New Jersey’s Pete Gluszek hasn’t fished a Bassmaster Classic since 1999, but he’ll be back in 2013 after winning the Bass Pro Shops Northern Open on New York’s Cayuga Lake. Gluszek went wire-to-wire at the event, posted the best catches in the field on each of the first two days and finished with a three-day total of 56 pounds, 1 ounce. It was good enough to outdistance second-place finisher Stephen Browning of Arkansas by 4-12.
Gluszek fished two patterns to catch his bass — starting deep and finishing shallow, contrary to conventional bass fishing wisdom.
“Early in the morning I was flipping and pitching milfoil in 10 to 16 feet of water,” Gluszek said. “I was using a black 5-inch Yamamoto Senko behind a 1/2-ounce Round Valley tungsten sinker. Later in the day, as the sun came up, lots of bass were moving shallower, and I caught them by skipping a weightless black Senko underneath boat docks.”
Gluszek focused his attentions on a 15-mile stretch of water in the central part of Cayuga Lake. He made the switch from his deep pattern to his shallow water pattern at about 11 a.m. each day.
For the win, Gluszek earned $4,800 in cash and a Triton 19SE with a Mercury 200 Optimax boat and motor package worth more than $45,000, but the automatic berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake has him excited, too. He last fished the championship in 1999 when he finished 31st on the Louisiana Delta.
“Amazing! It’s the biggest thing in fishing,” Gluszek said. “It’s why I started fishing as a professional.”
New York’s Ken Golub caught a 5-11 largemouth that was the best of Day 1. It withstood several close calls and finished as Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament, earning Golub $500.
“I caught that fish on one of my first few casts of the morning. She was about 40 feet deep off a steep drop on a point,” Golub explained. “She hit a 3/4-ounce black-and-blue custom made football jig with a Pro Edge Baits JRiv Craw trailer. I was just dragging the bait across the bottom when she struck.”
On the co-angler side of the competition, Todd Sterner of Mechanicsburg, Pa., took first place with a three-day total of 25-12. He jumped from fifth place after Day 2 into the lead with a final round catch of three bass weighing 8-8. For his efforts he earned a Skeeter ZX190 with a Yamaha VZ150TL boat and motor package worth more than $35,000.
The co-angler Carhartt Big Bass award of $500 went to George Fiorille of New York for his Day 2 bass weighing 5-5.
Gluszek won the pro angler award for the Luck “E” Strike Big Bag of the tournament with his Day 2 catch of 20-14. On the co-angler side, the Luck “E” Strike Big Bag of the tournament winner was Timothy Poyer with his Day 2 bag of 11-3.
The other race going on this week was the battle for invitations to fish the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series. The Top 5 anglers in the points standings in each of the three Opens divisions (Northern, Southern and Central) are guaranteed an invitation.
The top anglers in the Northern Division this season were Chad Pipkens of Michigan, Clifford Pirch of Arizona, Jason Christie of Oklahoma and Chris Daves of Virginia. Stephen Browning and Kurt Dove of Texas tied for fifth. The final events of the Southern and Central Opens will take place over the next two months.
Image courtesy Bassmaster