The NY BASS Chapter Federation (NYBCF) held their annual Susan B Johnson season opener on Chautauqua Lake June 16th with the base of operations out of Long Point State Park. The tournament drew 208 anglers all vying for their share of the $20,000 prize money along with a $5,000 bonus paid to the highest finishing registered Skeeter boat owner sponsored by Towne Marine.

Boater Division:

Jonathan Evans, Horseheads NY took top honors with a weight of 16.30 lbs. that paid $2,500 and he did it with only four fish.  Evans was obviously on the right bites to break the 20 lb. mark and while his limit fish eluded him all the day it just didn’t matter.  Evans reports targeting bedding smallmouth along the northern part of the lake. His key presentation was a Berkley Split Belly swimbait rigged on a lead head jig fished in and around rocky shorelines in 4-6 ft depths. Evans believes the Berkley bait was key in generating the bites he got. Evans recognizes Pure Fishing and thanks Terry Principia of Pelican Point Marina for keeping his Triton TX21 in top operating condition.

Second place went to Brad Brodnicki, Amherst NY with a weight of 15.69 lbs. good for $1,500. Brodnicki reports fishing all over the lake with a jig and a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss in weed lines ranging from 5-15 ft.

Lee Rogers’ third place weight of 15.38 lbs. not only earned him a check for $1,069 but it also qualified him as the highest finishing Skeeter owner taking home the Towne Marine $5,000 Skeeter boat bonus. Rogers used three patterns to catch his fish, hollow belly frogs, flippin weeds and skipping docks. He spent the majority of his time in the southern portion of the lake targeting milfoil in 6-8 ft. because it had the most productive repeatable pattern. Rogers felt the key to his success was a ¼ oz. ECO Pro Tungsten worm weight and the Venom Better Beaver (Black) and the 5” Salty Sling (Black/Blue).  Given his $6,000 payday I think he might be on to something there.

Rounding out the top five were Chris O’Brien, Rochester NY with 14.74 lbs and Randy Dustin, Jamestown NY with 13.80 lbs. Taking the Boater Division Lunker was Doug Scharett with a 5.54 lb. beast.

Non-Boater Division

David Evans Memphis NY captured the title with a 12.81 lb. limit that paid $1,500. Evans reports during the tournament his boater targeted the northwest side of the lake and he skipped Senkos (black/blue fleck) under docks in 3 ft. or less and casts near anything that looked good along the shoreline.

Jim Missel, Penfield NY took second place with a weight of 12.79 lbs. that paid $836 and he anchored his limit with the non-boater division lunker, a 5.12 lb. beauty good for another $450 Missel reports flippin and a Havoc Devil Spear in 7-9 ft to catch his fish.

Larry Rovito, Burke NY landed in third place with a nice limit weighing 12.20 lbs. earning a check for $706. He reports catching his fish on a black/blue jig with a pork trailer fished in 6 ft in the weeds.

Rounding out the top five were Dereck Bigford, Cicero NY with 11.92 lbs. earning $606 and Eric McDonald, Barbhamsted CT with 10.23 lbs. earning $506.

Trail Format

Boaters and Non-boaters are randomly paired for eight hours of fishing with the boater maintaining control of the boat the entire day.  Each angler competes against only their respective division the boater entry fee is $125 and non-boaters $75.

Image courtesy New York BASS Chapter Federation

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