Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island Advance Anglers to Nationals
The Connecticut TBF played host to the first TBF National Semifinal contest for District 15 October 8-9 on the Connecticut River in Rhode Island. The new TBF National Semi-Finals program pits top grassroots anglers from each state in a “close to home” weekend event with neighboring states for significant cash prizes and advancements.
A total of $10,760 with 128% payback in cash and prizes, National Semi-Final qualifying jerseys, trophies, champion titles and slots in the national championship were awarded in the boater and co-angler divisions. The top five boaters and co-anglers in the 28 boat field divvied up $6,300 in total cash payback, not including the $500 Ranger Cup award and the $1,000 Evinrude E-tec award for the winning boater (if he/she runs a 2012 or newer Evinrude).
Day one started on a foggy note, but the weather would clear leaving sunny skies. Several anglers brought healthy bags to the scales. But, on day two the weather shut the bite down with cloudy, rainy skies. Although anglers struggled to find limits, the champions found enough weight to prevail.
After two days of competition, Alex Wetherell from Connecticut bested the boater field with 26.43 pounds. He weighed in a 12.88 pound bag on day one to set the winning pace. Wetherell received a $1,900 paycheck and a slot in the 2017 Federation National Championship.
In second and third overall, were Connecticut anglers, Dino Moutogiannis, with 15.13 pounds and, Ken Bugden, with 14.23 pounds. Moutogiannis received a $960 paycheck and Bugden received $640.
Richard Congero from New Jersey had a tournament total of 14.09 pounds for fourth place overall. Congero will advance to nationals as the highest finishing boater representing New Jersey; he also received a $400 cash prize. Jacob Marcantonio was the highest finishing boater from Rhode Island with 10.44 pounds; he’ll advance to nationals representing his state.
Darren Pincus from New Jersey finished in sixth overall with 13.04 pounds. Pincus received the $500 Ranger Cup award for being the highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler.
On the co-angler side, Joseph Casale, from New Jersey would prove consistency is key. He weighed in 5.93 pounds on day one to sit in third. On day two, anglers struggled to bring in weight while he brought in another solid bag weighing 5.29 pounds to make his winning total 11.52 pounds. Casale would take the co-angler title, advance to nationals representing New Jersey and also receive a $950 cash prize for his two days of work.
Steven Martins from Connecticut came in second overall on the co-angler side with 9.98 pounds. He received a $470 paycheck and will also advance to nationals representing his state. Brittany Johnson was the highest finishing co-angler representing Rhode Island with 9.68 pounds. She received a $200 cash prize for her fourth overall finish and will advance to nationals representing her state.
The New Jersey Bass Federation made the final sweep taking home bragging rights and the first District 15 State Pride Award with 60.52 total pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and co-anglers from each state, which are selected prior to the event.
In District 15, top TBF anglers competed for the chance to advance to the 2017 Federation National Championship and to win enough cash to travel to the spring event. Anglers qualify for the semi-finals in one of two ways. Active state clubs in good standing can send their top two anglers directly to the semi-final event, in addition, the top 10% of state event participation or a minimum of 12 anglers per state qualify, whichever is greater.
The new format pays back 100% of the entry fees, 75% to the top 20% of the field, 10% to the state federations and 15% to the TBF Federation National Championship. In the new NSF rules, a co-angler can also move up as a boater if his/her weight totals more than the state boater’s weight.
The new event format went well thanks to the Connecticut Bass Federation who ran the event and all their support from TBF’s sponsors; FLW, Ranger, Cabela’s, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Evinrude, Berkley and Power Pole. Also, thanks to New Jersey and Rhode Island Bass Federation anglers for their help in making the event enjoyable for all.