Last weekend was the TBF State Championship held at Cayuga Lake in New York. This year I was fishing the tournament as a boater and with one tournament and weeks experience on the lake I felt confident that I could do well. After 2 days of practice I was ready to get the tournament started. What I had found was there were more fish shallow that were willing to bite that deep, but the deep fish were bigger.

Day one I left in the 3rd flight boat 60 of 71. I actually wanted this because the fish I had found seemed to bite better in the afternoon. My strategy was to go shallow and get 12-13 pounds and move deep to look for a kicker. This was a case of not knowing what I had truly found in practice until tournament day. I had never left the shallow water day 1 because I boater my kicker 4.89lb largemouth at 11:30 and would cull fish all day to get to a total weight of 15.89lbs. This left me sitting in 5th place with a chance to move onto the mid-atlantic.

Day 2 I drew boat 5 in the first flight so I was going to be able to lay my claim to the same water as the day before. However, day 2 would not go as smoothly. It started great because I landed a kicker fish of 4.88lbs at 8:30am. At this point I was thinking it was meant to be. My entire bite was based on sunny weather and I would sit in the areas waiting for 1 hour of sun if I knew it was coming. I culled throughout the day with overcast conditions, but couldn’t get enough quality bites. Then at 2:00 the sky got brighter and the big fish started to bite. The only downfall was that I couldn’t keep them on the hook. I lost 2 fish in the 3lb range on back to back casts. At the end of the day I brought a limit of 12.58lbs to the scale giving me a 2 day total of 28.47lbs. Which before the tournament started I would have expected that to get me to the mid-atlantic. I ended up finishing in 8th place just out of the cut line by 1.4lbs.

Normally, I try not to think about what might have been because everyone in the tournament probably lost a couple fish that mattered, but this one hurt a little extra. Some of the lures that helped me were Berkley Havoc Pit Boss, Chatterbait, Mann’s Minus 1, Spro Popping Frog, but most of my fish came on hand poured senko’s that I make myself. If you have never fished the finger lakes I highly recommend taking time to travel to that area and experiencing some of the best fishing our great country has to offer.

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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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