How Brad Brodnicki won the Bass Federation District 14 Semifinal National Tournament

Buffalo’s Brad Brodnicki came from behind to win the Bass Federation District 14 Semifinals National Championship held on Lake Erie outside of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania, last weekend and qualify for nationals.

“On the first day of the tournament, the lake was flat,” Brodnicki said. “(That’s) a rare thing on the Great Lakes and appreciated by the 44 sailors who were hit during two of the three practice days.”

By 6:45 am, most of the field took advantage of the flat water and headed out to Lake Erie for 6+ pound smallmouth, but a few anglers remained in the bay for a mixed bite. Weigh-ins began at 2:45 pm with stories of 20, 30 and even 40 fish caught throughout the day, but all under the 15-inch length limit for the tournament. Only four caps on the angler side and two caps on the co-fisher side would be incorporated.

The first four-fish limit was introduced by Pennsylvania state champion Zack Borger, but they were largemouth bass weighing just 8.95 pounds. Brodnicki quickly erased the lead at 13.18 pounds. Pennsylvania’s Steven Call brought the number three limit to the scale at 16.45 pounds, anchored by a 5.17-pound smallmouth bass. He also put it first for the big fish. Dave Wilt, on the co-angler’s side, placed first with four basses for 10.03 pounds. Co-anglers had four lead changes for big fish, starting at 4.01 pounds. Near the end of the day, Jason Cavanaugh weighed in a 5.17-pound smallmouth, sealing big fish for the day. Then Bob Brody from Pennsylvania, the last boat out in the morning, came in with four fish weighing 18.20 pounds and the big fish of the day at 5.56 pounds.

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Day 2 started completely different.

“A sustained 10 to 15 mph wind had started overnight and in the dark, you could hear the waves hitting the levees,” Brodnicki said. “Bob Brody would tell me where his keys were hidden, and I knew he was going to take that ride again and go all out. With just a two pound lead and one boat short of being able to send two boats to the national championship, second place is left at home wondering what more could have been done.”

Brody made the long run, but only caught two fish for 5.96 pounds. The door was open for Call, but she just blanked out. Brodnicki, who was in third place, five pounds off the lead, caught five pounds and caught two others for a solid second day of 11.81 pounds, giving him the 0.83 pound victory over Brody. Pennsylvania’s Joe Pacholec Jr. took co-angler honors with four fish weighing in at 8.22 pounds on the final day, gaining by more than three pounds, earning his second trip to nationals.

Nationals will be held in March and the location will be announced in November. For more information, visit

October 1 is the DMP deadline, early archery season starts

As we approach the start of the early South Zone archery season on October 1, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reminds big game hunters that the application period for a Driver’s Permit deer is October 1. Hunters holding a DMP may take one antlerless deer per permit, in addition to deer that may be hunted under a regular big game tag or other special privilege tags. There is a $10 non-refundable application fee, except for holders of Lifetime Sportsman licenses purchased before September 30, 2009, and Junior Hunters and Junior Bowhunters. Any licensed hunter 12 years of age or older can apply for a DMP. For more information on DMPs, visit

The Junior Deer Hunt is scheduled for October 8-10. Young hunters ages 12 and 13 are eligible to hunt with a firearm or crossbow if the county in which they hunt has passed a local law allowing them to hunt. Erie County has not passed a local law. They must be accompanied by a licensed adult at least 21 years of age or older. Hunter orange or pink requirements are in place. Young hunters ages 14 and 15 can also hunt black bears. Find details at

State Parks Announces Grand Island Waterfowl Blind Giveaways

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that lottery drawings are scheduled for the waterfowl hunting season at Beaver Island State Park.

Duck season will be from October 15 to January 1 (first half from October 15 to November 6, second half from November 26 to January 1). Goose season will run from October 22 to January 15 and the Waterfowl Youth Days will be from October 1 to 2. The youth search will be called on Thursday.

All blinds will be issued with in-person drawings at Beaver Island State Park. Visit the website for information on the draw sheet, which can be found under the hunt tab.

The first drawing will be held at Falconwood (former casino), and the balance of the drawings will be in the Park office. Please note draw time changes.

Hunters must pass the waterfowl identification course to participate in the door draws.

Hunters must have a valid New York State small game hunting license with a signed duck stamp and proof of registration with the Harvest Information Program.

Shutter no. 33 is no longer available. Golf course A and B shutters will be available after the course is closed for the season (around Election Day in November).

The state parks will include three ADA-accessible shutters. Blind No. 31 is located within Beaver Island State Park and Blind Nos. 41 and 42 are located on East River Road in the Spicer Creek Wildlife Management Area, north of the cemetery. Waterfowl hunting is restricted to the universal wooden blind structure only.

For more information, contact the Park office at (716) 773-3271 between 8:15 am and 4:15 pm Monday through Friday.