Friday, June 27, 2014

VanBaalen not quite at VanDam's level

Waterford resident Patrick VanBaalen won his first bass fishing tournament recently. The 16-year-old was entered in the The Bass Federation Championship on Pontiac Lake June 7.
The field was separated into two age groups; 11-14 and 15-18. Two anglers; one from each age group, were assigned to boats owned and driven by adult anglers.
Each boy had charge of the boat for three hours. This allowed them to tell the operator where they wanted to fish, and gave them the front of the boat along with running the trolling motor.
"I had fished the lake a week before in my kayak and caught a nice four-pounder," he said. VanBaalen had control of the boat first. He had the driver take the to this area.
Patrick VanBaalen with two bass he caught for the win on Pontiac Lake. Photo submitted.
"I was throwing a crank bait in the same area I caught that fish the week before. I had something big on but it got off," he said.
When the other boy got his turn he had the driver take them near the ramp, around the beach area in 10-12 feet of water, with lots of weeds.
"I started drop shooting and caught four in a couple of hours. I finally ended up with a limit of five fish and won the tournament," he said.
The win gives him a trip to Lake Murray in South Carolina, August 15 for the TBF National Championship.
"Lake Murray is huge. There is 600 miles of shoreline with 50,000 acres of water to fish," he said. He'll be fishing against 40 kids from across the country that are considered the best in their respective age groups and states.
What a great opportunity for a young man whose goal is someday to be a full time tournament angler. "I know that is a difficult goal to reach but I'm prepared to work hard to get there," he said.
Good luck Patrick. I'll check back with you after your Lake Murray trip.

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