PERU — Perry Marvin Jr. has been fishing since he was 4 years old.
Now, at 14 and an experienced angler, Perry recently won the New York state qualifier tournament at Schroon Lake to advance to the national Youth Tournament Bass Fishing competition in South Carolina next summer.
“It was really tough,” Perry said of the conditions on Schroon Lake during the qualifying round. “There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on. I got two bites all day, the first one two hours into the tourney.”
Perry was using a 7-inch Senko, an artificial rubber lure that looks like an earthworm. He was casting underneath docks and pulled in a 3-pounder for his first catch of the day.
He hooked a second largemouth about a half-hour later when he cast his line beneath a docked pontoon boat.
“That was pretty much it,” he said. “There was another kid (while waiting for the weigh-in) who said he had just about the same weight. It was pretty nerve-racking.”
But Perry’s total outdid the competition, and he stood atop the leader board at day’s end.
He had not fished on Schroon Lake prior to a couple of pre-tournament visits leading up to the competition. On the first day of practice, he tried fishing at the northern end of the lake with little success but had better luck on day two at the southern end.
That’s where he focused his efforts on tourney day.
“We saw one fish sitting in the weeds (during his pre-tourney visits) that might have been 6 pounds,” he said. “We thought he might be there on tournament day, but we didn’t see him.”
Perry got hooked on fishing back when Perry Sr. was interested in salmon fishing.
“My dad always loved to fish, but he never used to fish for bass,” Perry recalled. “He used to teach me all he knew (about fishing); now I’m teaching him about bass fishing.”
As a youngster, Perry Jr. turned his attention to northern pike as an exciting fish to catch but soon switched over to bass.
“I found it more fun to catch bass,” he said. “Smallmouth bass are the best fighting fish on the planet. They put up a great fight and are fun to catch. Largemouth put up a pretty good fight, too, and they’re usually heavier.”
He recognizes certain techniques that help when fishing for either smallmouth or largemouth bass but typically targets either species when he’s in search of a trophy catch.
Over the summer, Lake Champlain has become his home-away-from-home, spending up to 12 hours a day on the lake with rod in hand.
“It’s one of the best fisheries in the U.S.,” he said of Lake Champlain. “It’s got lots of different species, and there are different kinds of waters in different places. It’s like chocolate milk down around Ti and is nice and clear up here. There’s different kinds of weeds in different areas. It’s a real challenge.
“I always find it relaxing,” he said of the sport. “It’s very peaceful out there on the water. It keeps me busy and active, and it’s thrilling when you catch a fish.”
Perry attends weigh-ins during pro-bass tournaments on Lake Champlain and enjoys talking with the pros. Kellogg’s pro Jim Tutt took Perry out on his boat one year and shared some angling techniques that have helped Perry perfect his skills.
“That’d be great if I could make a career out of it,” he said. “It wouldn’t feel like work.”
Perry is a freshman at Peru Central School and has turned much of his attention to football season at the high school. He also runs track in the spring but always looks for the opportunity to cast a line in search of that elusive monster fish.
Email Jeff Meyers:firstname.lastname@example.org