“Vermont regains Eastern TBF Championship Cup”

By Billy “Hawkeye” Decoteau

New York’s historic City of Ticonderoga hosted the 2009 TBF Eastern Divisional, as 12-member teams representing New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine as well as Team Canada engaged in a 3-Day ‘Bass-Battle’ on Lake Champlain. Vying for the prestigious Eastern Divisional TBF Team Cup, each 12-member team consisted of 6-Boaters and 6-Co Anglers.

“This is actually two tournaments in one,” says TBF Tournament Director Robert Cartilage. Explaining, “Weights are totaled for each angler individually, then they are added together for each 12-member team. At the end of the third day of competition the individual with the most combined 3-Day total weight is the Eastern Division Champion, while the Team tallying the most weight is crowned the Eastern Division TBF Team-Champions!”

Frank Scalise, Vermont’s TBF President and a member of the 2009 Vermont TBF Team, added, “In addition, the Top-2 Anglers on each State Division-Team with the most combined individual weight advance to the TBF 2010 National Championship scheduled for April 19th in Knoxville, TN.”  (For more details on the Nationals log unto www.Bassfederation.com)

According to TBF rules, individuals on each State-Team with the highest total weight advance as Boaters, while individuals with the second highest total 3-Day weight advance as a Co-Angler. During both the Divisional and the Nationals events each day of competition, Co-Anglers are randomly paired with Boaters from other State-Teams. During the Divisional, their eight-hour on-the-water tournament time is divided equally into 4-hour periods, allowing both Boaters and Co-Anglers to fish in their chosen areas. The Nationals is a different story…the Boater makes all the decisions; the Co-Angler has no say in where to go!

Day #1: Vermont’s Matt Applebaum carried 17-06 lbs to the scales, claiming the Top-Seed on the TBF-Leaders Board in the ‘Bass-Battle’ for Eastern Division Champion. While teammate John Barnes of Bethel, VT logged a 5-bass limit of 15-13 lbs, helping the Vermont Teams quest to regain the prestigious Eastern Divisional TBF Team Cup from New Hampshire.

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However, Massachusetts Team had their-own vision of where the Divisional Team Cup should be house! Westminster, Massachusetts Ed Soule III, registered a sack of Lake Champlain bass tipping the scales at 17-03 lbs, as teammate Jim Gildea of Weston added another 16-15 lbs to his Minuteman teams total weight. When the scales were officially closed on Day #1, Massachusetts held a slight 2-02 lbs lead over Vermont. Defending Eastern Divisional TBF Team Champions New Hampshire idled in third place with 123-13 lbs going into Day #2.

The only other team to tally a three-digit total weight was Maine’s 101-05 lbs. Four-time State Team qualifier Eric Guimond of Standish, ME lead the Pine Tree state team with 14-13 lbs, and young-gun Keith Aucoin of Hollis, ME added another 5-bass limit at 13-02 lbs.

Finishing Day#1 in descending order: Connecticut 90-09 lbs, team leader Scott Janus with 16-11 lbs, New York 84-05 lbs, team leader Tim Post with 13-14 lbs, Rhode Island 82-14 lbs, team leader Ron Bestwick 10-01 lbs, and Ontario, Canada 80-06 lbs, team leader Gerard Ling 13-14 lbs.

Day #2: Other than his second day 5-bass limit being 1-05 lbs lighter (16-01 lbs) Vermont’s Matt Applebaum’s name remained the Top Seed on the TBF-Leaders Board. This time Gil Gagner added to the ‘Green Mountain’ teams cause with a 14-12 lb limit. However, Vermont’s team total weight of 106-13 lbs for Day#2 dropped them into third place 6-10 lbs behind the Eastern Division raining Champion Team………..New Hampshire!

Out distancing their closest competitive team by almost a ten-pound margin the Granite State team rallied behind Day#2 team leader Brian Morin’s 15-05 lbs. Rochester, NH resident John Diaco added 13-07 lbs to the teams cause as New Hampshire slid into the Eastern Divisional TBF-Team lead with a total 2-day weight of 241-01 lbs. The Granite states solid performance catapulting them from third place into the Divisional lead, seemed to be a devastating blow to Team Vermont’s quest to regain the Eastern Division TBF Cup?

Massachusetts team, lead by Jim Gildea’s 14-09 lbs, and Pete deMoya’s 13-10 lbs, could only manage a team-total weight of 107-06 lbs. Giving way to the defending New Hampshire Champions. The Minutemen lagged behind by a mere 3-15 lbs, as Massachusetts TBF President Peter Maclellan reminded his team there was still another day to regain their lead and capture the prestigious Eastern Divisional Team Championship.

Six of the eight teams managed to registered triple-digit team weights on Day #2. However, Maine’s team struggled carrying only 76-15 lbs to the scales as the Pine Tree state fell to the bottom of the pack with a two-day total weight of 178-04 lbs. Only Saco Maine’s Ed Forbes Jr. 13-12 lbs and Hollis, Maine’s Keith Aucoin’s 10-05 lbs placed over ten-pounds of bass in their livewells.

Shuffling the team standings Day#2 logged: Rhode Island in fourth with 189-09 lbs, RI team leader Leo Bevelaqua, 22-12 lbs, fifth place New York with 184-09 lbs, lead by Tim Post at 26-07 lbs, sixth place with 101-15 lbs on Day#2 Ontario, Canada’s total of 182-05 lbs, lead by Gerard Ling at 29-00 lbs, and Connecticut claimed seventh place with 182-04 lbs as Scott Janus continued to secure his Nutmeg teams top-seed.

Day #3: Vermont’s Matt Applebaum led the Eastern Divisional for two consecutive days, registering each day’s largest creel. By Day#3 his honey hole had dried up, leaving Applebaum with only 3 small bass weighing 4-14 lbs. However, Applebaum’s two-day top performance rallied his Vermont Teammates, as 9 of his teammates carried double-digit limits to the scales! Randy Salvage anchored his team with a 15-08 lb limit, and Vermont posted the tournaments largest single day performance registering a total team weight of 133-01 lbs.

Out distancing their closest competitor Day#3 team by 27-08 lbs, Vermont captured the prestigious 2009 Eastern Division TBF-Championship Team-Cup, by a 28-13 lb margin over second place finishers Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Jim Gildea’s consistent 3-day total weight performance of 46-05 lbs earned the Weston, MA angler the distinguished title of 2009 Eastern Divisional Champion. Alvin Tung of Team-Canada registered the tournaments largest single-day limit when his 5-largemouths tipped the scales at 19-15 lbs.

National Championship Contenders: Anglers representing their state-teams advancing to the National Championship as Boaters are: Jim Gildea/Massachusetts, Alvin Tung/Ontario/Canada, Tim Post/New York, Todd Brunelle/Vermont, Eric Guimond/Maine, Scott Janus/Connecticut, Bruce Acox/New Hampshire, and Leo Bevelaqua/Rhode Island. Advancing as Co-Anglers: Gerard Ling/Ontario Canada, Gil Gagner/Vermont, Casey Casamento/New York, Ed Soule III/Massachusetts, Keith Aucoin/Maine, Eric Bouldin/New Hampshire, Johnny Nee/Rhode Island, and Dominic Gambardella/Connecticut.