...To improve skills as bass anglers through a fellowship of friendly exchange of bass catching techniques and to preserve the future of Bass Fishing through conservation, youth and public awareness.

Bergen Classic South Bay Interview

      The 2008 road to our Bergen Classic was a rocky one. Original plans called for a New Hampshire venue, then Lake George, then a Mohawk/Saratoga combo. With many issues on the table, a Lake Champlain venue finally resolved all problems! For the 11th hour switch, special thanks go out to Jason Mordhorst and John Ernest. I assisted with the permit process, but Jason did a great job in confirming 21 guys. He must have spent a lot of time on the phone. John Ernest also took a lot of his time to coordinate the lodging and dinner arrangements. A great job all around!! Thanks, Guys!

      As far as the fishing was concerned, depending on where or how one fished, the action varied from fair to outstanding. Weather was also a factor. Generally speaking, foul weather on Saturday produced better results than bluebird skies on Sunday. Pat Van Wettering was right. With less action on Sunday, the nasty weather on Saturday would be missed.  

      Eric Lehmann was the only angler to experience outstanding success on both days. With 15-09 on Saturday and 16-15 on Sunday, Eric won his first Bergen Classic by almost 2 pounds! He caught his fish working small 4 inch worms in weedlines and pockets north of South Bay. Eric pre-fished and did not travel very far to get to his fish. In addition to his 32-08 two day total, he also nailed the day two lunker, a 4-11 Largemouth.  Nice Going, Eric!

      My usual Champlain spots were dirty and lacking in action, so based on a tip from Bill Vella, I decided to spend my time in South Bay. On day one, cloudy and rainy weather produced unbelievable top water conditions. John Hart and I caught over 75 keepers, mostly on Pop R’s. After I had 5 keepers all over 3 1/4 pounds each for 17-14, I switched to a 10 inch black power worm and caught nothing but one to two pound fish. John and I agree that this was the best bassin’ day we ever experienced. I also nailed the Saturday lunker, a 4-14 largemouth on a Pop R. On Sunday, the Pop R bite died when the sun came up. For 2nd place, I managed to bag 5 Sunday bass at 12-12. I caught three on a Pop R and a few on ten inch power worms.

      Tournament Director, Jason Mordhorst, who lost a few big fish on both days managed to boat some nice chunks and finished in 3rd place with 26-08. On Saturday, for his 13-12 limit, Jason caught a few on a rat and a couple on a spinnerbait worked along the weed edges. On Sunday, he again was successful with a rat and a spinnerbait, but also banged a couple on a Senko for a 12-12.

      Club Secretary, Kris Lechman, who did not pre-fish, used a shotgun approach and garnished 4th place with two nice bags totaling 24-06. Kris used all of his rods and a mixed bag of lures (and a lot of gas) to fool two nice limits of bass. Going against the general grain, Kris managed to best his 11-08 Saturday weight with 12-14 on Sunday. On both days, Kris relied on spinnerbaits, rats, brush hogs, small worms, big worms and jigs. Kris also fished a wide range of water from Ticonderoga to south of South Bay. With no pre-fishing, this was a well earned finish.

      Despite last year’s Classic winner having engine problems, John Ernest still clocked in (albeit a little late on Saturday) with ten keepers totaling 22-15 (27-15 without the penalty). John followed his reduced 9-14 weight on Saturday with 13-01 on Sunday. His favorite pattern was to use a rat in the slop not far from the launch.

      Honorable mention goes out to Robert Burton, the Sixth Place finisher and best non-boater of the weekend. With a total weight of 22-10, Robert missed a check by 5 ounces. Although Robert caught most of his bass on 7 inch worms, he did bag one largemouth on a frog with me on Sunday. Nice going, Robert! Also, congratulations for my team in garnishing the 2008 Classis Team Bragging Rights. John Williams, John Giordano, John Ernest, John Hart, Eric, Robert and I weighed in 143-12 winning it by over 20 pounds.

      As our first Classic was in 1989, we can look forward to an outstanding 20th Anniversary Bergen Classic in 2009. I hope that next year, everyone is in good health and that we can have all 36 members attend another outstanding event!