GILFORD, N.H. – Fourteen anglers went home happy Friday after best-of-team performances at the CITGO BASS Federation Eastern Divisional presented by Busch Beer. The top angler from each of the 14 competing teams will go on to the BASS Federation Championship next spring.

The New Hampshire state team – which also boasted the tournament’s overall winner, Joe Lucarelli – led wire to wire at the event and takes home the $15,000 cash prize for the top team, thanks to a team total catch of 363 pounds, 1 ounce.

Lucarelli brought in 38-10 over three days and was understandably excited about his win. If he follows up by finishing top in the Eastern Division at the championship, he will take one of five coveted amateur berths in professional bass fishing’s world championship, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer.

“Honestly, I really want to go to the (championship),” Lucarelli said. “I’ve been waiting for this tournament for a year and it’s been a lot of hard work.

“I got lucky today, really. I caught three fish in the last 15 minutes of the tournament. I just pulled up on a spot to see if I could get bit. I was sick of fishing someplace else and got lucky. I had a limit at 8:30 in the morning and only had one decent fish and the rest were all rats. I should have weighted 8 ½ pounds today until I pulled up on that spot and something happened. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

”My fish came different every day. The first day I caught my fish on a Gary Yamamoto Tube, the second day they came on a cut-tail drop shot and today I was almost like junk fishing in deep water. I caught two on a hula grub, I caught a good one on a rig and another good one on a drop shot.”

Also heading for the BASS Federation Championship is Massachusetts angler Jamie Worth, who boated 36-3 for second place in the larger tournament and first on his team.

“I am happy that I won it for our state and get to represent them in the nationals,” Worth said. “This is my fifth state team and this is the first time that I’m going, so I’m pretty happy about that, but my goal was to get first place overall.

“The last time the event was here, the Massachusetts team won and we were really proud of that. I really wanted everyone from my team to represent. We had a big comeback yesterday, but today we fell a little short. We had to make up 13 pounds and my team just wasn’t on them today.

“I went around the whole lake and I was hitting every main lake point and was looking for bait fish on my Navatronics Lowarance X15 and it locked me down on the schools of baitfish, manly smelt. I had like eight or nine spots and I just went right through them.”

New Hampshire’s David Swett took home the $1,000 prize for the Purolator Big Bass of the Tournament from his day one lunker that tipped the scales at 6-6.

Maryland’s top angler Bob Letizi was disqualified Friday due to a rules violation and, in turn, second place angler Bill Bennett, who caught 27-5, will be going to the championship for his team.

“It wan an unfortunate occurrence,” said BASS Tournament Manager Randy MacBride. “It came to our attention that the angler had mistakenly practiced with someone who had been on the water prior to the official practice period. It wasn’t a deliberate act, but it was a rules violation and had to be enforced.”

Joining Lucarelli, Worth and Bennett in next spring’s Federation Championship will be New York’s Mike Mapes (35-3); West Virginia’s Eric Stewart (32-12); Maine’s Joshua Mabee (31-15); Connecticut’s Greg Lownds (30-9); Virginia’s Todd Schaaf (30-8); Delaware’s Greg Alexander (30-1); Pennsylvania’s Richard Witushynsky (29-9); Vermont’s J.J. Judd (29-5); New Jersey’s Ed Cowan (28-5); Rhode Island’s Michael DiChiaro (25-3); and Washington, D.C.’s Richard Cottone (24-6).

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.

Sponsors of the CITGO BASS Federation Eastern Divisional presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Toyota, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Evan Williams, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.

Local Sponsors include Massachusetts BASS Federation.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit