Fishing & Boating News

CITGO Bassmaster Northern Open Comes To New York

Abundant Smallmouth Fishery Awaits Visiting Pros

(Jun. 21, 2004 - BUFFALO, N.Y.) the eastern end down by the Buffalo area. "A lot of the big creeks on the south side are pumping a lot of mud in. And the south and southwestern and westerly winds are pushing it right down to the lake and into the river. And it's really messed the water up out to about 30 feet. "If the wind would lay and we don't have any more rain, it could be a really good tournament with lots of 15-pound-plus bags. But I don't think you're going to see fish that are fat, big and fed up like they were in the fall. They're just not they're yet. They're just post-spawn, so they‚re going to be leaner and the weights won't be as high as in the fall." Another factor possibly limiting tournament catches is that the 175 pros and amateurs cannot fish in Canadian waters. The Canadian bass season does not open until June 27th. Still, Thomas expects top finishers to average 15 to 17 pounds a day. "The fish are pretty much done spawning," he explained. "I think we can expect that the fish will be starting to set into their summer pattern. I'm guessing the majority of the fish will be caught around the 20-foot range, which will be a little bit shallower than when we were here last fall. "The biggest thing you've got is a lot of transitioning going on. You've got fish that are just coming off of the spawn and moving out and staging before going into their summer patterns. So I don't think it's going to be a deal where you can drop a marker buoy on a single rock in 30 feet of water and catch 17 pounds. I think you're going to have to cover a little more water. "Instead of fishing vertically - which is usually the case in the summer and fall - I think there will be more drifting and dragging going on. Possibly tubes with rattles in them and things like that that will make the fish pick the bait up in the dirtier water." Thomas said the largemouth fishery will not be a factor unless high winds force BASS officials to put Lake Erie off-limits and restrict the field to the Niagara River and its tributaries. This is the first of three Northern Open events that will send the top anglers to the Bassmaster Open Championship in December - and, ultimately, the coveted CITGO Bassmaster Classic next summer. The top prize in this event for the pros is $50,000. Weigh-ins will be Buffalo Harbor State Park & Marina at 2:30 p.m. BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, which includes the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 series, 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 Bassmaster Open series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne. Local Sponsors include Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau.