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Lake Champlain Report

Scocco Victorious at Lake Champlain Classic!

The Bergen Bassmasters held the annual weekend Classic on August 26-27th. The sight of this year's event was Lake Champlain out of Ticonderoga. The 27 Bergen members and 4 club observers were treated to beautiful weather and good fishing conditions throughout the event. This year's tournament would prove to be record shattering as 5 Club Classic records were broken including, most fish, most weight, winning weight, single day's catch, and lunker.

1st Place - Mark Scocco 25 pounds even
ClubVeteran, Mark Scocco, who has claimed 8 regular club victories, broke through with his first Classic Title by weighing a total of 25 pounds. The winning weight slipped past last year's winning catch of 24.14 to break the record. Mark's catch was anchored by his 14 pound 14 ounce limit of smallmouth on Day 1 which included a 4 pound 8 ounce smallie and another over 4 pounds. Mark concentrated on a small shelf adjacent to 12' deep weedline near the river channel. His primary baits were dark colored Senkos fished in 12-15' of water. The area was a morning spot as Mark had limited by 7:50 on Saturday and 9:15 on Sunday. Mark's Saturday partner, Andy Karcich held the day 1 lead with 15 pounds 8 ounces caught off the small area. On Sunday, the area only held smaller fish. Mark went to his back up plan and landed 2 nice largemouth on Spinnerbaits. Returning to his hot spot, Mark culled two fish in the final 2 hours with chunky smallmouth to bring his day 2 catch to 10 pounds 2 ounces.

2nd Place - Kirk Stober 23 pounds 8 ounces
Another club veteran, Kirk Stober, had finished as the runner up at the classic held at Lake Champlain in 1997 and would repeat that finish here in 2000. After a very successful practice, Kirk found his fish off the bite on Saturday managing only 6 pounds 7 ounces. However, on Sunday the area would produce the record breaking single day's catch as Kirk culled up to a massive 17 pound 1 ounce limit. Speed burning a Luhr Jensen Sugar Shad, Kirk was triggering reaction strikes from hefty largemouth that were sitting at the bases of weed clumps in 7-10 feet of water. The huge catch vaulted Kirk into 2nd place with a total weight of 23 pounds 8 ounces, one a pound and a half shy of the victory.

3rd Place - John Ernest 23 pounds 1 ounce
Fishing his first season as a boater, the red-hot John Ernest continued his consistent ways by placing third at Lake Champlain. While John did not have any huge catches, his day one catch of 11 pounds had him in 5th place and on day 2, his 12 pound 1 ounce limit moved him up into third overall. John used watermelon/pepper Senkos fished around weeds as his primary target. Each day, he started south of the ramp and boated a few quick fish. Then, he made the run north of Crown Point to finish off his limit and cull each day. Once again, consistency paid off for John.

4th Place - Ed Schickman 22 pounds 15 ounces
The top non-boater in the event was the fourth place finisher, Ed Schickman. Eddie landed some quality fish and his 1st day's limit of 12 pounds 12 ounces had him in 3rd place after the first day of competition. On Sunday, he continued with more quality fish bringing in 3 bass for a total of 9 pounds 15 ounces. Eddie fished weed clumps with dark colored Senkos on both days. His total weight of 22 pounds 15 ounces surprised much of the club and left Eddie only 2 pounds 1 ounce away from the win.

5th Place - Steve Rusert 19 pounds 12 ounces
Club President Steve Rusert enjoyed an excellent two practice days and had developed a successful shallow water pattern. That pattern is Steve's strength and made him an early favorite. Utilizing Senkos and Jersey Riggs in the shallow water wood and matted weeds, Steve managed a limit weighing 11 pounds 7 ounces on day 1. The second day proved more difficult however but Steve still brought four bass totaling 8 pounds 5 ounces to the scales to solidify his hold on a top 5 finish. Steve's two day total was 19 pounds 12 ounces.

Each day saw some quality fish coming to the scales challenging for the valuable lunker prize. On the first day, Doug Giachino staked his claim on the big fish honors with his 5 pound 12 ounce fish. On day two, Bob Murphy's 5 pound 9 ounce bass was looking good until Brian Mahoney edged him out with a 5 pound 10 ounce fish. It was Brian's 4th Classic lunker, added to his record total number of Classic lunkers. The club also shattered records for most fish at a Classic with 169. The previous record of 143 was set at the 1997 Champlain Classic as was the record for total weight in the event. This years 381 pounds 5 ounces eclipsed the previous record of 298 pounds 12 ounces.

This year's team competition was one of the most exciting finishes in the history of adding the format to the event. Three teams finished within 9 pounds of each other and when the scales closed, no one was really sure which team had pulled out the victory. Kirk's team, anchored by his 17 pound catch, made a late charge but finished with 100 pounds 12 ounces. Greg Trass' team, anchored by their non-boaters, Ed Schickman and Norm Trass, each with 22.15, fell just short with a total of 106 pounds 13 ounces. In the end, the team captained by Andy Karcich totaled 109 pounds 14 ounces. Mark Scocco and John Ernests limits each day and Andy's 15 pound plus stringer on day 1 anchored the team's total. Of course, like any team event, each member contributed to the win by bringing in at least 8 pounds each. The members of the winning team include captain, Andy Karcich, Mark Scocco, John Ernest, Bob Colon, Ron Fairbanks, Joe Willemsen, Rich Kalanz, and Darryl Barrett.

    Classic Notes and Quotes:
  • Mark Scocco, John Ernest, and Norm Trass were the only anglers to score limits on both competition days. Mark and John were the only anglers with double-digit weights each day.
  • At least 3 fish over 5 pounds were brought to the scales on the second competition day.
  • Bob Puente is the only club member to ever win more than 1 Classic. Ironically, both were held on Saratoga Lake.
  • Past classic winners include Joe Dino, Terry Eckel, Brian Mahoney, Nick Albano, Alvin Walters, Frank Freguletti, Pete Reithmayr, and Rich Gerken.
  • The last 4 years, the winning weight at the Classic has gone up each time breaking the record set the previous year.
  • Mark Scocco's day 1 limit of 14 pounds 14 ounces is the heaviest limit on club records made of entirely of 5 smallmouth.
  • In 10 seasons with the club, Ed Schickman's previous top weight in an event was 7 pounds 11 ounces. He shattered that both days bringing in 12 pounds12 ounces on day 1 and 9 pounds 15 ounces on day 2.
  • Non-Boater on Fire! Andy Karcich, the Day 1 leader caught a total of 8 keepers culling up to 15 pounds 8 ounces, in just the first 3 hours of the tournament.
  • Bergen loves largemouth. On Champlain, a lake with an excellent population of smallmouth, the club brought in 135 largemouth compared to only 34 smallies.
  • Bob Murphy and Ed Schickman made their first appearance in a Classic Top 10.
  • Norm Trass showed that he still has what it takes. He was the top observer weighing in 22 pounds 15 ounces. That weight would have put Norm in a tie for 4th overall.
    All contents created 2000 by Mark B. Scocco.