UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

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Derocher, Gildea all tied up at TBF Eastern Divisional

Derocher, Gildea all tied up at TBF Eastern Divisional
Leading the Rhode Island team for the second day and tied for the overall lead is Thomas Derocher with a two-day catch of 24 pounds, 3 ounces.

JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. - Competition on day two of The Bass Federation Eastern Divisional championship on Great Lake Sacandaga was so tight it made yesterday's crowded leaderboard look wide open in comparison. Currently, two state leaders are tied for the overall lead, with a third state leader just 2 ounces behind them.

Standing side by side atop the overall weight list are yesterday's overall leader Jim Gildea of Weston, Mass., and Thomas Derocher of Bridgewater, Mass., with two-day catches of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 3 ounces. Their catches are strikingly similar, as Derocher caught 11-8 yesterday and 12-11 today while Gildea caught 12-10 yesterday and 11-9 today. If the tournament ended today, Derocher would win the $500 Wal-Mart gift card as the Castrol Maximum Performer because he currently boasts the heaviest one-day catch of the pair, but for now, the race remains all tied up.

However, Derocher's lead atop the Rhode Island state team and Gildea's Massachusetts state lead are of higher importance. This week's Eastern Divisional features 72 anglers on six state teams, and the No. 1 angler from each state team at the conclusion of this week's event will advance to the 2008 TBF National Championship as a boater. Each state's runner-up will advance to the championship as a co-angler. The six states competing in the Eastern Divisional are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Derocher sight-fishes to extend Rhode Island lead

Derocher ended day one on top in Rhode Island with a 1-pound, 4-ounce lead - small but stout in a tournament as tight as this week's. He extended that margin to 3 pounds, 8 ounces today thanks to his day-two limit that weighed 12 pounds, 11 ounces.

"I pretty much stayed with the same area that I've been fishing for a couple of days now," said Derocher, who is competing this week as a boater. "The water levels didn't hurt me as badly as I thought. Hopefully one more day will bring some more fish to me."

Derocher craves the Rhode Island state win in large part because last year he barely missed it, finishing second and advancing to the national championship as a co-angler. To advance as a boater would be particularly sweet, and he furthered his cause today thanks in large part to the generosity of a friend.

"I broke a spinnerbait rod yesterday, and a buddy of mine gave me a new one and some new (braided line) that gave me better hooksets today," Derocher said. "I didn't lose quite as many fish as I lost yesterday, and hopefully that will make the difference tomorrow."

Derocher is primarily using spinnerbaits to land his bass, complementing that with a Senko when the wind dies down.

"I was able to sight-fish most of the afternoon for the fish that I did catch," he said. "There are a lot of fish coming up cruising - they almost look like they're spawning."

With the help of his Solar Bat sunglasses, Derocher said he had visibility today of up to 15 feet for sight-fishing.

Gildea rises above "frustrating" day to lead Massachusetts

Day-one overall leader Jim Gildea is currently tied for the overall lead with 24-3, but he leads the Massachusetts team by more than 3 pounds.Massachusetts state leader Gildea led his state team on day one and retained his No. 1 status for a second day thanks to his day-two limit of 11-9. His day-one lead of 1 pound, 1 ounce stretched today to 3 pounds, 8 ounces - exactly the lead Derocher currently enjoys in Rhode Island. Oddly, just as Derocher and Gildea are tied, so are the No. 2 competitors in their respective states.

"Honestly, today was kind of a tough day," said Gildea, a boater. "I lost a lot of fish, and my nonboater was stroking them right behind me. I was getting a little frustrated. I got a 3-pounder around the middle of the day, and that kind of settled me down. The rest of the day went okay, but I worked for those fish today."

Gildea blames his troubles on his failure to give up on a finesse bite while his day-two partner was whacking them on a different bait.

"I kind of died on the finesse bite today," he said. "That was a mistake. My nonboater was getting them good on a topwater, and like a fool, I didn't change to that."

Despite today's woes, Gildea still feels confident about his final-day chances because of a spot he has on hold for tomorrow.

"I've got an area that I kind of expanded today that had some nice grass, so I'm going to hit that pretty good in the morning and then just go try to get a limit of fish," he said. "I'm a rookie here. There are a lot of fish in this lake, but they are all out in the open, so everyone is banging the bank. There's nothing really secret about it; it's kind of a race to the shoreline."

One difference Gildea also noticed today was definitive evidence that the Sacandaga fish are getting awfully pressured.

"I'm starting to catch fish that have hook marks in them," he said. "The first day I was here, none of the fish had hook marks. Now one out of every three has a hook mark in it, so they're putting some pressure on the fish."

Anthony assumes New Hampshire lead

Mark Anthony moved up to the No. 1 spot on the New Hampshire team today with a two-day catch of 24 pounds, 1 ounce.Taking over the top spot in the super-tight New Hampshire race is Mark Anthony of Wolfeboro Falls, N.H., with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 1 ounce. That weight has him third on the overall weight list, just 2 ounces behind Derocher and Gildea, and it afforded him a 15-ounce lead over yesterday's New Hampshire leader Alan Denise in his state race.

For Anthony, success today meant paying close attention to water temperature, and his lofty status is due in large part to what he calls a key move that he made about 10:30 this morning.

"My partner and I decided to go to a spot I had located earlier in practice," said Anthony, a boater. "I pulled a 4-pounder off there and some other smaller ones. The key to that area is the water is five degrees cooler than the main lake. As the temperatures are warming up here in central New York, the water temperature is getting a little hotter, and it's shutting off the main-lake fish. So we made a move off the main lake onto an arm in the Sacandaga Reservoir."

Anthony is currently No. 1 in New Hampshire despite what he describes as some tough times, so he's hoping his hot streak continues into the final day and results in a national-championship berth.

"Going into the tournament, I knew I had to have some luck," he said. "So far, I've had a lot of adversity. Tomorrow, God willing, if I do get some good luck, I think I'll go to my best hole. I haven't even hit my best hole yet, so hopefully those fish are there, and I can do just as well tomorrow."

Bacon holds on to slim Maine state lead

Continuing to lead the Maine state team is Victor Bacon with 23-4 over two days.Victor Bacon of Sebago Lake, Maine, continues to sit in the top spot on the Maine state team but just barely - he currently leads Bryan Mooney of Auburn, Maine, by only 5 ounces, and he led Mooney yesterday by only 10 ounces. Bacon caught five bass today weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces for a two-day total of 23 pounds, 4 ounces.

Bacon reported catching his bass today on a jig made by a friend of his as well as a Senko. He too had a tougher time today, putting only seven bass in the boat.

"What I lost, I don't even want to count," he said. "I should have had 14 pounds today."

Like Anthony, Bacon has dealt with adversity, albeit of a different kind. While Anthony's troubles are of the on-the-water variety, Bacon currently leads his state team despite some physical ailments.

"It would mean a lot to me," Bacon said of earning a trip to the nationals. "I'm 51 years old, and I'm not getting any better. I've got so many problems going on that this would be great for me. I've always wanted to try it just one time."

Bacon's 23-4 catch currently has him in fourth place on the overall weight list.

Gagner, Crino all tied up in Vermont

Tied for the Vermont state lead is Gilbert Gagner with 21 pounds, 11 ounces over two days.With 10-bass catches weighing 21 pounds, 11 ounces, Gilbert Gagner of Highgate Springs, Vt., and Robert Crino of South Royalton, Vt., are currently tied for the Vermont state lead, though Gagner would break the tiebreaker if the tournament ended today because he has the heaviest one-day catch so far. But like Derocher and Gildea, Gagner and Crino's catches are eerily similar, with Gagner bringing in 10-7 and 11-4 and Crino weighing in 10-8 and 11-3. Together they lead No. 3 Vermont angler Tim Austin by only 9 ounces.

For Gagner, who was in a similar situation at last year's Eastern Divisional, where he ultimately ended up sixth on his state team, the difference today was all in the line.

"I lightened my line today," he said. "I think the fish are getting pressured, so I went to a lighter line, and I believe that really improved my catch rate today. I hope to do the same tomorrow."

Like Gagner, Crino is paying attention to how pressured the Sacandaga fish are becoming.

"I'm catching most of my fish on spinnerbaits, and I'm making a long run," said Crino, a boater. "I'm fishing for less pressured fish than most of the other people are fishing for. I'm not doing anything special, just wearing my arm off throwing a spinnerbait."

Gagner, a boater who says he's catching fish this week on a Zoom Speed Craw and a Senko, has the bigger picture in mind when it comes to his performance tomorrow.

"I'm going to shoot for 10 pounds, because 10 pounds helps my team, which I feel is the most important," he said. Cash awards this week are given to the teams with the heaviest weight, a race that Gagner's state currently leads.

As for Crino, he plans to go deep on Friday.

"I've got some deep fish that I've been saving," Crino said. "If the spinnerbait dies in the morning, I'm going to go to them. I'd feel comfortable if I could get 12 pounds tomorrow, but I'll take what I can get."

Schumacher clings to 3-ounce Connecticut lead

Richard Schumacher caught 21 pounds, 7 ounces of bass the first two days to lead Connecticut by only 3 ounces.Holding a razor-thin 3-ounce lead on the Connecticut state team is Richard Schumacher of Newtown, Conn., with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces. Schumacher caught 9-14 yesterday to sit in third on his state team but followed that up today with a limit weighing 11-9 that moved him all the way to the top.

"Today I fished shallow water, nothing deeper than 6 or 7 feet," said Schumacher, who is competing this week as a nonboater. "The first day I fished much deeper - 10, 12, 15 feet of water."

Schumacher said he is catching everything on a tube, with the wind determining whether he uses a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce weight.

"I hope to stick with the pattern I had today that produced the good bag," he said of his final-day plans. "I'm hoping tomorrow it stays the same, but the fish are getting much smarter and more educated, so we'll have to see how tomorrow goes."

Vermont continues to lead race among the states

In the competition among the six state teams, which determines tournament cash awards, Vermont reigned a second day with a combined total catch of 240 pounds, 5 ounces. That weight leads the Massachusetts team, whose members weighed in 229-12 the first two days. Behind them in third is Maine with 225-7, followed by the New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island teams. The state rankings remained unchanged from day one.

Competition concludes tomorrow

The third and final day of Eastern Divisional competition kicks off Friday morning with a 7 o'clock takeoff from Northville State Boat Launch in Northville. Tomorrow's weigh-in will also be held there beginning at 3 p.m.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2007-09-19-divisional-lake-great-sacandaga 

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