Lakecaster Online

Local pro places in B.A.S.S.
BY BILL WEBB

 

Vermont top 150

Onalaska Pro Randy Dearman placed 6th with 54.06 lbs. during a "hurricane storm" on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont to bring home a nice purse of $11,000. With the 1st day of competition Randy was in eighth place with a one day weight of 19.06 lbs. of 5 fish. While pre-fishing Randy said that he was able to catch easily 50 small mouth bass in the 3 lb. class and several 5 lb. smallmouth but he knew that to get the weight that he needed he would have to concentrate on large mouths. On the first two days he was able to fish the grass mats with jigs and strike king spinners baits. After the storm came in and muddied the water and raised the lake level grass was hard to find and most large mouths had moved off his holes thus making it "tuff" to find any good large mouths for the final day. Randy stated "that this lake has one of the best bass fisheries that he has seen since the bass fishing pressure is not very strong".

Also Texan Randy Fite found the right combination to take the first- day lead of the Big K-mart BASSMASTER Top 150 on Lake Champlain.

Fite's 22 pound, 2 ounce limit of three largemouth and two smallmouth topped an impressive weigh-in in which anglers needed nearly a 3 1/2- pound average to get into the top 40 pay-off spots.

Fite, a nine-time BASS Masters Classic qualifier from Richards, Texas, said he used a combination of lures and fished both deep and shallow water to catch the mixture of largemouth and smallmouth.

Most of the fish caught were smallmouth bass, although the $1,000 big bass honors went to Rick Lillegard of Atkinson, N.H. with a 6 lb. - 4 oz. largemouth. Lillegard caught the fish on a jig around rocks in four feet of water.
On day two Randy Dearman moves up to third place with a two day weight of 38.11 lbs. Fite eased down to second place with a weight of 40.07 lbs. leaving first place to Michael Iaconelli with 43.12 lbs. of fish. Then the bottom dropped out, Hurricane Floyd didn't make it to Lake Champlain, but his accompanying wind and rain swept through the Northeast and forced cancellation of the third round of the Big K-mart BASSMASTER Top 150 on Friday.

Winds ranging from 25 to 50 mph hammered Lake Champlain throughout the night and into the morning creating dangerous lake conditions which prompted Tournament Director Dewey Kendrick to cancel the semi-final round.
The decision sent amateur contestants and all but 11 pros home early. The top 10 anglers after Thursday's round automatically advance to Saturday's finals, and since there was a tie for 10th place, 11 will be competing for the $100,000 first-place prize.

New Jersey angler Michael Iaconelli staved off remarkable charges by legendary pros Rick Clunn and David Fritts to win his first-ever Big K-mart BASSMASTER Vermont Top 150.

Iaconelli's 17 pound, 7 ounce limit was his smallest catch of the week, but it was enough to turn back four-time BASS Masters Classic Champion Rick Clunn who finished second. Iaconelli's 61 pounds 3 ounces gave him less than a two-pound edge over Clunn of Ava, Mo. who had 59 pounds, 4 ounces while Clunn's brother Randy Fite of Richards, Texas was third with 57 lb. - 8 oz.

Iaconelli is on the fast track to stardom. In only his third year as a pro, he won the B.A.S.S. Federation National Championship last summer and finished sixth in the 1999 Classic held in New Orleans. After two events, he leads the Angler of the Year standings by four points over Michigan veteran Kim Stricker.

Clunn had the biggest sack of the day, a 22 pound, 2 ounce catch consisting of all largemouths he caught on a Luck "E" Strike tube jig. He and Fite shared the same fishing waters all three days.

David Fritts, who was 10th going into the last day, roared into fourth place with 55 pounds while Lake Fork Tackle Company owner Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas was fifth with 54 pounds, 15 ounces. Fritts had Saturday's second biggest limit that weighed 19 pounds, 4 ounces. All five of his fish were smallmouth.

Colder lake temperatures, brought on by a storm that raked Lake Champlain and forced cancellation of Friday's semifinal round, hurt Iaconelli's largemouth bass pattern. During the first two days, he was catching big largemouth on a homemade jig and spinnerbait, but had to change a Mann's Ti-Classic spinnerbait and Jelly Tube to catch smallmouth Saturday.

The 31-year-old BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious bass fishing tournament circuit in the country. It has set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship for more than three decades.

Sponsors of the 1999 BIG K-mart BASSMASTER Top 150 include Ranger Boats, Ranger Trail Trailers, Mercury Outboards, BIG K-mart, Chevy Trucks, AC Delco Batteries, Humminbird/Zercom Marine, Pennzoil Marine, Jerzees Outdoors, Wrangler Rugged Wear, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, and MotorGuide Trolling Motors. Local Sponsors: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.


Randy Dearman

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