A week of beautiful weather was the setting for the 2013 Northwest Division Championship presented by Berkley on Pot Holes Lake in Moses Lake, Wash. TBF anglers continued to bring in heavy bags of mostly smallmouth all three tournament days.
The top ten anglers advanced on the final day to the 2014 Federation National Championship and division champion titles were awarded both in the individual and state team standings.
Aaron Echterncamp, from Moses Lake, Wash., trailed in the individual standings the first two days but made a run the final day to take the lead and the esteemed title. Echerncamp had five bass limits all three days of 20lbs 3ounces, 21lbs 7ounces and 24lbs to make his tournament total 65lbs 10ounces, a mere 3 ounces in front of day one and two leader, Chad Kaiser.
“First day, I didn’t expect to see someone come in with 26lbs,” Echterncamp said. “I was pacing the weights at 20lbs, thought that would be pretty adequate. When Kaiser came in with that, I knew I had a little making up to do.”
Pot Holes Lake is in Echterncamp’s backyard. He’s spent many days on its waters, but this week he said he was seeing, “just huge fish, a lot bigger than normal on that lake.” He saw bigger fish in practice but was having trouble getting the good bite. “By the third day, they were getting more active. More fish just kept coming up the whole week.”
The final day Echterncamp fished all new areas, but first set out to hunt down and catch a smallmouth he lost the first day. “I spent the rest of the day looking for areas that hadn’t been fished,” Echertencamp continued. “Everybody was kind of concentrating in the same areas further in the back; those areas were getting a lot of pressure, I just moved outside of them. And with the good weather I was able to move further and further out, the fish were a lot less spooked.”
Echerncamp is no stranger to nationals but this is his first divisional win, and being on his home lake makes it that much sweeter. “I just want to thank our Washington TBF President, Russell Baker, and Limit Out Marine. I was having some boat issues on the second day; they worked on my boat and got me back out there to do what I did today.”