The top angler from each of the Eastern Division states plus Ontario, Canada, as well as the top angler from each of the Mid-Atlantic states plus the District of Columbia will represent their respective states or regions in the Federation Championship to be held in January of 2006. From there, the top angler from the Eastern Division and the top angler from the Mid-Atlantic Division will join the best from five other divisions as the Federation representatives in the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.
For now, though, the winning states and top anglers can revel in their success on the lake that locals affectionately call “Cobbossee.” The anglers enjoyed exceptional fishing during three competition days, with the 15 teams bringing in almost 1,900 keeper bass weighing more than 3,300 pounds. It was an impressive display on a fishery that covers a little more than 5,000 surface acres.
Leading Maine to victory in the BASS Eastern Divisional was Steven Harris of South China, Maine, with a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 41 pounds, 9 ounces. His tally was not only the best on his team – thereby sending him to the Federation Championship – but also the best of any individual in either Divisional.
“I fished isolated main lake structure and cover that was 10 to 15 feet deep or deeper,” said Harris. “I used deep-diving crankbaits, plastic worms and a black and blue jig and pig.”
All but one of the bass that Harris brought to the scales were largemouth bass. On the final day, a single smallmouth was in his creel. “I thought it would take largemouth to win this tournament,” Harris added.
Joining Harris on the Eastern Division team that will fish the 2006 Federation Championship are Connecticut’s Greg Lownds (35-5). New York’s Matthew Sphar (37-5), Vermont’s Sean Alvarez (28-14), Rhode Island’s Joel St. Germain (34-7) who fished the 2003 Classic as a Federation angler, Massachusetts’s Roger Bogosh (34-1), New Hampshire’s Scott Parker (38-14) and Garrett Green (27-14) of Ontario. The top angler in this group at the upcoming Federation Championship will earn the much-coveted berth in the 2006 Bassmaster Classic.
The big bass of the Eastern Division was taken by St. Germain on the first day and weighed 8-2.
In the BASS Mid-Atlantic Divisional, Steve “Cheeseburger” Roberts of Virginia took top individual honors as he led his home state to victory. Roberts’ three-day total of 15 bass weighing 40-10 clearly outpaced the rest of the field and will carry him to his first Federation Championship.
Roberts fished a green pumpkin jig and pig in less than 3 feet of water to lead Virginia to victory. “I figured out my pattern within the first 10 minutes of practice,” he said. “I was pitching, flipping and skipping the jig to docks along deeper banks with rocks around them.” It will be Roberts’ first appearance in the Federation Championship.
The rest of the Mid-Atlantic’s team for the Federation Championship will be made up of New Jersey’s Bob Soley (31-11), who qualified for the 1999 Classic from the Federation, Maryland’s Kevin Waterman (30-7), Delaware’s Greg Alexander (25-7), Pennsylvania’s Daniel Gray (24-10), West Virginia’s Kevin Goff (26-2) and Danny Lee Shanz (23-6) of the District of Columbia. One of them will be Bassmaster Classic-bound after the Federation Championship.
The big bass of the tournament in the Mid-Atlantic Division was Greg Alexander’s 7-1 on Day 2.
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.
BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.