Cleary, Connecticut Leading Eastern Division Championship

Day two of the 2013 Eastern Division Championship presented by Cabela’s concluded today on the Connecticut River in Middletown, Conn.  Seven state teams and the Ontario state team making up TBF’s Eastern Division compete this week for the titles both in the individual and state team standings.  Weights dropped with the sun as the overcast day proved just as tough as yesterday’s rays.  One thing holding steady is the home state team of Connecticut lead by day one leader, Keith Cleary.

Cleary from Bethel, Conn., leads with 8lbs 2ounces today making his tournament total 20lbs 14ounces.  Cleary’s Connecticut state team is also leading with 126lbs 9ounces.

“Hard to say what happened out there,” Cleary said.  “I got the same number of bites in the same areas.  I just couldn’t get the big fish to bite; I couldn’t get them to go.”

Cleary had a five bass limit yesterday and culled twice for 12lbs 12ounces.  Today, he fished the same spot he has on these waters countless times and also had seven bites.  Tomorrow, he’s looking to score both the bites and the weights.     

“I’m happy with what I’ve got because it is tough out there.  Tomorrow, I’m going back and I’m going to camp there; hopefully, it will turn out the bite.” 

Just three ounces behind Cleary is Jim Gildea from Weston, Mass.  Gildea is leading the Massachusetts state team, which is holding down second in the state team standings with 108lbs.

Gildea squeezed in a five bass limit today weighing 9lbs 3ounces making his tournament total 20lbs 11ounces.

“I caught my biggest fish on the last cast in kind of a desperation move,” Gildea said.  “I bailed myself out somehow.”

Gildea had a great first day of fishing with non-boater, Brittany Johnson, from North Smithfield, R.I.  Johnson, who is currently in fourth on the Rhode Island state team, brought in a 5lb 3ounce smallmouth today.  Her smallmouth beauty is the tournament big bass so far.

“It’s been a great tournament.  Today was more of a grind, not easy by any means,” Gildea continued.  “This river changes like crazy; it’s like a new river every day.”

Tomorrow, Cleary and the Connecticut state team will be looking for the sweep as Gildea and the Massachusetts state team hope to shut it down.  The final day will settle it as the Eastern Division showdown ends on the Connecticut River.