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Ernest finishes the Year on a Roll at the Hudson
Last season’s Hudson River tournament left a bad taste in the mouths of many Bergen members. The NYDEC’s regulations of a 15” minimum size limit instituted a few years back has turned the popular tournament location into a frustrating place to fish as anglers threw back many 12 inch fish and struggled mightily to squeeze out a 15” keeper. In fact, only a handful of guys managed to catch at least one keeper. This year’s event would not see any improvement in the fishing as once again 70% of the anglers fishing failed to catch a single keeper.
One angler did, however, manage to find three Hudson river slobs. Joh Ernest finished the season placing in his final three straight tournaments and made a late charge towards Angler of the Year despite missing a tournament. John ran north hitting a few spots without any luck. Stopping at Esopus Creek, he quickly connecting with a big fish on a jig. Sticking with the same pattern, he boated two more chunky Hudson largemouth including the 4.81 lunker. His 13.01 pounds for three fish blew away the field and gave John the victory. In the six events John fished this season, John caught over 70 total pounds of fish and placed in the top 10 in every single points event. That model of consistency landed John in third place overall for the season.
Another Angler hot off a win at the Mohawk and a 6th place finish at Saratoga, John Hart locked down the Hudson River runner up spot with two solid largemouth totaling 6.80 pounds. John has spent a considerable amount of time fishing the Hudson and was an early favorite going in but bad luck struck early and often for John as he had some monster bass come off at the boat, straightening out hooks and pulling off. He claims to have dropped a 4 and another close to 6 pounds! John opted to fish south around Rondout Creek flipping a Zoom brush hog. His solid finish moved John up to be the runner up for Angler of the Year.
Returning to the top 5 finishers and avoiding the dreaded “Hudson River Skunk” with Angler of the Year on the line, Vern Gatson had some breathing room with 3 smallies at 6.18 total to finish 3rd and lock up his first Top Angler Award. Vern worked main river points using a crankbait and cabin creeks.
Frank Freguletti capped off his first season fishing as a boater in classic Freguletti fashion by bringing in two smallies and taking a check with his 4th place finish at the Hudson,. Frank’s fish totaled 6 pounds even and were caught fishing on the main river with crankbaits – which seems to have been the bait of choice for the Hudson smallmouth. Frank was also quite consistent all year and this finish locked up a top six spot for Frank.
Rounding out the top five and making a charge to take hold of the final spot in the top 6 was Bill Vella. Bill ‘s two smallmouth were also caught on the main river on crankbaits and totaled 2.94 pounds.