The 2013 tournament season was a very good season for me, ending with claiming the Angler of The Year title for my bass fishing club, SRIBA (www.sriba.com).
The season began on one of my very favorite early-spring lakes, Chapman Pond, with a bag of bass that weighed in at 16.12 lbs!
Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t enough to win. In fact, it wasn’t even enough to take 2nd place! When everything was said and done, I landed in third place for the tourney. But I wasn’t complaining because it gave me a very solid start to the season, using that big weight as the launching pad for the rest of my tournament season.
I had some other very strong finishes during the season, taking 2nd and 3rd place on a few different occasions. Oddly, though, I was never able to win a single club tournament all year! In light of this, I never expected to be able to pull off winning the Angler of The Year title.
2013 Club Tournament Finishes
Chapman Pond – 16.12 lbs. – 3rd place
Echo Lake – 12.05 lbs. – 2nd place – also had tournament lunker of 4.52 lbs.
Wordens Pond – 10.73 lbs. – 2nd place
LOI – 8.38 lbs. – 5th place – included a kicker fish over 5 ½ lbs.
Quaddick Reservoir – 5.91 lbs. – 4th place
Indian Lake – 7.37 lbs. – 6th place – included tournament lunker of 4.38 lbs.
Smith & Sayles – 9.37 lbs. 3rd place
The River – 9.47 lbs. – 2nd place
Watchaug Pond – 4.14 lbs – 2nd place
So, as you can see from those stats, I never won a single tournament and even had a couple of real bummers in there. But, my overall record for the season was pretty good. Those 5 2nd and 3rd place finishes, in addition to catching a few big fish, set me up to take the AOY title by a slim margin without taking a single 1st place!
Persistence during each tournament and catching fish consistently across the entire schedule did the trick. And this is where I had to stop focusing on winning a tournament and start focusing on fishing consistently overall.
It wasn’t my plan going into the season, but it worked! Let’s face it… everyone likes to win. And I like it more than most people. When I compete, I compete to win. But being able to take the AOY title, after not winning any tournaments, was a satisfying end to a good season.
In addition to the regular club tournaments, I also fished in the SRIBA Club Classic, our annual championship tournament for the top 5 anglers from the previous season. I did well in this one, weighing in a 17.06 lb. bag of bass, but not well enough to win. I took 3rd place, which I guess is fitting when looking at the rest of my club tournaments 🙂
Outside of my club, I fished in two other tournaments.
One of these was an open tournament on Wordens Pond. The tournament had somewhere around 25 boats. This was a team tourney that I asked a good friend, Steve Burke, to fish with me as my partner.
We did very well! The tournament had an 8 fish limit, which we were able to catch before half way through the day. We spent the rest of the day culling fish and upgrading our weight up to 17 ½ lbs., including adding the tournament lunker of 4 ½ lbs.
We ended up taking 3rd place for the tourney, and grabbed the lunker prize, which added some nice pocket change to the total winnings 🙂 We had a great time together and I hope to fish this even again with Steve in 2014. Hint, hint, Steve, if you’re reading this!
In September, I fished another small tournament on Amos Lake, in Preston, CT. This is an annual tournament that’s run for members of the forums at www.northeastbass.com. I’ve fished this tournament every year for the past seven or 8 years with Bob Willis, a good friend of mine.
Despite doing very well, taking 2nd or 3rd place a few times, and even taking the tournament lunker on more than one occasion, we had never won it yet! So we went into this year’s tournament with a huge motivation to WIN it this time!!
Well, let me tell you that it started off pretty good, with a few good bites before it got dark. Oh, did I mention that this was an evening/night tournament? Yep! 6 PM until 1 AM 🙂
So we got a few good bites before it got dark. And then it got dark and the bite disappeared, completely. And then we struggled for bites. We had to seriously put our thinking caps on and try to figure things out.
But figure things out we finally did! And when everything was said and done, we had put our 6 fish limit into the boat and then some, culling a few times to increase our overall weight. And to add icing to the cake, with just 25 minutes left in the tournament, we put a 5.18 lb. bass in the boat that allowed us to cull out one last small fish and head to the weigh-in completely psyched!
When the scales closed and everyone had weighed their bags of fish, Bob and I had finally clinched the win and also taken the lunker for the tourney with that last-minutes kicker fish!
And to top it all off, we won by almost a 5 lb. margin! We finally did it and I have to admit that it really felt good.
So that’s the summary of my 2013 tournament season. That tournament at Amos Lake was the only tournament I won all year long, but yet I can look back and honestly say that I had a successful season, with no regrets.
So thanks for taking the time to read this. Next on my list is to put a little piece together to tell you about my guide service and how things went for me in 2013 on that end of things.
Until then, Fish On!