MASSENA – The NY BASS Chapter Federation held its second tournament of the season on the St. Lawrence River on July 24 with tournament operations based out of the Massena Intake.
Predictions had the winning weight around 20 lbs and the check weight at 16 lbs. However, fishing is always weather dependent and a major shift in the weather pattern seriously shook up the bite and all but wiped out that 20 lb sack.
The weather leading up to tournament morning had been in the high 80s to mid 90s with sustained S/SW winds, but at the morning launch air temperatures had dropped 20 degrees and the anglers faced N/NE winds of 8-12 mph for most of the day.
While Steve Pickard won the event, he had his work cut out for him and it was a real horse race with only .51 ounces separating the top five anglers. Here’s what they had to say about their day.
Steve Pickard, Port City Bassmasters, captured his first NY BASS Chapter Federation victory with a weight of 16.61 lbs. earning $2,500. Pickard reports targeted sand flats and rocks adjacent to the main river channels to catch his fish.
During practice he realized a clean hard bottom held the better quality fish and he spent the next two days of practice looking for similar areas to expand that pattern.
During the tournament he rotated between four hard bottom areas he’d found using Senkos and Jigs to catch all of his fish.
Second Place went to TJ Valle, Rochester Bassmasters, with a weight of 16.40 lbs.
Valle started his day on a main river shoreline that held quality fish in practice, but after 45 minutes without a bite he decided to make a 50 mile run to some fish he found earlier in the week.
Valle stayed in that area for the majority of the tournament and dragged tubes in depths of 21-26 ft and in the 30 ft zone. Up to 26 ft Valle used a 3/8 oz head and for water in the 30 ft zone he went up to the ½ oz head.
Chris Rockwell, Southern Tier Bassmasters, took third place with a weight of 16.39 lbs. Rockwell reports using 3/8 oz watermelon tubes in 20 ft to catch his early fish.
Once he had his limit he moved to a rock pile in 4 ft of water and using a Keitech Swing Impact rigged on a 1/16th oz lead head to cull up to his final weight.
Rockwell felt his 8 lb. test P-line was critical in landing his deep water fish because it resists nicks and scraps from the Zebra mussels and when he went shallow his Smith Optics polarized sunglasses really cut the glare allowing him to see the fish and make the right long distance cast required to generate the strikes.
Rounding out the top five are Gary Menchen, Watershed Bassmasters, with a weight of 16.22 and Corey Dilorenzo with a weight of 16.09 lbs.
The US Reel Lunker prize went to Joe Tefft, Washington County Bassmasters with a 5.52 lb. smallmouth.
Don Van Tassel captured the non-boater title with a weight of 18.71 lbs good for $1,500. This is Van Tassel’s first NYBCF win.
Van Tassel reports catching fish deep on ¼ oz. tube (leech colored Gitzit) and his shallow fish were caught using a Keitech Fat Swing Impact swimbait.
Second place went to Chris Johnson, New Jersey Hawg Hunters, Club, with a weight of 117.05 lbs. Johnson reports using a ¼ oz. goby colored tube and a Keitech Swing Impact to catch his fish in 20-30 ft of water.
Andre Frazer, Westchester Bassmasters, with 15.62 lbs claimed third place honors.
Frazer caught his fish in the 15-20 ft zone along weed edges using a Kistler Z-Bone Custom rod to present Jackall crosstail shads on a 3/8 oz dropshot rig.
Frazer also recognized his other sponsors Keitech Lures, Bowman Becker Consultancy and Heritage Real Estate; it’s the support of these great companies that helps him focus on his fishing when he’s on the water.
Rounding out the top five are Dale Pettenski, Rochester Bassmasters, with 15.59 lbs and Kevin Seymore, Port City Bassmasters, with 15.41 lbs. Patrick Wimmer, Orange County Bassmasters, took the US Reel Lunker prize with 5.01 lbs.
The NYBCF tournament trail is eligible for the Federation Alliance, Skeeter Real Money, BASS CAT Quest, PAA Payday and Bass Pro Shops (BPS) Tournament Rewards.
Corey Dilorenzo, NY Nitro State Team member, finished in fifth place and as the highest finishing Nitro boat owner he pockets a cool $500.00 in bonus money.
This makes the second consecutive time he won the BPS Tournament Rewards Money.
To determine the club standings the top three weights of each participating club are totaled at each event and carried over the course of the season. After this second event the top five clubs are:
Watershed BMs 80.27
Port City BMs 78.62
Rochester BMs 78.13
Salt City BMs
For additional information about the NYBCF tournament trail contact Tournament Director Jeff Edgarton at (315) 391-9992.