The NY BASS Chapter Federation (NYBCF) held their annual Club Team Championship on Oneida Lake on August 17th and 18th from Oneida Shores Park. A total of twenty seven, six person teams from member clubs converged on Oneida Lake to battle for the title of team champion. In addition, two angler positions for the 2014 New York Eastern Regional Team were to be decided.
Oneida Lake proved to be challenging for the anglers. Being mid-summer and having hosted a major BASS Northern Open only two weeks prior, the fish had seen more than a few baits pass their way. Some teams and anglers did figure out the patterns and baits to bring in 922 pound of bass averaging 2.4 fish per angler. Three teams lead the way with only six ounces separating them. Westchester Rod and Reel team held the lead with 64.46 total pounds, followed closely by the New Jersey Hawg Hunters with 64.16 total pounds and then Crown City with 64.10 total pounds. First day lunker was brought in by Jeffery Hermance from the Adirondack Bassmasters, who weighed in a 6.00 pound largemouth caught in the canal. First day individual weight honors went to Chris Killoren from Crown City Bassmasters whose five fish limit weighed in at 17.54 pounds.
Championship Sunday dawned to stiff easterly winds and two to three foot waves. Unlike the sunny, relatively calm day on Saturday, it looked like the anglers were in for a bit of a rough start. The leading teams were all tense as each member arrived at the scales. NYBCF sponsor Nationwide Insurance was set up with water and snacks for the anglers as they pulled their boats from the water. Tournament Director Peter Knight and Weighmaster Dick Hyde were very vigilant in weighing each catch. When the scales closed and the two day weights were tallied, Crown City Bassmasters had emerged as the 2013 Club Team Champions with a two day weight total of 140.0 pounds. Team members were John Badman, R.C. Bobbett, Todd Covert, Chris Killoren, Joe Matt, and Jim, Tiernuy. The anglers all were fishing in about 8 to 10 feet of water and as the dock talk began to buzz, it became apparent that the Alabama Rig, with multiple baits on an umbrella type framework had played a key roll in the victory. In addition, anglers used baits that replicated the two prime food sources, shad and crawdads.
In second place was the team from Westchester Rod and Reel with a total team weight of 128.95 pounds. Team members were Frank Giner, Jim Johnson, Robert Jorgenson, Ken Woods, Rich Russell, and George Puskar. The Westchester Team concentrated on the Eastern end of the lake with Alabama Rigs being a common theme. Unlike the Crown City team, Westchester fished slightly deeper water in the 12 to 14 foot range.
Day two lunker went to Whitey Grogan from the Blackrock Bassmasters who weighed in a 4368 pound largemouth. Whitey caught his fish in shallow water on a Senko. Day two individual weight leader was Dave Ottman from Salt City Bassmasters with a five fish limit weighing in at 15.81 pounds.
Other teams in the top six were Third Place New Jersey Hog Hunters with 100.40 pounds, Fourth Place Port City Bassmasters with 99.58 pounds, Fifth Place Oneida Lake Bassmasters with 99.54 pounds and Sixth Place Good Old Boys with 98.63 pounds.
The top finishing angler from the first and second place teams won a coveted position on the 2014 NYBCF Eastern Divisional Team. Chris Killoran from Crown City and George Puskar from Westchester Rod and Reel have the honor of competing for the BASS Eastern Divisional Championship in September of 2014 on a yet to be named lake in New York State.
Fishcare for this event was again very good. On day one, 386 bass were presented to the scales for weighin and all 386 were released alive. On day two, 407 fish were presented to the scales for weighin with only two fish lost. The anglers did an outstanding job keeping their fish safe and well and the Fishcare crew, headed by Paul Hudson on the NYBCF release boat did an outstanding job handling and releasing the catch.
Thanks to all of the anglers and volunteers who help make this another successful Club Team Championship.
Image courtesy New York BASS Chapter Federation