Colchester, Vt. (Sept. 12, 2012) – Windy conditions and 3 to 4 foot waves on Lake Champlain made it an extremely rough day for the anglers out on the water on the first day of competition of the 2012 Eastern Division Championship, presented by Berkley. With the lake being low and high winds, it was not been a good combination. Anglers from Vermont, New York, Ontario (Canada), Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut are vying for their spot in the 2013 TBF National Championship. They are hoping to follow suit of the current TBF National Champion, who came from the Eastern Division, Gilbert Gagner of Vermont and is fishing this tournament.
Even though the waters were rough, there were plenty of fish to be weighed at the scales. There were 55 limits today, out of 96 anglers and 905 lbs of fish weighed.
Starting out strong is host state Vermont’s Jason Stoddard of St. Albans, VT with 18 lbs 2 oz. “I had half a dozen spots I fished today. I have a lot of spots, but the wind stopped me from getting there today. I plan on doing same thing tomorrow. If I get the right bites, I should have a decent day tomorrow as well,” said Stoddard.
Beginning another solid year and just 4 oz behind his teammate is 2012 TBF National Champion, Gilbert Gagner of Highgate Springs, VT. “The lake was extremely rough today and I wasn’t fish all areas, but I did well enough to catch almost 18 lbs today,” said Gagner. The wind is going to make it tough on all these anglers tomorrow. Gagner spoke at the welcome banquet last night and reminded all the anglers competing, he was sitting right where they were last year before he went on to be named the National Champion and won the $100,000 Living the Dream prize package.
Always close in the running in the Eastern Division is Rhode Island angler Leo Bevelaqua of Wyoming, RI. He is currently in 3rd place overall with 17 lbs 3 oz and in the lead for his state. Bevelaqua has a 2 lb 7 oz lead over his teammate Dillon Falardeau, who weighed in 14 lbs 12 oz today.
Vermont is always the team to beat in the Eastern Division. Since they are hosting this year, it should be no surprise they are in the lead today, but not by much. Vermont has a slight lead over Mass Bass with 142 lbs 5 oz. Mass has 141 lbs 9 oz. In 3rd place is Maine with 131 lbs 5 oz.
The winds were out of the south around 14 mph, with gusts to over 20 mph. The waves in the main part of the lake reached almost 4’ today. The winds are expected to be about the same tomorrow, with a chance of rain and isolated thunderstorms on Friday.
On Friday, the top 2 anglers from each state team will be qualified for the 2013 TBF National Champion.
Daily takeoffs and weigh-ins are at Mallets Bay at 6:30am and 3pm EST. They are free and open to the public.
For more information about The Bass Federation, visit BassFederation.com, join us on www.Facebook.com/TheBassFederation and follow us on Twitter @bassfederation. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for updates of the tournament.