COLCHESTER, VT. — Vermont’s Skip Sjobeck beat the challenge of facing different weather patterns for three days to win the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Eastern Divisional at Lake Champlain.
The 32-year-old Just for Fun Bass Anglers club member bagged an 18-pound, 10-ounce limit the first day that featured ideal smallmouth conditions of sunny skies and light wind. He backed up that catch with a 17-9 limit yesterday in the rain and wind. Today Sjobeck followed up with 15 pounds during post frontal conditions of clouds and wind and then sunshine by the afternoon.
“It is tough right now,” Sjobeck said. ”I just ground it out every day and ran a bunch of stuff today. Everywhere I caught them the day before I didn’t catch them the next day so I moved around a lot. The west wind made it very tough today. My batteries were almost dead at 11 (o’clock) so luckily I had my fish by then. I wanted one more fish because I thought I had only 13 1/2 pounds.” His final day limit gave him a three-day total of 51-3 and his first divisional title in eight tries.
“All of my fish today came on the XZone Lures Slammer on a drop shot,” he said. “I tried to Carolina rig this morning but that wasn’t working. I had bites but they just weren’t really eating it, so I just ran around with the drop shot and it produced.”
He targeted smallmouth every day at depths ranging from 12 to 35 feet. Some of the fish were in grass 14 to 16 feet deep and others were on isolated rock piles in the 25- to 35-foot range.
“Being a local I have a lot of history here and I knew a lot of little rock piles that are hard to find,” he said. “Every day I could catch one or two good fish off of those isolated rock piles.”
As the tournament champ and his team’s top angler, Sjobeck also qualifies for the Federation Nation Championship to be held in November in Louisiana. Other state and province winners headed to the FNC are Tom Reynolds of Connecticut; George Cooper, Maine; Ed Robak, Massachusetts; John Diaco, New Hampshire; Jamie Hartman, New York; Craig Denham, Ontario, Canada; and Andrew MacColl, Rhode Island.
For the second year in a row, Connecticut won the team competition by amassing 470 pounds, 10 ounces. “We all worked really well together,” said team captain Alan Guite. “We stayed together and ate together every night and shared techniques.”