DANBURY, Conn. -- Making countless pitches to the weeds paid off in another divisional title for Abe Kalechman today at Candlewood Lake.
The Stafford, Conn., angler won the last BASS Federation Nation Eastern Divisional presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats his home state hosted in 2007 on the Connecticut River, and he repeated the feat on Candlewood by catching a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 42 pounds, 12 ounces. He saved his best performance for last as he caught a 16-3 limit (the largest bag of the event).
The 41-year-old floor covering consultant relied on a 1-ounce green pumpkin-red Recap Bass Lures Jig with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk to catch largemouth along weedy flats from 8 to 15 feet deep. "I hit 15 to 20 spots a day and did a lot of running around," Kalechman said. "I just put my time in on it knowing that they were there and I would catch them if I would just be persistent."
Persistence and familiarity with Candlewood Lake paid off for the Tobacco Valley Bass Anglers club member as he was able to try some new spots each day and revisit the best areas. "There was just not enough time in eight hours to cover everything that is out here," he said.
Since the tournament champion finished as his team's top angler, Kalechman also qualified for his second berth in the BASS Federation Nation Championship (FNC) presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats, to be held Oct. 25-29 on the Red River at Shreveport, La.
Other state and provincial champions who earned a trip to the national championship were Scott Parker, New Hampshire; Joe Matt, New York; George Cooper, Maine; Dave Rochette, Ontario, Canada; Chris Molineaux, Rhode Island; Jason Ross, Massachusetts; and Sean Alvarez, Vermont.
The Eastern Divisional qualifiers will be among the 55 FNC contenders vying for a berth to the Bassmaster Classic set for Feb. 18-20 in New Orleans, La.
Connecticut went wire-to-wire to win the team competition and claim the divisional's top prize of a $41,000 Skeeter ZX190 bass boat rigged with a Yamaha VZ150 outboard motor. The host state's 14 anglers recorded a cumulative weight of 332-10. Junior Bassmasters also competed in the Eastern Divisional today and their weights were combined with the totals of the adult anglers for each team. Catching two smallmouth weighing 6-4 on a Rebel Pop-R helped Rhode Island's Chris Catucci top the Junior Bassmaster field in the 11- to 14-year-olds age division.
Joining Catucci at the Junior Bassmasters World Championship, to be held in conjunction with the FNC in October, will be Connecticut's Alex Wetherell, who caught four keepers weighing 7-5 on a drop shot and swim baits to win the 15-18 age group.