Belits and Falzetti win Crowder event

Author: Steve Waters
Original Article:

Dean Belits and Justin Falzetti scouted hard and scouted smart to win the second annual Channing Crowder’s Bass Fishing Tournament out of Everglades Holiday Park Saturday.

The Sunrise residents brought five bass weighing 23 pounds to the scale at Ron Bergeron’s Green Glades West ranch to top the 60-something-boat field and win a check for $6,500.

Dustin and Ron Royer were second with a limit weighing 21 pounds, 4 ounces, which included the big bass of 8-4.

Team Castrol pro Mike Surman, the tournament co-founder along with Crowder, and his anglers Bart Delsing and Tony Tamaccio were third at 20-12.

“We didn’t think we had it won with 23 pounds,” said Belits, who was the second boat to weigh in at Bergeron’s home, which is just north of Everglades Holiday Park. “Somebody usually breaks 25 pounds.”

By the looks of their fish as they brought them up to the FLW Tour scale, the Royers were the only ones who had a chance to catch Belits and Falzetti. Many teams brought in five-fish catches that weighed a total of about 7 pounds.

The consensus was that the fishing conditions changed dramatically from earlier in the week. Several anglers said they were on big bass before the tournament that were nowhere to be found on Saturday.

“The bite completely changed,” Belits said. “Yesterday it was cloudy and windy. Today it was sunny and a little less windy.”

Belits and Falzetti said they scouted the two previous weekends by fishing on the flats at Holiday Park and looking for bedding bass.

They found one small area in the marshy interior of the Everglades that had a concentration of big fish getting ready to spawn.

“For some reason they were all hanging in an acre-sized area,” Belits said. “We saw probably half a dozen fish 5 pounds and up on beds.”

Just to be safe, the two men scouted Friday afternoon in the canals along Alligator Alley, and they located another concentration of bass that proved to be the key to their victory.

Saturday morning, Belits and Falzetti went right to their spot on the flats. Belits caught the first fish, a 7-pound, 3-ounce beauty that tracked down a Gambler Big EZ swimbait as Belits reeled it across the water.

“I saw a wall of water behind his bait,” Falzetti said. “That fish followed it forever.”

“It was an awesome bite,” Belits said.

After Belits hooked the fish, Falzetti grabbed the landing net and made a great catch of his own.

Just as Belits swung the big bass to the net, the hook came free from its mouth, but the fish dropped into the net.

After that, the men caught a couple of 2-pounders in the area, then went an hour with no bites at all. That’s when they decided to hit their backup spot.

“We were flipping jigs on the Alley,” Falzetti said. “I got about a 6-pounder and we had a couple of 3s.”

“We didn’t catch a lot of fish,” Belits said. “Probably nine keepers.

“It was a tough day. We worked for every bite.”

And thanks to their scouting, it all paid off with a very nice check.

Belits and Falzetti weren’t the only ones who made some money.

The tournament, which had raffles and silent and live auctions at the festive weigh-in, was a fund-raiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. Bergeron said the total amount raised was between $75,000 and $100,000.