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GoTight.Net Forum Home of the Surfcaster's Classic

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Old 06-17-2013, 09:31 PM   #1
Calling Jon The Fisherman
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WEEK 4 & WEEK 5 -- The Whole Story

When people think about a fishing tournament, they might not always think excitement—but they might change their mind after seeing this week’s qualifier! The lead changed hands four times in four days and the top spot wavered wildly as teams drew closer and clutch fish were caught to preserve the lead—very exciting stuff! As has been the case for just about every week during the Surfcaster’s Classic so far, the weather became a factor again and forced teams to improvise or to travel great distances for a shot at some good fish away from the high surf. Rain. You won’t often experience rain like the downpours that fell on Friday and especially Saturday morning, the remnants of tropical storm Andrea raced up the coast from Florida and gave us high winds, punishing surf and a deluge like no other!
Thursday started things off slow, the calm before the storm proved to be nothing much more than just calm with only a few fish entered by The Castaways and a single 36-inch fish from Team GoTight’s Dave Anderson. Everyone seemed transfixed on Friday, with the coming weather and the drastic wind changes, there was a buzz about Friday and it ended up being fairly interesting. The first big score came across from Size Matters, Ethan Jaskulski and Paul Sibiga had been under the radar until they roared onto the scene last week with a fifth place finish and a score of 150. This week they quickly threw down a good score of 155 to set the tone and put themselves well ahead of the rest of the pack. Toby Lapinski of Team BadFish dropped the first big fish of the weekend, logging a 43 and a 44 incher. Team Minus Tide wasted no time this week, as Greg McSharry submitted three fish totaling 100 points, and Dave Anderson of Team GoTight added two more fish totaling 70 points and raising his team’s score to 106. The Night’s Huntsmen, fishing hundreds of miles apart this week combined for a score of 83 and The Barclay Boys’ Mark Blackwell entered their first fish of the week with a 33. Then we started to feel the influence of Blood for Blood as Pete Wells sent in three fish worth 110 points. The top of the leaderboard was starting to clutter but no one was close to touching Size Matters… yet. As the day gave in to the evening, Mike Morgan of Team Minus Tide added 58 points to their score and ousted Size Matters!
The overnight proved to be brutal for anyone braving the darkness, relentless tropical rains were powered by an increasing southeast wind that pushed seas as high as 11 feet in some areas. While most of us slept, some of the Classic’s most dedicated anglers were out in the slop sticking lip. Saturday morning was a tough run, the rain was almost unfathomable. Tom “Kos” Kosinski of The Night’s Huntsmen braved the weather for a predawn 40-incher, Dave Anderson of Team GoTight added two qualifying fish to his team’s total bringing their score up to 176. But before the scores could be posted Mike Morgan struck again, wiring in a 31-incher and the Surfcaster’s Classic’s largest fish to date a fat 47-incher bumping two of their fish off the tally, raising Minus Tide’s score to 178 and tightening their grip on the lead. Justin Trask of Blood for Blood added a 35-incher raising their score to 145, holding fourth place and threatening to eclipse Size Matters. And then it happened, Pete Wells dropped the hammer, filling out the Blood for Blood top five with a 37-incher and planting his team atop the leaderboard with 182, just barely ahead of Morgan and McSharry.
Sunday would again be the proving ground and with the inclement weather gone and Classic anglers seeing the sun for the first time in days the high pressure bite was tougher, as expected. With many eyes on the Facebook updates, Mike Morgan of Team Minus Tide fired the first shot, logging a single 34-inch fish and climbing right into the Wells/Trask happy home, one point behind! Would McSharry come in with an upgrade? Pete Wells joked that he was taking the night off… nobody believed him. It wasn’t long after Mike’s entry that the submission from Mr. Pete Wells came in, a solid fish of 43 inches pushing Blood for Blood’s score to 194! Greg McSharry of Team Minus Tide fired back with a 37-inch upgrade inflating their score to 188, but that was it. With some solid scores filtering in through the rest of Sunday, most notably the tree fish push from John Hanecak of Team BadFish that landed them safely within the top five, no one could match the assault of Pete and his teammate Justin Trask. At the end of the day, Blood for Blood came out on top! What a battle!

WEEK 5: Nelson & Wilson Whisper Loudly
Sometimes the weather can make you and sometimes it can break you! Luckily for Scott Wilson and Chris Nelson of Fishwhispering RI they were able to find their way through the slop and put together a good score. As we have come to expect, Thursday did not bring in a huge number of entries. Word of a decent morning bite in the Canal had plinko’d it’s way through the cell phone and Facebook network, but, as is so often the case, the stories had been augmented by the chest pounders and the bite was little more than whisper itself! With a few onesie and twosie entries from Team GoTight, Team BadFish and a 34-inch entry (along with a killer 6-inch choggie) from Team Misfits’ Bruce May it was a slow start. Team Fishy Business made their first waves of the Classic throwing down a preliminary score of 65 which was good enough for a short lead before Mark Blackwell of The Barclay Boys threw his 42-incher into the mix with a 29 for good measure—71 was a good score for now, but how long could it hold without some nurturing? As the day wore on Greg Walsh of The Castaways added a 38-incher and Greg McSharry of the feared Team Minus Tide logged a single 34-inch fish to start their week.
But as Greg’s Minus Tide teammate would later tell me, Greg was letting things slip a little on the battlefield! He had botched a few catch photos, had one fish flop back into the drink before he could document it and even forgot to take the grab-and-grin shot for one of his Thursday fish! Would this prove to be Minus Tide’s undoing for week five?
The overnight hours from Thursday to Friday ran the gamut from warm, calm and windless to driving rain, howling wind and a raw coolness not felt for well over a month. An old fashioned Nor’easter was bearing down on New England and the fishing was about to change. We heard that people were scrambling to get back from destination islands and everyone was trying to figure out what areas might still be fishable in these kinds of winds! The smart thing to do would have been to fish the first half of the night with the wind building and the rain still a few hours off. If results truly do speak to the efforts of all of the teams in the Surfcaster’s Classic then only a handful of us actually did this!
The first evidence came from Team BadFish’s John Hanecak, he put up five fish, four of which would qualify with his teammate Toby’s Thursday 33—their five fish score of 157 was looking like the score to beat as Friday wore on. Sean Kearney of The Fish Pigs put up three video entries totaling 96 points which was holding second place! It was starting to feel like Week 5 was going to be an off week—even the venerable Pete Wells was only able to log a single fish—but it was a nice one at 42 inches. Mike Morgan from Team Minus Tide chided us all, chastising the small scores and warning that “it was time to fish!”
Friday night was another tough night for most of the teams in the Classic and Badfish’s 157 was looking pretty solid… the winds, for the most part had laid down, but the big seas and dirty water left in the storms wake, made fishing tough. And then Fishwhispering RI logged their first points of the weekend. When fish entries come in during the overnight hours I always feel like something big is about to drop. My thinking is that if you take the time to download your photos and enter them BEFORE you go to bed, you must be excited about something. And when Scott went through that trouble in the wee hours of Saturday morning, there was a reason. When he was done, Fishwhispering RI would hold a comfortable lead with a score of 175, 18 points ahead of Team BadFish. This set the world of the Surfcaster’s Classic into scramble mode. Everyone had sort of relaxed thinking that no one was going to put up a bog number this week. At this point, the gloves came off, sleeved rolled up and Classic casters got down to business! Mike from Team Minus Tide hit the board with a 39 and we thought that was it for Saturday. Paul from Size Matters was having some computer trouble and finally he figured out how to send them in via Facebook, as the numbers came together it was apparent that it was going to be close! Ethan and Paul put together a BadFish tying 157 in the wake of the Nor’easter—the plot thickened a little more!
Something all of the anglers participating in the Classic have learned is that you can never count out Blood for Blood, Pete Wells is professional competitor and he does not take kindly to hanging at the back of the pack. With a meager score of 42 going into Sunday one of the guys was going to have to make a run for it! Pete put his nose to the stone and ground out four fish equaling 128 points—170—but that was still five short of Fishwhispering RI! I think a lot of those watching expected another miracle, but in Week 5, the Wells ran dry! A valiant effort by Dave and Dave of Team GoTight also fell short—Anderson’s logging of 41 and a 46-inch fish brought them way up from their earlier score of 60, but their failure to capture a fifth fish sent them home with a fifth place score of 147. Then there was the threat of Team Minus Tide, we held our breath—and it finally came in the form of a 28 and a 33-incher—final score, 134, sixth place—out of the points for the first time this season. The last bit of excitement came in the battle for third place. Size Matters and Team BadFish were locked in a tie with 157 apiece, but thanks to John Hanecak’s entry of a sixth fish, Team BadFish took the third place spot and knocked Size Matters into fourth. Fishwhispering RI held on, even through the offensive onslaught of Blood for Blood and Pete Wells—Mike and Greg from Team Minus Tide were left to wonder what might have been. With a new week just a few days away, we prepare to compete again!

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