Breaking the Bass Ceiling at NYC’s Only Freshwater Fishing Tournament

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I had been grinding for hours, with nothing but a seven-inch largemouth bass—a dink, and too small to count—to my name, and I was beginning to worry that my first bass fishing tournament would be a bust. Nothing was working. My go-to lures—a Ned rig, a Texas-rigged Bandito Bug, a Rapala jerkbait—had been failing me. The spot on Prospect Park Lake where I had been reliably fishing for weeks was an atomic-green dead zone. My just-purchased Hawg Trough, which can be best described as a two-and-a-half-foot long neon-yellow fish ruler, sat at my feet, mocking me. This wasn’t the first day I’d had at the lake when I netted little else but some chill times by the water and a regrettable sunglasses tan, but unlike those days, I wasn’t there to simply have a relaxing day—I was competing against dozens of other anglers, many of whom had arrived at Prospect Park that morning with an entire Bass Pro Shop’s worth of gear and a grim determination to win. 

Weeks earlier, I had…

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