The world-renowned St. Lawrence River in upstate New York, a haven for smallmouth bass enthusiasts, played host to EKF’s fourth stop on the 2023 trail.
Despite the high expectations set by the river’s legendary smallmouth population, the bass proved to be more elusive than expected. Whether that was due to the conditions or the relentless pressure from bass tournaments and recreation anglers, or a combination of things, we’ll never know. What we do know, is that the river produced far less than most had hoped for.
With dreams of smashing personal best smallmouth records, only 96 smallmouth bass were submitted during the tournament, while a very surprising 134 largemouth crossed the National Trade Services live leaderboard.
In the end, it was Ryan Matylewicz who emerged victorious, securing his first EKF win! Matylewicz adopted an offshore strategy, which should come as no surprise, as his skills at targeting offshore bass have been on display many times before. His approach paid off handsomely, as he managed to reel in an impressive total of 92.75 inches of smallmouth bass.
Third place went to John Ferreira, whose strategy involved covering a significant amount of water while targeting smallmouth bass, both deep and shallow. Ferreira’s dedication to exploration and his focus on smallmouth paid off, as he recorded a solid 90.25 inches of bass, firmly securing his spot on the podium.
(Yeah, yeah, we forgot to bring the checks to the event!)
In fifth place, Jake Angulas showcased his consistency and experience with 89.5 inches of St. Lawrence River smallmouth, marking his tenth top ten finish in fifteen events — an impressive feat by any standard.
The top ten was rounded out by Matthew Zapala (87.25), Nick Audi (87), Brandon Brylinsky (85.75), Jeff Levesque (83.50), and Ryan Melia (82.75).
Landing the day’s Three Belles Outfitters Big Bass was Nick Audi, with an impressive 20-inch brownback!
Despite the fishing challenges and adverse weather that cut the day short for most, these skilled anglers displayed their determination and professionalism, making the most of what the conditions gave them.
The St. Lawrence River tournament proved to be a true test of skill, adaptability, and perseverance. The unpredictable behavior of the smallmouth bass and the varying strategies adopted by the anglers showcased the depth of talent within the EKF ranks.
Forty-nine anglers turned out for this event, a surprisingly low number for a bucket-list fishery. But with two local events taking place at the same time, plus the Native No Limit Big Bass event going down on the Susquehanna River, anglers were split between four events.
Anglers submitted 230 bass to the National Trade Services Live Leaderboard, which, as noted above, surprisingly consisted of more largemouth than smallmouth.
We paid out over $6,000 in cash, and even more in prizes!
Please support them whenever you can, as well as our other amazing sponsors: Bending Branches, Crosskix, Catch Co., Fresh Baitz, Harpoon Brewery, Hobie Eyewear, Lunkerhunt, Rogue Gear Co., and YakAttack!
Our final regular-season event is on the angler-favorite Messalonskee Lake and Great Pond on September 9.
We are once again staying on the Snow Pond Center for the Arts campus, where the majority of anglers will stay. Affordable dorm rooms and cabins are available, and we highly encourage you to stay on campus and experience what has become our favorite event of the season. Join us by booking your room/cabin and meals at this link!
Register for the event here!