Kirkland takes title on Oneida Lake
ATHENS, Ala. Jeffrey Kirkland won a wire-to-wire victory during the Toyota Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, New York Division 23 two-day divisional championship, held Sept. 21-22, 2013, on Oneida Lake.
Running out of Oneida Shores County Park in Brewerton, N.Y., the Dryden, N.Y., angler caught a two-day 10-bass limit weighing 34.92 pounds for a 3.49-pound average. Kirkland took the early lead after catching 19.20 pounds, the largest single-day bag of the tournament, on Day 1. That bag included a 4.26-pound kicker that won the tournament big bass title. On the second day, Kirkland brought in 15.72 pounds to seal the Boater Division victory.
I spent a lot of time practicing and found five or six places where I could find smallmouth, Kirkland recalled. I fished anywhere from six to 16 feet deep around scattered rock and weeds. I threw swimbaits, an Alabama rig, spinnerbaits and a Rat-L-Trap.
In second for the boaters, Bill Lortz of Rochester, N.Y., landed two consecutive five-bass daily tournament limits going 34.69 pounds. On the first day, Lortz landed 16.90 pounds including a 3.29-pound kicker for fourth place. He found five keepers for 17.79 pounds on the final day to move up two slots.
I keyed on mid depths in the 12- to 14-foot range because I knew a cold front was coming through, Lortz explained. I power fished the whole tournament and threw an Alabama rig. I boated every fish that hit. I caught a couple doubles and triples in practice, but not in the tournament.
Right behind, David W. Barnes Sr. of South China, Maine, took third for the boaters with 10 bass going 34.35 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 3.71-pound kicker. Barnes held sixth place on Day 1 with 15.79 pounds. He caught 18.56 pounds, the largest bag brought to the scales, on Day 2.
For the first thing in the morning, I drop-shotted a finesse worm in 25 to 30 feet of water around grass, Barnes said. I had a limit by 8:10 a.m. each morning. After that, I started hunting big fish and threw a chatterbait in about 10 feet of water around rocks.
Jamie Hartman of Newport, N.Y., finished fourth with 10 bass for 33.91 pounds. Hartman held second on Day 1 with 17.94 pounds including a 3.84-pound kicker. On the final day, Hartman brought in 15.97 pounds.
Jumping five places, Jeremy M. Roberts of Rutland, Vt., finished fifth among the boaters with 10 bass at 32.09 pounds. He sat in 10th place on Day 1 with 14.64 pounds including a 3.86-pound kicker. He landed 17.45 pounds on the final day.
In the Co-Angler Division, Kevin J. Phelps of Allentown, Pa., led throughout the event. He finished with a perfect two-day division limit of six-bass going 22.01 pounds for a 3.67-pound average. Phelps caught 10.78 pounds with a 3.89-pound kicker, tied for biggest bass brought in by a co-angler, on Day 1.
On the last day, he caught an 11.23-pound sack, the largest bag brought in by any co-angler in the tournament Phelps anchored that bag with a 4.25-pounder that topped the Co-Angler Division lunker list.
I threw a Picasso Lures Alabama rig with Optimum Opti Shad swimbaits, Phelps stated. The other lure was a Picasso chartreuse spinnerbait. The better quality fish were around gizzard shad. The bass pushed them up into the shoals.
Taking second for the co-anglers, Brian E. Depto of Kane, Pa., brought in two consecutive three-bass daily division limits for 18.75 pounds including a 2.90-pound kicker. He held 11th place on the first day with 8.80 pounds, but added 9.95 pounds on the last day to jump nine spots.
We fished shoals in 14 feet of water, Depto said. The fish seemed to be hanging on the backside of the shoals. When the wind got too nasty, we went looking for different places and threw spinnerbaits and chatterbaits.
Climbing five places, Than E. Harrington of Wallkill, N.Y., finished in third among the co-anglers with a six-bass limit going 18.71 pounds including a 3.84-pound kicker. Harrington held eighth place on Day 1 with 9.09 pounds and added 9.62 pounds on the final day.
I threw an Alabama rig all weekend long, Harrington explained. Thats all I threw. I threw it in 12 to 16 feet of water around some cliffs. On the first day, I had four bites and caught four fish. I also caught four fish on the final day.
Marc Gervais of Scotia, N.Y., landed in fourth place among the co-anglers with six bass weighing 18.54 pounds including a 3.74-pound kicker. He held 14th place on the first day with 7.71 pounds, but jumped 10 places with a 10.83-pound bag on the final day.
Danny L. Bush of Wappinger Falls, N.Y., rounded out the top five co-anglers with a two-day limit of six bass weighing 18.12 pounds. On the first day, Bush brought in 9.91 pounds for sixth place. He moved up one notch on the final day with an 8.51-pound bag.
The top anglers from this division, plus those from the Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio divisions advance to the two-day regional tournament, slated for Oct. 11-12, 2013, on the James River out of Chickahominy Riverfront Park near Williamsburg, Va. After the four regional tournaments, the top anglers from those events will compete in the BWS National Championship tournament, scheduled for Nov. 6-9, 2013, on Old Hickory Lake near Hendersonville, Tenn. The Boater Division champion will compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 21-23 on Lake Guntersville, Ala.
For more information on this tournament, call Joe Angelone, tournament manager, at 256-777-6152 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.