Don MacKenzie to Mitchell Clapsadle
Hey Mitch, I have you as one of my “Sleepers” this weekend in the King of the Dock Championship! Happy Birthday!
On August 10th at 9:10PM 3 days prior to the tournament starting, I sent Mitchell Clapsadle a birthday wish on Facebook letting him know that he was one of my picks to win the 33rd Annual One Tide Challenge. 43 boats had entered with over 160 anglers, how in the world could I have picked this 23-year-old young man to bring home the top prize over “Older Salts” like Jody Gross, Randy Saitta, Mike Smith, Bruce Delea, Dave Brewer, Don Pigan, and of course the kid’s father, Tommy Clapsadle?
You’ve probably heard of the 10,000 hour rule, which was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s blockbuster book “Outliers.” As Gladwell tells it, the rule goes like this: It takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills, like playing the violin, piano, hitting a baseball, or winning a fishing tournament. OK, I added the “Winning a Fishing Tournament” part but make no mistake about 23-year-old Mitchell Clapsadle putting his time in learning how to fish, especially for Striped Bass and Bluefish.
How great is it that a 21’ boat won the tournament and a 20’ boat came in 2nd place? I have said it for 33 years that “More charter boats make Niantic their home than any other place in the state.” Why? Because we are right on top of the fish! You do not have to go far to “Hook Up” and all of our Top 5 finishers caught fish within minutes of clearing the Nan Railroad bridge.
So, he is only 23. How did he put in 10,000 hours of “Intensive Practice” to achieve this mastery of complex skills? He has fished this tournament since 2009 as an 11-year-old. In 2010, he won the Junior Division. In 2011, repeat. He has always been “Crew” on his dad’s boat and in 2019, his dad won the One Tide Challenge. Oh, do we need to remind everyone that Tom’s “Real” 1st Mate (Bobbette) has won the Ladies’ Striped Bass Championship 4, 5, 6, maybe 7 times?
So, in case you need a little memory refresh…….click here regarding Mitchell putting in his 10,000 hours.
This year’s One Tide Challenge offered all our captains the opportunity to fish either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. One would think that a seasoned skipper would opt to see what fish were brought in on Day 1 to find out a bit more about “What was Caught, Where it was Caught, and With what Lure,” but Mitch and crew (Brother Michael, Andrew Kenniston, and Reggie Hansen) had a plan, had a location, and opted to shove off knowing that boat traffic “at their spot” would be less than on the weekend. When the dust settled, they weighed in an 11.99-pound bluefish along with a 15.49-pound striper totaling 79.469 points holding off all late comers to be the very first captain to win both the junior division back in 2009 and completing the exacta by being crowned King of the Dock in 2021. Although Jody Gross weighed in the largest bluefish of the tournament and Tom Clapsadle (caught by his wife Bobbette) weighed in the largest striped bass, they just couldn’t get to the other side of the contest to match up to the pair of fish Mitch had brought home giving him the crown.
CLICK HERE for Mitchell’s Interview
~ TOP FIVE ~
Mitchell Clapsadle – King of the Dock – 79.569 Points
Jody Gross – 2nd Place – 73.274 Points
Tom Clapsadle – 3rd Place – 65.645 Points
John Santos – 4th Place – 62.098 Points
Sean Maginess – 5th Place – 58.545 Points
In our other categories, the Men’s and Ladies’ Bluefish Divisions were extremely competitive. Starting off with the ladies, although she was the better half of last year’s King of the Dock combo, Laurie Saitta captured the top spot with an 11.41 LB Bluefish with Jenn Thomas (8.84 LB) taking home 2nd place and Bobbette Clapsadle rounding out the Top 3 with an 8.39 LB Blue. Over on the Men’s side, Jody Gross took top honors with a 12.96 LB blue with Don Armour (12.67) and in 3rd place, Randy Saitta (12.01) nipping at Jody’s heels.
In the Striped Bass Category, surprising no one, Bobbette Clapsadle was again our Ladies’ Striper Champion weighing in a 15.87 LB bass. Bobbette has taken top honors in this category in 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021. Erin Carlson challenged her this year weighing in a 13.69 LB Striper and Shannon Royce wrapped up our Top 3 tipping the scales at 9.52 LBS.
On the Men’s side, Bobbette’s husband Tom Clapsadle (15.82) edged out his son, Mitch Clapsadle (15.49 LBS) and Fred Brown wrapped up our Top 3 weighing in at 12.54LBS. Here’s a hint for the 2022 One Tide Challenge…. Place a GPS Locator on any of the Clapsadle boats.
On to our Most Popular category…. the Junior Anglers (13 and Under)! We had a blast in handing over these monster trophies to our Top 3 Junior Anglers. 6-year-old “Action” Jaxon Falk weighed in a 9.98LB Bluefish making him our 2021 Junior Champion. Jaxon created a little unrest in the family by knocking off his older brother Zack Dietz who weighed in 7.89 LB blue. Zack was a great sport however smiling as Jaxon took home a trophy almost as big as him. Returning to the champion’s podium was 10-year-old Nate Carlson capturing 3rd place weighing in a 4.87LB bluefish.
The Corporate Awards are given to the Top Angler in the boat lines we represent.
GRADY-WHITE ~ Jody Gross
PARKER ~ Don Armour
SPORTSMAN ~ Eric Carlson
Our last category for the One Tide was our Conservation Award for the Captain with the most releases. This year’s award goes to Wade Thomas with 13 releases. His daughter Jenn Thomas also captured 2nd place in the Ladies’ Bluefish Championship.
Wait! We have more royalty to introduce! In our year long “Duke of Fluke” Championship Joel Toohey (SLIP 121) won this year’s contest as his 7.10 Fluke caught back in May held off all other anglers. The Duke of Fluke contest has 3 rounds with prizes awarded after each round ending simultaneously on the same day as the One Tide Challenge begins. In Round 3, our top three finishers were Jody Gross (6.8 LBS), Chris Cassidy (6.5 LBS) and in 3rd Place Tom Clapsadle (5.3LBS).
Everyone at Boats Incorporated would like to thank you all for participating in the 33rd Annual One Tide Challenge. It is a wonderful and friendly competition and we look forward to hosting the 34th One Tide Challenge competition next August.