LACONIA, N.H. — The Junior Bassmaster competition at the Eastern Divisional on Lake Winnipesaukee, Sept. 20, was delayed 2 1/2 hours because of a thick fog. But the shortened competition day didn't faze a pair of first-time state champs, Brian Volkernick of Dixfield, Maine, and Jake Sasnowski of Bowmanville, Ontario, who finished first in their respective age groups and earned berths to the 2008 Junior Bassmaster World Championship in Kansas.
Volkernick, 12, caught two smallmouth bass weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces to beat out Mitchell Jones, Brewerton, N.Y., who finished with three fish totaling 5 pounds. Sasnowski topped the 15- to 18-year-old age bracket by catching four bass weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces, while Daniel Hoffman finished second with a 7-pound, 4-ounce limit, the only five-fish limit weighed in by the juniors.
A watermelon Berkley Gulp worm produced both keepers for Volkernick. The LA Junior Bassmasters club member worked the worm along weeds and sandy flats 17 feet deep. He fished similar tactics to those he employed at home, but the youngster also tried a new technique that his boat captain, Maine Eastern Divisional champ Glen Bruce, taught him. "I learned how to yo-yo a spinnerbait," said Volkernick.
Gerry Heels, Ontario's youth director, served as boat captain for the 17-year-old Sasnowski. "I learned how to cover a lot more water than what I am used to," said Sasnowski.
The Canadian teenager caught all of his keepers on a green-and-white Rapala X-Rap jerkbait. "I was snapping it hard three times, then letting it pause," said Sasnowski.