PLATTSBURGH, NY - One of the most engaging things about fishing is the bond created between a parent and child. Father and son anglers Steve and Joe Lucarelli know this bond well, as they share the same sponsors and often fish the same tournaments.   

This week at Lake Champlain, on the second stop of the CITGO Northern Open Bassmaster Series, the Lucarellis are pitted against each other and near the top of the standings. Joe Lucarelli is first place after catching a 20-pound, two-ounce limit. Steve is in eighth place with 18 pounds, six ounces.  

“How can a dad have a hard time when your kid is winning?” asked Steve Lucarelli, 56.  “I am so proud, but he hasn’t won anything quite yet.”  

Both Joe and Steve Lucarelli hail from Meredith, N.H., and guide on Lake Winnipesaukee. They forged an incredible bond through fishing, according to Steve.  

Joe Lucarelli stormed into the lead today, fishing deep water and targeting smallmouths on Carolina rigs. Although the 26-year old Lucarelli was hesitant to go into detail, he promised more information tomorrow.     

“We will have a good chat tomorrow,” Lucarelli said.  “I have been in this position before and I have struggled to close it out, so I don’t want to take any chances.”  

Lucarelli has keyed in on only two spots to find his smallmouths.  Most likely, he will stick with the same pattern that vaulted him into the lead today.  

Trailing Lucarelli in second place is Ohioan Steven Clapper.  Much like Lucarelli, Clapper also caught a limit of smallmouths. His total of 19 pounds, 13 ounces trails Lucarelli by a mere five ounces.  

Also like Lucarelli, Clapper was hesitant to share details.  

“I’m focusing on deep water humps with rigs and drop shots,” Clapper said. His original plan was to target largemouths later in the day, but the early smallmouth bite turned out to be too good to leave.  

“I couldn’t leave my area to stick to my original plan,” he said.    

Rounding out the top five on the boater side are Vermont’s Jimmy Kennedy (19-11) and Alabama’s Kotaro Kiriyama (19-0).  Massachusetts’ William Roe and South Carolina’s Todd Auten are tied for fifth place (18-15).  

Just outside the top five is Michigan’s Mark Zona, better known for his role as co-host on Loudmouth Bass, which airs on ESPN2 Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. EST.  

In third place, Kennedy’s 19-11 bag included a 4-14 largemouth caught on a Mizmo tube rigged with creature baits. It earned him an extra $1,000 and Purolator Big Bass honors.  

On the non-boater side, New Jersey’s Steven Brinster caught the big bass of the day. Brinster’s 5-4 lunker earned him $400 and Purolator Big Bass honors.  

Leading after Thursday on the non-boater side is New Jersey’s Andrew Karcich (17-7).  In second and trailing Karcich by nine ounces is Vermont’s Doug Wilson (16-14).  Rounding out the top five are Ohio’s Ed Dennis (16-12), Delaware’s Andrew Dick (15-14) and Pennsylvania’s William Langille (15-0).  

All boaters in the top 50 and 48 of the top 50 non-boaters bagged limits. After Friday’s day of fishing, the tournament will cut to the top 50 boaters and non-boaters.  

At stake is $322,021 in total prize money, plus 15 berths into the Open Championship (Dec. 1-4; Alabama River; Prattville, Ala.). The top five boaters at the Open Championship will earn berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26 on Lake Tohopekaliga near Kissimmee.

This is the second of three Northern Open events that will send the top anglers to the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship in December (Dec. 1-4; Alabama River). The top five from that championship are invited to the Classic in February 2006 on Lake Toho near Kissimmee. Weigh-ins begin at 2 p.m. at Plattsburgh Boat Basin, 5 Dock St., Plattsburgh, New York.   

The last Northern Open event is Sept. 15-17 on Oneida Lake in Syracuse, N.Y.  

Local sponsors include The City of Plattsburgh and the "I Love NY" campaign.  

Sponsors of the Bassmaster Open Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).

  BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968. Coming in 2006 are an expanded Tour schedule to 11 events, three Majors tournaments and the Women’s Bassmaster Tour.  

  For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit