Day Three Eastern Divisional Results
Orillia, Ontario, Canada—Mike Wolfenden apparently has a fixation with the color brown.
The Warwick, R.I., angler who works for United Parcel Service (the company known for its brown delivery trucks) keyed on Lake Simcoe smallmouth bass for three days to win the BASS Federation Nation Eastern Divisional presented by Skeeter Boats and Yamaha Outboards. Twelve of the 13 keepers he caught during the tournament were brown bass.
"I kind of like smallmouth," said Wolfenden, who won the Rhode Island state championship last year keying on smallmouth at Lake Champlain. "If there are big smallmouth in a lake I shy away from largemouth because I feel more comfortable catching smallmouth."
The 39-year-old Bass Posse club member got pretty comfortable catching Lake Simcoe smallmouth as he won the divisional championship with 51 pounds, 11 ounces. Catching a limit of smallmouth weighing 20-13 today vaulted Wolfenden from seventh place into the top spot. "Most of my fish for the whole tournament came on a drop shot (rigged with either a smelt Berkley Gulp Minnow, 3-inch Berkley Gulp worm or a smoke Strike Zone Slammer)," said Wolfenden. "I had a slight back up plan for when I had a tough time. I located a couple of fish on beds that I was keeping them in case I was struggling and yesterday it helped me big time because I had one close to 6 pounds that I caught on a bed."
By winning the divisional and leading his team, Wolfenden advanced to the BASS Federation Nation Championship, the world championship for amateur bass fishing. The other seven anglers who finished atop their state or provincial teams to qualify for the national champion were Al Gambardella, Connecticut; Mark Desjardin, Maine; Randy Phillips, Massachusetts; Tyler Hanatow, New Hampshire; Joe Matt, New York; David Johnson, Ontario; and Skip Sjobeck.
The national championship will be held Oct. 25-31 at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Tavares, Fla. The 55 contenders in this championship will be vying for six spots to the Bassmaster Classic slated for Feb. 19-21, 2010 on Lay Lake near Birmingham, Ala.
Rhode Island won the team competition and claimed the divisional's top prize of a $30,000 Skeeter bass boat rigged with a Yamaha outboard motor. The team's 14 anglers brought in a cumulative weight of 424 pounds, 15 ounces.
The cumulative weights for each team included the catches of 16 Junior Bassmasters who were fishing to qualify for the Junior Bassmasters World Championship (JWC) to be held in conjunction with the Federation Nation Championship in October. Advancing to the JWC from the Eastern Division were Rhode Island youngster Lowell Turner, who won the 11- to 14-year-olds age division with a catch of three bass weighing 6-11 and Jake Sasnowski, Bowmanville, Ontario, who claimed his second straight divisional title in the 15-18 age group with five bass weighing 11-1.