WADDINGTON — At the conclusion of one day of fishing in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Northeast Regional it was clear that the overall winner will be the reputation of St. Lawrence County as a bass fishing paradise.
More than 100 supporters looked on as amazed college anglers weighed their day’s catch. Nearly every bag contained the limit of five fish and 85 of the 149 teams had bags that weighed over 20 pounds. At the last Bassmaster College Tournament at Bull Shoals Lake in Mountain Home, Ark., the winner, after three days of fishing, had a total of 48 pounds, 6 ounces. The leading team of the Clarkson University-hosted tournament on the St. Lawrence River, after one day of fishing, Nolan Minor and Casey Lanier of West Virginia University, had a five-fish bag weighing 26 pounds, 6 ounces.
Ben Seaman, who founded the Clarkson bass fishing team in 2017, sits in seventh place after the first day with his teammate, Dante Piraino.
Mr. Seaman, who graduated in May and is going to a job as a project manager in Wisconsin soon, approached the college with the idea of hosting the tournament.
“I brought the idea to the school and worked with them and they were amazing and the Bassmasters were amazing,” Mr. Seaman said. “It was just a full team effort.”
Despite pulling in five fish that weighed nearly 25 pounds, Mr. Seaman claims no home-field advantage.
“I have never fished here at this time of year,” he said. “I’m home for the summer, which is Colchester, Vt., so I fish Lake Champlain.”
Teams are coming to this tournament, Mr. Seaman said, because it is an ideal destination.
“It’s fishing really good right now,” he said. “This place is on fire. Couldn’t have picked a better time to come.”
Waddington Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada stood on the grass at Whittaker Park among the parents and supporters watching the weigh-ins.
“This is a big deal,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said, “These students pulling really big bags. They’re just amazed.”
Mrs. Otto-Cassada pointed out that many of the teams were in town with parents and grandparents and that many would want to return to fish the river.
“That helps the county. The gas station over here ran out of gas yesterday,” she said. “We heard that Stewart’s in Potsdam ran out of coffee. The economic impact is big.”
At the stage, Tournament Director Hank Weldon was on the mic as Dylan Harter and Izayah McGill of Paul Smith’s College weighed in.
“Seventeen pounds, 11 ounces, that’s 41st place,” he said. “It’s hard to believe I’m saying that.”
The Paul Smith’s team ended in 119th place after everybody had brought their fish in.
Mr. Weldon had Mr. Seaman address the crowd after the catch was weighed.
“The fishing out there was pretty crazy,” he said.
“Hopefully we can do it again tomorrow. Follow us on Instagram @clarksonubassfishing.”