Colchester, Vt. (Sept. 14, 2012) – The 2012 TBF Eastern Division Championship, presented by Berkley has qualified sixteen anglers today for the 2013 TBF National Championship next April on Grand Lake, Okla. April 8-13 in conjunction with the FLW Tour Event at Beaver Lake, Ark. Vermont angler Jason Stoddard and Mass Bass were crowned champions.
Even though Stoddard had the smallest limit of his week today with 13 lbs 8 oz, it was enough to hold on to his lead and be crowned the 2012 Eastern Division Champion on his home waters. His final weight over 3 days was 48 lbs 15 oz. “My week started out real good with a solid bag the first day; the bites came easy. Second day, it was a little tougher. Today, I scrapped together a small limit, all smallmouth,” said Stoddard. “I caught my smallmouth riggin’ and largemouth flippin.” This is Stoddard’s first Vermont State Team appearance, and will be his first trip to the TBF Nationals.
Making a huge jump today to finish in 2nd place overall is New Hampshire’s Ryan Richardson of Golfstown, NH. He had the overall tournament big sack today with 19 lbs 8 oz, fishing as a non-boater. His overall weight over 3 days was 47 lbs 6 oz and will be advancing as a boater to Nationals.
Finishing in 3rd place is Mass Bass’s Paul Carvalho. Even though he had a tougher day today, he was able to hold his lead and will advance as a boater for the state of Mass. His 3 day total weight was 46 lbs 10 oz. “I continued with my game plan that I had been doing all week, fishing in the inland sea. I fished my spots for smallmouth. Today they were not hitting my Carolina rig as well as I wanted. I struggled, but it was enough to make it,” said Carvalho.
Making his third trip to Nationals is Rhode Island’s Leo Bevelaqua. He weighed a limit today of 13 lbs 6 oz, for a 3 day total of 44 lbs 11 oz. “The weather was terrible for us. I had a pretty good day. I had a slow morning, but it picked up in the afternoon. I had some good non-boaters this week that really helped me seal the deal,” said Bevelaqua. Finishing in 2nd place for Rhode Island and advancing as a co-angler to Nationals is 18 year old, high school senior, Dillon Falardeau. Dillon finished the tournament with 39 lbs 8 oz over 3 days.
A first for the state of Rhode Island, they sent a woman angler for their state team. Twenty-one year old Brittany Johnson had a tough week fishing as a non-boater, but she hung in there. The first two days of the tournament, she fished with boaters who had boat problems. Today, she was paired with CBAF’s JP DeRose. They both had good days on the water, and it was a good ending to her (and the State Team’s) tough week. Brittany also made the state team with her dad, Mike Johnson.
Mass Bass won the TBF Eastern Division for the first time ever this year, edging out host state Vermont. Mass lead the tournament with 436 lbs 7 oz. Vermont finished with 408 lbs 10 oz. Last year’s Champions, Maine, finished 3rd with 375 lbs 6 oz.
The top angler in state team standings advances as a boater and the 2nd place angler of each state advances as a co-angler to the 2013 TBF National Championship next spring. There they’ll fish for the “Living the Dream” prize package to include paid entry fees as an FLW Pro for a year with use of a wrapped Ranger boat and Chevrolet truck, as well as, thousands in cash and prizes.
2013 National Championship Contenders for the Eastern Division are as follows:
Gary Kurensky – Angler
Keith Cleary – Co-Angler
Frank Perkins – Angler
David Barnes – Co-Angler
Paul Carvalho – Angler
Michael McNary – Co-Angler
Ryan Richardson – Angler
Jim Hanatow – Co-Angler
James Schneider – Angler
Ben Wright – Co-Angler
Steven Neveu – Angler
Doug Brownridge – Co-Angler
Leo Bevelaqua – Angler
Dillon Falardeau – Co-Angler
Jason Stoddard – Angler
Gilbert Gagner – Co-Angler