UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Workman wins Champlain EverStart with largemouths

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - Angler after angler brought in literally tons of fat, feisty smallmouth bass at Lake Champlain this week - enough to break tour weight records in the EverStart Series Northern Division. So what does Craig Workman do? He wins the tournament with a sack full of largemouths. The 2004 Northern Division and EverStart Series season finale was one for the books. Until Saturday, the September weather couldn't have been more agreeable in upstate New York, with bluebird skies, balmy temperatures and relatively light winds. On top of that, weight records fell as the sublime bass fishery known as Lake Champlain coughed up almost four tons of fish - 7,529 pounds, 12 ounces - to the anglers over the first two days of competition. The bulk of that weight, of course, comprised Champlain's vaunted smallmouths. But with the money on the line Saturday, Workman, a pro out of Fort Worth, Texas, decided he'd bank on the familiar tug of largemouth bass on the end of his line. Workman had been catching mainly largemouths all week long, but thought he might switch over to smallies Saturday. Friday's top three leaders were all from Michigan and are all known smallmouth specialists. "This morning I got worried because these guys were on the smallies so bad. I was going to change my game plan. I had a few smallmouth areas where I could make a milk run and, yesterday, the big largemouths didn't bite," Workman said. "But when I got here and looked at the direction the wind was blowing, I said, `I can't go on a milk run.' I hit three different spots but it was too windy. I didn't actually go to my (largemouth location) until 8:30." As it turned out, Saturday's windy, gloomy conditions worked in Workman's favor. Blown off his open-water smallmouth strategy, he tucked back into the outer feeder creeks in the Missisquoi Bay area and began fishing the weeds that had provided him - and scores of others - cut-worthy largemouths all week long. Since the area had been fished heavily by tournament anglers throughout the week, Workman didn't know how many big ones were left there. For his Northern Division victory at Lake Champlain, Craig Workman collected $10,000 plus a new Ranger 519 VS with all the trimmings."I thought, `You know, there are so many largemouths in here, there might be a slim chance they didn't catch them all,'" he said. "So I pulled into my largemouth spot and my co-angler partner (Mark Grahn) sticks a good one and loses it. Then all of a sudden it was like wham, wham, wham! They were there and they were big." Flipping a Texas-rigged brush hog along grass lines in 8 to 14 feet of murky water, Workman caught five keepers in 45 minutes and eventually culled out his limit to 17 pounds Saturday. Added to the 15-9 he posted Friday, he finished with 32-9 in the final round and won the Pro Division at Lake Champlain. For the victory, Workman collected $10,000 plus a new Ranger 519 VS with all the trimmings. Total package value: $41,900. It was the second pro-level victory of his career; the first was a Texas Tournament Trail win at Lake Amistad in 2003. 2004 Northern Division standings winner Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, came in second at Lake Champlain after catching 31 pounds, 9 ounces in the finals.Hartley wins points title, finishes second at Champlain Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, nearly finished the 2004 Northern Division season with the biggest bang possible, but he ultimately fell a pound and a half short. After securing the 2004 Northern Division pro standings title in the opening round at Champlain, he nearly won the tournament but came in second behind Workman after catching 31 pounds, 9 ounces in the finals. He collected $10,000. "It was rough out there today," said Hartley, who caught a limit weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday. "I was exposed to the wind and fishing 40 feet deep. We were running two drift socks and really riding the trolling motor. Our arms and backs are worn out." Hartley was steady in Northern events all season long - respectively finishing 21st, 39th, 11th and second in the four tournaments. He won the standings with 731 points. "I had a great time," he said. "I'm just glad I was able to finish the season in the top 10 so I could re-qualify for the FLW Tour." Scott Dobson lands one of his 20 keeper smallmouths. Chuck Willis mans the net.Dobson third Scott Dobson of Waterford, Mich., finished third in the Pro Division and won $9,000 with a final weight of 30 pounds, 13 ounces. While he, Mark Zona and Art Ferguson led the Michigan smallmouth charge on Friday, he and the others had trouble with the wind on the open water Saturday. "I couldn't go to my fish," said Dobson, who caught the bulk of his smallmouths on a jerkbait. "I was fishing a bay up north, but I knew it would be too treacherous this morning, so I went to a bay a little south of here (Plattsburgh). I caught 20 keepers, but I just couldn't cull anything." A perennial top-10 finisher throughout the BFL, EverStart and FLW ranks, Dobson was a little disappointed that he came up short of his first win here at Champlain, but he gave credit to Workman for a tournament well fished. "If a guy can catch largemouths here like that, he's going to win," Dobson said. "Getting 17 or 18 pounds with smallmouths is tough." Pro Mark Zona of Sturgis, Mich., finished in fourth place with a weight of 30 pounds, 9 ounces.Zona not second Pro Mark Zona of Sturgis, Mich., the 2003 Northern Division standings champ, made name for himself as Mr. No. 2 with three second-place finishes last year. So it was almost strange to see him contend here at Champlain and finish in fourth place with a weight of 30 pounds, 9 ounces. "Well, I'd like to be No. 2 right about now," said Zona, who claimed $8,000. "But this place is amazing. I've caught 60-some pounds of bass and I caught them in four different spots." Ferguson fifth After leading days two and three, pro Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich., also had wind troubles Saturday and couldn't maintain his torrid pace. He caught a limit, but it weighed just 11 pounds, 3 ounces. He finished the tournament in fifth place and collected $7,500 with a final weight of 28-14. "Yeah, I couldn't fish my main areas today," he said. "I probably missed 10 or 15 fish, too, but that happens." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers in EverStart Northern competition at Lake Champlain are David Wolak of Warrior Run, Pa., with a final-round weight of 28 pounds, 13 ounces (6th place, $6,500); Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., with 27-11 (7th, $5,500); Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, with 27-11 (8th, $5,000); Steven McGahan of Gales Ferry, Conn., with 26-15 (9th, $4,500); and Nick Gainey of Charleston, S.C., with 26-0 (10th, $4,000). All 10 pro finalists caught limits both days of the final round. Coming up The 2004 Northern Division season is done, as is the entire EverStart Series regular season. Next up is the EverStart Series Championship, which will be held at Lake Cumberland near Burnside, Ky., Nov. 3-6. Related tourism link: iloveny.com

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-7-terrific-topwater-baits

7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-critters-and-craws

Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-hard-baits-for-2015

New Hard Baits for 2015

It doesn’t take long to find yourself overwhelmed on the show floor of ICAST. Hundreds of companies are here unveiling cool, new products. When it comes to the hard bait category it can be daunting to sift through all the new stuff. Its early, but here are a few things that might be worth adding to the tackle box. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-icast-2015-fishing-accessories

ICAST 2015 Fishing Accessories

Check out these tools and accessory items that fill a variety of roles when on the water. We’ll update the list later tomorrow too. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-cool-new-electronics-at-icast-2015

Cool New Electronics at ICAST 2015

These days, anglers rely on cutting edge electronic devices not only to find and catch fish, but also to share their fishing experiences with the world. The following new products, as seen on day one at ICAST 2015, will help you do all of the above. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-clothing-and-sunglasses-at-icast-2015

New Clothing and Sunglasses at ICAST 2015

Sunglasses and clothing that can resist all that Mother Nature throws at it are critical for hard-core anglers. Here’s what’s new in those categories at this year’s ICAST show. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-three-new-finesse-worms

Three New Finesse Worms

Though there is a ton of finesse worms already available on the market, but the following three from the first day of ICAST might be worth a look if you sense a gap in your arsenal. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-14-dance-detweiler-and-east-win-icast-cup

Dance, Detweiler and East Win ICAST Cup

Weighing in midway through the 48-boat field, Bill Dance, Cody Detweiler, and Dave East repped Mystik Lubricants brought a five-bass limit for 17 pounds, 1 ounce to the scale for the win. The team focused on two shallow, grassy areas within sight of Big Toho Marina for the entirety of the event and caught about 10 bass and culled twice before 8 a.m. READ MORE »