Long Pond Harwich is well known for giving up her biggest bags of the year in early-season tournaments to anglers who figure out the right pattern. But, at the same time, she can be a merciless wench to those who struggle to find the right spots or the right baits. The SSBM 2017 Season Opener proved this reputation true, as Brian Tuholski sacked a massive 19.28 lb bag of Smallies, while only two other anglers were able to land a limit and most of the field was lucky to get a bite.
Tuholski figured out quickly that the big fish he was after were still deep, and not quite ready to move up shallow to start their spawning ritual. Fishing a mid-depth break line with a Silver Buddy, Brian located a single school of massive Smallies and worked them all day. Although he caught about 12 fish throughout the day, he didn't cull very often as his biggest fish all came early, including the tourney lunker at 4.31 lb. A simple lift and drop retrieve with his blade bait was all it took to land 19 plus pounds of Harwich bronzebacks and bring home the trophy. Congratulations to Brian Tuholski for a great victory!
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Jim D'Ambra's 13.06 lb limit, which was good for second place. D'Ambra's solid performance was not a surprise, as he's always a contender in the club AOY race, but the fact that he caught his fish on a drop shot was shocking to anyone who fishes against Jim D'Ambra. Putting down his signature Carolina Rig, D'Ambra turned to a drop shot for a more subtle presentation and it worked. Now that D'Ambra has another weapon in his arsenal, besides the Carolina Rig, the rest of the club may be in serious trouble!
Rounding out the top three, and weighing in the only other limit, was club President Bruce Veras. Bruce landed a respectable 10.81 lb to lock up third place and earn some valuable points for the 2017 AOY race.
Club newcomer Mark Mandracchia locked up the fourth spot with two fish weighing 4.86 lb while Brian Wheeler took fifth with two fish going 4.51 lb. Congratulations to the top five and to all of the SSBM club members who braved the raw conditions to do battle on Long Pond Harwich.