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The Connecticut River Tournament

August 11, 2007

Stingy is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the Connecticut River.  The club’s last foray on the river was in August of 2003 and the winning weight (Scottie Mitchell) then was 8-pounds, 8-ounces.  Well, let me tell you, the River lived up to its reputation in spades this year!  How bad was it, you ask.  To put it gently, we had a 13 way tie for 16th place…the last time we had so many tied for last place was on the Susquehanna Flats.  One other thing – the club has an immediate need for a new member that is also a qualified locksmith…Johnny Williams accidentally locked Nick’s keys in the Jeep and Pat Van Wettering forgot to unlock his prop lock.  If you have not fired up your outboard with a prop lock on it, you are in for an unforgettable experience.  A trip to the local hardware store cured Pat’s problem.

Those of us who pre-fished the River on Friday were treated to weather from HELL…driving rain, blustery winds out of the North and temperatures hovering in the mid-50s.  Shorts and sandals were very quickly discarded.  Tournament day weather was the polar (pun intended) opposite; bluebird skies and mild temperatures.  Finding the fish on tidal waters after the previous day’s front was quite a challenge.  As always, someone always figures it out, though.

Finishing in 1st place, his first ever, was John Hayden.  With a 5-fish limit and the only one brought to the scales that day, his total weight was a scrawny 6-pounds 14-ounces.  He relates:  “On practice day I banged a total of 3 keepers as tight to cover as I’ve ever seen.  Two came in on a rock pile and one came off fallen timber.  I reasoned that the weather would keep the fish tight so I stayed on that pattern.  Early that morning, Kris Lechman passed me on one of my favorite banks and entered a creek mouth that I had not explored during practice.  Curious, I followed him in and I immediately felt as if I had left the Connecticut River and entered the Appomattox River in Virginia.  There were logjams, fall downs left and right and even a beaver hut in the lower portion of the creek.  I spent the better part of the day there skipping Senkos under the overhanging trees and into the logjams.  At the end of the day, I felt good that I had a limit but never imagined that I would win on that measly sack.”

Our 2nd place finisher, Terry Eckel, had not seen the bright lights of the leader board since April of 2005.  Welcome back, Terry!  I have heard it said that the last time Terry finished this high in the standings computers had not even been invented yet.  All joking aside, though, Terry tells me:  “I stuck to Seldon Creek and threw Red Shad Senkos all day.  Two of my fish came in on a T-rigged Senko on wood and two came in on a wacky-style rig thrown around boat slips with weed around them.”  His final weight was 5-pounds and 7-ounces.

John Ernest, with a three-fish weight of 4-pounds, 10-ounces, finished third.  John tells me that “I caught 2 of my fish on green pumpkin tubes tight to the corrugated metal retaining walls and the last fish came in on a senko “


Tied for fourth place were Andy Karcich and Pat Van Wettering.  Both brought in two fish with a total weight of 3-pounds 8-ounces. 

Pat, now in 1st place for club Angler of the Year, relates, “I caught both of my fish on the flats at the back of Salmon River on Green Pumpkin Chatterbaits.  These fish were caught on the high tide”.

With a 4th and a 1st place finish already in the books, Andy’s 4th place tie on the Connecticut looks to secure his position on the ’07 Six Man Team and puts him in prime position to go after the coveted Angler of the Year title.  Andy’s two fish sack of 3-pounds 8-ounces came “on a 4” black plastic worm fished at 2 to 4’ deep right on the edge of the grass line.  My fish came late in the day after the tide turned and began to fall.  All in all, it was one of the toughest tournaments I’ve ever had” he said.