Vitale wins Triton boat as AFT Angler of the Year
ATHENS, Ala. – Art Vitale won annual bragging rights and a Triton boat package as the top angler to emerge from the American Fishing Tour Divisional Angler of the Year Fish-Off, presented by American Bass Anglers and held Oct. 19, 2013, at Lake Richard B. Russell near Elberton, Ga.
The 67-year-old angler from Kenilworth, N.J., caught five bass weighing 10.21 pounds, winning the title by one one-hundredth of an ounce. As the AFT Angler of the Year, Vitale won a fully rigged Triton 21XS bass boat powered by a Mercury 200-horsepower Pro XS outboard motor and a MotorGuide trolling motor. The package also includes a set of Carlisle trailer tires, Odyssey batteries and generous supplies of Royal Purple oil products. The entire package retails for about $60,000.
“In practice, I found some good fish, but they didn’t bite during the tournament,” Vitale explained. “I caught some fish on spinnerbaits and plastics, but it was really slow. Eventually, I pitched into some woody cover with a Texas-rigged worm on a 3/16-ounce tungsten sinker and caught two good fish. I just started running and gunning throwing plastics all over the lake at woody cover and it worked. I caught a total of 10 fish. This is a very well run organization and I’m proud to say I’m a member.”
Right behind in second place, Frank J. Derylak of Deland Fla., landed a five-bass tournament limit going 10.20 pounds. Bobby W. Stanfill of Greenwood, S.C., took third with five bass going 9.93 pounds. Kevin E. Fulmer of Prosperity, S.C., followed with five bass and 9.49 pounds. Calvin W. Hewitt of Cope, S.C., rounded out the top five anglers with five bass at 9 pounds. The anglers could fish anywhere on the 26,650-acre Savannah River impoundment that straddles the Georgia-South Carolina line.
These same anglers will compete against each other and a few hundred more of the best anglers from about 80 AFT divisions across the country during the 2013 AFT National Championship tournament. The national championship tournament will be held Oct. 23-25, 2013, on Clarks Hill Lake just downstream on the Savannah River from Lake Russell. For the national championship tournament, competitors will head out of Wildwood State Park in Appling, Ga., at safe light. The daily free public weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. on Oct. 23-24 and 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 25.
Also known as Lake Strom Thurmond, Clarks Hill Lake also forms part of the Georgia-South Carolina line. The largest lake in Georgia spreads across 71,535 acres along the Savannah River just north of August, Ga. The largest lake in Georgia offers anglers more than 1,200 miles of shoreline and can produce largemouth bass exceeding 14 pounds. The lake also produces better than average spotted bass.
The American Fishing Tour offers low cost, close to home bass tournaments designed for the weekend angler. The 2013 AFT Divisional Angler of the Year Fish-Off and the AFT National Championship tournament are both sponsored by Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Royal Purple, Best Western Hotels, BioBor, Busch Beer, Livingston Lures, Raymarine, Carlisle Tire & Wheel, Odyssey Batteries, T-H Marine.
For more information, call 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