The 4th Tournament on Bergen trail
was our night tournament held on Lake Hopatcong.
Anglers watched a storm blow by while waiting to launch into the now windy Lake making many people put down their topwater baits and adjust to the quickly changing conditions. Most fish were caught during the night on either spinnerbaits or soft Plastics, docks and rocks were key to catching fish. Some plenty of shoreline light did the trick. Stories of Walleye and stripers mixed in keep things interesting when fishing Hopatcong at night.
Renato Santos love to fish at night and proved he is also good at it by winning the tournament weighing in 10lb. 14oz. The fact he was using Bergen’s point’s tournament to pre-fish for Bergen’s annual night tournament only two weeks away. The spinnerbait is Renato’s confident bait when night fishing and he stuck with it a majority of the night. His six fish came off a boulder on a point with only two hours left in the tournament. He stayed in one general area all night rotating spots within the area but got all his fish from one small stretch. Renato kept changing the spinnerbaits blades, skirts, size and colors all night trying to find what would work best, “funny thing is all six fish came off six different spinnerbaits”.
Steve Russert used a senko and a typical daytime pattern to take second place with 9lb. 2oz. He started off by fishing a senko in the lilly pads found in Lake Hopatcong canals. He caught three fish in the first hour and a half including tournament lunker, a 5lb. 2oz. largemouth. Steve added one more to the live well at night on a 3/8 oz Jitterbug. He hooked two more fish in the morning but they came unhooked.
Bill Vella caught his fish at night yet claimed shoreline lights played a large part in catching all fish “Docks that were well lit produced”. Bill stopped to fish one small area for a very long time (a very eye catching video playing in someone’s home that could be seen from where he was fishing) and caught the biggest fish of the night. All his fish came on Pumpkin Senkos around docks for a total weight of 7lb. 8oz. Bill also made an interesting decision to let a very small keeper go that was bleeding instead of taking a chance on a four ounce penalty.
Jason Mordhurt and Alvin Walters tied for fourth place. With 7lb. 1oz. each. Alvin used a 4” black Power Worm fished from the bank out into 14’ of water concentrating around rock piles. He caught his last fish at sunrise on a senko. Jason on the other hand caught his fish bumping off the bottom slow rolling spinnerbaits around docks; three of his four fish came around docks. Jason lost a keeper on a Pop-R right at the boat but did manage to catch a 10lb stripper late at night on the same lure. All his fish were caught in the nighttime.