Laconia, N.H.—Local favorite Scott Parker caught the biggest bass of the day and set the pace in the BASS Federation Nation Eastern Divisional on Lake Winnipesaukee.
The 34-year-old web developer estimated he burned about 50 gallons of gas running around the lake to catch a five-fish limit weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces. The tournament leader is a member of the Back Bay Bassmasters and is competing in his 11th divisional.
"I figured out that I couldn't do the community fishing like everybody else is doing," said Parker. "Everybody is fishing out in the middle and I like to go to one-fish spots, so what I did was run the entire lake. It's very risky but it is the only way I can compete with these guys because they are really good smallmouth fishermen and I don't consider myself one."
One of the spots Parker ran to was a dock that produced big fish for him in the 1998 Eastern Divisional, which he led for the first two days. "I had a hunch today that with the sunshine and the light breeze I could run that and it worked out well," said Parker, who caught the biggest bass of the day, a 6-pound, 4-ounce largemouth, from the dock. Flipping a jig and power drop shotting (working the rig at a fast pace) produced four keeper smallmouth and the kicker largemouth.
Two contests are rolled into one in this Eastern Divisional. Anglers from eight states are vying for the top spot in their team standings to qualify for a berth to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship, the premier tournament of amateur bass fishing. Their daily catches are also added to the cumulative score of their 12-man teams as the states compete for bragging rights and a top prize of a Skeeter/Yamaha rig valued at $30,000.
Connecticut leads the team competition with 110 pounds, 2 ounces. Parker is the leader of the host New Hampshire squad which is in second with 98-4. Other competitors at the top of their state team standings include, Al Gambardella, Connecticut; Glen Bruce, Maine; Michael Holt, Massachusetts; Frank Giner, New York; Mike Desforges, Ontario; Leo Bevelaqua, Rhode Island; and Scott Green, Vermont.
The team champions and the top state of the Eastern Division will be determined at the conclusion of this three-day event on Friday.
Weigh-ins are being held at the Margate on Winnipesaukee at 3 p.m. EDT each day.