Massachusetts B.A.S.S. Nation
I want to apologize for getting this out now. First I want to thank everyone that came to this years Nations Fishoff at the CT River. There are a few people I want to thank before getting into the results. 1st is Chip Servant for helping me set up and coordinate everything to make it go as smooth as it did. I had a lot a help with the weigh ins as well, a huge thank you to Randy Phillips for coming down and helping out with preparing the fish to be weighed in. I also want to thank Mark Burgess, Ben Hale, and Ray Lentine for assisting with the weigh ins as well.
So here we go, the 2019 Fishoffs CT River. It was a definitely not an easy place to fish, sure did bring out the best in the angler in everyone that fished it. The fish just didn't want to cooperate for some but not all. In the 2 days there was a 165 fish that where caught between the Pro's and Co's, with only 2 penalty fish. Nice job to all the anglers and keeping there fish healthy throughout the tournament.
I want to congratulate Rich Dewling on the Pro side and Anthony Tempesta on the Co side on winning this years State Fish Offs. Nice job to you both you guys sure did earn it.
The 2 biggest fish that where caught in the tournament was a 3.94lb fish caught by Jim Morrey on the Pro side and a 5.26lb fish caught by George Barnes.
Congratulations to the top 7 for making next years state team.
- Rich Dewling,
- Aaron Orsi
- Jim Morrey
- Jeff Kenney
- Al Gagliarducci
- Josh Cotier
- Mo Campbell
- first alternate Mark Burgess.
- Anthony Tempesta
- Jerry Ramasci
- Chris Heltemes
- Tim Barley
- Mike Mello
- Rj Ricci
- Steve Carden
- George Barnes
- first alternate Bob Puishys.
Thank you again everyone, looking forward to next year. Hope to see you all again.
I Truly Didn’t Know What To Do
I was one happy fisherman when I heard, back in October, that the 2019 State Fishoffs was going to be at the Oxbow section of the Connecticut River. I have been winning tournaments there since the early 90s. I distinctly remember Mark Burgess and me winning a team event there in 1994. I always fished the Oxbow and hardly ever the main river. Once and a while, if the river was high, I would go south and fish the log jams on the west side about a half mile from the dam. There was always good size bass if those trees were surrounded with weeds.
The Oxbow always, in the true sense of the word, treated me well. I had four patterns and I would jump from one to the other throughout the completion, but would always end the day with #4. The Four: Flooded timber on the left side; Lily pads on the right side; Oxbow Marina docks and end the day punching (before it was called punching) the matted grass/pads in the swamp between Route 5 and Route 91.
Prefishing for me is riding around. If I know the lake/river I don’t actually fish, unless it is at least a week before the event. 2019 has been a good year for me. I have won several tournaments and just came off winning the Classic Team Trail TOC with my friend Eli Delaney. I was looking forward to the Fishoffs and practiced on Tuesday, September 24th. This was just a few days before the tournament. I wasn’t going to touch trees, pads or docks, but I had to know if the largemouth had moved into the swamp. I purposely didn’t even launch until 1 P.M, because I wanted the sun to pound on those mats. I was breaking one of my golden rules: “Don’t sting fish before a tournament.”
When I launched I saw the water was low. I always approach the swamp from the troth that runs along Route 91. It is deep and is a perfect avenue for the bass to get into the mats. I was using a 1 ounce mat-jig (The only place I don’t use a Sled jig.) with a Rage Tail trailer. On my second cast into a mix of chestnut and pads – “tap.” I set the hook and swung a 4 pounder onto the deck. I turned around, put my boat on the trailer and my 15 minutes on the water gave me the info I needed. So I thought.
It is now Saturday morning. I drew boat #5 so I believed I would be the first one in the slop. At the Friday pairing meeting I told my co-angler and fellow MassMaster, Brandon Regnault, that I was going to spend a good portion of the day “punching” so he could rig for it. From about 7:15 till about 1 P.M. I punched and re-punched a huge section. Brandon threw a hollow frog and just about everything else he had with him. We caught squotzo. Zero. Nothing. Nadda. I never set the hook. We tried fishing the troth and Brandon, with a Ned rig, caught a keeper on the drop. Let me repeat this: A NED RIG.
At about 1 P.M. I took off to fish the marina docks. I fished all of the back ends where the weed is under the boats. Not a tap. I then went to the trees. Not a tap. I then went to the lily pads. Not a swirl. We went back to the takeoff site and Brandon weighed in his fish and I spent 15 minutes explaining why I didn’t catch a single bass in 9 hours. (Saturday went till 4 P.M.) On the way home Bob Puishys gave me some hints on where to catch some smallies down south. I hate fishing for those rats, but I was desperate and planned on going south on Sunday.
Within 10 minutes fishing the east side of the river I caught two keepers with a Pop-R. I popped that thing for the next two hours, but didn’t catch another. I then went to the grass on the west side and threw everything with the exception of a worm hanging from a bobber. I fished the weed lines with Sleds, worms, Senkos and chatterbaits. I hit the few shallow log jams. About 11 A.M. I looked at my co-angler, Marcia Geller and said, “I truly do not know what to do.”
I leaned against the pole seat and tried to come up with something – anything that might produce a single bass. In defeat I decided to go back and hit the “4” in the Oxbow. Same docks, trees, pads and slop, but nothing worked. I truly did not know what to do, but to return to the weigh in and tell my club and others just how badly I performed.
It happens to all of us from time to time, but that doesn’t change the way I felt driving home.