Posts Tagged TBF

You Never Know

This past weekend I fished a PA TBF district tournament @ Shenago Reservoir. My dad and I practice most of the day on Friday and we only managed 7 bites between the 2 of us and only 3 keepers. If that wasn’t bad enough there was no consistency on how we got any of the bites. The structure was different for each fish, the lures were different, the colors of lures were different and the end of the lake was never the same. Over time I have learned that I tough practice doesn’t always mean a tough tournament, or a bad finish.

Coming into the event I was leading the points race because I won the first district event, so I really wanted to do well again. Not that you ever want to accept doing poorly. After the bad practice I had one spot that I though I could run to and at least get one keeper so that is where I decided to start. My rider and I pulled up to the spot and started working the bottom. There was a slight about of baitfish activity and my rider switch to a top water lure. His popper was quickly eaten by a short largemouth. About 2 casts later he hooked up with a keeper that came off half way back to the boat. My fish had came from working bottom bouncing lures through practice, but I quickly changed to a top water sexy dawg. My 2nd cast I hooked up with the first and only keeper we would land. A few casts later I lost a keeper that was bigger than my first.

On a lake like Shenago a lost fish as a boater or rider can just ruin your day. The next spot we hit we each lost another keeper on topwater. I knew at that point winning the tournament or even contending would be difficult. We fished hard all day and never caught or hook up with another keeper.

Coming into the launch I didn’t believe that I would even be in the top 10 as a boater with 1 keeper. I had told my rider not to worry about his 2 lost keepers because it probably wouldn’t have cost him money. The truth to the matter is that both of us if we had landed those fish would have won. The winning boater weight was 6.16lb and the winning rider weight was 3.16lbs. The 3.16lbs was caught by my dad which he won lunker and the tournament as a rider with the 3.16lb largemouth. My single fish of 2.27lbs enabled me to finish in the top 6.

The lesson from this tournament that I learned was to never assume that you don’t have a chance in any tournament no matter what body of water you are on. The winning weight with 4 fish on Shenago should have taken 12lbs, but it only took half of that. As a rider only 1 fish was needed. Never release a fish in a tournament as you just don’t know.



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TBF State Championship

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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TBF District 6 – Brady’s Bend, PA

Brady’s Bend, PA was the host of the third and final event for TBF District 6.  It was held August 22nd on the Allegheny River. The Brady’s Bend pool of the Allegheny River is a very unique pool, if you were to leave the boat launch and head north, you would only be able to navigate about a mile or so in a normal boat.  You need to have a jet boat to go any further north.  South of the boat launch is about 8 miles of river that can be fished with a normal outboard motor.   Around 60 percent of the field had jet boats that morning.

Prior to this event, Rich, Brian and Brad had spent time pre-fishing this pool, with mixed results.  None of the guys had jet boats, so they we stuck fishing in the lower end of the pool.  Rumors have it that the best fishing is to be had the further north you can go.  Rich had a pattern going with a buzz bait, followed up with a senko if the fish missed it.  Brad was working his areas with a fluke and a shallow running crank bait, while Brian spent his time working a Pop-R and a Poor Boys Jig.

The morning of the tournament the anglers were greeted with overcast skies, just what you think the anglers may need to catch them.  But in practice the guys were fishing very bright sunny skies.  So as normal Mother Nature put her twist on things.

At the end of the day Brad finished 9th on the angler side with 4 fish, he broke one of with about 5 minutes left to fish that would have bumped him up to around third or so, do the weights all being so close.  Brian finished 11th with 2 fish.  Rich also had two fish, but one fish did not make it to the scales alive so he was docked at ½ pound as per the rules, that put Rich in 13th for the day.

On the co-angler side Bob finished 7th, Derek finished 8th with a ½ pound dead fish penalty and Jeff finished 12th.  The dead fish for Derek really ended up costing him big, without the dead fish penalty Derek would have finished 5th in the tournament and ultimately winning the angler of the year points race.  Due to the 8th place finish, Derek ended up 2nd in the co-angler of the year points, by a ½ of point.

As 2010 TBF district 6 came to a close the Bass Hounds ended up pretty good, but are looking to improve for next year.  On the angler side Rich Wolota finished 2nd, Brad Bressler finished 8th, Brian Spencer finished 13th.  On the co-angler side Derek Severns finished 2nd, Jeff Spencer finished 9th and Bob Severns finished 16th.  Five of the six team members qualified for the state classic to be held October 8th and 9th at Chautauqua Lake in NY.  Catch you after that!

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TBF District 6 Tournament – Lake Erie

August 8th marked the second of three TBF district 6 tournaments.  This tournament was held on Lake Erie. The tournament launched from Marina Bay and was open to all waters, bay and main lake.  The Bass Hounds were there with 3 boaters and two riders.  The limit at the tournament was 4 fish, due to issues with keeping fish alive, due to very hot water temperatures; at the pre-tourney meeting the limit was changed to three fish to try to help this situation.

Most if not all boats headed out of the bay and towards the main lake to fish for the giant smallmouth bass that the lake has to offer.  Heading west was almost impossible as the wind was from the west and the waves were growing bigger and bigger, hour by hour.  At 6am when the tournament took off the waves were around 3 to 6 foot.  This made the fishing almost impossible.  The guys that headed east were able to fish for a little longer until the wind and waves caught up to them.  By 1pm there was a small craft advisory on the lake with waves in the 4 to 8 foot range.  Most boats had headed near or into the bay by 12 noon.  Largemouth bass can be caught near and in the bay area at Erie.

The choice baits at Erie are tubes, drop shot, blade baits, and even top water lures.  It seems you need some wind at Erie to make the fishing good, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing.  The wind was so bad that guys we were using 1 oz plus weights to try to get our baits to stay on the bottom.  It was just plain hard to get a bite when the conditions are like that.

Out of 46 entries only 9 limits were weighed, also fish were weighed by only 25 contestants.  One of the limits weighed was by Bass Hounds boater Rich Wolota, a limit of three largemouths’s weighing in at 5.72 as all he could do.  Rich said that his spots on the main lake were unfishable when he arrived there.  This limit landed Rich in 8th place for the tournament.  Co anglers Derek Severns and Jeff Spencer both had one fish each. This left Derek in 6th place and Jeff in 12th.   These were finishes that helped out all three anglers in the Angler and Co-Angler of the year races.  After Erie, Rich Wolota is in second place in the Angler of the year standings.  In the Co-Angler of the year standings after 2 of 3 events, Derek Severns is in first place and Jeff Spencer is in fifth place.  Anglers Brad Bressler and Brian Spencer are sitting in 10th and 18th respectively.

August 22 marks the last of the three District 6 events on the Allegheny River.  The Bass Hounds are looking for a strong finish to the year and possibly two Angler of the Year titles.  Again, The Bass Hounds would like to thank all of their sponsors.  A special thanks goes out for this update to Valvoline Oil for their sponsorship throughout the year…Thanks again guys, catch you after the Allegheny River.

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Mr. Bass East TBF Potomac River

April 23rd and 24th mark the dates for the Mr. Bass East TBF tournament.  Four members of The Bass Hounds team headed down for a few days of pre-fishing and then the two day tournament.  Boaters Rich Wolota and Brad Bressler left on Monday night and arrived at Smallwood state park Tuesday morning to start fishing.  Co-anglers Jeff Spencer and Derek Severns left Wednesday night and arrived Thursday in the am to fish a little and prepare for Fridays first day.

During the couple days of pre fishing, Rich had his spots and fish dialed in, a limit both days should have not been a problem.  Rich was having excellent luck with a Poor Boys darter jig, with a Poor Boys KISS Craw trailer, both in green pumpkin.  On the other hand Brad found fish, but not as many keepers as he had hoped for.  The size limit at the Potomac is 15” and most of the fish Brad was on were 14 ¾ inches.  Brad was catching a lot fish on Poor Boys Dixie Darter in black and also using green pumpkin.  Even though the fishing was slow as far as keepers went, the fishing overall was very, very good, each angler reported catching anywhere from 30 to 50 fish a day.

On day one of the tournament Rich went straight to the spot that he had found this week and was very happy to find that he had this area all to himself.  He was able to boat about 25 fish that first day but only two kept.  Rich said, “I broke off two fish early in the day, both were really good fish, I also missed a couple bites, I am pretty disappointed, but we will see what tomorrow brings.”  Brad started the day off with a keeper on his first cast, a largemouth weighing in at 3.81 lbs.  A great start he thought, then he caught 3 short fish in his next 5 casts.  Believe it or not Brad caught around 35 fish on day one but that first fish on his first cast was his only keeper.  Co-anglers Jeff and Derek did well, Jeff finished the first day off with 2 keepers for 5.41 lbs and Derek had 4 keepers for 10.23 lbs.  Both Jeff and Derek reported catching a lot of short fish, which seemed to be the way it was for most anglers.

Day two brought new hope of better results than the day before.  Brad started his day off by running to a new area in hopes of some bigger bites.  He did find them; Brad used his Poor Boys 4” tube in watermelon color to find these fish.  He ended the day with 3 keepers for 11.89 lbs.  Rich on the other hand went back to the spot that he fished the day before and today he did not lose or miss any fish.   Rich did indeed catch his limit and his five fish weighed in at 13.57.  Rich threw the same Poor Boys jig and trailer that he used the day before.  The co-anglers on the team did not fair as well, Jeff had two more keepers on day two for 6.11 lbs. and Derek had only one fish for 2.22 lbs.  Derek mentioned that he caught around 30 fish on day two, but only the one kept.

All said and done the trip did not produce the results the team had hoped for but everyone had a great time…Rich Wolota finished 15th and Brad Bressler finished 22nd in the anglers division…while Derek Severns finished 17th and Jeff Spencer finished 21st on the co-anglers side.   The team looks to improve on these finishes next month at the Western 6 Man Team event on Lake Erie June 26th and 27th.  The team would like to thank all of there sponsors,  Valvoline Oil, Strauss Automotive, Nervous Waters, Ardent Reels, Poor Boys Baits, Metal Menders, Fish and Nowak Commercial Refinishes.

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2010 “The Bass Hounds” Fishing Team

There is a new fishing team that has come together for the 2010 TBF season here in PA.  The name is The Bass Hounds; they are based out of Carnegie PA.  They will be fishing the PA TBF events in PA’s district 5 and 6.  The team is composed of  6 seasoned anglers with years of experience.  The members of the team are Rich Wolota, Brad Bressler, Brian Spencer, Derek Severns, Jeff Spencer and Bob Severns.

The Bass Hounds would like to take a moment to thank all of their sponsors, because with out them, this season would not be possible.  The team’s title sponsor is Valvoline Oil Co. The other companies supporting the team are Nervous Waters, Strauss Automotive, Metal Menders, Fish, Poor Boys Baits,  Ardent Reels, and Nowak Commercial Refinishing.

We will have write ups on all of these companies in upcoming blogs.  Please feel free to contact any of these companies and let them know that The Bass Hounds sent you to them and they will be happy help you out.  Our sponsors will provide specials that we will list on this site.  When you see them, feel free to call them with the promotional code and you will receive a discount.

The team starts off the 2010 season at the Potomac River April 23rd and 24th for the TBF MR. Bass East event.  We will let you know how the team fairs.  Also, remember to check back at for updates on the team and sponsors.

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TBF District 6 – Pymatuning

This Saturday I had a great day of practice fishing with a young friend, Nick Black.  Nick is 9 years old and absolutely loves to go fishing and hunting.  His family has a camp at Pymatuning so since I was heading up to practice anyways I told him that he was welcome to come with me.  I had no idea we would have such a great day.  He was able to catch 10 bass, smallmouth and largemouth, and they varied from 14-17 inches long.  Needless to say he was very excited. 

With a great practice day behind me and a cold front arriving I prepared for a tough day on the water on Sunday.  I was fishing in my first TBF District 6 event ever on Sunday.  I was fortunate enough to draw a great partner and president of the Pennsylvania TBF Mike Pierro.  Mike was more than willing to fish however I wanted to, and it was very obvious that he was a skilled fishermen from the word go. 

Throughout the day we struggle to get good bites, but i managed to get a limit of 5 bass that weighed 9.21 pounds.  It wasn’t what I would call a stellar day on the water but at least I had a limit.  Little did I know that it would be good enough to finish in 3rd place.  Needless to say I was quite pleased and I am looking forward to fishing the rest of the District 6 events. 

For all of the competitive anglers out there who have yet to fish a federation tournament, I urge you to join a club that allows you to do so.  These are good guys that just love to fish and compete.

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