UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag
Laramy Strickland

Warren “Butch” Kritsberg has only lived in Florida for a few years, and he’s still learning a lot about fishing the Harris Chain of Lakes. Fortunately, he now has a lot of new intel about where and how to catch giants after riding along with Laramy Strickland on the second tournament day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event, which was presented by Bad Boy Mowers.

Kritsberg, a 69-year-old retiree who served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force before transitioning to the private sector in the telecommunications field, was Strickland’s marshal that day. He watched the local rookie take a huge step toward his first Pro Circuit victory in the form of the 31-pound, 6-ounce mega-bag Strickland pulled from mats in the marsh on Lake Griffin.

“I got really lucky getting with Laramy,” Kritsberg says. “That was so much fun to watch, and he is such a nice guy – just plain salt-of-the-earth kind of guy.

“In the morning before we took off, [Strickland] said they were going to be up under the mats. ‘In a cold front condition like this, the big ones will get right up underneath there.’ He had 31 pounds, 6 ounces in the boat by 10 o’clock in the morning, and that’s after an hour-long run to get there.”

With Strickland’s 31-6 bag, paired with AJ Slegona’s 17-2 on day one (Kritsberg was Slegona’s marshal that day), Kritsberg totaled 48-8 for the FLW Marshal Program contest and took home $2,500 as a result.

The money is nice, but the Upstate New York transplant, who moved to Florida in 2016 and calls Leesburg home, was happiest about having a great experience and learning so much from his pros.

“It was really weird because, me being from Upstate New York, [Slegona] was the only angler in the field of 154 from New York, so that was interesting,” he says. “He and I know a whole bunch of the same people. 

“We had tons to talk about and had a really great day.”

Both anglers also clued in Kritsberg on some techniques for catching big Florida bass.

“The big thing was the way he fishes all the weeded areas,” Kritsberg says of Strickland’s winning techniques. “Everybody was fishing a Speed Worm, and I fish a worm a lot, but not the way these guys fish it. They just chuck it out there with a 1/4-ounce weight and rip it through the weeds. I’d never seen that technique before, so that was good.

“Laramy was using a 2-ounce punch weight with a Spicy Beaver and was punching some of the heaviest stuff I’ve ever seen. That’s where all the big fish were living.”

Laramy Strickland

It was eye-opening for the new-to-Florida angler, who spent years fishing 20 or more tournaments per year in local bass clubs and The Bass Federation tournaments in New York. An avid bass angler, Kritsberg is always looking for ways to improve.

“Since I’ve been down here, I’ve really struggled trying to figure out these waters and techniques,” he adds. “That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to do the Marshal Program. I thought, if nothing else, I could at least get some pointers and see some new waters.”

Kritsberg definitely did that, and he’s quick to point out how much fun he had doing it. He says he also enjoyed getting to know both his anglers and especially being around Strickland and his family on the second and final days of the tournament.

“It was incredible how many people he had there supporting him,” Kritsberg says of being around Strickland during the week. “That was lot of fun.”

It’s also fun winning money, though Kritsberg admits he doesn’t have any big plans for his winnings. He did give $100 each to two of his friends who he convinced to participate in the Marshal Program with him – to cover their fees – and a portion of the remainder went to his wife to “pay the taxes” on the winnings. As for the rest, he’s keeping his options open. There’s always plenty of bass fishing-related gear to be bought.

While this was Kritsberg’s first experience marshaling in a tournament, it probably won’t be his last. He’s hoping the Pro Circuit makes its way back to the Harris Chain soon.

“I’ve been talking about being a marshal for 10 years or longer,” he admits. “When this opportunity came up here, I thought, ‘why not?’ The ramp is three miles from my home. It would have been crazy not to do it.

“If it’s close by, I definitely will again, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a great time.”

 

Marshal prizewinners

1. Warren “Butch” Kritsberg – Leesburg, Fla. – 48-8 – $2,500

2. Sean Wooten – Umatilla, Fla. – 36-12 – $1,000

3. Steve Helmberger – Leesburg, Fla. – 34-14 – $750

4. Jim Opetaia-Williamson – Dunnellon, Fla. – 31-15 – $500

5. Gary Saxarra – Tavares, Fla. – 31-10 – $250

6. Greg McDaniel – Naples, Fla. – 31-9 – $100

7. Katie Jackson – High Springs, Fla. – 30-8 – $100

8. Sean Ripley – Lakeland, Fla. – 28-8 – $100

9. Dean Jackson – High Springs, Fla. – 27-13 – $100

10. Roger Robinson – Brodhead, Ky. – 27-6 – $100

 

Want to be a marshal?

Thank you to all who participated in the Marshal Program at the Harris Chain of Lakes. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a marshal, please call 270.252.1000, or visit flwfishing.com/marshals. Openings are available for the upcoming event at Lake Martin. 

Tags: flw  harris-chain  tackle-warehouse-pro-circuit  marshal-program  justin-onslow  post-tournament  2020-02-20-harris-chain 

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