by Tricia Angelini Luciano

[Editor’s note: Tricia Angelini Luciano is a veteran KBF angler from upstate New York. She has compiled an impressive kayak fishing resumé over the years, and her 2021 season has already included a top 10 finish in the Elite Kayak Fishing series.

On Saturday, May 22nd, Angelini Luciano placed 2nd in a field of 72 anglers at the Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL Series tournament presented by Dee Zee Truck Accessories on Candlewood Lake (CT). In this exclusive article, she describes her strategies and mindset when fishing the event.]

Breaking Down the Lake

The Candlewood Lake I KBF Trail Series event took place this last Saturday.  I was able to pre-fish late morning into the afternoon on Friday.  That’s the only time I had available because of work, which I’m sure most of you deal with also.  However, I did some extensive map study, and also watched videos of catches on that lake to at least give me a starting point. I decided to launch out of the Squantz Cove Public Boat Launch for my practice, and for my tournament days.

During practice I fished from Spear Point to Point Heddon with the time I had. I was able to find fish near docks, and on islands in that area, in about 2-8ft of water. It was warm and sunny, with winds from the south. I found some beds, but I did not want to rely on those due to the heavy pressure from bass boats who were having tournaments that weekend. I was catching them on a green pumpkin chatterbait and a ned rig in “The Deal” and “Goby Bryant “color.  So I had my plan going into Saturday; start at the island where I caught my biggest fish, and then hit the docks…but you know that saying, “those who plan early plan often”, because change is the only constant.

Fishing the Tournament

Tournament day was partly cloudy, no wind, and warm (thank God!).  I started out at the island where I caught my biggest bass…. and caught absolutely nothing. It had heavy pressure from the bass boat tournament the day prior, so I had to adjust.  I went to the docks earlier than planned, but in hindsight, I should have left the island earlier. I couldn’t see the beds where I was (except for one or two), but I knew there had to be some there, so I picked apart each section, fishing from the bank/wall, through to 10ft, near the docks, and everything in between the docks. The fishing was super slow and methodical. When I would get a tap on my ned rig, I would keep casting to that area, weeding through all the rock bass, and eventually a bass would commit.

Tricia Angelini Luciano with a Candlewood Lake Smallmouth. (Photo Courtesy of Angelini Luciano)

All my catches were on the ZMan ned rig, as I noted, in “The Deal” or “Goby Bryant” color. It was slow and painful at times, but definitely paid off in the end. I caught 7 smallmouth the entire day, but I was lucky enough to catch the right ones.  I think these fish were bigger, due to them being a little deeper than other beds (so not very visible), and would not take the bait the first 3000 casts, so they were not immediately picked off by bass boats. During tournaments I never check the leader boards until towards the end, because it does not change the way I fish, and why let it get into my head?

After I caught the 20” bass with about 45 minutes to go, I was uploading the picture when Judy Richardson came by, and said that I was having a good day….that’s when I looked and saw that I had taken 2nd. I continued picking away at the docks. I ventured to the island a few minutes later, since the wind picked up out of the northwest, to see if I could snag one final upgrade that I had caught the day prior, trying for a Hail Mary.  I did not find her, so with about 20 minutes left I went back to the docks, methodically searching for another spot.  I was not able to find that one upgrade in time to unseat Ryan Nye.

I was blessed to place second, and I am very thankful for it!

On Fishing the KBF TRAIL Series

It was great seeing everyone, what a great KBF community we have! Thanks to my friends and family for their love and support.  Congratulations to everyone who did well, and hats off to everyone who competed, it was definitely a grind. Thanks to KBF for all the hard work to make these trails happen, and to my sponsors, for their great products, and unwavering support.

About Tricia Angelini Luciano: Angelini Luciano has fished kayak tournaments across the United States and her home club is Adirondack KBF. She is sponsored by: Dakota Lithium Batteries  Ketch USA  Native Watercraft   Savur Outdoors  Motorguide

Follow Tricia on Facebook.

“The View from the Water” is a feature series written by KBF competitors who explain their approach to kayak tournament fishing at KBF events. To read other articles in the series, click here.

The 2020 RealTree Fishing KBF Trail Series is presented by Dee Zee Truck Accessories

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