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Mohawk River
September 13, 2007
Final Tournament of the ’07 Trail

The Angler of the Year title was on the line…any of four Bergen members could win the coveted award with a 1st place finish on the Mohawk River.  Practice day was a repeat of the practice day on the Connecticut River; raining, breezy, cool and overcast.  In typical fashion, the weather on the day of the tournament was the exact opposite with sunshine, slight breezes and nice temperatures.  The Mohawk was a challenge this year as there was almost no current and the movement was restricted because the locks had limited access.

Our first place finisher, Eric (The Mohawk King) Lehman, reprises his 2006 win on the Mohawk with another fine bag of 5 fish weighing in at 14-pounds, 1-ounce.  Eric tells me “I used a Fat Free Guppy in American Shad and caught 3 fish by 7:30 am off one spot…with Smallies, find the school and it’s boom time!...and I kept backing off the spot, fishing somewhere else for a while and then returning to the spot every hour or so.  The fish were oriented off a fall-down tree on the drop off.  They would move into the shallows around the tree to feed and then return to deeper water.  I culled twice and ended up losing 3 nice fish, to boot.”

Coming in second place, and securing his Angler of the Year title in convincing style with a solid limit and earning the captaincy of the Bergen 2007 6-man team, was Pat Van WetteringPat gives some of the credit to Eddie Schickman for his fine finish as “Eddie and I fished the Monday before the tournament and Eddie, using a Zara Spook, caught two nice smallies.  Eddie’s fish taught me a) where the fish were and b) what they wanted.  I ended up throwing a shiny-sided Spook all day and the Smallies were hitting any time the sun was out from behind the clouds.  I concentrated on a flat with the water depth ranging from 8’ to 12’.”  Pat’s final weight was 13-pounds, 3-ounces with one Smallie weighing in at 4-pounds even.  That fish also earned Pat a tie, with Andy Karcich, for the tournament lunker.

Andy Karcich secured a place on the Bergen 2007 6-man team with a third place finish on the Mohawk and finished second overall for 2007.  His two fish sack weighed 6-pounds, 4-ounces and was anchored by a 4-pound tournament lunker (tie) smallie.  Andy told me “I used a root beer colored crankbait with an orange belly.  I fished in the 8’ to 10’ range and concentrated on drop offs and creek channels.”

Our fourth place finisher, Louie Zhelesnik, finished only 1-ounce behind Andy.  His two fish weighed in at 6-pounds, 3-ounces.  Louie told me “I caught both fish on topwaters.  I threw a Sammy (85) that I had modified by putting a feathered hook that I dipped in chartreuse.  Since I fished with Pat finding the schooling fish was pretty easy.”

Like peas in a pod, Doug Giachino (boater) and Stacy Zhelesnik (his non-boater) both brought in two fish with exactly the same weight of 5-pounds, 8-ounces.  Doug told me “John Ernest gave me some advice the night before the tournament.  I followed his advice and threw a perch-colored Sammy.  Both of my fish were caught before 10:00 am and I only had two bites all day.  My only regret was that I left the spot after 10:30 am and I later learned that the spot yielded fish all day”.  Stacy relates that “I caught my two smallies on a chartreuse crankbait (I bet it was a Hot Lips Express!) by throwing towards points and flats.  I only got three bites all day and one of the fish was the largest smallmouth bass of my life.”