On October 27th New York The Bass Federation (NY TBF) held their 2014 Early Bird tournament on Oneida Lake with their base of operations out of Oneida Shores Park in Brewerton NY. The first significant cold front of the fall season hit the area and sat over the lake for a three day period before the tournament. This weather front resulted in a 12 degree drop in water temperature and added yet another facet for anglers to consider when formulating their game plans for this fishery.
Predictions were 20-21 lbs. to win with at least 18 lbs. needed for a check. Those predictions held up as the top three weights were all in excess of 19 lbs., with a mere .35 lbs. separating them. We caught up with the winners to see how they fished the event and here’s what they had to say.
Nick Albano, Bergen Bassmasters, took 1st place with a weight of 19.75 lbs. and anchored his limit with the big fish of the day a 5.85 lb. beast. The most interesting part to those in attendance is that Albano did it with all largemouth bass. Traditionally on Oneida Lake when the water temps falls in the 50 degree range and cooler the green fish are usually non-players, but these largemouth bass had other ideas. Albano used a Smithwick Rattlin Rouge and a Rick Clunn jerkbait to catch fish in broken weeds. He reports a bare bottom or too many weeds were no good, you had to find just the right amount of broken weeds and the fish were actively feeding. As the highest finishing Ranger boat owner Albano also took home the Ranger Cup bonus money.
Taking second place with a weight of 19.60 lbs. was Brad Brodnicki. He reports using a single swimbait to caught his first limit by 8 AM. As the bite slowed he changed presentation to catch a few cull fish on a jerkbait and then culled up to his final weight using the Alabama Rig (A-Rig). Key to his success was focusing on 12 ft. depth and using 4” baits in white
Rapsody Rod Pro Staffer Mike Cusano, Clay NY, took third place with a weight of 19.40 lbs. Cusano reports using a 701 Rapsody heavy fast action rod to present an A-Rig most of the day. Cusano dressed his A-Rig with a variety of Keitech swimbaits and key to his success was covering a lot of water and changing head weights to present his baits throughout the water column. He reports the 701 rod’s weight made it effortless to cast all day and the hook setting power enabled him to catch 60 fish today.
Rounding out the top five were Nitro Boats Pro Staffer Burnie Haney, Calcium NY with a weight of 17.95 lbs. Haney used the A-rig dressed with Keitech 3.8 inch Swing Impact Fats; then culled a few fish with a Lucky Craft CB 350 crank bait in Ghost Minnow to reach his final weight and Chad Van Slyke brought in 17.30 lbs.
NY TBF Past President and the reigning 2013 TBF Co-Angler National Champion, Ben Wright, Peru NY, took top honors with 16.65 lbs. Wright reports catching 20 fish in the 11-13 ft. depth with his biggest fish weighing 3.75 lbs. Wright reports using a Keitech model II jig (black & blue) dressed with 2.8” Swing Impact Fat (black). To present the lure he used a TFO 7’3” MH rod paired with a Shimano Citica 200e spooled with 14 lb. Berkley Fluorocarbon line. After that he employed a Rapala X-Rap (Tenn Shad), same rod & reel with 10 lb. Berkley Fluorocarbon line to cull three fish before reaching his wining weight.
Second place went to the reigning NY TBF 2013 Co-Angler of the Year, Jesse Bezio with a weight of 16.20 lbs. Bezio reports using a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 in Citrus Shad to catch his fish. He also weighed in the heaviest fish in the co-angler division at 4.95 lbs., but he failed to join the lunker pool so he forfeited that prize money.
Plattsburg College angler Kevin Grist took third place with a solid weight of 15.55 lbs. Grist reports catching all of this fish on Keitech swim jigs (black). This marks Grist first appearance in the top three and we expect to see a win out of this up and comer during the 2014 tournament season.
Rounding out the top five were Todd Appelton with 15.10 lbs. and Jason Barnes with 15 lbs. The co-Angler lunker bass money went to Ricky Lee with a 4.10 lb. fish. Lee remembered to pay his lunker fee and I’ll bet Jesse Bezio enters the next lunker pool.
Following the final weigh-in one participant is randomly drawn to receive Temple Fork Outfitter (TFO) Rod and today’s winner was Burnie Haney of Calcium, NY
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
This event marks the final NYTBF tournament for the 2013 calendar year. For additional information on the NYTBF 2014 tournaments contact President Bobby Williams at email@example.com or 315.408.8472 or go to www.nytbf.com
Image courtesy New York The Bass Federation