Smyrna’s Mandes wins Bass Fishing League tournament

Smyrna’s Jeff Mandes caught his fish from a large section of grass in Maple Bay, a location he ended up committing to due to motor trim issues. Submitted photo

BREWERTON, N.Y. — Boater Jeff Mandes of Smyrna won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake last Saturday with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 2 ounces. Mandes pocketed $6,996 for his win.

Mandes caught his fish from a large section of grass in Maple Bay, a location he ended up committing to due to motor trim issues.

“I couldn’t trim my motor up when I got to the ramp. I’m not sure how it happened, but it started working by the time we launched and I made it through boat check,” said Mandes, who notched his first win in FLW competition. “Normally I’d move around more, but I was afraid the trim would quit working.”

Mandes made the most of his predicament, figuring out that the fish were in a certain, smaller area about half the size of the general location he fished. He said he kept going around and through it to pick them off.

“When I went beyond it, I couldn’t get a bite. It all looked the same, but they were in a certain section,” said Mandes.
Mandes said he started out with a topwater bait, but didn’t have any luck. After 20 minutes or so, he picked up a green-pumpkin-colored Big Mouth Lures swimjig with a custom-colored skirt and an Okeechobee Craw-colored Netbait Paca Craw trailer and went to work.

“I caught a good one on my third cast with the swimjig, so that’s what I stuck with. I also caught some on a black Texas-rigged (Yamamoto) Senko with a belly-weighted hook,” he said. “When the wind died down and it got slick-calm, the Senko worked well, but when there was a ripple in the water, the swimjig did better.”

By noon, Mandes said he had approximately 18 pounds of bass.

“I culled one more time and around 12:30 (p.m.) I ran closer to the ramp to fish and finish out my day,” said Mandes. “Overall, I caught between 15 and 18 keepers throughout the day.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

Mike Shumanis of Bethlehem, Pa., finished second (five bass, 18-0, $3,113). Grae Buck of Harleysville, Pa. took third )five bass, 17-7, $1,695).

See complete results at FLWFishing.com.

Shumanis brought a 5-pound, 8-ounce, bass to the scale — the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division — and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $715.

Michael Bahnweg of Union Dale, Pennsylvania, won the Co-angler Division and $2,398 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces.

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