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This past weekend Jon and I went to Seneca Lake to fish the second event in the Bassmaster Weekend Series, New York West Divison.  Neither of us had ever seen the lake before, so we decided to head up and practice both Thursday and Friday.  The tournament was held on Saturday.

Seneca Lake

Thursday we decided that driving around a lot would be beneficial, so that we could look for high percentage areas and get the lay of the lake.  What we found was that the entire lake looked and acted exactly the same.  The first 10 yards off shore typically didn’t have any weeds, and the depth was around 2 feet deep.  For that lake it was extremely shallow.    The next 50 to 100 yards off shore was thick weeds that would come up to the surface or within a couple feet of the surface.  At the weed line typically you would have about 10-20 feet where there were only weeds near the bottom and then a sharp ledge would drop you as deep as 150 feet.  Seneca Lake is very deep and the average depth is 290 feet.  The deepest part of the lake that we crossed was 532 feet, but the deepest part that has been recorded is 691 feet.  The water clearity was incredible as well.  Depending on the wind, weeds, and cloud cover we were able to see as deep as 15-20 feet.  The water temperature on the main lake varied from 68-70 degrees.   We only had a couple hits on Thursday and the 2 fish that we caught were dinks.

Friday we decided to really work the water that was in the 20 feet range.  We jumped around after working each area for 20-30 minutes.  We came up on one point, which I decided was a community hole after I saw boat pulling up and fishing constantly.  We sat there for a while because we were getting smallmouth to hit and follow, but the only fish we could hook up with were dinks.  Some of the followers were really nice fish though.  Until 1:00 we jumped small point to small point looking for more smallmouth, but we had no success.  With my practice time getting narrower I decided to try to find some largemouth, which I am more comfortable catching.  Riding up the West side of the lake I noticed a shoreline that looked similar to Pymatuning Lake because it had a bunch of bushes and a few docks.  I pulled into the area and realized that there was about 2 feet of water under the bushes.  For largemouth that is more than enough.  I throw a senko right to the front of the bush and while I was moving in I got my first keeper of the trip.  I nice 2lber.  I didn’t bother fishing that area anymore and drove a couple hundred yards up the shoreline and cast at another bush and caught a 2.5lber.  I had my pattern for the next day.  To be on the safe side we decided to head up in the canal to take a look around and found more bait there than on the main lake.  We also found more fisherman in there than the main lake, so I ruled out fishing in the canal.  The water temperature in the canal was 72 degree and crystal clear water.

The tournament would start off very slow for me.  I figured that the fish would be active early so I power fished the shoreline of bushes without any success.  Then I threw at some and flipped some of the bushes.  Once again no luck.  After a couple of hours we decided to go try to catch a couple of those smallmouth I had chasing my lures.  After 45 minutes and no followers and no hits I decided that I wasn’t going to get my fish there and headed back to my largemouth.  On the way back I decided to fish a marina, which is legal in New York, that I hadn’t been able to hit because there were always boats there fishing.  I pulled in made about 10 casts and I caught my first keeper of the day.  We fished the rest of the marina and was unable to get anymore fish.  Then we headed back to the only shoreline that had produced a keeper in the practice.  I pulled into the biggest dock that I had every seen and caught my second keeper and lost one.  It wrapped me around a boat and broke my line.  We started up the shoreline and hit a couple bushes and I caught my lunker 3.67lbs.  Now with 3 keepers I was feeling pretty good, but my time was running out.  After fishing a mile of shoreline and getting nothing else I ran back to the big dock around 1:00.  I made my first cast and caught my 4th keeper.  After 10 minutes I caught my 5th keeper.  My rider than my 5 cast to the same spot and caught his limit of 3 keepers.  Those were the last fish that we caught.

For my first trip to Seneca Lake I caught a limit of 5 largemouth bass that weight 9.84lbs.  That was good enough to finish in 5th place.  My rider had a limit of 3 bass that weighed 5.25lbs and he finished in 6th place.  I would like to say that I really enjoyed the tournament and that the ABA staff does a fantastic job running the events.  I would like to mention that we made some good friends with a great group of guys and girls.  We had met them at Chautauqua and have treated us like we had know each other our entire lives.   If anyone is heading up to the finger lakes and want any more information send me an email.  There are very few bodies of water that compare to those lakes in Pennsylvania.

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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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