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Tournament Interview

Candlewood Lake April 29, 2009


Loch Ness Monster Caught at Candlewood
And interview with the Winners



      For our 1st tournament of 2009, perfect fishing weather with partly cloudy skies and a light wind greeted a full field of Bergen Bassmasters. As getting a weekend permit to fish Candy in April is next to impossible, the club began fishing a Wednesday opener last year. It was an excellent decision! Water temps varied between 58 and 63 degrees and the bass were just beginning the spawning cycle. We virtually had the entire lake to ourselves and this was to be a tournament to remember. Normally I conclude the interview article with the lunker report. In this case I need to change the format.

Our good friend John Williams nailed the lunker of a lifetime on a swim bait at 2PM. His Nine Pound Largemouth shattered the 6-14 club record (Bill Vella, Twin Lakes) and easily won Bergen’s six pound lunker pool. I measured the bass at 23.5 inches but not the girth. It was one of the fattest bass I have ever seen…..and the photo speaks for itself. John W has been plugging away as a non boater for many years and this catch couldn’t have been caught by a better person. This was the ultimate start to anyone’s tournament season and I congratulate John on this accomplishment and to Doug Giachino’ who put John on bass and netted the big girl. This is one club record that will never be broken. John Williams also won 2nd Place overall with 5 bass at 14-7. All of his bass were caught on swim baits. Ironically, John is a professional African Cichlid (freshwater tropical fish) importer and dealer and knows a thing about keeping fish healthy. He was so worried that the bass might die in the livewell that he was thinking of releasing it before the weigh-in.

      Using crankbaits, John Hart, a perennial top Bergen Angler, won another tournament with a hefty limit totaling 15-14. Two bass were over 4 pounds and he caught around 20 keepers. Most of the action took place in the AM and in going against the swim bait craze, John caught most of his bass on green crankbaits in 6 to 12 feet of water. Great start John!

Off to another great start is John Hayden who pre-fished at least one time. John Hayden used mostly swim baits and crankbaits to cull out a nice 3rd Place limit totaling 13-15. Nice going John!

Despite some last minute boat issues that were quickly resolved with a cool head, Bill Vella was on his game with a nice 4th Place showing at 13-10. Bill pre-fished the Monday before the tournament and used swim baits worked on the bottom in shallow water. Good Job Bill!

Eric Lehman, slowly fishing in skinny water throughout the day, nailed the final 5th Place paycheck using swim baits and small plastics. Eric also broke the 13 pound mark with 5 keepers totaling 13-3.
Generally speaking, it looks like a slow moving swim bait, worked over the bottom in shallow water was the best, but not the only tactic. Even after a few major tournaments, Candlewood Lake produced big time for Bergen. Many members weighed-in double digit bags and everyone (except Kris) got to see what a nine pound bass looks like. Not only did 28 out of 31 anglers limit out, but the total weight of 327.14 pounds (31 anglers) destroyed the previous record of 285-5 (34 anglers, Lake Lillinonah).


Nick Albano