I fished in the third division event in the New York West Division of the Bassmaster Weekend Series on Saturday.  The tournament was held at Lake Chautauqua and was run by the ABA.  These guys do a great job making sure the tournament runs smoothly and the weigh-in is fast to help get the fish back to the water.

Last week I had stated that I was really excited for the upcoming tournament.  Friday’s practice left me feeling about that I would be able to land about 13-15 pounds of fish.  Depending on how many big bites I was able to get.  Friday I found fish in the weeds, on docks, and on laydowns.  I only stuck 1 fish in each location, but I managed about 13-14 lbs worth of fish and 2 of them were in the 3 3/4lb range.  The key to my bite on friday was to leave the lure fish perfectly still.  The water temperature varied from 66-70 degrees depending on the end of the lake and time of day.

Towards the end of practice on Friday and during the pre tournament meeting Friday night the winds started to pick up.  You guessed it, a cold front was about to come through.  Throughout the course of the night we got hit with high winds, heavy rains, and even a little bit of hail.  This being said I new that the conditions were about to get even harder on the lake.

At the start of the tournament the winds were relatively mild and out of the west.  I started on a weed line where I caught on of my good fish the day before and punch a few lure in the 8 feet of weeds.  With no success I moved to the shallow flat adjacent to the weeds looking for an agressive bite.  Once again, I couldn’t get an agressive strike.  I went back to the weeds for another 20 minutes or so with no success.  At this point I worked towards a long row of docks and started fishing them.  The first dock I threw at I pulled a 5lb largemouth bass.  At this point I was thinking that I had a great chance to get a big weight.  After working the rest of the docks on the stretch and not getting a hit I ran to another spot.

I pulled into a set of docks that had a bunch of potoon boats.  The potoon boats were key to my pattern.  On my very first cast I hooked up with a small keeper that jumped off.  A few casts later I caught a small keeper.  Ten minutes later I caught another small keeper.  To say that least I couldn’t find our where the big fish or even average (2.5lb) fish had gone from the week before.

After fishing all of the docks in that area, I decided to run back to my first spot in the weeds.  That decision was based on the fact that I caught a couple big fish over there in practice and I thought it was a matter of time for the weeds to turn on.  I was wrong.  Once I decided that I wouldn’t get hit anymore in the spot it was time to move again.  I tried to hit a couple more spots, but there were guys on them.  So, I decided to run south to fill my limit.

When I arrived at the creek I decided to flip the lay downs that I caught a 3 3/4lb fish from the day before.  There was a big difference this time though.  the wind was ripping from the North and blasting the shallow shoreline with waves.  This made it very difficult to flip the laydowns, but I managed to get a 2lber and my limit with another small keeper.  I tried multiple other spots and had no success.  Looking for a couple more good fish I went back to the north to find guys in every spot I wanted.

Before I knew it the tournament was over and I had to leave.  Overall, I finished with a 5 bass limit that weighed 11.48lbs.  It was not what I had planned for, but it was good enough to place 16th and give me some valuable points toward the AOY standings.  After the tournament I moved up in the standing from being tied for 9th place to being tied for 5th place.

If I had it to do over I believe that I would have never left the northern end of the lake.  Conditions were tough, but if I would have tried more things in the areas I had fish maybe I could have gotten a couple more good bites.

Now it is time to get ready for the fourth event which will be at Canandaigua Lake, NY on September 12.  I am really looking forward to fishing that tournament because I have never been to that body of water.

News Reporter
My name is Leo Cancilla, and I was born April 23, 1984. I live in Butler Pennsylvania with my fantastic wife Jessica. I have been fishing local fishing tournaments for about 12 years now. My fishing strengths are power fishing and flipping. My favorite lake in Pennsylvania is Pymatuning Lake.

This year I will be competeing the Bassmaster Weekend Series - New York West Division, Keystone Bass Buddies Circuit, Club Tournaments, and the Lake Arthur Wednesday Night Tournaments.

My sponsors for this year are:

Pure Fishing

Dig-In Shallow Water Anchors

Contact me at leo@fishpittsburgh.com

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