(09/13/2002 - CLAYTON, N.Y.)... Anglers saw nearly perfect conditions during the first day of competition at the New York CITGO BASSMASTER Northern Open presented by Busch Beer. Friday was completely opposite with rough water and heavy winds making the fishing extremely difficult for the field of pros and amateurs.
The tough conditions resulted in some major changes at the top of the leaderboard, with Dennis Krell of Palmerton, Penn. taking the top spot heading into Saturday’s final round with a two-day total of 34 pounds 7 ounces.
"I caught each of my fish in a different spot today," said Krell who is fishing in the St. Lawrence River. "I have about 30 spots and I’m not getting to all of them. I really believe I can catch between 14 and 17 pounds tomorrow."
Krell explained that he was catching his fish in areas with rocks and weeds and that the water needed to be deep.
Following Krell in second place is David LeFebre of Erie, Pa. with 34-6, just one ounce behind. Tom Dolin again relied on a limit of largemouth bass and the Palatine, N.Y. pro holds third with 32-9. Day one leader Koby Kreiger, Osceola, Ind., fell to fourth with 32-6 and Thomas LaVictoire of West Rutland, Vt. is fifth with 30-6.
Many anglers had concentrated on Lake Ontario and its bountiful smallmouths during day one, but the rough seas made any attempt on the lake nearly impossible during day two.
In this season’s CITGO BASSMASTER Opens, the field is cut to the top 50 pros and amateurs following the second day of competition. Following the first round the cut was 14-6, that number only jumped 7-15 on Friday. Additionally, the total amount of fish dropped from nearly 2000 pounds on the pro side Thursday to just over1100 on Friday.
Danny Correia entered the day in second place and with an extreme amount of confidence. After the winds picked up Correia was able to bring in just 4-13 and made the cut in 32nd place with a total weight of 24-12.
"I was able to move to a few spots until it got too muddy," explained Correia. "When I am fishing for largemouths I am in trouble."
The top amateur entering the final round is Larry Wagner of Crown Point, Ind. with a total of 28-7. He has an 11 ounce lead over Mike Balzano of Franklin, N.Y. who has 27-12.
The 384 anglers in the event (193 amateurs and 191 pros) are competing for a share of the $320,000 purse, with the top pro taking home $50,000 and the top amateur earning $24,000.
Daily weigh-ins take place at French Creek Marina at 2:30 p.m. Anglers launch beginning at 6:30 a.m. Additionally, a free CastingKids event, presented by Chevy Trucks and CITGO, will be held there Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This fun-filled national program encourages children to perfect the skills of casting, pitching and flipping. The New York B.A.S.S. Federation will conduct the event and provide instruction to all youngsters.
By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its B.A.S.S. Federation, B.A.S.S. is the world’s largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO BASSMASTER Northern Open event include: CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Busch Beer, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Long John Silver’s, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, and B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA.
Associate Sponsors include Bass Cat Boats and G3 Boats.
The CITGO BASSMASTER Northern Open event is presented locally by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.