CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Saturday marked day 3 of fishing in the books at the 4 day 2020 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.
40 anglers were looking to make the top 10 and fish on the final day of the tournament.
Paul Mueller, who was the leader the first 2 days of fishing, maintained his lead heading into Sunday’s final day of the tournament.
Mueller would reel in 5 fish for a total weight of 24 pounds 13 ounces, giving him a 3 day total of 76 pounds 15 ounces and a 2 pound lead over his closest competition.
”But I’ve had 3 incredible days small-mouth fishing. Probably the 3 best days I’ve ever had in a tournament small mouth fishing. It’s been awesome man, this place is unbelievable and it’s full of big fish. So one more day, I guess. We’ll see what happens. It’s just a fantastic fishery, loaded with big fish and I can’t say enough about it,” said Mueller.
As has been the case the first 3 days of the tournament, Chris Johnston is hot on Mueller’s heels heading into Sunday.
Johnston once again in 2nd place, Saturday he hauled in 5 fish for a total weight of 23 pounds even for a 3 day total of 74 pounds 12 ounces.
The Peterborough, Ontario native says fishing so close to home puts a little added pressure on him.
”I probably get more nervous coming to the St. Lawrence River than going to the Bassmaster Classic just because everyone expects me to do well. I wanna do well and going into it, this event, you’re not even thinking about a top 10 like most events, you’re just thinking about one thing and I’ve been runner-up a few times so I got some work to do tomorrow,” said Johnston.
Moving up into 3rd place heading into Sunday’s final day of fishing was Chad Morgenthaler, who caught 5 fish Saturday for a total weight of 22 pounds 8 ounces, giving him a 3 day total of 69 pounds 15 ounces.
Morgenthaler says the change from Waddington to Clayton has helped him in his quest to bring home the title.
”You know the change, the change that we had because of the location really probably helped me more than anything because it allowed me to be able to fish a different area than I normally had. And the last couple of times here I’ve caught a lot of fish and I’ve done okay, but I’ve never done this well before. And you know it just kinda all came together,” said Morganthaler.
2020 has not been a year to remember for many area high schools due to COVID-19, but one Section 10 school received some good news as they learned they were being recognized on a state level.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that Lisbon was one of 3 schools to win the 2019-2020 State Sportsmanship Promotion Program.
”I was thrilled. I was very proud of our district. Being from Lisbon, that’s something that makes you very proud of any state recognition that you can have. I was very proud of our coaches, our kids, our athletes, our administration, our whole team altogether working for something like this,” said Erika Backus, Lisbon school’s athletic director.
The Golden Knights were one of 348 schools vying for the honor, which is given to the school that develops proactive approaches in making sportsmanship a foundation of their programs.
Backus says sportsmanship is something that Lisbon focuses on with their athletes very early in their careers.
”We start teaching sportsmanship as young as our elementary classes, our kindergarten grades all the way through 12th grade with our phys ed classes. Those strengths and carry over into our town rec programs and into our high school level sports programs that we have. We do a lot of things with the high school kids. Working with the elementary kids and our town rec program and it’s great to see those positive traits being portrayed during all the events that are going on,” said Backus.
It’s the first time Lisbon has won the Sportsmanship Award and Backus says having that banner hanging in the school will be a reminder to the athletes, coaches and fans what Lisbon feels the true meaning of sports is.
”Yes, it’s about having positives and learning life lessons. It might not always be a ‘w’ in the win column but you are going to be successful in life if you take the traits and live that way,” said Backus.
Traits that have served past and present Lisbon athletes well, helping them become successful both on and off the playing field.