Bergen Bassmasters kicked off the 2005 season on Highland lake.

Overcast skies and a forecast for rain had anglers thinking about an active day on the water and with water temperatures around 53-54 degrees fish should have been moving around and cooperative. But for some reason tournaments are always tough. Of the 32 anglers only 12 managed to bring in more than two fish and no one caught a limit. And on a lake with a reputation for big fish lunker was only a measly 3.02 lb. largemouth. The lack of wind might have been the key for the tough conditions.

Nick Albano adds another win to his collection by staying in the game till the very end. His day started out great by getting a largemouth in the boat right off the bat on a hair jig. His game plan was to fish rogues around weed in 5 or 6 feet of water and rip a spoonbill in the deeper weeds. Nick also used the hair jig though out the day. Nick stuck with his game plan almost all day but with time running out and only one fish in the boat he felt he needed to make a change. With only 15 min. left Nick decided to crank a crawdad color crankbait on the east shoreline hoping to pick up a keeper smallmouth. His last minute decision netted him three more quick fish, including his biggest fish, and lost one more fish he never saw. So in true Takahiro fashion Nick made it back in time to weigh-in his four fish weighing 7.15 lb., enough for first place.

Second place went to Brians side kick Bob Benjamin. Bob caught all three of his fish within the first hour of the tournament,picking up a largemouth and a smallmouth on a crawfish colored tube bait fished extremely slow. While fishing the rocky flat he saw two perfect looking submerged boulders. Bobby put the tube bait down, threw out everything he learned about bass fishing and followed his gut. He picked up a buzzbait and caught a 2 ½ lb. smallmouth on the first cast to the boulder. That was his last fish of the day,but 7.01lbs. At the scales was enough for second place, a full three pounds more than third place. Good job Bob on your best club tournament finish.

Scott Mitchell and Jack Erdei tied for third. Scotty has been waiting all winter to take out his new boat and he got off to a good start. Scotts game plan was to fish the deep drop-offs and he did get a fish about 11:00 AM. The fish hit a cabin creek grub in 30 ft. of water. Feeling he needed a change he headed north to fish shallow. He finished the day by picking up a smallmouth and another largemouth slow rolling a spinnerbait shallow. Scott adds “I plan on using this prize money to help pay off the boat early”. Jack Erdei equaled Scotts weight of 4.01 lbs. By working a chartreuse jerkbait around submerged boulders. Jack caught two bass on the jerkbaits, one shallow and the other in about 10 ft. of water. Jack also won lunker with a 3.02 lb. largemouth.

Terry Eckel took 5th place with three fish weighing 3.13 lbs. Terry started the tournament by returning to the spot where he broke off a 4 pound fish the day before. The big fish didn’t cooperate but a keeper smallmouth took hit his $400. limited edition special jerkbait within the first 15 min. of the tournament. Terry caught the fish by working the bait around a point. The next fish was caught around mid-day on a smoke spider grub fished extremely slow. The largemouth was next to a boulder in about 6 foot of water. With only 15 min. left in the tournament Terry picked up another largemouth in the same manner. Making the right decisions at the right time was key for placing in this tournament, as with any tournament.

Kirk Stober