Kalanz "Great" on Great Sacandaga!
The first "overnight" tournament of the year was held on opening day of New York bass season on June 19th at Great Sacandage Lake, just west of Albany. The majority of the 30 members fishing made the trip up on Friday and a few stragglers braved the long trip up and back on the same day. Anglers had in their minds memories of our last event on the huge lake three years ago when catches of 20-30 fish per day were not uncommon. This time, the fishermen found fewer fish but larger ones.
Rich Kalanz camped at a local campground for a few days prior to the event and drove around the lake prior to the event scouting areas for the upcoming tournament. His pre-fishing work paid off with his first-ever club victory. Rich found smallmouth that were much better than the average fish being caught and culled his way up to an eventual limit that tallied at 12 pounds 2 ounces. He utilized a smoke tube for the majority of his fish as he concentrated around rocky flat areas in the main lake section. Rich's bag also included the tournament lunker, a 2 pound 14 ounce smallmouth.
The runner-up in the event was Rich's camping partner, Alvin Walters. Alvin continues his excellent season with his second consecutive runner up finish and is challenging for his first ever Angler of the Year title. His limit of smallmouth bass weighed in at 9 pounds 12 ounces and were also caught on main lake rocky areas with smoke tubes with red flakes.
Placing third was John Ernest who caught numerous fish of a single concentrated point in the main lake. His limit weighed 9 pounds 7 ounces and were also caught on a tube bait. John's color of choice was a brown crawdad. He concentrated on the long-tapering point, following it out nearly 150 feet off shore to find the fish in 15-18' of water. The area produced limits for both he and his partner.
Hanging on to the top spot overall in the club with another top five finish was the recently crowned Top Gun Angler, Mark Scocco, who placed fourth at Sacandaga. Mark's limit of smallies weighed 9 pounds 4 ounces and were caught around main lake rocky points and humps. He fished a Sammy topwater over 12' of water for a few fish before switching to the tubes given to him by John Ernest for a few more fish caught in 5-6' of water.
A tie was had for fifth place between Steve Rusert and John Giordano, each with limits of smallmouth that weighed 9 pounds 1 ounce. Steve continues to rebound from a tough start with two straight top ten finishes and is moving back up in the standings. John was the top non-boater in the event and is vying for this season's Rookie of the Year award. His top five finish here will certainly help his cause.
The big lake produced a total of 99 fish for the 30 club anglers for a total weigh of 179 pounds 9 ounces. The average size of each fish did increase from last event where the average was 1.56 pounds compared to this event where the average fish was 1.81 pounds. In addition, fewer fish were brought to the scales as only 12 limits were scored compared to 23 last time. Sacandaga, know primarily as a smallmouth lake, does have an extremely rare population of largemouth bass. Three years ago, Nick Albano managed to find two largemouth to anchor his winning catch. Ironically, once again, Nick was the only angler to locate these rare finds in Sacandaga bring the only largemouth to the scales in the event.