The guarantee of cold, wind, rain, and a tough bite didn’t stop twenty-five of MAKB’s most dedicated anglers from hitting A-1 yesterday morning for the Eastern Division opener.

Before launch, the wind was relatively light, and it seemed like maybe the day wouldn’t be as bad as expected. The moment we launched, however, Mother Nature said, “Psyche!” The wind kicked up, the cold cut through, and not long after the rain rolled in. The sun broke through briefly, but for much of the day it was pretty miserable.

From what I saw, it seemed that most anglers started out shallow, including me. Ari Stonehill started near me, so I stuck to the shoreline, while he fished some wood a bit offshore. I quickly moved away from that area, tossing a green pumpkin Project Z chatterbait through the sparse pads. I was still on the inside, close to shore, but then moved to the outside of the pads, a little deeper, and got a good whack that came off. Whatever it was felt like it shook its head a bit, a good sign it was a bass.

In the meantime, Nate Chagnon had already put a 17.75 on the board just after the 7 AM start.

In the morning, Nate told me he had that gut feeling, like he had down in Alabama for the KBF Trail Event, where he placed third. I told him it was probably diarrhea, but before I knew it, he had three over 17 inches on the board.

Mike Morcone, Gerard Elias, and Sean Dwyer all put up 18-inchers in about the first hour. Bruce Levy put up a solid 19.25 shortly after, but that early flurry of activity died not long after that.

For my day, after that first whack on the green pumpkin chatterbait, I caught a 17, and decided to stick to the chatterbait for the rest of the day. I alternated to a white chatterbait, then moved farther offshore, and ran into four good ones in quick succession—7:57, 8:15, 8:21, and 8:37. Then, besides on 13-incher, my bite died until 1:36 PM, when I caught a two-inch upgrade.

At the end of the day, only two anglers out of twenty-five caught a limit, and only seventeen caught a fish. A brutally tough day for all involved.

We ran a lunker pickerel pool, as always, and Ari Stonehill took it with a 21.50. Knowing the giants in there, I’m still surprised that one held up. I guess even the pickerel were tight-lipped due to the snow and near-freezing temps the night before.

My 20-incher took overall event lunker, which was a legit shock to me because I entered the length incorrectly, thought I had a 19, so when Donald Davis, who judged the event, corrected it to 20 inches, I was genuinely confused. Haha. A pleasant surprise, though.

Taking fifth place, with just three fish and 52 inches, was Gerard Elias. To tell you how tough the bite was, Gerard didn’t catch a keeper after 8:53 AM.

John Ferreira nabbed fourth place with 66.75, catching most of his four bass offshore; which is exactly where Mike Morcone spent his day, netting 72 inches of bass and third place.

Nate Chagnon’s gut feeling proved true (much better than the alternative), and he worked one spot and one bait all day, hauling in 86.75 inches worth of A-1 greens. That was one of only two limits caught all day, good enough for second place. Nate is on fire this year!

I have fished A-1 a half dozen or so times in the past, only doing well once. Despite it having everything I love to fish—shallow water, weeds, wood, etc.—I have struggled there. So going in my expectations were low. And despite that productive early-morning hour, I struggled as usual.

Thankfully for me, that one lucky hour was enough for the win. The late-afternoon upgrade was just icing on the cake. My best five went 94.25, a record I will likely never top at A-1.

I gotta say one thing about the Jackson Kayak Flex Drive. I never once had to concern myself with all that submerged wood as long as I was moving forward. I hit so many stumps at full speed, and that drive kicked up and never slowed me down. Pretty killer design.

Anyway, congrats to all who caught fish on a very tough day, and thanks to everyone for braving those conditions.

You can check the full results here.

Our next Eastern Division event goes down on May 15 at South Watuppa Pond in Fall River.