Submitted by: Nick Angiulo

Fresh off its annual Team Tournament, the New Jersey Bass Federation kicked off its 2013 point tournament season on May 18, 2013 on the Northern Chesapeake Bay (also known colloquially as the Susquehanna Flats). That body of water consists of not only the Chesapeake Bay, but also numerous rivers, bays, creeks and coves consisting of literally hundreds of miles of bass habitat. In the past 10 years, this system has consistently produced some of the biggest fish and overall weights in the numerous times the Federation has visited. This year was no different, as three anglers smashed the 20 pound mark and big fish were the norm rather than the exception. With overcast to partly cloudy conditions, moderate winds, and seasonable air and water temperatures, the Federation’s best took to the waters with hopes of bringing in huge sacks of bass; and the Flats obliged, as it produced impressive numbers of fish in the four, five, six and even seven pound range. After all of the weights were tallied, mere ounces separated the winners in both the Boater and Co-Angler Divisions.

Boater Division

Capturing first place in the Boater Division with a huge five fish limit totaling a staggering 22.10 pounds was Mark Schafer, who hails from Williamstown, New Jersey. Schafer, who is unaffiliated, posted a weight not far off the Federation one day record of 23.40 pounds weighed in at the 2005 Northern Chesapeake Bay event. While he did not break the record, Schafer’s big stringer was enough to hold off the field and capture the top Boater Division prize of $880. Taking second place, with a five fish limit of 21.08 pounds was Darren Pincus of the Blazin Bass chapter. Pincus, from Flemington, New Jersey made it a “daily double” as just the day before this event, he qualified for the 2014 New Jersey State Team by virtue of his sixth place finish in the Team Tournament. Included in his weight was a 7.18 pound largemouth, which amazingly, was not the Boater Division lunker winning fish. For his efforts, Pincus was awarded the second place Boater Division check of $704. Third place in the Boater Division went to Scott Weiland of Saddle Brook, New Jersey and a member of the Limiters. Weiland also broke the 20 pound mark with a five fish limit weighing 20.52 pounds. Weiland received $484 for his third place Boater Division finish.

Rounding out the rest of the top Boater Division finishers were: Dan Ardin from Dover, New Jersey and a member of the Limiters with five fish totaling 18.42 pounds, worth $352; Russ Awad of Brooklyn, New York, and a member of the Castaway Bassmasters with five weighing 17.44 pounds, worth $308; and Marty Klapa from Willingboro, New Jersey and a member of the South Jersey Hawg Hunters with five fish weighing 17.40 pounds worth $220.

The Boater Division lunker winning fish was a monstrous 7.52 pound largemouth caught by George Hutchinson of Mullica Hill, New Jersey. Hutchinson, a member of the Mega Bass 6 chapter, received the $220 Boater Division Lunker prize.

Co-Angler Division

This year’s Co-Angler Division finish was dominated by two anglers. Both anglers produced five fish limits, but one found a little extra to eke out the victory. Taking the Co-Angler Division victory was Bill Spindler from Turnersville, New Jersey. Spindler, who is a member of the Mega Bass 6, brought a five fish limit to the scales weighing 17.90 pounds to take the victory by nearly three-quarters of a pound. For his victory, he was rewarded with the Co-Angler Division first place check worth $520. Second place was taken by the ever-dangerous Joe Sodora. Sodora, from Garfield, New Jersey and a member of the New Jersey Bass Hunters, also had five fish, but fell just short of Spindler with 17.22 pounds. Sodora received $416 for his second place finish. Third place went to Ken Gremli, who is unaffiliated. Gremli had four fish weighing 14.34 pounds. While a fifth fish may have pushed him to the top, Gremli’s third place Co-Angler Division finish was worth $286.

The rest of the Co-Angler Division winners were as follows: Frank McMahon from Great Meadows, New Jersey and a member of the Warren County Bassmasters with five fish weighing 13.82 pounds, worth $208; Joe Poms of Paramus, New Jersey and a member of the South Jersey Hawg Hunters with four fish weighing 12.16 pounds, worth $182; and Brian Chang from Woodbridge, New Jersey and a member of the Castaway Bassmasters with four fish weighing 12.04 pounds, worth $130.

The Co-Angler Division lunker in the event was won by Mike Concato with a 5.10 pound largemouth. Concato, from Wayne, New Jersey and a member of the Over the Ridge Bassmasters (as well as the Ramapo College Fishing Team) was awarded $130 for his Co-Angler Division Lunker. Interestingly, Concato fished as an Observer, and was only eligible for the Co-Angler Lunker prize. However, had he fished as a “full-fledged” Co-Angler, his 19.76 pound five fish limit would have easily won the Division’s top prize.

Miscellaneous Notes

1.There were 16 anglers who brought five fish limits to the scales and 177 fish totaling 594.44 pounds were weighed in. All but one of the fish was released alive (99.44%). Additionally, the average weight per fish in this event was an amazing 3.36 pounds.

2.By virtue of being the highest placing eligible Ranger Boat owner in the event, Darren Pincus will receive $120 in Ranger Cup bonus money. The second highest placing eligible Ranger Boat owner, Ron Bassani, will receive $100 in Ranger Cup bonus money