males were caught to bring the club's total weight to 209 pounds 12 ounces.

It has been nearly 10 years since Eric Lehmann recorded back-to-back victories on Greenwood Lake and Lake Lillinonah. Eric started off this season by stepping back into the winners circle with his 10 pound 5 ounce limit. Eric concentrated on a shallow flat in the south end of the lake with his notorious 4" black power worm culling his way up to a creel including 1 largemouth and 4 smallies.

Fishing in second place due to a 4 ounce penalty for a dead fish was Steve Schilling. Steve's limit of 5 smallmouth totaled 10 pounds 4 ounces and included a whopper 4 pound 10 ounce smallmouth. Unofficially, Steve's smallie is the largest ever weighed in a Bergen event. In observance of the "Senko" de Mayo holiday, Steve utilized a Senko "cut in half" rigged wacky style for his catch.

A last minute change allowed Jack Erdei the use of his boat for the Lillinonah event. Fishing his first tournament as a boater, Jack located enough bass to cull up to his 9 pound 6 ounce limit and third place in the event. Jack fished mostly south of the ramp and utilized tube baits for his catch. Unlike many of the club anglers, Jack concentrated deeper fishing in 6-8 feet of water.

Andy Karcich, the NJ Federation and Bergen Bassamsters' top rider in 2000, once again demonstrated his skills from the back of the boat by taking 4th place with a 9 pound 5 ounce limit. Fishing with the tournament winner, Eric Lehmann, Andy also used 4" power worms targeting smallies on a shallow flat south of the ramp. Andy claimed to be able to watch the fish aggressively come off the bed to chase down the worm. "You needed to be quick in order to hook them." Once again, Andy is off to a quick start in his quest to repeat as the top non-boater in Bergen.

Rounding out the top five was the quiet man, John Hart. John quietly boated numerous limits of bass en route to an eventual 9 pound 2 ounce limit. John also has the honor of being the first boater to lead Charlie Estelle to cull in a tournament. Way to go Charlie!!

Honorable mention goes to Elliott Liardo and Ron Fairbanks who tied for 6th place, each with 8 pounds 11 ounces.

All contents created 2001 by Mark B. Scocco.