Bergen Bassmasters on Candelwood lake.

Bergen fished on Candlewood Lake in August for the first time giving members a different look at the lake. Fishing in the hot water, bright sun and no shortage of pleasure boaters made for a very challenging tournament. In fact 2/3 of the field could only manage to catch one or two fish and there was only six limits brought in. Water temps were in the low 80’s.

John Ernest was not able to Pre-fish for this tournament, he had not ever fished the lake at this time of year before and really didn’t know how to approach this tournament. So he looked up what to do on his “Hot spots map followed the tips and won the tournament. Sounds simple but he made several adjustments through out the day to make the day a success. A breeze in the morning had him abandon his spook early on and go to his “go to bait” the Brush Hog. His first two fish were caught Drop Shoting in 25-30 ft. around docks, but soon Heavy Boat traffic made him abandon the docks and look for deep weed lines. His first weed line produced three quick fish. John said he never felt the hit on most of his fish. He had his limit by 10:30 or 11:00am and caught 14 keepers throughout the day bringing in 3 LM and 2 SM for 13 lb. 09 oz. John said “It was just one of those days. I could not miss”.

Eric Lehman finished in 2nd place with 2 LM and 2 SM weighing a total of 11 lb. 11 oz. Eric started fishing a shoreline in which he has had success in the spring. Amazingly all of his fish came off one dock, a wide dock with a boat lift that had 12’ on one side and only 5’ on the other. Two fish came early off the dock, a small keeper and the days Lunker a 4 lb. 06 oz. LM caught way under the dock. In the last 3 hours of the tournament he returned to the same dock and caught a nice SM off the front end and one more keeper under the dock. Using 6 lb. test Eric caught his fish on Senko’s and 4" Black power worms and not one fish was netted. (Eric never carries a net on his boat.)

Rich Gerken nailed down 3rd Place with a limit of bass weighing 11 pounds even. The first fish of the morning was caught by skipping a Senko under an overhang, that SM was his biggest fish of the day. His game plan was to look for thick weeds and pitch worms through the weeds. By pegging the sinker he was able to fish the thickest weeds using 7" Blue fleck or a watermelon Power worm and one with a brush hog. Rich was able to catch 8 keepers, culling 3 times. The fish were hitting lite and a lot of the times he never felt the hit and sometimes they would hit it on the way up.

Pat Van Wettering took 4th place with a limit of LM weighing 9 lb. 12 oz. When his top water bite didn’t show up. Pat quickly changed to fishing his successful Pre-fish pattern. He concentrated on outside weed line pockets in 10-12 foot of water. He used a Green fleck brush hog, catching fish here and a fish there on different weed lines using the same pattern. Pat caught 7 keepers and culled twice. “I lost two of my biggest fish in the last ½ hour of the tournament.”

Rich Kalanz rounds up 5th place with an 8 lb. 14 oz. limit of smallmouth. Rich caught all his fish using a smoke tube fished on the outside edge of the weed lines in 10ft of water. He caught 8 keepers and culled twice by drifting along the weed line fishing the edge. Rich said “my observer, Louisa Cruz, caught three times as many fish as I did, using the same thing I was an most of them were bigger. I think she would have won the tournament if she could have weighed in.” Rich caught fish all day but also lost some big fish that might have made the difference.

Kirk Stober

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