Pennsylvania angler wins sweeps, plans to learn techniques from Skeet

When Douglas Oswald received a message to call B.A.S.S. Membership Director Mitch Frank, he got his hopes up, and rightfully so. The Allentown, Pa., bass angler entered the Bassmaster.com “Fish With Skeet” sweepstakes close to 40 times.

“I was hoping that was what the call was about,” Oswald said. “There aren’t too many times when the membership director calls and asks you to call back. I was ecstatic.”

Oswald won a free fishing trip with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Skeet Reese, plus round-trip airfare within the continental U.S., a two-night hotel stay, a car rental and $500 in cash. Also included is a package of the Bassmaster Elite Series pro’s gear, including $500 in Wright & McGill and TroKar tackle, a $500 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card and three pairs of polarized glasses from Wiley X. The total prize package is valued at $4,995.

Oswald, who calls the prizes and his good fortune “amazing,” takes Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing seriously and would enter whenever he went online to check his Elite Series team picks and his status during the contest that ran from April 1 to June 12.

“I always entered the contest when I would check to see how I’m doing,” said Oswald, whose sitting at a strong 78 percent in the fantasy league. “I’ve been putting my money on [Reese] as far as the fantasy league is going. I picked him two weeks ago, and I’ve been watching him.”

Oswald has been an avid bass fishermen for about 30 years — from the time he and a friend stumbled onto a bass bonanza at a mine hole.

His preferred fishery these days is Lake Nockamixon in Quakertown, Pa., about 20 minutes from his home. He’s perfected the art of catching the 5-pounders there, and says the big bass are abundant on the lake, which is horsepower restricted, meaning less traffic and less pressure on the bass he targets.

“In the spring, I always use spinnerbaits, and in the summer, I use deep-diving crankbaits or a 10-inch worm,” said Oswald, who works as a butcher at a local farmer’s market. “I’ve been fishing it since the early ’90s, so I’m confident in going night fishing by myself. I catch most of my bass at night.”

Because his work ties him up most weekends, Oswald doesn’t often fish tournaments, but he’s technical about how he finds his bass.

“I started getting more serious about fishing the lake by my house, and just when I thought I’d learned it, Humminbird came out with side and down scan,” Oswald said. “It made all the difference in the world and totally changed how I was fishing. I do a lot of spring fishing for the numbers of bass I catch, and I know where they’re going to be in the spring. I scan the lake in the summer months to find them.”

Oswald views the sweepstakes win as an opportunity to learn from Reese, the 2007 Bassmaster Angler of the Year and winner of the Bassmaster Classic in 2009.

“I just want to watch him fish and see how he picks apart an area and targets the fish,” Oswald said. “I know he’s got the same kind of depthfinder I use. He’s probably using his electronics a lot more than we’re used to using them here.”

Oswald also hopes to see Reese use a drop shot, a tactic the contest winner has not yet mastered.

“I don’t use it a lot, so that would really be a help to my fishing,” Oswald said. “I’ve tried it with little or no success around structure and have never caught anything. It’s something I know I need to spend time on.”

A new sweepstakes offering a chance to “Fish With G-Man” is currently underway on Bassmaster.com. It features a fishing trip with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle, a two-night hotel stay, round-trip airfare, a rental car and $500 cash.

The winner also will receive nearly $6,000 in prizes, including a Humminbird 898i HD Sl, a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition, nearly $2,000 in Swindle’s gear, a set of four ATX wheels from Wheel Pros and a custom Simms jacket from Mercury Marine.

The entire prize package is valued at $10,000. The contest runs through Sept. 19, and the winner will be selected on Sept. 30. To enter, click here.

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