Couldn’t beat the buzzer – Maulers hold on for the win

After missing a winning bass, Chris Catucci gets another bite but its 43 seconds too late!

This past Saturday was one for the record books! The RI Rebels starting lineup consisted of the young’n Chris Catucci, “Jiggin” Joe Brancato, Justin “Big Bass” Lacasse, and Greg “Kraz” Krasnowiecki. It was a rainy morning, but prefishing had the Rebels pumped up for the day to come. At 9” underdogs we knew that KFL had little expectations for our team. However, we knew deep down that we could swing on em’ with the big boys and we proved just that!

After the Massachusetts Maulers jumped out to a commanding lead the Rebels just kept on coming. The lead was cut to single digits by early morning. The buzzbait and frog bite was hot for Kraz all morning. The two 19”+ fish came off a white buzzbait in sparse vegetation. 16’s and 17’s were no stranger to his frog as the morning wore on as well. Chris Catucci and Joe Brancato both found fish off the frog as well posting 20.5”(Catucci) and 19.5”(Brancato) fish to start mounting the comeback. Justin “Big Bass” Lacasse lived up to his name posting a 20.25” at 8:30 as well. It seemed the feedbag was on for the first 3 hours of the tournament as all four anglers came to represent their state! Then the bite slowed.

As the Rebels cut the lead to single digits the rain stopped and the topwater bite died. As a team they determined the shallow wood bite was the ticket. From 10:15 -12pm Greg Kraz blacked out flipping his jig which seemed to be getting picked up by three pounders by the handful. Two 18’s and a 17.75” were added to the team limit within this window and with one hour to go the lead had been cut to 1”.

With 5 mins remaining in the tournament Chris Catucci skipped his frog perfectly under a heavy canopy and started working it out of the shadows when a sleepy lunker came barreling out of cover to swirl and slurp the frog. Catucci set the hook and knew it was the one just to have her spit the hook after getting tangled up in the heavy reeds. It was a heartbreaker that he tried to shake off while he continued to battle. Four minutes left… three minutes, two, and down to the final minute when he put his frog into a crevice behind a dock. Snap-pause-snap-snap… pause….. dooosh! and with a quick CRACK of the braid he had a 19” fish on the other end of the line. Panicked reeling the fish in, fish flopping on the board, a wet phone screen, time ticking down, a phone drop, another fish flop, and a shutter of the camera lense later only to find out that the picture (which would have given the RI Rebels a 0.25” lead) was taken at 1:00:43 or 43 seconds too late.

For a match that should’ve never been that close (according to the buzz going around the KFL feeds) the Rebels showed up and showed out! “Overall we sent a message, we’re not here to play around, and we need to be taken seriously” Catucci said on his interview with Greg Krasnowiecki, Derek Brundle, and Matt Conant on KFL tonight and he wasn’t lying.

Next up is Baystate Attack. They’re on alert and have been warned!

 

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