Massachusetts and Vermont Advance Anglers to Nationals
The Massachusetts Bass Federation played host to the first TBF National Semifinal contest for District 16 on the Lake Champlain in Ticonderoga, N.Y. 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.
In District 16, top TBF anglers from Massachusetts and Vermont competed October 1-2 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.
A total of $11,100 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 29 boat field divvied up $6,525 in total cash payback, not including the $500 Ranger Cup award and the $1,000 Evinrude E-tec award for the winning boater who runs a 2012 or newer Evinrude.
After two days of competition, the District 16 National Semi-Final Champion titles would go to the boater from Massachusetss, Jim Gildea, who received a $1,980 cash prize, in addition to the $500 Ranger Cup award for being the highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler. The co-angler champion was Colleen McKay also from Massachusetts who received $990 from her two days of work.
Vermont’s boater, Gene Gordon and co-angler, Scott McKay will also advance to the 2017 Federation National Championship being the highest Vermont finishers to represent their state.
The Massachusetts Bass Federation made the final sweep taking home bragging rights and the first District 16 State Pride Award with 176.07 total pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and top four co-anglers from each state, which are selected prior to the event.
Lake Champlain saw light showers, 50 degree temperatures and a 5mph wind, which allowed anglers to run anywhere on the lake from White Hall in the South to Rouses Point in the North. It also allowed anglers to bring lots of smallmouth and some big largemouth to the scales on both days.
Day 1 had boaters Joe Burchill from Mass Bass and Cole Harris from the Vermont TBF both leading with 17.16 pounds. Burchill had Champlain largemouths from the South and Harris had smallmouths from the North. Eric Manseau trailed with 17.03 pounds, with Jim Gildea at 16.65 pounds, Mike McNary with 16.32 pounds, Bob Crino at 16.19 pounds and Bryan Folino with 16.08 pounds. After day one, all anglers were within a pound of the lead.
On day two, winds reached 15-20mph in Plattsburg limiting the lake run. Some anglers tried but decided to turn around once they got to open water on the main lake. Harris, after tying for the lead on day one chose to go North but wouldn’t make it back to the scales leaving a good bag of smallies from Mallets Bay behind.
Jim Gildea found 17.29 pounds to put his total at 33.94 pounds for the win on the boaters side. Mike McNary was close behind with 31.76 pounds, as well as, Eric Manseau with 30.45 pounds, Burchill who dropped from tying for first on day one with 28.66 pounds and rounding out 5th was Jim D’Ambra with 27.49 pounds.
Co Angler winner was Colleen McKay from the Mass Bass Federation. Colleen weighed in 12.54 pounds for a total weight of 26.35 pounds to win the Co-Angler spot at the 2017 TBF National Championship. Following Colleen, was Rich Snow with 24.75 pounds, Dan Tavilla 23.30 pounds, Josh Cotier with 21.86 pounds and Mass Bass High school Angler of the Year, Justin Taylor, with 20.63 pounds. Taylor also had Lunker largemouth on day two with a 5.44 pound lunker. Bob Frechette had lunker smallmouth with a 4.89 pound smallie.
The new event format went very well and the TBF National office, as well as, the anglers made the event run smooth. Thanks to the Massachusetts Bass Federation for running the event and all its support.