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The Classic Team Trail for 2017 is now history. When I was asked to run this trail I was, to say the least, skeptical. I just didn’t think that people, especially two people that knew each other and one having a boat, could/would take a weekday off. We had 16 teams, in total, compete. The winnings were huge, paying first place an average of $800 and second averaging $400. Our average attendance was 10 boats, with our highest tied at Wequaket and Webster and the lowest was the Merrimack River. (Note: The Merrimack was a great fishery. The winning weight was the second best of the year and both a largemouth and smallmouth came in over 4 pounds.) The surprise water was Wickaboag Pond, with the winning weight being just under 15 pounds and 5 teams had over 13 pounds. Everyone agreed that fishing small unpressured water is not only more fun, but produces some great catches. Weekday tournaments may not be for everyone, but the weekends are jammed with tournaments. Having these events on Friday will mean taking a long weekend from work. Speaking for the entire MassBASS Nation, “I hope you can make it. The waters below are tops and chosen by the quality of the fish and the perfect times to fish them.”

The disappointment was the TOC on Knopps. This is a great largemouth fishery. The problem was Jose. He blew through on Wednesday pushing the TOC to Friday. The barometer had and was going up and down like a horse on a merry-go-round. The wind that Friday still howled. The winning weight was just under 15 pounds, but the other qualifiers didn’t break the 9 pound mark. Of note was that Aaron Douyard was in a car accident several days before the TOC. He and his partner, George Barnes, tried driving to Knopps that morning, but detoured to the hospital. (He is OK now.) Plus, Randy Phillips fished the trail with his son Trevor, but this day Trevor had tests he had to take. We qualify the top 5 teams for the TOC, but through an accident and the schedule changing because of Jose – we ended up with three.

Congratulations Matty Klinker and Dusty Chaulk.

They are your 2017 Tournament of Champions winners. They caught 12.31 pounds at Knopps and had a 4.51 lunker as a kicker. Dusty and Matty are off to Norfolk Lake in Mountain Home, Arkansas on December 6-9. If they win there, they will go to The B.A.S.S. Masters Classic in 2018.

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