On June 16th, the Bergen Bassmasters headed north to Great Sacandaga Lake in New York for their third event of the season. Water levels are usually a concern but the huge lake was 5 feet above normal pool, flooding much shoreline cover. The lake is also known to contain mostly smallmouth and largemouth are considered very rare. As is often the case, the addition of a few largemouth to a catch where limits of smallies were the standard can result in a victory.
Such was the case for Tournament Director Nick Albano. Nick weighed the only two largemouth of the entire tournament and those anchored his limit giving him a total weight of 10 pounds 13 ounces. Nick landed most of his smallies on soft silver pearl jerkbaits. Smallmouth were everywhere, but the larger ones were holding in shallow water cover or rocks. Nick did not fish the south basin for 24 years, but remembered catching a largemouth by a beaver dam. He pre-fished the same area on Friday, but caught nothing. However, after a quick limit of smallies, the area produced the two kicker largemouth. The win was Nick's ninth making him the leader in regular club victories. Perhaps no one was more deserving as countless pairings changes happened to the last minute. He should also be commended on an excellent job ensuring each angler had a partner.
Last year's Angler of the Year, John Ernest continues his bid to repeat with another strong finish. John was the runner-up at Sacandaga and also caught the tournament lunker, a 3 pound 6 ounce smallmouth. John's total of five smallmouth weighed in at 10 pounds 8 ounces and brings John to second place overall in the club year-to-date.
Bill Vella placed third with 9 pounds 9 ounces. Bill started out fishing a hump where he managed his limit by 9:30am. He then moved deeper and started catching larger fish, eventually culling out his smaller limit. He finished off the day fishing a bluff area and rock walls that extended out into the lake. On his last cast, Bill caught a 2 pounder that allowed him to cull enough to finish in third. All of Bill's fish were caught on Senkos.
Continuing an excellent season thus far was Ron Fairbanks who placed fourth. Ron put his time on the water practicing for two days prior to the event. Catching dozens of fish each day, he knew that ounces would separate the top finishers. During the tournament, Ron boated a 3 pound smallie that helped anchor his total catch of 8 pounds 15 ounces. He concentrated mainly in rocky areas with topwaters and Senkos.
Rounding out the top five was Jim Hallihan who's limit of smallmouth weighed in at 8 pounds 8 ounces. Jim used soft jerkbaits on rocky points and in the backs of coves. In the coves, he found smallmouth in shallow water, by blowdowns and in flooded timber.
Nearly every angler brought a limit to the scales totaling 117 fish. As stated earlier, amazing, Nick Albano was the only angler to catch a largemouth. One could have been a bonus but, of course, two meant the victory.