Massachusetts B.A.S.S. Nation
I Truly Didn’t Know What To Do
I was one happy fisherman when I heard, back in October, that the 2019 State Fishoffs was going to be at the Oxbow section of the Connecticut River. I have been winning tournaments there since the early 90s. I distinctly remember Mark Burgess and me winning a team event there in 1994. I always fished the Oxbow and hardly ever the main river. Once and a while, if the river was high, I would go south and fish the log jams on the west side about a half mile from the dam. There was always good size bass if those trees were surrounded with weeds.
The Oxbow always, in the true sense of the word, treated me well. I had four patterns and I would jump from one to the other throughout the completion, but would always end the day with #4. The Four: Flooded timber on the left side; Lily pads on the right side; Oxbow Marina docks and end the day punching (before it was called punching) the matted grass/pads in the swamp between Route 5 and Route 91.
Prefishing for me is riding around. If I know the lake/river I don’t actually fish, unless it is at least a week before the event. 2019 has been a good year for me. I have won several tournaments and just came off winning the Classic Team Trail TOC with my friend Eli Delaney. I was looking forward to the Fishoffs and practiced on Tuesday, September 24th. This was just a few days before the tournament. I wasn’t going to touch trees, pads or docks, but I had to know if the largemouth had moved into the swamp. I purposely didn’t even launch until 1 P.M, because I wanted the sun to pound on those mats. I was breaking one of my golden rules: “Don’t sting fish before a tournament.”
When I launched I saw the water was low. I always approach the swamp from the troth that runs along Route 91. It is deep and is a perfect avenue for the bass to get into the mats. I was using a 1 ounce mat-jig (The only place I don’t use a Sled jig.) with a Rage Tail trailer. On my second cast into a mix of chestnut and pads – “tap.” I set the hook and swung a 4 pounder onto the deck. I turned around, put my boat on the trailer and my 15 minutes on the water gave me the info I needed. So I thought.
It is now Saturday morning. I drew boat #5 so I believed I would be the first one in the slop. At the Friday pairing meeting I told my co-angler and fellow MassMaster, Brandon Regnault, that I was going to spend a good portion of the day “punching” so he could rig for it. From about 7:15 till about 1 P.M. I punched and re-punched a huge section. Brandon threw a hollow frog and just about everything else he had with him. We caught squotzo. Zero. Nothing. Nadda. I never set the hook. We tried fishing the troth and Brandon, with a Ned rig, caught a keeper on the drop. Let me repeat this: A NED RIG.
At about 1 P.M. I took off to fish the marina docks. I fished all of the back ends where the weed is under the boats. Not a tap. I then went to the trees. Not a tap. I then went to the lily pads. Not a swirl. We went back to the takeoff site and Brandon weighed in his fish and I spent 15 minutes explaining why I didn’t catch a single bass in 9 hours. (Saturday went till 4 P.M.) On the way home Bob Puishys gave me some hints on where to catch some smallies down south. I hate fishing for those rats, but I was desperate and planned on going south on Sunday.
Within 10 minutes fishing the east side of the river I caught two keepers with a Pop-R. I popped that thing for the next two hours, but didn’t catch another. I then went to the grass on the west side and threw everything with the exception of a worm hanging from a bobber. I fished the weed lines with Sleds, worms, Senkos and chatterbaits. I hit the few shallow log jams. About 11 A.M. I looked at my co-angler, Marcia Geller and said, “I truly do not know what to do.”
I leaned against the pole seat and tried to come up with something – anything that might produce a single bass. In defeat I decided to go back and hit the “4” in the Oxbow. Same docks, trees, pads and slop, but nothing worked. I truly did not know what to do, but to return to the weigh in and tell my club and others just how badly I performed.
It happens to all of us from time to time, but that doesn’t change the way I felt driving home.
2019 TOC Results
The MBN Classic Team Trails combined T.O.C (Friday and Sunday trails) was held this past Sunday on Charles River in Waltham. The event had 7 teams completing for the 2 slots to go to Lake Hartwell S.C. in December of this year. Sadly we had a text book cold front move in prior to Sunday keeping the bite slow all day. Many of us went to work picking everything apart trying to get our five and hoping for a couple of kickers. There was only two teams that got a couple of good fish on a tough day that got them the ticket to Harwell.
Ray Lentine and Eli Delaney who are in the MassMasters club found some kickers and the lunker just under 4 pounds she weighed 3.94 lbs and a total weight of 13.05lbs. Thats the first team who made it to Hartwell. Randy Phillips and Wayne Marquis who are in mass at large club is the second Team who made it with bag of largemouth weighing 10.25lbs.Those are the two teams representing Mass B.A.S.S. Nation down in Lake Hartwell S.C. in December. Congrats guys you put in great work today. I know your clubs are proud and the Mass B.A.S.S. Nation is honored to send you to Lake Hartwell S.C..
Thanks for a Great Season as my first year running the trail I couldn’t have ask for a better group of guys. Hope to see you all next year and keep an eye out in December to see how our teams do, someone could make to the Bassmaster classic from Massachusetts!!!!!
Friday Classic Team Trail
Results: Buffumville – August 16, 2019
When The Going Gets Tough – The Tough .…….”
Buffumville Reservoir is known for two things: Big Bass and Frustration. This was the case at the last Friday team event. This tournament was very important because it would determine who would be going to the TOC Sunday August 25th on the Waltham section of the Charles River and the winner there going on to Lake Hartwell for the B.A.S.S. Classic Team Championship and from there to The BassMasters Classic.
Buffumville Important?? You better believe it.
There were three teams still in the running for the final spot at the TOC. Randy Phillips and Wayne Marquis had already sewn up spot #1 with 798 points and was using Buffumville as their “drop.” This left Ray Lentine/Eli Delaney with drop (wd) at 792, Chip Servant/Josh Cotier with 791 (wd) and Jim & Jack Moorey at 593 without a drop. There were two scenarios: If Eli and I beat Josh and Chip we would be going to the fishoffs. BUT if Josh and Chip and Eli and I didn’t catch any fish, we would both use Buffumville as the drop – leaving Eli/Ray with 792 and Josh/Chip with 791. IF Jim and Jack won Buffumville then they would have 793 points and they would be going to the TOC.
Two of the three parts fell into place for Jim/Jack. They won the tournament for 200 points giving them 793 points and Josh/Chip didn’t weigh in fish using this as their drop giving them 791 points. This left just one more piece of the puzzle for Jim/Jack – Eli and I had to get skunked on this water that produces skunks at every tournament held there. As luck would have it for Eli and me, we came in 2nd and wound up with 795 points.
Only two teams weighed in fish:
- Moorey/Moorey: 9.79 pounds
- Lentine/Delaney: 6.97 with lunker of 4.36
TOC Results from August 10 - Long Pond Lakeville
Hello every one just want to say thank again to everyone for a great year. The TOC was this past weekend at Long Pond Lakeville. It was great to see the top anglers from this years trail. It was a great day to be on the water but it was a tough bite.
Results on the Pro side:
- Mark Burgess won with 14.05lbs and he also had lunker that weighed 4.47lbs,
- Paul Leblanc 11.14lbs,
- Erick Femiak 9.36lbs.
On the Co-Angler side:
- Chris Forti won with 6.28lbs and he also had lunker that weighed 4.56lbs
- Mike Mello 5.71lbs,
- Chris Heltemes 4.65lbs.
Thank you again everyone look forward to seeing you all next year.