It was devastating to Mickey Soler to lose a 5-pounder earlier this morning during the first day of the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Eastern Divisional. But as it turned out, he didn’t need it to take the Day 1 lead, which he owns by 2 pounds, 11 ounces.
“My partner, Erin Divelbiss of Vermont, was ready with the net,” Soler said, “but my line was too light, and the drag wasn’t set right, and it just popped right off.”
Soler’s bag of 10 pounds, 7 ounces was one of only four limits caught today on the Mystic and Charles rivers, and 31 anglers went fishless.
“It was a really tough day,” explained Soler, a member of the Mid-Conn Anglers in the Connecticut B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. “I caught my first fish on my third cast, and then it was 2 1/2 to 3 hours before we got another bite.”
Soler, an investigative social worker for the state of Connecticut, targeted shaded areas and took his time. “I was fishing a lot slower than everybody else.”
With a lead that big, he’s not planning to change a thing for tomorrow.
Several anglers will have to change it up, though, if they want to be in the running for a spot in the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship. With lots of zeroes and few limits, many competitors will try something new tomorrow.
“Today, I learned that I have to re-evaluate my game plan,” joked Michael DeSimone of Connecticut, who brought in one bass for 2 pounds, 15 ounces.
Last year’s Eastern Divisional champion, Skip Sjobeck, echoed DeSimone’s sentiments. “I’m going to change what I’m doing,” said the Vermont angler, who’s currently in 18th place with 5 pounds, 7 ounces. “I’m going to flip tomorrow because the few times I did it today worked out.”
The good thing about the low weights is that anglers can move up quickly with just a few fish. “A lot of teams are going to be very tight at the top,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation senior manager and emcee for the event.
The top angler on each state team advances to next month’s championship. Current leaders are Soler, Connecticut; Jonathan Carter, Maine; John Shpack, Massachusetts; Dave Andrews, New Hampshire; David Morrissette, New York; Greg Roth, Ontario; Bob Brown, Rhode Island; Eloy Fernandez Jofre, Spain; and Scott Green, Vermont.
In the competition between states, Connecticut is leading with an overall weight of 43 pounds, 11 ounces. New York is just less than 2 pounds behind, and Rhode Island is a few more ounces back.
The Cabela’s Big Bass of the day was a 4-pound, 5-ounce bass caught by Scott Barker of Maine. It was his only fish today, and when asked what he caught it on, he said “a hook,” so as not to give anything away.
Competition resumes tomorrow. Launch is at 6:15 a.m. ET at the Mystic Wellington Yacht Club, the site of the weigh-in at 2:15 p.m. ET.
Image courtesy Bassmaster