Before I get going on how the first MAKB Western Division tourney played out, I’d just like to thank Ken Wood for letting Nelson da Costa and myself roll out a division on this side of the state. I’ve said it before, but if we manage to run things even half as smoothly as he does, then I’ll consider it a success. Also a huge thanks to Nelson for stepping up to help me out. Much appreciated!

We had nearly a full house at the launch Saturday at Quaboag Pond. Twenty-four of the 25 slots were filled! With 24 anglers, we paid out five spots, plus lunker bass and lunker pickerel.

I’ve fished the pond less than a handful of times over the past 10 years, and know that it can be a “feast or famine” type of water body. I even predicted to Nate Chagnon at some point in the previous week that I believed there would be one or two anglers with big bags, and the rest of the standings would be a dogfight.

When Saturday launch rolled around, my initial plan of heading into the incoming Brookfield River was shot in the foot, as no less than seven kayaks took off in that direction. I opted instead to fish into the outgoing Quaboag River.

I pedaled up alongside Ken, who had the same idea, but then watched him pull a U-turn and return to the launch for his Ketch Board.

The water was glass for the first couple hours, and my first two keepers were promptly thrown back without pictures—because I had forgotten about the eight-inch minimum, naturally. Luckily I rebounded and filled out a limit using topwater in the shallows for smaller bass.

A couple hours in, Ken moved into first on the backs of a couple 16-inch fish. The standings were filled with fish under 15 inches. I had moved downriver to a section I fished last year, and hooked two of my three biggest fish on a jig, which brought me to second place, a few inches behind Ken.

Right as the standings went offline at 1 PM, I downsized to a Ned-rigged creature bait and continued working the areas that earlier produced the 17-incher and an 18.75, and dug up a 15.5 and 19.5, which sealed the deal.

I placed first with 84 inches even, while Ken held second with 77.25. Charging into 3rd was Nick Rinngard with a solid 71.25. Nelson also made a late run behind a 19.25-inch pig, to end at 68.25. Sean Dwyer rounded out the paying slots with 65.75.

The largemouth lunker pool went to me, and Ray Figueroa for nabbed the pickerel pool with a 23.25!

Great job to everyone for grinding it out in the wind! What an awesome way to start this division, and I sincerely thank all who attended.

Finally, thanks to Joe Brown and his wife Meg for hosting the after-event food and drinks at Old Glory Outdoors!

For the full standings, click here.

Our next event is taking place WAY out west in the mountain town of Becket on May 8th. Buckley-Dunton Reservoir and nearby Yokum Pond will host the tourney, and there will be limited to the first 20 anglers to register! Registration goes live at 7 PM on May 2nd through Fishing Chaos.