Angler/Co-angler Pairing


1 Chris Liobis 26.52
2 Doug Giachino 22.10
3 John Hayden 21.12
4 Steve Rusert 20.86
5 Bill Vella 20.65
6 Vern Gatson 20.27
7 Eric Lehman 19.70
8 Mike Rinaldi 17.79
9 Mark Filippini 15.76
10 Justin Scales 15.64
11 John Messenger 15.40
12 Kris Lechman 14.56
13 Vinnie Rossi 14.14
14 Rich Logan SR 13.69
15 Kirk Stober 13.53
16 Jack Erdei 13.40
17 Mark Scocco 13.09
18 Nathan James 12.77
19 John Ernest 12.57
20 Greg Trass 12.13
21 Nick Albano 11.47
22 Bruce MacConchie 11.02
23 John Williams 10.55
23 Rich Logan JR 10.55
25  Alan Goldman 7.59
26 John Giordano 7.27


Skanateles Lake Classic – A bass catching Bonanza!

The Bergen Bassmasters ventured north to the Finger Lakes region of New York and a new locale for its 2-day Bergen Classic.  The site, Skaneateles Lake, is primarily known for smallmouth although considered rare, can be found in limited sections of the lake.  It’s crystal clear waters provide drinking water for the Syracuse region, and it’s typically not heavily fished for bass.  Also a new concept this year, he classic shifted from its usual late August-early September timeframe and instead was held opening day weekend, June 20th and 21st. 

During practice the week leading up to the event, nearly all anglers were reporting catching dozens of fish each day on just about any bait they threw out there.  However, a lot of small fish were being caught and it seemed an angler had to “weed through” 25-30 fish in order to catch a solid one in the 3  pound class. Vets who had fished the lake before claimed there were a lot of quality fish to be had but it seemed the smallies had just finished bedding and the females were much more difficult to locate the smaller males still running the banks.   Of course, as usual, it would be largemouth that would play a serious role in the top finishers bags but a smallmouth king proved that it’s only a matter of finding the right fish.   After a slight “delay” due to a local disgruntled person deciding to illegally chain closed the gate at the entrance of the State boat launch, the event eventually got started  and the day was saved by John Ernest who “just so happened” to have a pair of bolt cutters in his truck.  After receiving permission from the local constable to cut the chain, the clubs launched and 20 minutes later, the event was off and running.

Having never seen the lake before and arriving Friday night, essentially going blind into the tournament, club sophomore Chris Liobis still had some ideas from his teammates as to what to expect.  Having already pulled in some quality bags of smallmouth in Bergen events, Chris proved once again that he has what it takes to locate the big ones.  On Day one, Chris charged out to a big lead that he would not relinquish.  With a huge 14.46 bag of 5 smallmouth anchored by the 4.07 day 1 lunker, Chris held a pound and a half lead going into Day 2.  Continuing with the same pattern the next day, he managed the second heaviest bag on Sunday with 12.06 limit of 5 smallmouth for 16.52 total pounds and winning by a huge margin of almost 4 and a half pounds.  Chris was fishing swimbaits in and around grouping of docks and then in between docks backing off and fishing rows of rocks sitting in about 10-12 feet. 

Although Chris weighed in two big bags of smallies, it was largemouth that would anchor the bags of 3 of the next 4 finishers. 

Doug Giachino opted to primarily fish the southern area of the lake and specifically was targeting largemouth.  On Saturday, although his limit did have 3 smallmouth in it, he managed to locate some largemouth to round out his creel.  Although his 7.41 pounds had Doug in the middle of the pack, he was confident going into Sunday that he had some largemouth to go to and committed to fishing that pattern.  It was a choice that really paid off as he boated about 2 limits worth of largemouth, culling up to the biggest 5 fish limit of the tournament at 14.69 pounds.  The huge day 2 catch sky rocketed Doug up the ranking to place 2nd overall with 22.10 pounds.  His pattern involved fishing black Senkos Texas style around Lilly pads in about 2’ of water.  His bag was anchored by the 4.33 pound day 2 lunker – although the biggest fish honors went to Eric Lehman who opted to not partake in the lunker pool.  Eric’s huge smallmouth weighed in at 4.83 pounds. 

Placing third was the angler most had pegged as favorite to take home the win mainly due to the experience he has fishing Skaneatales Lake.  John’s strong skills as a finesse fisherman played right into the clear water and smallmouth and he fished those strengths to amass two nice bags of smallies.  On Day 1, John fished 3” senkos in slightly deeper water along rock lines in 10-14 feet of water.  Although some fish came shallower, he better ones were caught off the banks along windy shorelines.  His 11.83 limit on day 1 had John within striking distance of first place.  On Day2, John still managed another nice bag of smallies at 9.29 to solidify his top 3 finish. 

Placing 4th and 5th were a pair known as excellent shallow water Senko fishermen, both of whom targeted largemouth in areas in both the north and south ends of the lakes.  Steve Rusert was also fishing to his strength throwing Senkos at basically any shallow piece of cover, weeds, pads, docks, logs, etc.  On Day 1, his limit of largemouth weighed in at 12.78 pounds and on day two, he added a smallie and another 4 largemouth for 8.08 pounds and a 20.86 pound two day total. 

Locating his fish earlier in the practice week, Bill Vella opted to fish for shallow largemouth that could been seen in and around spawning beds.  Also using a Senko, Billy managed a nice limit of largemouth on day 1 at 12.97 pounds which had him in 2nd place after day 1.  Day two proved a little more challenging for Bill and he had to rely on some back up smallmouth areas to amass another 7.68 pounds for a total of 20.65 pounds which was good enough for 5th place.   

The team competition was among the closet in Bergen Classic history with all three teams only separated by a mere 2.5 pounds after day 1 but one day 2, Team Hayden pulled out the victory anchored by having 4 of the top 5 tournament finishers.  Team captain, John Hayden and the cast consisting of Doug Giachino, Steve Rusert, Bill Vella, Mark Scocco, John Ernest, Bruce McConchie, and Alan Goldman all brought limits to the scales day two to ensure the victory.

In all, an amazing number of fish were caught and although the size wasn’t as impressive as had been expected, there were still some pretty hefty bags brought to the scales.    On day one, 20 of the 26 anglers brought limits to the scales but on the shorter, 7 hour day2, an amazing 23 limits were caught by the 26 club anglers.






Fish LM SM Released Total Weight (Oz)
Fish LM SM Released Total Weight (Oz)
Fish LM SM Released Total Weight (Oz)
Zoar 5-11-13 Pictures

Skanateles Lake Classic – A bass catching Bonanza!