York in Lead At Bassmaster Open On Oneida Lake
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The 198 anglers competing on the boater side of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open No. 1 hammered the smallmouth on Oneida Lake during Thursday’s opening round.
But Steve York wanted more.After placing 19th in the first round, York caught a mixed bag of smallmouth and largemouth Friday and brought a tournament-best 19 pounds, 11 ounces to the scales. It was enough to propel the Bronson, Mich., pro to the top of the leaderboard with a two-day total of 36-12.
Now York will try to hold off the other 11 boaters who qualified for Saturday’s championship round. The winner will collect a Nitro Z20 bass boat with a Mercury 225 Pro XS engine valued at nearly $50,000 and a berth in next year’s GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, provided he fishes the final two Northern Open events of the year.
York fished with purpose on Friday. After a slow start, his primary area finally turned on and he quickly boated three keeper bass. York left the spot and returned later to find it was still producing. He’s hoping it continues to do so on Saturday.
The area produced a 4-14 largemouth on Friday, which was the biggest bass weighed in on Day 2. York also earned the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 by virtue of having the second-day edge on the field.
“The key was getting the largemouth mixed in,” York said. “That and multiple baits. The weather and the bite are changing up during the day, and figuring out what to throw at what time boosted me. I’ll tie on about three main baits tomorrow and see what happens.”
Connecticut pro Alex Wetherell caught a five-bass limit Friday that weighed 17-6. After leading the first round, he fell into second place with a two-day total of 35-15.
Wetherell was going to head east start the second round, but he made a last-minute decision to go north instead. He said he’ll maintain an open mind until he blasts off Saturday.
“To be honest, I’m going to pray on it and when I have peace, I’ll make the decision,” Wetherell said. “It paid off today, and I’m fishing tomorrow.”
Tennessee pro Wesley Strader is in third place with 35-12. His second-round total of 18-2 was one of six limits that topped the 18-pound mark Friday. There were four such bags caught during Thursday’s first round, but the overall weights were slightly down on Friday.
Michigan pro Kyle Kempkers survived the cut and is in fourth place with 35-8.
Bethel University angler John Garrett continues to fish with authority in Open events, and currently sits in fifth place with 35-2. That follows his Top-12 showing in the second Central Open of the season on the Sabine River two weeks ago.
Garrett was the first angler to weigh in Friday, and he put 18-4 on the scales. Each of his five bass were in his livewell by 10 a.m., and he slowly culled up from that point. Garrett said he fished the same school of bass Friday that helped him catch a 16-14 limit Thursday.
“The school shrunk a little bit, and it moved about 50 yards,” he said. “I’m catching them on a Strike King Sexy Dawg (topwater lure) and a Strike King KVD jerkbait. I’ll probably stick with that tomorrow. My co-angler caught them on a drop-shot and a Carolina rig, so I have a couple of approaches tomorrow in case they don’t bite topwater or a jerkbait.”
Virginia’s Barry Brandt Jr. leads the co-angler field with a two-day total of 20-6. He caught 10-13 on Day 1 and followed with 9-9 on Friday. The winning co-angler will receive a Triton 179 TrX boat and Mercury 115 ELPT 4-stroke outboard.
Launch for the third and final day of the tournament will be held Saturday at 6 a.m. ET at Oneida Shores County Park. The final weigh-in will be held beginning at 3:15 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops, 1579 Clark St. Road, in Auburn, N.Y.
The Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting this Bassmaster Northern Open.