All week the Maine state team has said they weren’t here to take second place. Again. Today, they went all out to shake the record books with their first TBF Eastern Division Championship Title as the final day of the 2011 Eastern Division Championship came to a close on Lake Sebago, in Casco, Maine. The home team advantage didn’t help their less than stellar second day performance, as Massachusetts state team closed the gap to less than two pounds. But, the hunger for their first championship title prevailed. In the individual standings, Bruce Acox crept up from second on day one to lead it after day two. Today, Acox tacked on another solid day of fishing to be named the 2011 Eastern Division Champion.
This week 16 TBF State Champions advance, the top two from each state and Ontario, Canada, to the 2012 Federation National Championship to compete against state champions from TBF’s six other divisions across the U.S., as well as, two Boat US Collegiate Champions. The no-entry fee national contest will award thousands in cash and prizes, and the esteemed “Living the Dream” prize package to include paid entry fees as an FLW Tour Pro for a year with use of a wrapped Chevrolet Truck and Ranger Boat.
The Maine State Team winning their first division championship title, in their home state; it’s like the icing on the cake. Maine caught 33 fish today weighing 67lbs 4ounces making their three-day tournament total 245lbs 1ounce. “Were goin’ all out,” Maine President and Team Captain, Dave Austin, said after yesterday’s weigh-in. That they did closing the gap from the second place team of Massachusetts who caught 31 fish weighing 51lbs 7ounces making their tournament total 227lbs 1ounce. “We want to say thanks for the hospitality from the TBF the best, as usual,” Austin said today. “Everybody is excited; we will see all the other champs next year in the spring.” When asked about the teams bragging rights Austin commented, “We are humble. I am glad it’s the first time Maine has ever done it; we are pretty stoked. This is a first time accomplishment so we are going to cherish it quite a bit.”
The third place state team was New Hampshire with 197lbs 12ounces lead by this year’s Eastern Division Champion in the individual standings, Bruce Acox, from Raymond, N.H. “I appreciate the opportunity to fish these tournaments and I look forward to doing more,” Acox said. “I definitely want to thank my non-boaters for letting me do what I need to do to catch the fish; they were happy to net them.” This is Acox’s first division title. “Last year I came in third overall as a co-angler; this was the next step.” Acox had plans yesterday to hunt for smallmouths early but ended up switching things up. “When today started off I knew it was going to be tough,” Acox said. “I went in for some largemouth to see if I could get them first thing; it didn’t happen. I went back to my spot and first cast I caught a 2 ½ lb smallmouth, then about an hour and half later I got another one.” But, Acox ran into trouble after he caught his third smallie. “My batteries died and I couldn’t get it started so I went to marina and ran into my state president.” New Hampshire State President, Mike McNamara, fixed him up and sent him back out. “It started up and then I went to the tournament site and just hung around here to catch my last two fish; I got lucky again.” Three days of killin’ it out there can’t all be chalked up to “luck.” “Well, a little bit, a little bit has to do with luck,” Acox laughs. “I have been here a couple times and fortunately won a tournament here so I know it a little bit. But, I left those spots to my fishing partners, so I had to find my own thing. It worked out.” Acox will advance to nationals for the third year in a row to vie for the prestigious national title. “I’m excited to go again. It’s hard, we are from a different state, different kind of water, but they are all still bass; so just gotta figure them out.”
Our sponsors at Ranger Boats, namesake the 2011 Eastern Division Championship, and awarded a $750 cash prize to be divided between the top finisher and the winning state team members who are Ranger Cup qualified. Laurence Hogue, from Kennebunk, Maine caught a total of 32lb 2ounces to finish overall, just one ounce in front of the fourth place angler who is also Ranger Cup qualified, Rob Lamoy, from Chazy, N.Y.
The 16 TBF anglers, two from each state, a boater and co-angler, who will advance to the 2012 Federation National Championship are as follows: (boater, co-angler) Connecticut; Gary Kurensky, Larry Mansy; Maine; Scott Guimond, Laurence Hogue; Massachusetts; Patrick Chapin, Jim Gildea; New Hampshire; Bruce Acox, Scott Canelas; New York; Rob Lamoy, Ryan Latinville; Ontario, Canada; Charles Nahm, Todd Crowley; Rhode Island; Leo Bevelaqua, John Ahern; Vermont; Gilbert, Gagner, Ben Cayer.