UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Coin toss

Coin toss
The morning sun filters through partly cloudy skies at the start of the Stren Northern Division tournament.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - To run or not to run? That is the question facing Stren Series anglers at the start of the Northern Division event on Lake Champlain.

At takeoff, most boats headed south, and it's likely that that the majority made the 60-mile jaunt to Ticonderoga at Champlain's skinny lower end. Fertile grass beds are more abundant in the south end, plus the southern fish are sufficiently removed from their spawn, so they've settled into traditional summer patterns.

At the opposite end of the lake, many bass are still in postspawn mode, so these fish will be more finicky. Running south is a pretty sure bet for, at least, the opportunity of more predictable fishing, but Charles Sim gets a good-luck kiss from his wife Eimer before heading into action.the time-consuming journey will automatically shave more than two hours of fishing time from an angler's schedule. On the flipside, staying close to port only guarantees a lower gas bill, as chasing broadly dispersed fish can also burn up the clock.

Charlie Hartley of Columbus, Ohio, said he'll stay north and throw the same green-pumpkin tube that has served him well in past years. Snipping open all of his bait's tentacles ensures optimal action, while lubricating the bait with Berkley Power Bait scent bears psychological and practical benefits.

"I think it matters to us (fishermen) more than it matters to the fish," Hartley said. "A smallmouth bass is a very aggressive creature. If he's going to bite something, he doesn't run up to it and, at the last second, say: `That didn't smell just right.'

Charlie Hartley of Columbus, Ohio adds Berkley scent enhancer to the tube jigs he"The (scent formula) is also a lubricant that helps get the jig head up into the tube. Also, anything that doesn't smell like a human is probably better than smelling like a human."

Hartley will fish spots in 12 to 15 feet of water and look for rocks surrounded by weeds. "They like the grass to hide in, but they feed on the rocks."

Rob Johnson will also stick around the north end, mostly the Vermont side, and target largemouths. Although the south end's grass habitat normally yields the best largemouth action, Johnson will target green bass in the upper region.

Admittedly short on Champlain experience, the School Haven, Pa., angler said he found a good greenPro Rob Johnson hopes his crankbait will appeal to north lake largemouths, while co-angler Joe Hughes will stick with his jig. bass pattern that fits his preferred style of fishing. He'll throw mostly crankbaits, while his co-angler, Joe Hughes, pins his hopes on a jig.

Favoring a drop-shot with a 3-inch blue Senko, pro Randy Yarnall modifies his rig to eliminate a common vexation. Rigging with 6-pound monofilament, he fastens his main line to a tiny swivel he got from a fly-fishing shop and ties a piece of 6-pound mono to the swivel's opposite side. Here, he creates a drop-shot that can do what drop-shots do without creating the frustrations that drop-shots create.

"With drop-shotting, your line wants to twist up because your lure is constantly spinning," Yarnall said. "Adding the swivel gives you a whole day of fishing without worrying about (line twist) on a spinning reel. The swivel passes through the (rod's) eyelets, so I can cast this rig. It might be a little hard on the eyelets, but they're replaceable."

Yarnall said he'd prefer lighter line, but Champlain's smallmouth bullies would take advantage of the drop in fighting power. "I'd love to go to 4-pound-test, but that's just too hard with all the weeds around here and these big smallmouth."

Rigging his dropshot with a swivel allows Randy Yarnall to fish without fighting line twists.Yarnall said he would also prefer a little more blow in the forecast, as rougher conditions generally guide fish into predictable spots.

"When you're poking and hoping in the weeds, it's tough," Yarnall said. "The bass are moving around, following the perch right now. They don't have to be located in any one position, so they can be picky - and trust me, they will be.

"Wind on this lake does help locate the fish, so you're not running around covering a lot of water. Basically, that's what you're doing now - looking for scattered fish."

For those who make the run to Ticonderoga, afternoon thunderstorms may produce challenging conditions, so time management will be a critical element.

Tournament logistics

The Stren Series event, which runs July 16-19, kicks off the Northern Division's schedule of four regularPro Ben Felton picks up his co-angler at the start of day one.-season tournaments. The total purse for the Lake Champlain event is $275,225. The winning pro could earn as much as $65,000 in cash and prizes if various contingencies are met, and the winning co-angler could earn as much as $35,000.

Action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. EDT at Dock Street Landing, located at 5 Dock Street, Plattsburgh N.Y.

Wednesday's conditions

Sunrise: 5:24 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 70 degrees
Expected high temperature: 82 degrees
Water temperature: 69-70 degrees
Wind: SSW at 7-10 mph
Humidity: 45 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy, scattered afternoon thunderstorms

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2008-07-16-lake-champlain 

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

All the talk leading up the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks was about the weather. And Mother Nature did not disappoint. READ MORE »

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks will launch right as a massive cold front arrives. How massive? The forecast has been calling for heavy rain and a high of 74 today, and so far hasn’t been wrong. A major thunderstorm greeted anglers this morning and delayed takeoff by an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to abundant lightning. Tomorrow? A high in the mid 40s. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Typically, the first day or two following a cold front put bass in a bad mood, and today, Grand Lake’s fish are following the script. This has created a challenging scenario for the top-10 finalists in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

After his sizzling day-one pattern fizzled, Cody Bird adjusted his focus to a completely different scenario and sacked up a limit of 13-11 on day two to take over the lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, with a two day total of 32-14. Going into Saturday’s final round, Bird holds a 7-ounce lead over day-one leader and Grand Lake stick Jason Christie. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

You know fishing’s tough when the most common greeting we receive is the goose egg hand signal. No question, day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, had a lot of anglers scratching for bites and scratching their heads. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Oklahoma stick Jason Christie overcame the unsettling effects of a passing cold front to sack up a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces for the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

After several weeks of hot, sunny conditions, anglers launched with cloudy skies, stout winds and air temperatures in the low 60s. By midday, the temperature rose into the mid to upper 60s and the wind started to subside, however, the first couple of hours saw Grand Lake’s temperamental side. READ MORE »

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta featured all the typical Delta tactics. Punching, vibrating jigs, finesse and even a frog made an appearance in the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta had a lot of punching as usual, but it was far from the only thing going. Due to the lush grass and windy and touch conditions, vibrating jigs and finesse played a big role as well. READ MORE »

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta, Jack Farage totaled 37-2 to edge ahead of Cesar Laguna for the co-angler win. The win is Farage's fourth as a co-angler at the FLW Series level and he took home a brand new Ranger boat because of it.  READ MORE »

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Blake Dyer set the pace on day one with a 27-pound, 3-ounce bag and he never relinquished the lead in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Weighing 15-8 on the final day, Dyer totaled 62-13 to stay ahead of a final-day charge from Jason Borofka. For his win, which is his first with FLW, Dyer takes home $31,114 and a trophy that will last forever. READ MORE »

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Tournament fishing is full of highs and lows and today, the latter may play a key role in determining the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event resented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Specifically, several anglers expressed their hopes of doing their best work during the afternoon low tide period. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Blake Dyer has dominated through two days of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the Cal Delta. With a total nearing 50 pounds, he’s also one of just two pros to bring in back-to-back 20-pound limits. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the crew hasn’t been doing work, and with the big fish in the Delta, anything is possible on the final day. READ MORE »