75 professional anglers take off as four-day Bassmaster Elite Series begins in Waddington
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 5:37 pm

Preparations were underway Wednesday as workers began setting the stage for the Bassmaster Elite Series in Waddington. Photo by Cheryl Shumway.

Updated at 10:47 a.m. Aug. 15.

WADDINGTON – Seventy-five professional anglers took off from the Waddington boat launch at 9 a.m. Thursday as the four-day Berkley Bassmaster Elite Series on the St. Lawrence River kicked off.

Each competitor, accompanied by a tournament marshal, left one-by-one as their name was called following the playing of the U.S. and Canadian national anthems. In the air, a number of drones shot photos of the event.

A crowd of more than 100 was on hand, many shooting photos and videos as competitors from throughout the nation waited to begin. The takeoff wasn’t scheduled until 9 a.m., rather than at dawn when most tournaments begin.

“This year it’s just going to be a crazy deal. Those of us hanging a left out of the launch and running to the Thousand Islands area of the river might not start fishing until 10 a.m. — or later, depending on how the lock schedule works,” said Jesse Tacoronte, a professional fisherman. Tacoronte, a Florida resident, in an article about the issue posted on bassmaster.com.

Meanwhile, on land, many concession stands, vendor tents, boat and fishing displays, bounce houses and a stage were set up, ready for festivities later in the day. Live music is planned Friday and Saturday, and a disc jockey is scheduled to perform tonight at 5.

Back on the water, “We truly don’t know how long it will take to get through the locks. Nobody knows what the lock duration will be. It could be a 40-minute lock time; it could be an hour. Nobody knows,” said Tacoronte.

“If you leave the lock at 9:30 a.m. and you’re running to Alexandria Bay, with the no-wake zones and all, you’re not going to start fishing until 10:30 or 11 o’clock in the morning. If you’re going any farther than that, it’ll be lunchtime before you start fishing,” he said.

“How does that change the tournament formula? Well, first, it means the early morning bite is irrelevant and the late-afternoon period could be critical since weigh-ins won’t start until 5 p.m.”

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