Daniel Petricone is a young angler who fishes Connecticut waters. For a young man, he is already an accomplished fisherman both recreational and tournament fishing. We talk about his best tournament this year, his top Connecticut waters and his favorite Maine lake. Daniel is a great example of why the future of fishing is bright. Read on to see what I mean.
How old are you and how long have you been fishing?
I am 15 years old and I’ve been fishing since I was about 4, but the past 3 years I’ve really gotten into bass fishing.
Who have been your personal influences for fishing?
My two good friends who I go fishing with all the time. We always are helping each other out and being competitive about our fishing skills at the same time.
What are your 3 favorite home waters to fish?
My top three would be Bantam Lake in Morris CT, Highland Lake in Winsted CT, and West Hill Lake in New Hartford CT. I chose Bantam as my top three because of all it has to offer. It’s a lake that has both smallmouth and largemouth, as well has many pike. And for me personally, I love fishing for all 3 of those species. Bantam Lake is also the biggest natural lake in CT.
Next is Highland Lake. I like this lake because in mid summer when most of the lakes around me aren’t producing, Highland is. And most of the fish seem to be 2+ pounds. Also for some reason the bass in that lake fight harder than anywhere else.
The last lake is West Hill. This one is special to me because it’s the closest lake that’s located to me, which makes it pretty nice. Also, the fact that I’ve figured out the lake’s pattern and I know where all the structure is on the lake. But what makes it a fun lake is that in the spring, the pre spawn bite is really hot, and you also get some accidental trout mixed in which is pretty fun.
How many tournaments did you fish this year?
This year I fished 2 tournaments. I fished one on May, which was a high school tournament, then one in August, which I fished with my coach from the high school bass tournaments.
What do you like about tournament fishing?
What I really liked fishing about tournaments was the adrenaline rush right in the beginning of the day, because you had no idea how the day was going to turn out, and you just knew that you had to try your hardest to get a solid bag.
You fished a summer tournament on Lake Lillinonah. You did extremely well for the conditions. What were the keys to bringing in a strong bag including the tournament lunker?
That tournament was exhausting. It was high 90’s the majority of the day with no clouds or wind to cool us down, so we had to stay hydrated. The first half hour I was dropshotting in 12-14 feet of water, and caught 2 keeper smallmouth that were just big enough, so I thought the day was going to be a lot easier than I thought it would.
Well I was wrong, about an hour later got a 2 pounder on a swimbait, and then a half hour later he got about a 1.5 on a tube in like a foot of water. I start fishing the paddle tail and probably 3 hours go by. We are on a big drop off and I’m slow rolling the Keitech in 32 feet and then I pause it to get a drink of water and and then it smashed my swimbait and that’s how I caught the lunker of the tournament at 3.56.
So really, the key in this tournament was just luck. We didn’t do any upgrades that day sadly, but we did get our limit. At the weigh in I thought everyone else was going to have huge bags, but I was wrong. Matter of fact 3 boaters left during the tournament due to the slow fishing. We ended up in 5th place out of 23 with an 8.36 pound bag. It was a very fun experience.
If you are not bass fishing, what do you prefer to be fishing for?
I’m mostly bass fishing, but when I’m not I’m trout fishing in rivers and streams. I really enjoy fishing for these trout because on light tackle, especially fly rods they give you a good fight, and they’re so pretty. Especially the Wild Brookies in the small streams.
You spent a week fishing Little Ossipee Lake in Maine. Will you describe the fishing on this lake for us?
Every year I go up to up to Little Ossipee Lake because my aunt and uncle have a place on the lake. This lake is by far my favorite lake to fish. On one side of the lake, it’s shallow with a grass bottom and all largemouth hang there. Then, on the other side it’s deep and rock bottom and that’s where the smallmouth and trout are.
What were your best patterns when fishing there?
On the largemouth side, I used weightless senkos which really produce, and I used a whopper plopper which I caught a 3.5 on there. Then on the deep side I dropshotted in 30-40′. I caught a lot of smallmouth around 2 pounds, my biggest smallie of the trip being a 3. I even caught a huge 19″ Brook trout while dropshotting for the smallmouth. Then on the rock to grass transition, my uncle and I were dropshotting deep, and I caught a 4 pounder, he caught a 5.
Thank you Daniel. Great information about fishing Connecticut. I look forward to following along on Instagram for all of your future catches.