Upper Chesapeake Bay | May 31, 2020 | North East, MD | Sunny, 70 & 15mph winds

In Anchor Marina’s parking lot, just prior to weigh in, one angler summed up the day perfectly.

“Man, this place will humble you,” said the former club Angler of the Year.

After being forced to cancel its first two tournaments of 2020, HOA members were anxious to start its season at the Upper Bay where multiple 20lb+ bags had been reported in other tournaments the week prior. Unfortunately, the bay once again proved that it can be a fickle beast to tame.

Despite challenging conditions, guest boater Greg Smith established an early pattern that netted him four fish for 8.77lbs, leading him to victory. With 15mph – 20mph winds and a small craft advisory, rather than running to the flats, Smith opted to stay close to home and picked off fish in several locations throughout the day. He simplified his approach by throwing a moving bait in the morning before switching to a finesse tactic later in the day.

While Smith was the closest angler to a limit, Mike McNicholas was one bite away from making things interesting. McNicholas, who placed 2nd, brought three fish to the scale for 5.98lb and had he not lost over an hour of his day due to a trolling motor malfunction, there may have been a different outcome.

Prospective member, Rick Booz, earned a paycheck and third place honors in his first club tournament by weighing in two fish for 5.22lbs. Mark Fenstermaker, 4.79lbs, and Zach Tamandl, 3.66lbs, rounded out the top five with Tamandl claiming lunker honors with his single fish.

With the lone tidal fishery on the 2020 schedule behind them, HOA will move forward to Marsh Creek on June 14, pending permit approval. A week later the club will celebrate Father’s Day with a derby at Beltzville and from there, it’s onto the Cayuga Classic in July, traditionally the most anticipated tournament of the season. Simply put, it’s good to be back.