From the Spring Fishing and Boat show when Peter Altomare looked at CCBA President Matt Pezzeta and said “I’m winning the championship event this year” he was determined to show the college scene what he was made of. With an impressive three fish bag weighing in at a 13.03 lbs, Peter improved his chance at representing team Canada at Lake Pickwick and showed the rest of the field that its not about the boat your fishing out of, its about the angler in the boat.
L2F. You started off the day with a camera man in the boat and didn’t find any fish, did you find that the curse of the camera man was present or do you feel that maybe he just threw you off your game?
P.A. It wasn’t that the camera man was a curse, personally it just gave me the feeling that I had to produce catching fish in front of the camera to show were doing good. In most tournaments, catching fish in the first hour isn’t always the case, sometimes it comes down to the last hour. With that lake and spot I knew I had to fish it slow and cover every area within the spot but I noticed I was just fishing to fast under the pressure of the camera.
L2F. How was the experience fishing with a co-angler you are actually competing against, did that change the way you fish at all?
P.A. It was the first time I had to fish that way and it felt a little strange at first, when you watch your co angler catch fish and you don’t. I can see why some people don’t like it but I found it interesting. It really shows you how good of an angler you are and puts your skills to the test. During the day of the event, We spent a lot of time sight fishing and ended up getting a few double headers, so netting the fish was our biggest problem but we worked around it and ended up getting both our fish in the boat.
L2F. What tactics did you employ to secure such an impressive three fish weight?
P.A. From winning an event on the same lake back in the fall of 2011, I had a general idea of what I had to fish in certain conditions. By having our CBAF club tournament there a weekend before it really helped me see what spots were holding numbers and also which of them held bigger fish. I also took time to find some new water during that day. I really only fished two lures throughout the whole day and even in previous tournaments, I knew if there were there they would crush my lure. It was a matter of going to the spots in the right time.
L2F. Tell us a bit about how your day went, and the thought process as it unfolded .
P.A. Well we started off in a spot that has produced big fish and numbers throughout my experience with that lake. The water had looked a little murky when we first pulled in there. Evan had hooked onto a decent one but came off. We noticed a lot of fish jumping which made it really tough to figure out even if they were bass. Evan had practiced the day before and he mentioned that they had seen a bunch of fish just down from the spot we were at, So we packed it up and headed there. In the first few casts I had lost a really good one beside the boat, the fish on this lake are extremely strong and I played him just like I should have, but sometimes they just come off. I casted right back in the same spot and ended up hooking onto another good one just over 4. as we kept going down the stretch, Evan was catching more of the numbers in the 2 to 3 pound range, while I couldn’t limit out with anything close to a good weight. There was a ton of fish in this area but nothing that I knew would put us into first place, As we kept sight fishing, Evan had hooked a 3 pounder, and I noticed a really good fish behind it, so as I was netting Evans fish I caught the mid 4lb. Successively we landed both our fish and just kept fishing. My co angler culled a few more times and had over 9 pounds for 3 fish and I had 2 really good ones but needed one more.Evan mentioned another spot where he had seen one or two big ones, so we packed it up and went there. We had seen a few there and I let Evan take the trolling motor because sometimes I need to slow my fishing down by fishing off the back of the boat. I made a super long cast and ended up hooking into the 5 pounder I needed, we landed it and just started jumping up and down. But now I knew Evan was no where close to being in good contention.
I mentioned a spot I knew about which was more of a fall spot but I knew held some pig fish. The wind was really pounding this open water spot but I let Evan take the trolling motor once again and in a matter of an hour he had culled out his fish with all 4 pounders and even lost a few good ones. The rest of the day we basically fished really relaxed and trying new stuff just because we had a feeling we had two good bags of fish.
L2F. You still fish out of a “tinny” do you feel like you have any major disadvantages or advantages using this sort of boat?
P.A. My boat is really shallow like a bass boat , as one of the bigger ”tin” boats it fishes really well due to the fact it is very open and spacious. I have never had a Co angler ever feel unsafe or crammed in my boat. It took us longer to get from spot to spot and it does get blown around more in the wind but Any good angler can catch out of any boat.
L2F. You have a chance to go down to Pickwick in Alabama to fish, how do you feel about that?
P.A. Going down to the states to fish would be an unreal experience and being able to represent Matt and the rest of the guys is a really good feeling. You know I am nervous because of the skill of the anglers have down there and its there home waters but I’m confident with some time out on the lake that I can bring in a decent bag.
L2F. Tell us a bit about yourself, when did you start fishing, when was your first tournament, when was your first win, what drew you to fishing competitively?
P.A. I started fishing really young, My dad would drag me out every morning through the summer out on Lake Simcoe to troll for pike. My dad had slowly start bringing me for smallmouth bass, him and I would actually do really good for what equipment we had and knowledge of those fish. Eventually I started out fishing out of a 14 foot tin boat with my cousin and it was during the summer I drifted into a spot and ended up catching a bunch of bass sight fishing. I think it was from that point on I was obsessed with learning how to catch bass in every situation possible. Its like putting a never ending puzzle together. JP DeRose mentioned the CBAF on WFN at the end of the summer, so I Googled it and went to a club meeting that week. I signed up with the Bass Pro Shop club which is now North GTA club and started fishing as a non boater. My dad would drive me to the tournaments which was the only way of me getting there so if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be fishing as a boater today. I met another young non boater, Matt Mastrella, that first club meeting and we became good fishing buddies ever since. My first win as a Co Angler was with Scott Murison, who is now one of my good buddies, hes been teaching me the tips and tricks ever since that day. He has been a big influence on my progression throughout the years with fishing and also helping me along the way with Firefighting. In my fifth year of being in Tournaments, I won my first team event with Matt Mastrella out on Georgian Bay last fall. It felt amazing getting your first win when your competing against other amazing anglers and I was really proud of Matt and I pulling through that day. I played many sports when I was younger, but nothing gave me more of a rush then fishing and being good at it. As a volunteer firefighting, you always want to train and be better and never stop learning, and its the same as in fishing. You always learn something new every time your on the water, even if its not a great day of fishing. I think being a good tournament angler takes a lot of practice and time. Being able to use your mind and figuring out what to do next, is what I really love about tournament fishing