Jeff Mandes of Smyrna took home the trophy and $6,996 for his victory in the tournament on Oneida Lake in New York.
Jeff Mandes of Smyrna won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Northeast Division Tournament on Oneida Lake in Brewerton, New York July 16.
He reeled in five bass weighing 19 pounds, 2 ounces and pocketed $6,996 for his win.
He caught his fish from a large section of grass in Maple Bay, a location he ended up committing to due to motor trim issues.
"I couldn’t trim my motor up when I got to the ramp. I’m not sure how it happened, but it started working by the time we launched and I made it through boat check,” said Mandes, who notched his first win in FLW competition. "Normally I’d move around more, but I was afraid the trim would quit working."
Mandes made the most of his predicament, figuring out that the fish were in a certain, smaller area about half the size of the general location he fished. He said he kept going around and through it to pick them off.
"When I went beyond it, I couldn’t get a bite. It all looked the same, but they were in a certain section," he said.
He started out with a topwater bait, but didn’t have any luck. After 20 minutes or so, he picked up a green-pumpkin-colored Big Mouth Lures swimjig with a custom-colored skirt and an Okeechobee Craw-colored Netbait Paca Craw trailer and went to work.
"I caught a good one on my third cast with the swimjig, so that’s what I stuck with. I also caught some on a black Texas-rigged [Yamamoto] Senko with a belly-weighted hook," said Mandes. "When the wind died down and it got slick-calm, the Senko worked well, but when there was a ripple in the water, the swimjig did better."
By noon, Mandes said he had approximately 18 pounds of bass.
"I culled one more time and around 12:30 [p.m.] I ran closer to the ramp to fish and finish out my day," he said. "Overall, I caught between 15 and 18 keepers throughout the day."
The top 10 boaters in the tournament were:
1. Jeff Mandes, Smyrna, Del., five bass, 19 pounds,2 ounces, $4,996 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2. Mike Shumanis, Bethlehem, Pa., five bass, 18 pounds, $3,113
3. Grae Buck, Harleysville, Pa., five bass, 17 pounds, 7 ounces, $1,695
4. Joe Wolter, Rochester, N.Y., five bass, 16 pounds,15 ounces, $1,119
5. Shawn Flynn, Dexter, N.Y., five bass, 16 pounds, 7 ounces, $959
6. Chris Caravan, Pottsville, Pa., five bass, 16 pounds, 5 ounces, $879
7. Ed Casey, Whiteford, Md., five bass, 16 pounds, $799
8. Robert Polishan, Wilkes Barre, Pa., five bass, 15 pounds, 14 ounces, $719
9. Cody Cutter, Harveys Lake, Pa., five bass, 15 pounds, 11 ounces, $639
10. Rick Anderson, Dover, Pa., five bass, 15 pounds, 10 ounces, $560
Shumanis brought a 5-pound, 8-ounce, bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $715.
Michael Bahnweg of Union Dale, Pa., won the Co-angler Division and $2,398 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces.
Michael Saganich Sr. of Lincoln University, Pa., caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 4 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $357.
Regional Championship set for North East, Md.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 11-13 BFL Regional Championship on the Chesapeake Bay in North East, Md. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2018 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com.