Hurricane Floyd slammed the east coast in the days prior to Bergen's 6th points event of the season leaving many areas in New Jersey under water. In fact, the trailing winds made pre-fishing Saratoga Lake difficult for those anglers heading up to the lake early. Although the club has fished Saratoga Lake twice before, both were for weekend Classics and this was to be the first points event held there. Both times prior, the tournament was won with a shallow water pattern and that was to be the case once again. Club President, Steve Rusert, known to be one of the best shallow water fishermen in the club, concentrated on a shallow water dock and weed pattern to bring in a limit of largemouth weighing 10 pounds 14 ounces. This time around however, Steve did not use his usual bait of choice, foregoing a Jersey Rigg for a Yamamoto Senko, the hottest bait on the club trail right now. Steve's top finish at Saratoga moves him up to 7th place and he is challenging for a top six position going into his home waters of Greenwood Lake.
Continuing a 1999 season that will likely land him in the top six overall and possibly have him recognized as the most improved angler was Andrew Karcich. Although he managed only 4 bass, the 9 pounds 13 ounce total placed Andy as the runner up. He also missed the lunker once again by only 1 ounce bringing in a four pound largemouth. He started quickly as he landed the big largemouth and a smallie over 2 pounds in the first hour of the event. Andy fished 6" june bug power worms in and around deep weedlines adjacent to 10-14 feet of water. He also added another 2 pound plus smallie on his first cast ever with a Senko. His last fish was caught with only 30 minutes remaining. By placing in second at Saratoga, Andy is now challenging Frank Freguletti for the top non-boater spot and is within striking distance of 1st place overall, being just 8 points back.
Club veteran, Doug Giachino brought in his second consecutive 5 bass limit to place third at Saratoga Lake. After finishing strong at the night tournament, Doug continued to roll along by bringing in 8 pounds 11 ounces to the scale including 4 largemouth and 1 smallmouth. Doug caught one bass early on using a Zara Spook but then concentrated on one large area having a deep weedline. There, he used the hot bait, the "Senko", to finish out his limit. While he caught one bass on a white bait, the rest were caught on the black hologram colored lure.
Although there were only 12 smallmouth brought in, 5 of those belonged to Elliott Liardo who finished in fourth place with a limit weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces. Elliott caught his fish near a deep rocky point in the south end of the lake on spinnerbaits. Although he started slowly, he had four bass by 11:30 and added the last one before the 3pm weigh-in. His finish here moves Elliot into a position to challenge for the top twelve going into the final event on Greenwood Lake.
Rounding out the top five was another member having a break through season. Joe Willemsen brought in a five bass limit totaling 7 pounds even. He caught six keepers during the day and his final five included 4 largemouth and one smallmouth. Although the event was won shallow, most anglers, including Joe fished the same pattern of deep weedlines with Senkos.
Also continuing an excellent season that has seen him bring in better than average bass on numerous occasions, Don Dunn brought the 4 pound 1 ounce lunker to the scale. The fish was caught between 11am and 12 noon and was caught off a 10-14 deep weedline. This fish however did not fall for a senko and was caught on a Poe's crankbait.
The 25 anglers totaled 57 fish and 100 pounds even. All but 2 fish were released alive. The event tightened up the standings as the top four anglers are separated by only 8 points. A number of anglers still have a legitimate shot at making the top six and two veterans, Kirk Stober and Scott Mitchell are both knocking on the door of the top twelve despite missing the Connecticut River event. The October 9th final points tournament on Greenwood Lake has much at stake and many anglers have something to shoot for as the 1999 season comes to a close.