UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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Ramapo Claims Northern Conference Title

Ramapo Claims Northern Conference Title
Andrew Zapf and Andrew Annuzzi

The FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship on Chesapeake Bay wrapped up last weekend with teams not only competing to win, but also to claim one of 10 spots in the 2016 College Fishing National Championship. The team that managed to do both was the Ramapo College duo of Andy Zapf and Andrew Annuzzi, who earned a cool $4,000 for the club in the process. Ramapo’s winning eight-fish stringer totaled 19 pounds, 12 ounces. Christopher Newport University was runner-up with 16-13 while Pennsylvania State University was third with 15-10.

It’s no coincidence that Annuzzi and Zapf walked away with the title. Both are seasoned anglers who have spent plenty of time on the Chesapeake Bay system through the years. The pair also hails from New Jersey – which is where Ramapo College is located – with Annuzzi growing up a two-hour drive from the Bay.

Annuzzi spent some time on the Chesapeake a few days prior to the Conference Championship, but found little success. Leaning on past experience and knowledge, he figured the area near North East would be the best bet in the tournament.

When Zapf joined up with Annuzzi ahead of the event, they checked several areas throughout the bay, but again didn’t catch enough fish to instill much confidence. After five hard days of practice they got just three bites – all of which came from the McDaniel Yacht Basin in North East River. Still, Annuzzi thought they were fishing the right area.

“I knew the fish were going to be in [the marina],” says Annuzzi, a junior majoring in Environmental Science. “I had caught 15 pounds out of there the week before and Andy [Zapf] agreed that we should start in there.”

On day one things got rolling quickly as Ramapo boated three decent keepers early. The bite got tough then, mainly due to angling pressure from local tournaments, according to Annuzzi. The Ramapo team had to settle for those three fish, which weighed 6 pounds and had them sitting in 11th place.

“The first day of the tournament we stuck it out in the marina all day long,” says Zapf, a senior and Accounting major. “We caught three fish by 8:30 a.m., then didn’t catch another keeper.”

Despite ending the day two fish shy of a limit, Annuzi and Zapf figured that the marina would still be their best bet at qualifying for the National Championship on day two, but left the door open to leave and fish elsewhere if the fish were still sluggish.

Ramapo stuck with their guns and about 10 minutes into day two the team boated a solid 3-pounder. They didn’t have another bite for nearly two and half hours when they decided it was time to run new water.

Annuzzi says they went to the back of a creek and landed two small keepers during slack tide. They figured if they could catch two fish from the back of a creek in slack water, they could do it in the back of the marina. Thus, they returned to where they started.

“The tide had pulled out, and we ended up catching two more in the marina,” Zapf says. “On our way back to check-in we stopped in a pocket a half-mile from the ramp and were able to cull out a squeaker with just 20 minutes to go.”

Their day-two weight of 13-12 easily launched them to the top of the leaderboard by almost 3 pounds.

The key to the marina was fishing the few slips that were not occupied with boats. Annuzzi notes that those slips were old docks where there was a lot of wood lying on the bottom. The majority of their fish came from the backs of the docks against the seawall where there was shade.

Annuzzi fished a Brown Purple Passion ½-ounce Missile Jigs Ike’s Mini Flip Jig paired with a Beaver-style trailer. Zapf opted for a drop-shot on braided line (due to the low visibility of the water and abundance of cover, he didn’t tie on a leader) with a Strike King Baby Rage Craw. Neither presentation seemed to out-produce the other – instead, it was a matter of simply putting it in front of a bass.

“The key for us was definitely sticking to our plan and concentrating on that marina,” Annuzzi says. “We would pick apart every spot we could, then re-start and cycle through it again. We knew the fish were there.”

“It feels awesome to win, especially after only weighing three fish on day one. I never thought we’d have a chance at winning. I told Andy [Zapf] that I wouldn’t let this be his last tournament and we would make it to the championship. Here we are. It’s great.”


The top 10 teams advancing to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship:

The top 10 teams that will represent the Northern Conference at the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

1st – Ramapo College – Andrew Annuzzi and Andrew Zapf – 19-12

2nd – Christopher Newport University – Travis Riley and Seth Winslow – 16-13

3rd – Pennsylvania State University – Matt Bakewell and Tyler Smith – 15-10

4th – University of Akron – Anthony Villalba and Robert Webber – 14-2

5th – Adrian College – Jeff Morton and Nickolas Marsh – 13-12

6th – Fairmont State University – Landon Paul and Ryan Houser – 13-10

7th – Adrian College – Jarrett Martin and Jacob Bayer – 13-6

8th – Shenandoah University – Thomas Arens and Billy Arens – 13-4

9th – West Virginia University – Jacob Marshall and Matthew Combs – 11-1

10th – Lake Superior State University – Hunter Scharphorn and Jake Dorony – 9-15

Tags: kyle-wood  headline-story  2015-09-12-conference-championship-chesapeake 

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