UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Whack, stack, Wolak

Pro winner David Wolak holds up his kicker largemouth from day four on Lake Champlain.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - While his official residence now reads North Carolina, David Wolak is a northern angler at heart. The former Pennsylvanian grew up fishing bodies of water like Lake Champlain and the Finger Lakes in New York. So if it looks like his smallmouth largemouth mixed-bag strategy is precise and calculated, it is. He's been tweaking it to perfection for years, hence the nickname "mixmaster." Four years ago Wolak nearly won the FLW Series event held on Champlain. He finished second thanks to a late comeback from Guido Hibdon and the memory still haunts him. Or at least it did until today. While Gary Yamamoto led this year's Walmart FLW Tour event the first two days, it quickly became obvious that Wolak had the steady, winning strategy. Each morning he'd fish a little 30-yard rock wall formation near Carry Bay. With current and a deep depression that dropped into 20 feet of water, it was the perfect stacking place for fat smallmouths. After the cold front, pro winner David Wolak switched to a jig to catch his bass. After accumulating roughly 15 pounds of smallies, Wolak would turn his attention to largemouths, which were meant to push him into the upper teens. On day one, he upgraded three of the smallies. On a blustery day two he caught two sizeable largemouths and on the third and fourth days four of his five weigh fish were green bass. His largemouth spots were mostly located in Alburg Passage and Missisquoi Bay. On day four, things pretty much went as planned. It was a little slower in the morning than it had been due to fog, but a determined Wolak stuck with it and boated roughly 50 keepers. By 1 p.m. he caught his 5-pound kicker largemouth off a tire reef and knew it was over. When it was all said and done, Wolak's five-bass limit Sunday weighed 19 pounds, 7 ounces, bringing his four-day combined weight to 81 pounds even. Those 81 pounds were more than enough to earn him $125,000 and his first FLW Tour win. On the smallmouths, Wolak used a 1/4-ounce Title Shot jig with a homemade skirt if the bass were holding tight to the bottom. If they were suspending, he'd use a Jackall Superpin Tail, a Super Cross Tail Shad or a Clone Fry on a drop-shot rig. For the largemouths, he primarily flipped the first two days with a Jackall Sasuteki Craw. But as the largemouths left the grass and moved to the rock, Wolak picked up 1/2-ounce Title Shot jig with a full skirt and Zoom Twin Tail grub. Pro winner David Wolak celebrates his Lake Champlain victory with his wife and son."This tournament for me was all about the adjustments," said the pro champion. "I figured out that I needed to slow down with that jig in the cold weather as the fish moved to the hard targets. Lake Champlain is all about adjustments." Wolak described the third Open of the season as the biggest tournament of the year in the Northeast. And it's a tournament he looks forward to every year. "This lake is really special to me. I think all the failures and bad decisions I've made in the past have taught me a lot. This is the tournament I prepare my boat and tackle for all year. You can ask my wife, when I come up here its win or bust. It's such a relief to win." Yamamoto second Gary Yamamoto committed his entire week to skipping docks with his namesake Senko. Although his pattern produced the heaviest single-day stringer in Lake Champlain history, it dwindled each of the four tournament days. Part of the reason it dwindled was that many of the lakeshore owners were Second-place finisher Gary Yamamoto holds up his biggest bass from day four on Lake Champlain.pulling their docks out for the winter. Despite fishing methodically, Yamamoto said he sampled up to 100 docks in a day. On day four, he brought in five largemouths that weighed 15 pounds, 11 ounces, bringing his total weight to 74 pounds, 12 ounces. "I started out this morning on a new area," said the Palestine, Texas, resident. "At noon I just had one good one. I didn't want to stay and gamble so I went back to my primary spot. I was confident I could catch five, but I was trying to get the bites to catch Dave." As only he can do, Yamamoto put a unique twist on his Senko presentation. In addition to adding a 1-inch, No. 7 screw, he also hooked the Senko backwards. "I hooked it backwards so instead of going to the boat it moved back towards the dock." Yamamoto earned $31,329 for his runner-up finish. "Yesterday I thanked my employees and all my bait buyers and my wife said it was the best speech she's ever heard. I know how to play the game now. If I keep everybody happy, I get to keep fishing." Biron third Pro Daryl Biron caught a four-day total of 72 pounds, 15 ounces to finish the Lake Champlain event in third place.Connecticut pro Daryl Biron might not have the name recognition of Wolak or Yamamoto, but he put on quite a clinic this week. Similar to the pro winner, Biron employed a mixed-bag strategy with the exception of day two when it was too windy to get to his largemouth areas. Unlike Wolak, Biron didn't always start on smallmouths. He did the first two days but on days three and four he had some untested largemouth water he really wanted to try. As it turned out, some of that water was already being fished by Yamamoto and Glenn Browne. "Every day I caught them and that's all you can do. I knew going in that the mixed bag is the way to win on Lake Champlain." To catch his smallmouths, Biron would Carolina rig a Zoom Speed Craw with a 3/4-ounce weight. He fished this primarily over a weed flat in the middle of the Inland Sea in 13 to 14 feet of water. Occasionally he mixed in a drop-shot, but the Carolina rig was the better producer early in the week. For the largemouths, he'd skip a Senko (rigged wacky style) under docks. "I've published a few articles on dock fishing and I can tell you that not all docks are created equal. This week the best ones had weeds that came right up to the edge. I'd just skip to any opening in the weeds." On day four his limit weighed 13 pounds, 14 ounces, pushing his cumulative total to 72 pounds, 15 ounces. Byron earned $26, 829 for third place. "Today I only had 9 pounds with a half hour left. Those last two fish really saved me in the standings." Vintage Browne finishes fourth Florida pro Glenn Browne finished the Lake Champlain event in fourth place.If he had it his way, Browne would flip shallow cover in every tournament he fished. This week he targeted primarily lay-downs and willow trees up in Alburg Passage. The first two days he fished the west side of the passage and the last two days he occupied the east side. "Late on day three I started to run some new stuff," Browne explained. "I found out they were holding in little clumps of flat reeds. The trees were better early in the week, but the clumps really got good yesterday afternoon." Browne basically used two baits all week - either a 3/4-ounce or 1-ounce homemade black and blue jig. The jig was tipped with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk and tied on 65-pound braided line. "Any time I can truck down the bank I'm in my comfort zone. I bet I caught over 30 keepers again today in 2 feet of water. What a week. These Opens so far have been whackfests." Browne's day-four limit weighed 16 pounds, 2 ounces, giving him a total weight of 72-6, worth $22,329. The Ocala, Fla., pro will enter the final Open of the year as the points leader. While there is no official Angler of the Year award for winning the Opens, the top five in the points are given a berth into the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup. "Going into Guntersville, I feel I've got a pretty good chance because that's going to be a mat deal." Strader rallies to fifth Wesley Strader finished in fifth place after catching a 17-pound, 13-ounce limit Sunday.Coming into the final day on Lake Champlain, Walmart pro Wesley Strader simply wanted to make the top five. And after catching a limit worth 17 pounds, 13 ounces, he accomplished his goal - moving up from eighth to fifth. His four-day cumulative weight registered at 70 pounds, 3 ounces, earning him $17, 829. Strader weighed three smallmouths and two largemouths Sunday. He had been catching largemouths exclusively until he stopped on the way in yesterday and sampled one of his smallmouths holes. He did so well there he decided to start day four on those same fish. "It was crazy this morning," said the Spring City, Tenn., native. "I think I had 16 pounds of smallies in about 20 minutes. Then I kept catching fish, but I wasn't really improving my weight so I went to my largemouth water and that was good too." For the brown fish, Strader drop-shotted a Zoom Swamp Crawler (green pumpkin). When he fished largemouths up in Alburg and Missisquoi he flipped a 3/4-ounce Phenix jig with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer. After several days of non-stop action, he simply ran out of baits and Derek Yamamoto loaned him some of his Kinami D Bugs. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at the FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain: 6th: Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., 70-2, $15,129 7th: Brian Bylotas of Olyphant, Pa., 69-8, $14,229 8th: Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., 68-15, $13,329 9th: Kyle Mabrey of McCalla, Ala., 64-9, $12,429 10th: J Todd Tucker of Moultrie, Ga., 62-11, $11,529 Coming up The fourth and final FLW Tour Open of 2011 is scheduled for Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala., Oct. 20-23.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-08-01-browne-sticks-to-the-bank-to-win

Browne Sticks To The Bank To Win

A lot would have had to happen for Glenn Browne to relinquish his hard-earned lead on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain. It turned out that a lot did happen, but with help from his friends and a great pattern, Glenn Browne socked 18 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day for a 63-pound, 8-ounce total and a payday of $34,097 plus a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-champlain-midday-update-day-3

Champlain Midday Update Day 3

Day three of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain started with a beautiful sunrise and light rain that had tapered off by the beginning of takeoff. For leader Glenn Browne, the beauty was soon marred by a breakdown that occurred shortly into his run south. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/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 »