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Jeff Warner takes 3rd in AOY final round!!!

From Wilson Lake Alabama... September 26, 2009... Jeff Warner and his bag of 17.65 lbs almost pulled it off. Jeff sat in the hot seat leading 51 other division AOY's for a long time. But in the end Jeff ended up in 3rd place coming oh so close to winning a brand new 21 foot triton valued at over 50 grand.

For the national news story click here.
For compete results click here.

Jeff's Blog
9/25/09 Practice Day.....

Having never been to Wilson Lake before I decided I needed to come up with a plan to dissect it as quickly as possible to get an idea where I could find the best quality fish in the lake. I launched out of the official tournament ramp and headed two miles to the back of a southern shore creek to check out the first location. On the map I saw a bridge that spanned a headwaters section of the creek. As I started to get close to the back I noticed it getting shallow and when I slowed my boat down I immediately started kicking up the bottom. The entire section had muddy 70 degree water. I decided to navigate the final 200 yards by dropped the trolling motor down and fishing my way in. I then noticed a sparse pad field in the middle of the creek as I got closer to the low bridge span and started fishing it with a white buzz bait and on the second cast had my first Alabama large mouth which went about 1.5 lb. The area turned out to be a lot shallower than I expected and my front depth finder wasn’t working so felt my way around by sticking my rod tip down in the water every so often to find my way through the skinny channel that snaked back to the bridge. Once I got to the bridge, I couldn’t find any fish with the buzzbait, the chatterbait, or a swimbait tube. Then I decided to try something slower so I threw a black wacky worm and picked up my second small keeper, about 1 lb. I worked the rest of the bridge and its surroundings with no more luck so I started fishing my way back out. When I got back to the pads I picked up another small keeper on the wacky worm. I kept trying different lures as I moved out of the creek and then started fishing some of the boat docks on the way. I studied each dock for signs that would indicate that it could draw more fish, such as did it have lights that would attract fish, did it have rod holders on it, or was there a fishing boat docked there. As I passed one such dock that had both of those things I thought to myself if that was my dock I would have also put brush piles out around it. I was right and was able to catch two more small keepers from the shallow brush piles out in front of it with the buzzbait. The action was good but the size was not, so I fired up the big motor moved about another mile further out of the creek to try a new area. Now, instead of one foot of water clarity there was eight feet and the water was now ten to fifteen feet deep in front of the docks. Now I could easily see the brush piles that the dock owners had dropped. However, now I wasn’t getting as many bites. I picked up one more small keeper from under a dock with a green pumpkin 4” wacky worm but that was it. I was fishing a small cove that had several docks in three to six feet of water with adjacent submerged grass that had bait fish being attacked by all kinds of bass in heavy cover and none wanted anything to do with my offerings. I threw the kitchen sink at them and didn’t even get a sniff. Saw at least two bass in that spot that might have gone three pounds or better but I couldn’t catch them no matter what I tried. So I fired up the motor again and headed out to fish the main lake. While driving down the main body I looked for points and structure around the many coves near the deep water. This is a classic summer pattern type tactic. The water depths now ranged from zero to sixty feet deep with coves leading out to the high cliffs that surrounded them and the water temps were now up to 76 degrees with a light NW wind blowing into the south shoreline. While originally throwing the green pumpkin 6” straight tail worm on a 3/16 oz shaky head I wasn’t getting bite so I switched to junebug color and the lights turned on. Now the average size fish was around 2 to 2.5 lbs and it seemed like I could find at least one or more bass around each deep water transition that I fished. Still, I needed to find a better average than that so I made the sixteen mile run to try and find something around the dam. As I got closer to the dam the water became muddier. There was already a few boats working the area and I wasn’t sure about risking the rocks in the dirty water. So I turned the boat around to scan the southern cliff bluffs as I headed back west. The water depth was around twelve to fifteen feet deep as I made my run but I took my eye off it as I scanned the shoreline for anything that looked fishy. It didn’t take long to find something, an isolated log 50 yards off the bank in 12’ of water. However, it produced nothing after working it over from several angles with a few different lures. It was then I noticed a good amount of bait fish up against the bluff. I started working along the bluff towards the dam. I caught a few small keepers fishing the buzzbait parallel to the bluff but overall the action was slow until I notice ahead of me that there was a short section of the bluff with signs of a little more current present than the rest of the shoreline. I switched to a 5” black Senko on a 3/16 oz. Owner shaky head fished on 10 lb test CX P-Line on a 7’ spinning rod and as soon as I got near the good looking area I had a good fish break me off in the rocks. After rigging up again I caught a 3 lb keeper on the next cast. Two casts later I had another fish pick up the Senko and I shook that one off. I felt I was on to a hot spot so I decided to leave the area alone for the next day. That was tough. As I took another look at why this spot was the only area that held these fish I quickly realized that the main river channel that was 30+ ‘ deep cut right up against this 100 yd section of the bluff and it had a structure filled shelf down at 15 ‘ with schools of bait fish all over it. Now I was feeling a little better about tournament day. Next I headed west, to the mouth of a large wide creek and found a pad field close to the main lake which I wanted to try and find a frog pattern. It didn’t take long. On my second cast I caught a 4.5 lb keeper and within the next twenty casts had shook off two more good bass. Now I was really feeling good about the next day. I think Bubba actually called me at this point to see how I was making out and I told him I thought I would have had close to 15 lbs for the day without really beating up any of the spots I found but who knows what would happen tomorrow. Then I thought I might have jinxed myself by even talking about it. Time was starting run out for my practice day so I headed back towards the ramp and hit a few more cuts on the north side of the lake that turned out to be filled with schools of bait fish but again, I couldn’t get these bass to hit any of my offerings. They just wanted those dam shad in that clean water. Shiner, I thought for sure I might be able to get something going on that Little Bugger swim bait you sent me but nothing doing, sorry bro. Thunderstorms started rolling into the area so I got off the water around 2:30pm but felt I had a good practice. When I saw the weather forecast for tournament day it didn’t look good. Thunderstorms were forecasted for most of the day, so I decided to rig up for hitting the cliff bluff area first because I thought those fish wouldn’t be affected as much by the weather change.

9/26/09 AOY Tournament Day.....

0630 With my observer Mr. Bob from TX we launched out as boat #40 out of 52 into a cloudy morning with some occasional lightning out in the distance but the winds were calm for the present. A little while later we were 16 mile up the lake and idling up to an area just down stream from the hot spot I found. I worked the 50 yards leading up to the spot with the black Senko shaky head without a bite as I did the day before and then before I made my first cast into the hot spot I told Bob to have the net ready. He kind of looked at me like I was kidding but when my rod loaded up on the next cast he changed his mind quickly. First fish was about 2 lbs. A few cast later on the same spot another fish about the same size went in live well. I noticed that the current wasn’t even moving yet and told Bob things should pick up once it did. I was throwing the Senko right up against the cliff and shaking it as it slid down the wall hitting sides until it got down to a ledge in about 15’ that had big rocks and a few pieces of wood down on it. It was just a narrow vertical strike zone that I had to keep the bait in. Certain parts of the section were better than others but there was about 100 yards of it that held good fish all day for me until the weather got so bad. About an hour into the morning the dam started releasing water and the current picked up on the area. A couple of cast after it started I stuck a pig that probably went close to 5 lbs, then I lost one that might have been close to 3 lbs after a short line jump next to the boat. As I was rigging up to make another cast I heard a noise over my head and when I looked up there was about six small raccoons sitting on the side of the bluff over my head just watching me. They were just feet from my head and one even climbed out on a tree limb over my boat like he was going to jump for it. I about shit my pants.

Then Bob starts reach’n up like he’s going to pet it the thing. When I told him I wasn’t about to cut my day short to take him to a hospital for a rabies shot he reconsidered. As I moved the boat down the bank they followed us and climbed onto every tree that stuck out trying to get closer to the boat. They made it interesting every time I had to get a snag free trying to keep them away from the boat. After a half an hour went by they lost interest and went about their way. Funny as shit though. Short time later I worked up the bank into new water and wound up stick’n another pig. This bass was even bigger than my other good one by maybe even more than a pound. Had to go into reverse on my spinning reel to handle her and when I got it in the net I think my heart skipped a beat. This fish had to be around 6 lbs. For the next hour I was able to keep catching solid 2 to 3 lb bass and cull out a few of the smaller ones I had caught earlier but I had to deal with breaking off several fish that got caught up in the rocks. I tried going to a heavier line size but it changed the fall of the bait and it wasn’t getting bite. Then the storm front hit the area with pouring rain, lightning, and high winds. I had a bass that was about 3 lbs pick up the Senko and I didn’t feel it right away because my line had a big bow in it from the wind and I wound up hooking her too deep. That fish wound up dying in the well. After that I continued catching 2 lb large mouth and one keeper small mouth but they just wouldn’t add to my limit. The storm started taking its toll on the lake and the swells started to be a factor to the point where my observer falls out of my boat and into the water but missed the landing so I had to deduct points. After that incident I pulled him back in the boat and fired up the big motor to head for calmer waters but there was till no getting away from the lightning. Motored into a cove that had flooded grass near the main lake and I could see fish breaking on bait in it. Started throwing two different colors of weedless frogs through it with no luck. Then I picked up a willow leaf spinnerbait with the skirt removed and a soft jerkbait in its place. The second cast I had a small keeper and a few cast later a nice 3 to 4 lb bass nails it and half way to the boat it makes a run back into the grass and comes unbuttoned. Continued to work the area but couldn’t find any more good fish so when the winds calmed down I headed back to the bluff. The spot was still producing fish but nothing that would cull out any of my fish. So with and hour left in the day I went to see if I could find any better fish in the pad field I caught fish on the practice day but couldn’t find anything. So that was about it for the day on the water. The tournament was over at 2:30 and I got the boat back on the trailer we had to wait around the parking lot until the police were ready to escort us back to the ramp. While we were waiting I had a couple people ask to see my fish an when I looked in I started to realize that my limit had some weight to it but I figured if I could catch a limit like that the local guy’s would have some really serious weight. When I got back to the weigh in tent the guys taking care of all the live well tanks gave me my second hint that I might have been a contender. Then I started getting nervous. As I stood in line I could hear the weights of the other guys before me being called out. 14 lbs - 15 lbs- 16lbs—I didn’t think I could beat that with one of my fish being dead. Then the moment in the spot light comes and I’m called up on the stage. There was just one big see of faces looking up at me and I thought it would be a short visit. I was wrong. The bag goes on the scales and settles at 17.90 lbs. With the .25 dead fish deduction I’m left with 17.65 lbs and Mr Announcer guy letting the crowd know that there was now a new leader. My heart stopped beating I think. I’ll always remember that moment he had me hold up my two best fish up on that stage and the crowd went nuts. My roller coaster ride in the hot seat seamed like forever and even though I would have to turn it over with only five guys left, I will always remember that electric feeling of leading a big event.

My goal now is to harness that mojo from the National and come back even stronger in 2010. See everyone on the water.



September 26, 2009
Jeff Warner 3rd, AOY final round

1Blake F473
2M Piccolo374
2Joe C372
1Cody S182

Mike Tenaglia, Mike Piccolo, Scott Mcdonough and Blake Forrest put on an exciting finish after day one all were with one pound of winning. But Tenags pulled it out with some really nice small mouth for his second AOY crown. Great Job Mike. Mike Teti crusied to his second COY title. Great job Mike.
2023 AOY
Mike Tenaglia
  2023 COY
Mike Teti

Mike Piccolo and Blake Forrest put on an exciting Championship after day one Blake was up by 1 tenth of a pound and they both brought in great limits both days. Pic did a little better on Sunday bringing home the win and his 3rd AOY title!!! Great Job Mike. Cody Schwartz and Mike Teti were in a tight battle for COY, came down to the last day but Mike egded out Cody for the COY title. Great job to both of you!!!
2022 AOY
Mike Piccolo
  2022 COY
Mike Teti

Matt Weber the young gun, taught all the old guys he is the real deal. Matt put on a late season charge taking both the 2 day championship and AOY. Great Job Matt!!!! Cody Schwartz and Joey McCormack battled it out all year for the top co angler spot. It came down to the last day and one fish could have made the difference. Cody's 6th place finish in the 2 day was just enough to edge ahead. Great job to both of you!!!
2021 AOY
Matt Weber
  2021 COY
Cody Schwartz

Ryan Bauman put on an impressive display winning 5, and 2nd twice, in his 2020 campaign for AOY. Ryan joins the ranks of multiple AOY winners with his second title. Ray Marcinkiewicz remains the top non boater, winning his 3rd straight COY and 4th overall.
2020 AOY
Ryan Bauman
  2020 COY
Ray Marcinkiewicz

Mike Piccolo came on strong at the end of the season winning both the 2 day and 2019 AOY. Doing it in style he posted a new divsion record with 33.23 lbs, for his second AOY crown. Ray Marcinkiewicz crush the non boater field with an impressive 23.46 lbs and 6.60 lb lunker to take COY for the second year in a row.
2019 AOY
Mike Piccolo
  2019 COY
Ray Marcinkiewicz

Tenags was hearing footsteps Rich Przybyl had won the last two in a row and was within striking distance. A good limit on day one gave Mike a nice lead. But he was sweating Sunday morning when he watched two fellow competitors load their boat right in front of him. Mike only had one fish in the boat at the time. But nerves of steal prevailed! Mike loaded his boat again and put together the largest winning sack in division history 30+ lbs.
2018 AOY
Mike Tenaglia
  2018 COY
Ray Marcinkiewicz

Den was 2 points behind Tenags, and Scott was breathing down his neck. He didn't think he had much of a chance but a good limit on day 1 put him in the lead. That limit was anchored by a 3 pounder that he literally got on his last cast. Day 2 he thought he had lost at 2pm only had two in the boat. But same place as the day before. He put 3 more in the boat in the last 10 minutes to seal the win. Joe Ciamaichela Jr wins COY for the 5th time in row. He held off a late charge by Ray Marcinkiewicz to continue his non-boater dominance. But I think he maybe hearing footsteps!
2017 AOY
Den Budzitowski
  2017 COY
Joe Ciamaichela Jr

Mike Piccolo took the AOY lead into the 2 day, But after day one, it looked like Mike Tenaglia could pull off a come from behind win. But Pic brought in a big 17 lb sack on day two to seal the win! Joe Phillips needed just one more fish, but it was not to be! Joe Ciamaichela Jr wins COY for the 4th year in a row. Great job Joe!
2016 AOY
Mike Piccolo
  2016 COY
Joe Ciamaichela Jr

Ryan Bauman took a big lead into the 2 day and did not disappoint. His 12 lb sack on day one sealed the deal for Angler of the year. Joe Ciamaichela Jr wins COY for the 3rd year in a row. He was behind going into the finals but pulled out another title on the last event.
2015 AOY
Ryan Bauman
  2015 COY
Joe Ciamaichela Jr

Bill Cowperthwait kicked tail for most of the year, and went into the finals with a good lead but on saturday he could not manage a fish, leaving the door open for AOY. But Bill is a tough competitor and locked the deal up with a good sack on sunday. Robert Winward wins the two day championship. A cold front made the fishing tough but Robert had them figured out when no one else could. Joe Ciamaichela Jr wins COY for the 2nd year in a row. He had a big lead going into the finals and crushed all hope amoung his competitors with a 5 pounder on day one.
2014 AOY
Bill Cowperthwait
  2014 Two Day Champ
Robert Winward
2014 COY
Joe Ciamaichela Jr

Win a fishing adventure to Ray Scott's Trophy Bass Retreat. details...

Ricky D, crushed the field with a 29 lb sack to win the two day and nail down his 3rd AOY title and his second in a row. Great Job Ricky your the man!!! Joe Ciamaichela Jr wins the COY title, he was in a tight race with Randy all year but he came thru big in the 2 day, to nail down the win. Congrats Joe!!!
2013 AOY
Rick DiIenno
  2013 COY
Joe Ciamaichela Jr

Over $1,000 of Paid Entry Fees. details...

Ricky DiIenno locks up his 2nd AOY crown. It was a real tight race this year with three anglers within 2 pts of the lead. Although Ricky could not manage a limit the fish he did bring were quailty enough to make him our first ever two time winner. Dale Gorrell wins the two day championship for the second year in a row. He held off a sunday charge by Mike Piccolo to nail down the win. Randy Iorio wins COY for the 5th time and 4th straight, the competeition was tough this year with 4 co-anglers giving Randy a good run.
2012 AOY
Rick DiIenno
  2012 Two Day Champ
Dale Gorrell
2012 COY
Randy Iorio

Triton Gold. details...

Mike Piccolo lead much of the year based on 3 early season wins on the flats. But that did nothing but cause Dale Gorrell to focus. Conditions were tough with high muddy water But Dale managed the only limit on the final day to tie Mike for the points lead. Causing a special tie breaker tournament in which Dale prevaled. Randy Iorio locked up COY for the 3rd straight time, can anybody beat this guy?
2011 AOY
Dale Gorrell
  2011 COY
Randy Iorio

Going into the 2 day, four guys within 5 pts of the AOY lead. Den didn't think he had much of a chance but 2 solid limits propelled him to win both the Division Championship and AOY. Randy had a great season, his win on the flats gave him a commanding lead going into the finals, and a solid limit on day one sealed the deal for COY.
2010 AOY
Den Budzitowski
  2010 COY
Randy Iorio

Jeff Lead all year but Tim K, Mike T and Chris D closed the gap and gave us all an exciting finsh to the season. Jeff was trailing after day 1 but brought in a limit on the last day to win both the division championship and AOY. Randy broke into a good lead after the final one day event, and slamed the door shut with a good limit on day one of the finals.
2009 AOY
Jeff Warner
  2009 COY
Randy Iorio

Ricky D, and Ralph Ferguson were in a tight race all year, but Rick Hung on to his lead on the last day winning both the Division championship and nailing down AOY. Ray M pulled a great come from behind win over defending co-angler champ Randy Iorio during the two day.
2008 AOY
Rick DiIenno
  2008 COY
Ray Marcinkiewicz

Johnny V and Dave Seemans were in the closest AOY race ever, after day 1 of the championship they were separated by only 0.05 lbs. But John came thru on the last day with a big 13 lb. sack winning both the Division championship and AOY. The Co-angler race was tight as well with Randy, Rob Santos, Cody Shwartz and Ed Barry all in the running on the last day. But Randy's experience paid off with a good sack winning COY.
2007 AOY
John Vanore
  2007 COY
Randy Iorio

Dave Seemans dominated in 2006 with 2 wins, 4 seconds and a 3rd place finish. But Trail Oliver deleiverd an impressive 21 lb sack for the two day edgeing out Dave for the 2 day championship. But Dave's second place was more than enuough to earn him well deserved AOY honors.
2006 AOY
Dave Seemans

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