The PAYCHECK Winter Opens moved to the Upper Bay on December 7th with twelve teams in the water and ready to go at safe light. It was chilly and a little breezy during the day but nothing unbearable for these hearty anglers. It was nice to have Tydings Park to ourselves.
The bay was quiet with no other activity on the water except for the barges carrying rock from the quarry. However, the teams participating in this contest must have been locked into there spots because you didn’t hear any bass boats scurrying around like usual.
If you were fortunate enough to catch at least 1 fish in this tournament it was a good one. Those who chose to venture up the Susquehanna River in search of the big smallies that show up this time of year were rewarded with a big fat goose egg. It appears that the water was 4-5 degrees colder there.
With the Option Pot paying the first 2 teams out of the money a total of 4 places were paid today. Landing in 4th place were Larry Kunkel and Dwayne Smith with 12.96 pounds. Don’t be fooled, though…they had one that weighed 5.71 and another good one to go with three small keepers. They won $100 in cash.
Mike Sentore, fresh off a Premier Marine Division Team of the Year and a PAYCHECK Grand Championship title with Sean McKee teamed up with Brian Stockl to finish in 3rd place with 20.16 pounds, earning them $120.
Brian Christy fished the tournament with his son, also name Brian. The younger Mr. Christy was fishing his first tournament. How many of us can say we weighed in 21.28 pounds in our very first tournament? That’s just what they did and pocketed $300 for a second place finish.
It doesn’t seem to matter if we have 10 boats or 40, the top 2 teams always seem to be separated only by a few ounces and today was no exception. Mike Piccolo and Dave Anderson finished just ahead of the Christy’s with 5 bass that totaled 21.43 pounds giving them the victory. Like Larry and Duane, Mike and Dave also chose a 5.71 pounder as their big bass. They were presented with $680 in cash.
Josh Headley and Scott Kraemer carried a single 2 pound bass around in their livewell until late in the day when the tournament lunker decided to chomp on their bait. This big largemouth weighed 5.91 pounds and earned them $120.
6 of the 7 teams who weighed in fish today presented at least one bass over 5 pounds. That’s a great stat but not as good as the fact that all fish were again released alive. You guys always do a great job with fish care and PAYCHECK has had a stellar record our first 2 years with just a handful of deceased bass even in the heat of summer. Beginning with the March tournaments in 2014 all livewells will be checked for proper operation instead of just making sure they are empty in the morning so you’ve got 3 months to get them ready!
The next PAYCHECK $100 Winter Open will be December 21, 2013 out of Anchor Marina. Hope to see you there!