It was an eerie day on the Upper Chesapeake Bay on Friday, June 1 as the fourth Friday PAYCHECK tournament of 2012 got underway. This PAYCHECK tournament was sponsored by Rita’s Italian Ice and Vanore Enterprises. All eyes were pointed upward toward the skies most of the day…some praying for a big bag of bass and others in wary anticipation of the serious weather threat that awaited them in the afternoon.
Undaunted, 17 of the top teams in the area from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey put the hammer down as their number was called at the 5:30 AM launch. Many teams ventured south hoping to get a couple of hours of quality fishing in before the winds picked up and the weather got nasty. Low tide was scheduled to be near the 3PM weigh-in time but the strong east wind blew it out early causing many teams to alter their tactics. Despite the wind and churning clouds in the sky many teams returned with stout bags of bass. The only question was if the strong thunderstorms would hold off just long enough to finish weigh-in. Thankfully they did but not by much.
Joe Dellavalle and Dan Hawley were on a big bite which is common for this duo but they said they lost a lot of bass today. They still managed a very respectable weight of 18.37 pounds, of which 5.71 pounds belonged to the big bass of the tournament. Remember that we are now fishing post spawn conditions and the 5 pounders we saw on Friday were likely 7 pounders a month ago. Joe and Dan’s lunker earned them $170 and an incredible plaque designed by Tri-State Trophies in Edgewood, MD. Nice fish!
Larry Kunkel and Tom Stec didn’t win any money or plaques but still had a fourth place finish with an awesome bag weighing 18.86 pounds. They made and adjustment and ran a long way for their bass and had a great day not working!
John Vanore and Rick DiIenno sacked a bunch of 4-41/2 pound largemouth and put 19.21 pounds of bass on the scales to finish in 3rd place. They received a $250 and a pair of coveted plaques. Good going.
Second Place plaques and cash were awarded to Jack Rinkers and Bill Gallagher, whose big limit weighed 20.15 pounds. They caught a bunch of bass today and culled carefully to achieve their final weight. For their efforts they were rewarded with $760 in prize money and an additional $115 for second place Option Pot bonus cash for a total of $875. That’s a nice PAYCHECK!
Sitting atop the leaderboard when all was said and done were Clyde Brown and Corey Ellis with 20.84 pounds Culling was also important for them as the needed every ounce to sneak ahead of Jack and Bill. They had a great payday as they received $1520 for 1st place, but an additional $260 in Option Pot cash for $1780 in all. That’s a great return on their $200 total investment just 9 ½ hours earlier.
Once again Clyde and Corey proved why Paycheck Tournaments are the way to go. Yes, the weather may have kept a few teams away, but with a 90% payback it’s a great payback even with just 17 teams. Remember that this is our “fledgling” year and next year promises to be even better with several divisions on the east coast and a Grand Championship.