Well, that was fun, right?

Twenty-one of us fished Lake Nippenicket today for the third Eastern Division event of the season. Two backed out beforehand, and two just went home, never even launching, and many left early.

Cold, wind, and rain are bad enough alone, but add them all together and it can be pretty miserable, especially if you’re not catching fish. And that was me.

I had my kayak nearly fully rigged in my garage, and still managed not to get on the water in time to launch early with most everyone else. Because of that, every spot I went to had an angler or multiple anglers on it. Then I got stuck in the weeds and had to paddle against the wind, which was awful. I bailed at 9:30 AM, only to leave my kayak at the ramp, Power Pole down, group of people standing there gawping at it as I walked away. When I came back, the kayak was floating away and they were all just staring at it.

Pretty nice of them.

Anyway, Joe Fournier gave me a hand with that, then Nate Chagnon rolled up, and we rolled out and went to Smokey Bones, where we took the lead for a bit.

Bruce’s angry text message accusing us of sandbagging was worth it!

Anyway, a good amount of fish were caught, though. More than I expected, to be honest, but only four limits. Two of the 16 anglers that caught fish today figured something out and they led the field from the start, each holding the lead at times throughout the day.

Since I left early, I don’t know many details of how things went down, but here’s what the standings show:

Steve Hedges was already having a good week, but it just got better with his 24.25-inch pickerel taking the pickerel lunker pool.

Event lunker went to Valber Santos, who nabbed a tank 21.50-inch, 6-pounder, right after he launched.

In fifth place is Bob Pierce, who only caught four fish, but they were enough. He had 62.25.

Steve Hedges took the fourth spot, landing five bass for 64 inches. Maybe he’s not having a good week but a great one?

Ari Stonehill was contemplating leaving, not even launching. And in fact he didn’t launch with everyone; he was waiting/hoping for the weather to improve. I’m not sure it did, but he chose to get on the water despite this, and it paid off. With 71.50, he took third place.

For a while, it looked like Bruce Levy was going to come out on top. Valber Santos was in the lead, his limit anchored by not one tank but two (a 21.50 and a 20.00), but Bruce smashed a late-day 18.25, giving him the lead by more than three inches.

Valber had a 12.50. He also hadn’t uploaded a fish since 9:10 AM. It wouldn’t take much, though, to take the lead.

Unfortunately for Bruce, at 1:18 PM, Valber did just that, adding a solid 18.75 to his already impressive limit. With two 20s already on the board (not done since Peter Arruda’s win at Whitehall a few years ago), Bruce would need an epic rally to retake the lead. Lucky for Valber, it didn’t happen, and his 93.25 was plenty to beat Bruce’s 87.75. Any five-fish limit with two giants is always going to be hard to beat!

Great job, guys! Congrats! And to everyone that caught fish—hell yea! I’m glad it wasn’t awful for everyone, though I’m sure even those were catching fish suffered.

Full results can be found here.