The New Brunswick Sportfishing Association (NBSFA) kicked off the year in early January with the introduction of the “Smallmouth Cup” for newer teams to the Association, sponsored by the Minnow Tackle Shop. The winners would receive a great prize package that included: $500 cash, $500 worth of gift certificates for the Minnow Tackle Shop, 2023 NBSFA Memberships, clothing and be the first to have their names on the Annual Smallmouth Cup Trophy.
Lunker of the Year
On March 11th it was announced that the Abu Garcia Lunker of the Year Award sponsored by MTB Brokerage was back for 2022, only bigger and better.
The 2022 package would include a cheque for $1,000 and a prize package worth over $1,600, for a total value of over $2,600. Add that to the money won for being a tournament lunker and the winners in total could be receiving over $3,000 value for one smallmouth! The prize package included 2 Abu Garcia Zata spinning reels, 2 Abu Garcia Veracity spinning rods and a massive selection of Berkley hard & soft baits.
Team of the Year
The Team of the Year Title is also a highly sought-after title that is based on the best four event finishes of the regular season with the team being rewarded with a cheque for $3,500.
Another title many teams are thinking about at the beginning of the season and as the season progresses, is the season ending NBSFA Classic in mid-September. The best teams end the season in a two-day event on two different bodies of water to see who is the best of the best. Nearly $11,000 is given out to the top finishers with the Classic Champions taking home a cheque for $3,500.
The Annual Fishing Flea Market on April 2nd at the Hazen Park Centre in Oromocto was well attended by both vendors and anglers/buyers with great deals available on fishing & boating gear. Throughout the morning guest speakers gave presentations on Smallmouth Bass, Musky and Stripers. A non-perishable food item was requested for the event entry. Thanks to the attendees and the NBSFA 338 pounds of food goods worth close to $1,000 plus $200 in cash were donated to the Oromocto area food bank.
In mid-April members were notified that Berkley would be providing a NEW prize package for each of the seven regular season tournaments. Each prize package was worth over $150 and filled with Berkley products – Berkley Powerbait soft plastics, Berkley hardbaits and packs of Berkley hooks/jigs.
Thanks to MotorGuide it was announced that two Xi5 MotorGuide trolling motors valued at $8,200 would be given away to its members in 2022; one at the Woodstock tournament in September and one at the season ending Classic event.
The Xi5 is the top-of-the-line trolling motor with industry leading features: 36-volt, 105-pound thrust, Pinpoint GPS – 3X more precise Anchor, Jog, Heading Lock, & Cruise Control, wireless foot pedal, intuitive handheld remote control, among many other features.
May 7th – Harvey Lake sponsored by Northside Tire – Village of Harvey
After a long winter the NBSFA opened the 2022 tournament season. The teams were met with sunny skies and glass like water conditions. The team of Jeff Shaw & Keith Cormier brought a monster winning sack to the scales weighing 19.10 pounds which included the lunker of the day weighing in at 4.40 pounds. This fish also took the early lead in the Lunker of the Year. Weighing in at a not too distant second was the team of Dean Walton & Harry Bradbury with 18.15 pounds. Third fell to the team of Henry Arsenault & Mark Alward with 16.80 pounds.
May 21st & 22nd – Mactaquac Lake sponsored by MotorGuide and Phil’s Auto & Recreation -Town of Nackawic
The second tournament of the season was held out of Nackawic utilizing the towns updated launch facilities. The top three teams of the tournament were: 1st – the father & son team of Gerry & Mike Lapierre out of Nova Scotia with 33.35 pounds, 2nd – Paul Melanson & Rob Mason with 32.70 pounds and 3rd – Joe Lokeitek & Mike Peruschek with 32.20 pounds. Seven teams weighed in over 30 pounds for the event.
The two-day event saw four fish weighed-in over four pounds with the lunker weighing in at 5.10-pounds. The monster fish was caught by the father & son team of Donnie & John MacLeod. It is a rarity for a fish over 5 pounds to be caught in a tournament with many anglers in the province never boating such a fish.
July 2nd – Lake Utopia sponsored by Berkley – Canal Beach
As always, the tournament season shut down for the month of June during the smallmouth spawning period. The first tournament of the summer was a tough post spawn event with keeper size fish at a premium. Although all the teams caught their 5 fish limit, the 40-minute fog delay, the wind & rain and the post spawn sure made it difficult.
At the end of the day, it was the team of Ron & Rob Hooper that stood alone at the top with 10.35 lbs, followed by the 2nd place team of Andrew Oliver & Tim Chambers with 8.70 pounds and rounding out the top 3 was the team of Joe & Terence Ross with 8.28 pounds. The lunker of the day weighed in at just 2.55lbs by Bert & Rosaline Beek just half the size of the Nackawic Lunker.
July 16th – Mactaquac Lake sponsored by Clark Oil & the Town of Woodstock
This event provided quality weights indicating that the post spawn period was over. At the end of the day, the team of Joe & Nathan Crawford not only stood atop the podium weighing in 16.40 pounds but also claimed the lunker of the day with a 4.25-pound smasher; 2nd place fell to Bert & Rosaline Beek with a 15.40-pound bag and the team of Joe Ross & Terence Ross rounded out the top three with 15.20 pounds.
July 30th & 31st – Dennis Wilson Memorial – Saint John River sponsored by the City of Fredericton
The two days provided temperatures in the thirties with constant pleasure craft traffic through out the days. The tournament was very similar to the previous event with quality weights brought to the scales but with lunker fish hard to find.
The team of Mark Mason & Geoff Boutilier moved up from second place on day one to take top honours overall with a weight of 29.60 pounds; 2nd place went to the team of Ben & Jon Stokdijk with 28.20 pounds with Henry Arsenault & Mark Alward rounding out third with 26.95 pounds. The tournament lunker was a 4.00-pound fish caught by the team of Reg Kendrick & K. Nickerson. A quality smallmouth but not large enough to surpass the 5.10-pound Lunker of the Year Leader up to that point.
August 13th – Beechwood Headpond sponsored by the Village of Perth Andover
Another tournament and another fog delay made for a slow start! Heavy rainstorms early in the week made for high dirty water with strong currents. At the end of the day, the team of Martin Bear & Chris Paul held onto top spot by a slim margin for the win with 18.05 pounds followed by the team of Rick Greene & Phil Barrett with 18.00 pounds. Ron & Rob Hooper rounded out the top three with 17.55 pounds of smallmouth. The lunker for the day weighed-in at 4.45 pounds by the father and son team of Robbie & Robert Shiels. A quality fish but not large enough to challenge for the lunker of the year at 5.10 pounds.
September 3rd & 4th – Mactaquac Lake sponsored by the Town of Woodstock
The last regular season event of the year held out of Woodstock would decide the Team of the Year and the Lunker of the Year. This tournament is known for producing lunker fish. In 2021 the Lunker of the Year was caught at this tournament on the last day of the event weighing-in at 4.80 pounds, so the opportunity was still there to catch one fish that could earn a team $3,000 in cash & prizes.
After two days, the team of Ian & Terry Marr brought home the 1st place trophy weighing in 31.20 pounds of fish with the 2nd place team of George Hood & Bryan Myles very close behind with 30.92 pounds. Rounding out the top three was the team of Rick Greene & Phil Barrett with 30.20 pounds and the lunker of the tournament weighing 4.35 pounds. Besides the large cheques presented to the
tournament winners a draw was held for a Xi5 MotorGuide trolling motor valued at $4,100 with the winning team being Andrew Oliver & Tim Chambers.
The Lunker of the Year caught in late May by Donnie & John MacLeod weighing 5.10 pounds stood for the remainder of the season. The father & son team was presented with a great prize package from Abu Garcia & Berkley that any team would have liked to take home.
Four teams remained in the NBSFA Team of the Year race heading into the Woodstock event. Three of the teams were within two points of each other with the 4th team not far behind. With their 3rd place finish the team of Rick Greene & Phil Barrett were able to squeak into the top spot and secure the Team of the Year title, a cheque for $3,500 and the most prestigious and difficult title to obtain in smallmouth fishing in the province.
The team of Rob & Wendy Nickerson didn’t have the results they wanted in this event however based on the seasons tournament results were able to secure the win for the Minnow Tackle Shop Smallmouth Cup. Cash, gift certificates, memberships, and clothing values at $1,200; a very nice bonus for the seasons hard work.
September 17th & 18th NBSFA Classic Tournament
As mentioned previously, the NBSFA season ending Classic is considered the championship event with nearly $11,000 of monies being presented to the top nine teams at the end of day two with the Classic Champions taking home a hefty one for $3,500.
Day 1 was held on the Saint John River utilizing the Oromocto landing. The team of Ron & Rob Hooper brought the largest bag to the scales weighing-in at 17.85 pounds; 2nd place was held by Rob & Wendy Nickerson with 16.40 pounds and 3rd place by Ben & Jon Stokdijk with 16.30 pounds. The river fished very well with 18 of 23 teams weighing-in 12 pounds or better.
The Day 2 launch site was shifted to the Town of Woodstock. The team of Brandon Jones & Aaron Hood brought a massive bag of fish to the scale weighing-in at 18.90 pounds that included a 5.05 monster. Sitting in 5th place on day 1 the large bag shot them into 1st place with a total of 34.60 pounds. The day two leaders, Hooper & Hooper dropped to 2nd place with a total of 33.50 pounds and the team of Nickerson & Nickerson held onto 3rd with 31.60 pounds. The Woodstock waters also fished well with 18 of 23 teams weighing-in 13 pounds or better and six teams catching over 30 pounds of fish.
Five anglers were nominated and voted on by the NBSFA membership for the 2022 Sportsman of the Year with the winner being Phil Barrett, a along time member and association sponsor. The trophy was presented to Phil at the Classic.
The NBSFA Board of Directors would like to congratulate:
· Team of the Year Rick Greene & Phil Barrett
· Classic Winners Brandon Jones & Aaron Hood
· Lunker of the Year Winners Donnie & John MacLeod
· Sportsman of the Year Phil Barrett
· Smallmouth Cup Winners Rob & Wendy Nickerson
The NBSFA Board of Directors would also like to take the opportunity to thank our 2022 partners: the Dennis Wilson Estate, MotorGuide trolling motors, Town of Woodstock, City of Fredericton, Lucky Strike Baits Works, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Phil’s Auto & Recreation, Northside Tire, Village of Perth Andover, Clark Oil, Minnow Tackle Shop, MTB Brokerage, Bollé Sunglasses, DarMor Flies and Design Arts studio. Hopefully, 2023 will bring even greater things for all.
Lastly, the Board would like to recognize the several NBSFA members and past members that were lost in 2022. Their contributions helped build a fun and competitive Association that we enjoy.
A huge “Thank-you” to long time member and director, Andrew Oliver for taking the time to put this review all together.
We look forward to the 2023 season.