West Virginia Bass Federation - FISHTAILS
Keeping an Eye on the Watch Helps Ohio Angler Win at New Martinsville

By Chris Lawrence

Few things are harder than standing at a weigh-in watching other anglers carry bags to the scales, on a day when you blanked. Trent Riggenbaugh of Ohio probably knows one experience that is worse. A late penalty at the Ravenswood Buddy Trail Tournament cost Riggenbaugh almost his entire catch-and all of the prize money.

"The lock master held me up down there-and I thought I could make it..but didn't." says the young Riggenbaugh.

He and partner Bill Moorehead returned however to New Martinsville event to erase the ugly memory in the finale of the WVBF Buddy Trail.

"It helps when you make it back on time!" laughed Riggenbaugh after securing the first place check.

Riggenbaugh and Moorehead managed to catch only two keepers-but they were dandies. The pair of smallmouths weighed two and three pounds and combined to give the due just over five pounds total on a day that had everybody perplexed.

"I couldn't believe how tough it was." Noted one angler.

For about a dozen boats the day proved doubly frustrating as they opted to make the long trek upriver through two locks to the Pike Island Pool.

"I prefished up there and had a bunch of nice fish." Said WVBF President John Burdette.

"Thursday I went up there, and had the best day of the summer." Added Ohio River regular Tim Rhodes.

However, the day wasn't to be for those who opted for the long run. Of the ten to 12 boats that locked up, only one brought back fish-and it was a single keeper.

"It's been tough all year, I'm not sure what's going on with the fish." Noted Burdette.

Riggenbaugh and Moorehead headed down river to find the two giant smallmouth, but even they admitted to a troubling day.

"He lost one that was bigger than both of those." Said Moorehead; "He had one bust on a chug bug that had to go four-pounds easy. But instead of coming up and hitting, it came out of the water, flipped and came down mouth first on top of the bait, broke the line, and took the lure with him."

"Dangdest' thing I've ever seen." Said Riggenbaugh with a chuckle.

Riggenbaugh caught both keepers on topwater-which all agreed was the most productive pattern early in the day before fishing seemed to shut down for good.

The frustrations were even deeper for those with a stake in the lucrative top slots in the points race to secure automatic berths in the state championship. Fritz Rothgeb and Randy Peters blanked for the day-costing them a likely first place finish, and had to settle for second. Len Lanham and Bill Kennedy managed three fish that secured the overall championship. Monte Krepps and Scott Phillips eked out one fish to hang onto third-and a stroke of luck when one team didn't fish-enabled Bob Burgess and Russ Smarr to sneak into the fourth and final spot for the year, despite also getting skunked at New Martinsville.

Jim Merical and Ryan Harman in search of the elusive bite in the shadows of the Hanibal Dam during the 2001 WVBF Buddy Trail tournament at New Martinsville.
Anglers prepare for the start of the final tournament of the 2001 WVBF Buddy Trail season in Fishing Creek, New Martinsville, West Virginia July 7th.
Bill Moorehead and Trent Riggenbaugh with their winning catch of two nice Ohio River Smallmouth that weighed 5-09. The duo pocketed a cool $1,398 for their win at the 2001 WVBF Buddy Trail finale at New Martinsville.