Dias reels in state bass fishing title

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NORTH HERO — One gallon of Vermont maple syrup, eight pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and three hermit thrushes.Those items combined would weigh the same as the six fish that David Dias caught on Aug. 18-19 at Lake Champlain, earning him the non-boater bass tournament state championship.

"What I like best about fishing is that every day is like a puzzle. You have to consider what season it is, what way the wind is blowing, how much cloud cover there is, and you have to make adjustments until you figure out a pattern of where the fish are on that day," said Dias, who has lived in Brattleboro for the past 10 years.

The B.A.S.S. Nation event was postponed twice due to COVID-19 concerns. Anglers were trying to reel in the three heaviest bass they could on each day of the competition.

"As a non-boater, you get paired with a random boater and fish out of the back of his boat. I determined where to cast based upon depth and the cover (where the bass typically hide). I based what lure I used depending on what I thought the bass were foraging on. I used a lure to mimic a sunfish, because that's what I thought they were eating," he explained.

The 37-year-old was in third place halfway through the tournament, but was able to rally to victory. His six total bass weighed in at 19.21 pounds, compared to runner-up John Lowell's 18.97 pounds of fish.

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"On Day 1 of the competition, I had to make a few adjustments to get the size fish that I was looking for. By the end of the day, I managed a decent limit of three fish totaling about 9.2 pounds," Dias stated. "Overcoming a four-pound deficit was not easy, but I did it in the end."

Using a Lew's rod and reel combination, Dias caught all of his fish on the second day with a Chatterbait lure. Doing his homework and studying fish behavior before the tourney was also helpful.

"I joined Rutland B.A.S.S. Club a few years ago and fished as a non-boater in our club tournaments. To say I learned a lot from these fishermen would be an understatement, and one in particular is Jim White," mentioned the Vermont state champion. "He has been our angler of the year a few times in our club. I have picked his brain for hours and it has helped me grow as an angler."

Dias will now take on the best anglers from the other 49 states in the national championship event on Nov. 11-13 at Lake Pickwick in Alabama. Competitors there will be vying for prizes such as boats, cash, and a ticket to the Bassmaster Classic, which is often considered the Super Bowl of bass fishing.

"I am extremely honored and excited to be going (to the nationals) this year," said Dias.


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