On a chilly October morning dedicated members of the Maryland Bass Federation headed north for the last tournament of the year and possibly the toughest. The clear water environment pits anglers against innumerable difficulties. Large quantities of undersized smallmouth dominate the lake making it difficult for anglers to secure a sizeable bag. Jagged-toothed pickerel also haunt the grass beds and rocky points of the lake, eagerly gobbling up anglers lures, often slicing the line and swimming off with a much needed asset. As always, a few capable anglers would cast their lines into sixty degree water and with a little luck, coupled with help from the wind, would reel in victory.
Ed Riley of the Skeeter Owners Bass Club earned his plaque by retrieving a large suspending jerkbait near main lake points and creek mouths. Riley focused on the outside of milfoil edges where he’d cater to largemouth by throwing an oversized bait, to deter throwback smallmouth from lunging at it. Riley stuck with his pattern all day, noting that his best fish came in the morning. He boated a few short fish but managed four largemouth to the net, including a four pound lunker, securing first place in the boater division with 11lbs 6oz of beautiful bass.
Central Maryland Bassmasters’ Ryan Kephart stole second place by procuring a limit of smallmouth from the clear water fishery. Kephart practiced the day before the tournament and had trouble catching fish in the grass or around docks. He found fish looming off of rocky, main lake points and returned to those areas on the day of the tournament, coaxing bass out of their deep-water haunts using an array of crankbaits and jerkbaits. The day started out slowly but when the wind picked up Kephart loaded his boat with the tournament’s only limit, bringing 6lbs 13oz of smallmouth back to the weigh-in station. Kephart would like to thank Chris Huffman for being a patient partner.
Dave Kashuba, of Wes Mar Bassmasters, fished his way into third place by developing a dock pattern two weeks prior to the tournament. Unfortunately for Kashuba, some of his productive docks would be removed before the start of the tournament. Kashuba spent the day hammering the docks that remained with his trusted Senko, pulling three solid largemouth and a couple throwback smallmouth from the water. Kashuba ended the day with 6lbs 12oz of largemouth in his bag, as well as the third place boater plaque. He’d like to thank ABSeas Marine in Fredrick for keeping his boat running and his wife Sheila for her support.
Non-boater Martin Tanabe of Champions Choice Bassmasters threw reaction baits and Senkos to nab the aggressive bass lurking on the south end of the lake. Tanabe spent the day targeting points, docks, and shorelines. After weeding through some throwbacks and pickerel, Tanabe landed the non-boater division’s lunker, turning a two-fish day into a first place victory with 4lbs of bass. He’d like to thank his boater, John Hansen III and his bass club for their support.
Chris Huffman charmed his fish into his livewell using a Mega-Bass Pop Max and a jerkbait given to him by his boater, Ryan Kephart. Huffman’s three fish, weighing 3lbs 6oz, were caught hovering off of main lake points. Huffman hustled his retrieve, forcing reaction strikes from the bass, losing a few and reporting follows with nearly every cast. Huffman would like to thank Ryan Kephart for an exciting day of fishing.
“Wasn’t a real eventful day,” reported Wes Mar Bassmasters’ Cecil Justice. Justice landed three keeper fish on a bone colored Pop-R within the first hour, then only throwbacks the rest of the day. His early flurry gave him 2lbs 11oz of bass, enough to earn the third place non-boater trophy. Justice would like to thank boater Bruce Shives for putting him on fish.
Mike Day and the Federation volunteers ran another pristine weigh-in and should be commended for their impeccable performance this season.
Another tournament has come to a close and with it the end of season. Soon the lake will be shrouded in snow and the docks that held copious smallmouth will be removed, leaving only barren shorelines, hidden by a blanket of ice. The boats that dashed across the lake will soon sit idle, wrapped in layers of plastic or stowed safely in a garage. And anglers will wait inside their homes, anxious for the warm breath of spring to tease new leaves out of the trees and force the winter’s ice to recede. Congratulations to all who competed this year and good luck in the coming season.
On a sunny Saturday in August, thirty-six members of the Maryland Bass Federation were busy perusing the winding waterway known as the Nanticoke River. Each angler holding tight to the hope that somewhere, among the copious pad fields or in the acres of tangled and submerged timber, lurked their first place bundle of bass. But, to acquire their coveted prize, anglers would have to overcome one of the region’s most stifling foes- an all day high tide. High water notoriously thwarts the efforts of anglers on this cloudy water river, though a talented few would prevail.
Breakaway Bassmasters’ Paul Gietka landed himself in first place, in the boaters division, by staying versatile and focusing on several different forms of structure to procure his catch. Two weeks prior to the tournament, Gietka practiced with the Middle River Bassmasters and began to develop a plan to catch fish during a period of prolonged high water. He fished a few spots in the Nanticoke but directed his efforts on probing the structured banks of Marshy Hope Creek. Gietka used a stockpile of senkos; finesse worms and topwater lures to fill his livewell and returned to the weigh-in boasting an 8lb 5oz bag. Gietka would like to thank his partner Bob Sweeny and thank his “lucky charm”, Andy Shenholtz. He’d also like to thank the Federation’s tournament staff for driving to the shore and hosting a successful tournament.
Terry McCumber of Tri- County Bassmasters and Mudd Buggs Bassmasters employed his trusted 7ft flipping stick while launching his Cavitron buzzbait into the beryl hued pads lining the shores of the Nanticoke.
“I love that river,” remarked McCumber. “It’s a good river; people don’t give it enough credit.”
McCumber spent the majority of the tournament hammering a 100 yard stretch of shoreline, which he’d discovered during practice. The pad field camouflages a bermed drop-off, which lays clandestine, inches from the shoreline. During a high water period the gully can fill with up to 5 ft of water and pounds of hungry bass. McCumber heaved his buzzbait over the ditch retrieving it through the pads and beside adjacent docks. McCumber managed four keepers out of the trough, in addition to, a few throwbacks.
“It’s the only spot that I know that gives up good fish during high water situations and a buzzbait will work all day, despite sunshine,” declared McCumber. McCumber’s buzzbait coaxed 7lbs 10 oz of largemouth into his livewell, earning him second place in the boater division. He’d like to thank Jay Crummitt for being a great guy to fish with.
Third place finisher Scott Sewell, or Middle River Bassmasters, spent his day in Marshy Hope Creek, casting a buzzbait over pad fields, hoping to haul out a heavy bag. Sewell pulled four keepers out of the cloudy water but admitted to losing a few others and landing some short fish.
“I love eastern shore rivers,” commented Sewell. “Guys that don’t fish eastern shore rivers are really missing out. They are some of the most beautiful rivers in the country.” Sewell’s white, Strike King Jr. buzzbait skewered 6lbs 11oz of bass, earning him the third place boater plaque.
Jay Crummitt hailing from Big Dawg Bassmasters followed boater Terry McCumber’s lead and retrieved a buzzbait through pads and hurled it around docks. When the buzzbait would fail to produce a blow up, he’d pitch a Texas rigged Berkely Power Worm toward the cover. Crummitt turned a tough two fish day into a tournament victory by landing the tournaments biggest fish, a beastly four pounder, bolstering his weight to 5lbs 15oz, earning him the first place spot in the non-boater division. He’d like to thank Terry McCumber for a great day of fishing.
Quick Release Bassmasters’ member Rick Kindle spent his day fishing behind Scott Sewell. Kindle too, found victory in the whirling blades of a buzzbait, which he cast across the pads of Marshy Hope Creek. Kindle lost a few but stowed three keepers in the livewell giving him 4lbs 12oz of bass, enough to take the number two spot in the non-boater division.
Dave Kyle of Central Maryland Bassmasters and the Maryland Hawgsters turned a half a day of fishing in to a third place finish, tossing a mixture of spinnerbaits and buzzbaits into the pad fields of Seaford, Delaware. Kyle managed four fish to the boat before ten o’clock hoping that a fifth fish would put him in contention for the first place spot. Sadly, engine trouble ended Kyle’s day, just before eleven, leaving him with four bag fish weighing 4lbs 2oz. Kyle would like to thank boater Bill Sanders for putting him on fish despite unfavorable conditions.
As always, Mike Day and his crew of volunteers worked diligently, ensuring a speedy and precise weigh-in.
The chattering blades of buzzbait seemed to be the preferred method of seducing bass into biting, proving once again that topwater baits remain effective well beyond the low light period. The close of another tournament coincides with another lesson, dictated by the angry tides and enticing curves of The Nanticoke River. Congratulations to all who competed.
The day had started out so well, I thought to myself, while thundering back to the Gunpowder in Doug Hull’s 21ft Gambler. The near four pound largemouth that slammed my buzzbait at dawn had briefly aroused notions of success. Sadly, those hopes were quickly pushed to the back of my mind, when shortly after, my partner and I trolled through the slender channel of a creek-mouth. The strident bellows of what appeared to be a woman on a large boat shattered the tranquil quiet of the morning. The verbal assault, aimed at my partner and I was apparently the result of mistaken identity. Earlier another boat had entered the creek on plane, disturbing the lady, and she unloaded a barrage of expletives (causing bystander mothers to shield their children’s ears) at us as though we were the returning interlopers. We tried to politely resolve the conflict, as the current carried us past the corpulent siren but our attempts only fueled her rage. She stomped on the bow of her boat, pointing at us in her night shirt, the loose skin of her arm dangling and flapping, like the jowls of an agitated Nixon, her brunette mullet glistening in the morning sun. And as fate would have it, about the time she began threatening to retrieve her loaded shotgun; the current parked us gently on a neighboring sand bar. I wonder how everyone else is doing, I thought to myself, as I stepped into the eighty-some degree water to give the boat a push, one eye on the water, the other on the irritated onlooker, pacing back and forth across the bow of her boat.
The rest of the competitors spent the day contending with the variables that Mother Nature had bestowed upon them. Blue bird skies and a high pressure system, coupled with dingy tidal water would leave some anglers searching hard for bites, while others were frequenting their livewells.
Third place boater finisher, Ron Hines, of Big Stix Bass Club turned a tough, three fish day, into a tournament victory by loading his livewell with the tournament’s 6lb 5oz lunker. Hines’ began his day plying the grass beds in Super Cove. He landed one keeper on a fluke and when the fluke failed to fool any other fish, he switched to a frog. When the frog did not produce Hines’s decided to switch locations. He motored over to the quarry and cast a tandem bladed spinner at the shoreline. His bait instantly produced a second bass but would not draw another strike for hours. Ron then made a tournament changing decision, by opting to spend the remainder of the afternoon probing Dundee Creek, for a few more bites. His lull was about to end. Not too long before weigh-in, Hines’ swimbait was assaulted by the greedy lips of a giant. This glutton nearly bent Hines’ hook enough to free himself during the fight back to the boat, a fight in which Hines’ braided line demonstrated its durability. The new edition to the livewell was enough to bump Hines’ total weight to 11lbs 8oz, earning him the third place boater plaque.
River Ratz club member, Bill Sanders, used a black Scum Frog to procure his second place position on the boater’s side, with a 12lb 5 oz bag. During a pre-fishing expedition Sanders isolated a few groups of actively feeding bass, both in Dundee and in the Gunpowder. Most of his good fortune was found in Dundee, where Sanders landed four solid keepers before moving to the Gunpowder and using a blue-fleck worm to secure his limit. Sanders drew the majority of his strikes while keying on grass beds before 11 am. Sanders would like to thank Federation members Ron Hines and Charles Jackson for not crowding him when they saw him catching fish and hailed them as “true gentleman”.
The boating divisions tournament champion John Hansen III, of Chesapeake Bass Anglers, made his way to the Bush River, hoping to encounter some hungry bass looming among clusters of docks and piles of submerged wood. Hansen hammered selected areas repeatedly throughout the day waiting for the most productive tide period.
“As long as water is moving on the bay, you can catch fish,” advises Hansen.
Hansen managed to turn five bites into a winning 13lb 13oz bag of fish by alternating between worms and jigs and remaining patient. He’d like to thanks his sponsors, Amsoil, Health Bridge Chiropractic and Mobile Auto Service. Check out his website at www.hansenfishing.com for fishing tips and more on Hansen’s fishing adventures.
Third place non-boater Gerald Brown Jr. of Westmar Bassmasters, enjoyed a great day of fishing in the back of Scott Sewell’s boat. He and Scott spent the majority of the day in the back of a small creek. While the tide was moving Brown plucked two bass out the grassy creek using a popper. When the tide and the fishing began to slow Brown switched to a tube and flipped it next to a piece of wood lying adjacent to the shoreline. Brown turned four bites into a three fish bag weighing 6lbs 8oz. He’d like to thank Scott for being a great partner.
Dave Kyle, of both Central Maryland Bassmasters and The Maryland Hawgsters, claimed five scaly largemouth which bolstered his second place bag to an even 8lbs. Kyle spent the day traversing the bay in the back of Randy Elliott’s rig, jumping from Dundee to the Susquehanna, then to the Northeast, finally ending the day exploring the grass beds of the Elk River. Kyle received five bites from the various grass beds he visited and managed to land all five, etching his mark among the other tournament victors. Most of the fish succumb to Kyle’s trusted Berkley Powerworm but he also found success throwing a spinnerbait. The majority of Kyle’s fish struck on the high tide. Kyle thanks Elliott for being such a proficient boater, noting that Elliott was, “A hell of a guide.”
“The fish Gods were smiling on us,” declared Walt Lechert of Tiderunner Basssmasters. Lechert spent the day fishing behind boater John Hansen III, combing the featureless banks of the Bush River for bass, occasionally encountering good fortune,
beside a cluster of submerged wood or on the edge of a weed line. Lechert reported meager action when twitching topwater baits above the flotsam outstretched fronds of aquatic foliage but the majority of his strikes were drawn while precisely deploying a wacky-rigged green pumpkin senko or a Bitsy Bug, brandishing a green pumpkin trailer.
“The water was cloudy, it seemed like you had to hit the fish in the face,” remarked Lechert.
Lechert landed fish throughout the day, four keepers and a few throwbacks, while pounding productive stretches of bank in the Bush River. Toward the close of the tournament, the pair decided to return to Dundee hoping for continued success, Lechert hoping for another solid keeper to round out his limit. The return to Dundee was delayed, due to engine trouble, stifling Lechert’s hopes for a fifth fish. Luckily, the pair made it in time for weigh-in and Lechert’s 11lb 2oz bag was heavy enough to secure a first place victory in the rider division.
Lechert thanks Hansen for the fish and Mike Day and The Comer family for all their hard work organizing the tournament and running the weigh-in.
My tournament experience ended with my back propped safely against a pier piling in Tidings, waiting for 4th place boater, George Loope, to idle to the launch from the mouth of the Sassafras, were we’d left him hours prior, nursing his sputtering, all but lifeless Evinrude. George rounded the corner of the marina, behind a tow boat, smiling, the constant beacon of mirth, despite his seemingly chronic run of bad luck. Today’s misfortune had not only claimed his engine, but a livewell malfunction claimed two of George’s bass, the penalty left him ounces out of the top three. George greeted me with a handshake and a thank-you before coaxing his troubled rig on to his trailer, with assistance from angler Rick Moore.
“That’s fishin’,” George said in a bittersweet tone before thanking me again and making is his way back toward I-95. I walked back toward my Jeep, thinking fondly of the ferocity with which my bass had smacked my buzzbait, recalling the random pattern of black spots that flecked his sturdy green flanks and shoulders like birthmarks. I reminded myself how fortunate I was to be on the water competing with and learning from other anglers and what gratitude I reserved for any day spent watching the tides turn and ebb in the Chesapeake watershed-even under the threat of gunfire. Congratulations to all who competed.
On Saturday, June 19th 2010, thirty seven of the Federation’s finest anglers towed their rigs across the Glendale Bridge, following the gently curving causeway that leads to the boat ramp at Deep Creek Lake. The anglers eagerly awaited the opportunity to compete for the top spot on the state team, vying for the captain’s position and the coveted title of Mr. Bass.
The two day tournament would pit anglers against innumerable variables. Copious amounts of boat traffic brought on by the pleasant weather and unrelenting sun, would churn the otherwise calm surface of the lake, discoloring water, disturbing anglers and displacing fish. Below the water’s surface lurked a clandestine foe. Even more invasive than the swarms of jet skis, which hatch prolifically on Deep Creek during the summer, was advent of the microscopic bacteria, Aeromonas hydrophila. This bacterial bloom, eventually leading to a fish kill, would cast a grim shadow over the lake, longer and darker than the adumbrations projected by the towering oaks and hickories that surround this precious body of water. Clear water, bright sun and blue bird skies coupled with shy and fastidious fish would leave some competitors clueless, while others excelled.
Third place finisher, Herb Fazenbaker of Garrett Bassers, describes this summer as, “one of the toughest years in the past few.” Fazenbaker, who’s fished the lake for fifteen years, spent his two days running the productive docks he’d isolated during practice. He used a variety of soft plastics to con bass from the shady recesses of the floating docks and into the confines of his aerated livewell.
“Docks are one of the only structures you can really fish on Deep Creek. If you can figure out where the fish are and what bait to throw, you’ve got a winning pattern,” noted Fazenbaker.
Fazenbaker’s two day bag pushed the scales to a respectable 18lbs 4oz, a pound behind the second place finisher. He’d like to thank his friends at Lakeside Dock Sales for their support.
Big Pool Bassmasters’, Bruce Shives, peered his way into second place by sight fishing. Shives catered to shallow water bass that appeared to be guarding a bed or protecting fry, by probing grass edges and docks with wacky rigged senkos and his favorite go to lure, the jig. He spent his two days stalking the largemouth on the south side of the lake, trolling in shallow water until he could see a quality fish, then targeting that individual fish specifically. During his two-day travels, Shives encountered and landed seven unsuspecting bass, bolstering his cumulative weight to a handsome 19lbs 4oz. Shives has been an avid tournament angler since the late seventies but until this summer had not earned a spot on the state team. Deep Creek is Shives favorite place to fish, although he spends a lot of time fishing the Potomac as well.
“I just went out to have a good time and enjoy myself and ended up doing very well,” declared Shives. He’d like to thank his observer John, for being fantastic company and a good net man.
Mr. Bass veteran and 2010 victor, Gunnar Beale of Bronzeback Bassin’, tipped the scales with a tremendous, two-day, 20 lb 2oz bag. Beale, who has fished Deep Creek regularly for the past ten years, knew he would have to target largemouth to win the tournament. In previous years, he’d landed fish focusing on shallow water grass edges, undercut banks and the shallow ends of docks. During pre-fishing outings, he headed to a favorite stretch of bank in the Green Glade area, hoping to cross paths with a few edacious largemouths. Much to his chagrin, he failed to get a strike. He then moved on and focused on shallow water docks and planned on relying on a dock pattern during the tournament. The morning of the tournament, Beale made a last minute decision to run toward the dam and spend dawn exploring the submerged appendages of a lay-down, which lay drowned, dangling into ten foot of water, a half mile from the launch. He finessed two 1lb smallmouth bass out of the toppled, woody spire before refocusing his attention on the docks in the area. Around 9am, Beale could no longer staunch the desire to revisit his stretch of bank in Green Glade, disregarding the aforementioned lull in activity. He arrived in Green Glade and on his first cast, his five inch senko collided with the jaws of a healthy 3lb 8oz largemouth. Beale used his six-foot G Loomis rod, coupled with a Shimano Stradic spinning reel, to bully the bass from the bank to the livewell, relying on Excel mono to endure the tussle. By noon, Beale had pulled his limit off of the shallow waters of undercut bank, culling once before weigh-in, pushing his limit to 8lbs 14oz. On day two Beale immediately returned to his productive, fifty yard stretch of Green Glade and by 11am had procured an 11lb 4oz limit of bass, through the employment of wacky rigged senkos, hued watermelon with gold flakes or purple with black flakes.
Beale attributes his win to support from his wife Jen and his daughters Aubrey and Savannah. He’d also like to thank fellow Federation members Brian Grim, for volunteering as an observer and Steve Yates, for being a great net man. Finally, Beale would like to thank Brian and Rich at Mare Marine for taking care of his Ranger and Paul at AB Seas Marine for keeping his Evinrude running.
Mike Day and his crew of volunteers, including Jon Blaine, Dick Brown and Dick Berich heedfully provided competitors with a speedy and accurate weigh-in. Their generous efforts are always appreciated.
Lingering on after the close of the tournament, were the effects of the flourishing aeromonas bacteria, leaving the corpses of nearly 2000 infected fish. Most of these fish were discovered on the South side of Deep Creek Lake.
“Aeromonas is what we think of as a secondary invader,” commented Don Cosden, Maryland’s Chief of inland fisheries. “Fish that have become stressed due to natural environmental factors cannot fight off the bacteria and succumb to it and other diseases and parasites more easily.”
Cosden has studied the bacteria for decades, recalling periods in the seventies and eighties when outbreaks of the bacteria affected menhaden and white perch in the Chesapeake.
“Sadly, these things happen often and you can never know for certain exactly what mechanism is killing the fish.”
The warm summer temperatures have put the fish in Deep Creek, especially the coldwater species, in a state of duress. Due to the quickly rising water temperatures many fish have been unable to find a layer of water substantial enough to suit their needs. This discomfort stresses the fish, stifling their immune system, making it easy for the bacteria to overwhelm these otherwise healthy fish. Yellow perch and walleye were affected most but anglers are reporting lesions on smallmouth and largemouth, a common sign that a fish is being overwhelmed by the virus.
Luckily Cosden and his colleagues expect the issue will subside after the lake conditions return to normal. He also expects that the lake will fully recover from this blight.
“Perhaps we could see a change in perch abundance but the population will recover, without noticeable change,” encourages Cosden.
Cosden also made a few recommendations to anglers to help thwart the spread of the bacteria
“The bacteria are spread by contact, so if a fish looks unhealthy, don’t put it in your livewell. It’s probably also a good idea to clean your livewell, either by drying it out completely (aeromonas cannot live in a dry environment) or by scrubbing it with an anti-bacterial detergent and rinsing it thoroughly,” cautioned Cosden.
Cosden also warns that the bacteria can affect humans so to avoid areas where numbers of dead fish are found and to avoid direct contact with infected fish, especially if you have an open wound.
With help from the milder fall temperatures and concerned members of DNR the Deep Creek fishery should make a full recovery and continue to challenge the wits and fortitude of anglers for generations to come.
The sun gently dawned in the background, illuminating the bustling launch ramp at Dundee Creek. The sharp glows and flashes of headlights and trailer lights slowly became less brilliant, occluded by the powerful glow of the abrupt sunrise. The hoary reeds lining the shoreline cast jagged shadows onto the face of the wind stirred water. For fifty-eight anglers in the Maryland Bass Federation, the day would prove to be a trial. Cloudy sixty degree water, wind and blue bird skies would test the skills of the eager anglers, thwarting the efforts of some but rewarding a lucky few with fin filled bags of largemouth bass.
James Hitt of Quick Release Bassmasters believes that he would not have been successful if he hadn’t drawn such a capable partner. Hitt’s day started out slowly as he and his partner meandered the grassy areas of Dundee searching for a bite. After limited success Hitt and his partner decided to focus on hard cover instead of grass, namely rock. As the cloudy water rose, Hitt’s crankbait was assaulted by several aggressive bass. Three of the greedy bucket-mouths ended up in the livewell, bumping Hitt’s bag to a plaque worthy 8 lbs 4oz, enough to land Hitt in third place in the non –boater division. Hitt was impressed by his boater’s fortitude and ability to develop a successful pattern despite a slow start.
Jim Pittsnogle of Northern Shenandoah Bassmasters angled the second place non-boater position by beating up the reed-lines and probing scattered clumps of grass in Dundee creek. Beginning around eleven o’clock, Jim coaxed five fish into striking his white Booyah Boogie Bait and managed to land four of them, pushing his bag to a healthy 11lbs 13oz. This was the first time Jim found success while employing the Boogie Bait and it will assuredly become a standby lure in his bassing arsenal. Pittsnogle credits boater partner Ed Riley for putting him on fish and humourously recalled one of Riley’s comments during a slow period, “Hope you brought a good book.”
Quick Release Bassmaster’s , Rick Kindle, reeled his way into first place by throwing a crankbait over large clusters of submerged grass, while hopping from cove to cove in Dundee. Kindle and his partner spent the day hammering the grass, moving from spot to spot and the fish began to pile up. Kindle lost two monsters but managed to land six keepers and two short fish. His best five fish weighed an impressive 12lbs 9oz, landing Kindle neatly in first place. Rick thanks his partner for being a great net man and for contributing to a great day of fishing.
Third place boater John Burdette of Hub City Bassmasters, spent his day targeting docks and the wind blown banks of Dundee. Burdette fished diligently to land his fish on this difficult day, changing his strategies according to the conditions. He flipped docks and banks with jigs and blue fleck worms catching some keepers and some throw-backs. Burdette’s success grew as he focused on the windblown banks, noting that the wind can sometimes push forage tight to the shoreline, exciting shallow water bass. Burdette pried four keepers from the shallow water and ended the day with a 12lb 2oz bag. John loves tournament fishing and thanks the Federation for hosting these events.
Not even major elbow surgery could keep Hub City Bassmasters Dick Brown from stealing second place in the boater division. Due to his operation, Brown was unable to pre-fish this year and relied on his past experiences to guide him during the tournament. Brown has been fishing Dundee consistently during the spring for the past decade. He felt confident that if he stayed in Dundee hammering the shoreline with a creature bait he could catch at least five quality fish. Brown said he was impressed by how well everyone was sharing the water in Dundee, despite the competitive nature of tournament. Trusting his instincts and relying on experience paid off for Brown, who brought in a bag weighing 12lbs 14 ounces. Brown would like to thank his partner, for being a good net man and Skeeter and Yamaha for building his lovely twenty one foot rig.
Breakaway Bass Angler Paul Gietka found the various pieces of his tremendous 15lb 4oz bag swimming in multiple areas of the Gunpowder and Middle Rivers. Gietka jumped from spot to spot hoping to encounter a large concentration of active fish. His tactics paid off as Gietka managed to land nine keepers and two short fish during his travels. He focused on a combination of grass, rocks and wood, using topwater lures, jigs and soft plastics to procure his catch. He concentrated on the shallow areas moving out as the tide dropped and was able to catch fish throughout the day. Paul thanks his partner and “lucky charm”, Chris Hoffman of Middle River Bassmasters, for being a great net man. Prior to the tournament Hoffman accompanied Gietka on a fishing trip in Florida, during which Gietka boated a few giants, the biggest almost 13lbs. Gietka was happy to have him onboard during the tournament. He’d also like to thank the Federation volunteers for running the trail and Mike Day, tournament director, for extending the weigh-in time.
As always, Mike Day, Roger Trageser, Karen Comer and their crew of volunteers did a great job of making sure the tournament ran smoothly and the results were recorded accurately and promptly.
As I stood in the weigh-in line surrounded by several fine limits of fish, I looked down into my fraudulent bag. It contained about seven pounds of water and two pounds of fish. A quote a friend had told me suddenly popped into my head. “It has always been my private conviction that any man that pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming,” -John Steinbeck. Congratulations to all who participated.
- Tony Lohr