On July 21rd NY The Bass Federation (NY TBF) held their third event of the season on Oneida Lake located approximately 15 miles north of Syracuse off interstate 81. The lake hosts a great population of smallmouth and largemouth bass with walleye and pickerel and the occasional drum thrown in for good measure.  And while the lake’s been producing some great limits for this time of year (14 – 16 lb average), it was unknown what impact the week of extremely hot weather would have leading up to tournament day.

The estimate for a check was 14 lbs. or better and that held true to course. Here’s a look at the winners and how they caught their fish.


John Siejak, Williamsville NY, captured his first NY TBF winner’s trophy with a weight of 15.00 lbs. that he anchored with the big fish of the day a 4.01 Largemouth bass (LMB).  Siejak reports targeting top water fish to start his day and that produced the tournament lunker. After that he ran select areas with a spinnerbait to close out his limit. Once the spinnerbait bite slowed and the sun got up he flipped weed lines hoping to upgrade his limit. Siejak reports targeting LMB with his flipping technique and to his surprise he landed two key smallmouth (SMB) that helped him reach his winning weight. While Siejak is new to the NY TBF, he’s not new to tournament fishing, so watch for this Spro Lures Pro Staffer to make another appearance in the winner’s circle very soon.

Taking second place with a weight of 14.70 lbs. was Chris Benninger, Grand Island NY. Benninger used three different techniques to catch is winning fish. A top water, a drop shot and a slammer bait.

Third place went to Burnie Haney, (Nitro Boats Pro Staffer), Calcium NY, with a weight of 14.50 lbs. Haney reports fishing for SMB with two presentations in three areas around the lake targeting the 8-14 ft. zone adjacent to open water weed edges. Haney reports using Keitech 3.8” Swing Impact Fat and 4” Berkley Hollow Belly minnows rigged on ¼ and 3/16 oz. jig heads to catch roaming fish during the early morning period. As the sun got brighter and the active bite slowed Haney reports using a drop shot rig to present 4 inch plastics to generate strikes culling to his final weight. Key to his success was being patient and recognizing when to slow down his presentations based on the fish’s reactions. Haney used a TFO GTS 735-1, 7’3” medium heavy power fast action rod for the swimbaits which provided good long distance hook sets and the TFO GTS 734-1, 7’3”  medium power fast action rod for his dropshot fishing.

Rounding out the top five were Brian Sanson with 14.10 lbs. and Tom Luciano with 13.65 lbs.


Tom Demarco, Clinton NY, took top honors with a weight of 15.10 lbs. In second place with a weight of 14.25 lbs. was Brendan Bolis, Canton NY and Jason Barnes, Hadley NY, took third place with a weight of 12.05 lbs. Rounding out the top five were Bo Demarco with 11.25 lbs. and Dave Canestrare with 10.05 lbs.

Co-Angler lunker went to Todd Stark, Gloversville NY with a 3.95 lb. SMB

Ranger Cup Winner

As the highest finishing Ranger boat owner Chris Gore took the Ranger Cup bonus money

TFO Rod Winner

At each tournament NY TBF conducts a random participant’s draw for a Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) Signature Series rod and the winner was Dave Canestrare.  

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 $90 and co-angler $50 (with mandatory $30 due to the boater), payback is 75%. Anglers must be active members of the NY TBF and signed up for each event a minimum of six (6) days in advance.

Sponsors: Berkley, Chevy, Evinrude E-TEC, Humminbird, Ranger boats, Solar Bat Sunglasses, FLW Outdoors, Lowrance, Minnkota, Temple Fork Outfitter (TFO) rods, Cabela’s Angler Cash, The BASS University. Keitech and STORMMR

For additional information on the NYTBF tournaments contact President Ben Wright at 518.593.5681 or bwright@cvph.com or go to www.nytbf.com

Logo courtesy The Bass Federation

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