UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Ober, Wolak tie for Champlain lead

Ober, Wolak tie for Champlain lead
Pennsylvania pro Jason Ober caught a 21-pound bag by dropshotting in Champlain's north end.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - Of the 123 pros who caught limits on day one of the FLW Series Eastern Division event on Lake Champlain, only two broke 20 pounds. These pros, Jason Ober and David Wolak, now share the lead with a tie at 21-2.

Ober, who weighed first, topped the American Fishing Series event on Lake Champlain two years ago. Today, the Johnstown, Pa., pro returned to some of his winning spots and fished mostly over a large flat on the east side of the Champlain Islands. Ober attributed his success to an active game plan.

"The big deal is I'm covering a lot of water," Ober said. "I went to one area where I got one bite (in practice) yesterday and just started expanding. That's how I've done well here in the past - keep my foot on the trolling motor, keep covering water and hope I get the right bites."

Ober said that his day started with an uncharacteristic dilemma. Having split his practice between familiar waters and new areas, he unwittingly created a situation of uncertainty - go with the relatively sure thing, or take a chance on new potential.

Pennsylvania pro Jason Ober caught a 21-pound bag by dropshotting in Champlain"I took a real gamble this morning, because I've never woken up here and not known where I was going to start," Ober said. "When I pulled out of this marina this morning, that's when I decided where I was going. I went back to where I won before."

Ober committed his day to dropshotting and used a prototype bait from Attrax that mimics Champlain's yellow perch - a key forage for the lake's aggressive smallmouth.

"The perch are the deal - you have to stay with those perch," he said. "There was a ton of them at my spot."

The bite took longer than Ober would have liked, but once it began, things came together handily. He decided to manage his fish and devote part of his day to locating more spots.

"I didn't get bit until 8:30, but between 8:30 and 11, I caught `em," he said. "When I caught my fifth one, I left. I knew I had what I needed and I went practicing the rest of the day. The scary thing only got one bite the rest of the day. But I eliminated a ton of stuff. I got lucky today and hopefully, I'll get lucky tomorrow."

Wolak goes green

Wolak, who placed fourth at last month's AFS event on Champlain, said his bite also started slowly, butTied for first at 21-2, North Carolina pro David Wolak fished a homemade chatterbait and targetted largemouth bass. he got the right bites. "I didn't have a limit until probably 11 o'clock. It's not like it was for me during the AFS, in terms of numbers. I'm just catching quality fish today. It was nice because my first two fish were a little better than four pounds. I had one that I almost had in and it jumped into the net. So it all just came together today."

Fishing a homemade chatterbait he created by adding a blade to an Arkie Jig, the Wake Forest, N.C., pro fished in shallow grass and targeted greenfish. He uses a green pumpkin jig and adds an orange throat to match Champlain's yellow perch.

"I came into this tournament focused on largemouth - I think I caught one 2-pound smallmouth today," Wolak said. "I'm around the grass and the grass has largemouth. I have some smallmouth spots that I can (got to) if I'm forced to fish there on a windy day."

Wolak said he covered a lot area in the lake's north end, with particular focus on Mallet's Bay and the Inland Sea.

Brown spins and flips into third

Fishing small Texas-rigged creature baits on spinning tackle was a key tactic for third place pro Sheron Brown.Sheron Brown of Shirley, Mass., sacked up a limit of 19-13 for third place. He started his day fishing a small Texas-rigged creature bait with a 2/0 hook and ¼-ounce weight on a spinning rod - a throwback tactic from his early years of bass fishing. He caught a trio of keepers on this rig, tried some cranking and ended up flipping.

"I got three fish on the spinning rod so that gave me some momentum," he said. "I had some time left, so I figured I'd try and do some flipping. I got a fish on a wind-blown spot and then I got another fish so I was able to close the deal flipping."

Brown flipped a Strike King Beast coated with Bio Edge scent. "That made a huge difference today - all the baits were inside the fish's mouth very deep."

Gagliardi converts flurry into fourth place

A midday flurry gave Anthony Gagliardi the opportunity to cull up from a dinky limit and the ProsperityA midday rally gave Anthony Gagliardi enough weight for a fourth place showing. South Carolina pro took full advantage by sacking up 19-12 for fourth place. With maybe 11 pounds in the boat by late morning, Gagliardi made a move that paid off big for him and his co-angler partner Chris Kinney-Hermes, who leads his division.

"I finally got on one place that I had some bites on in practice," Gagliardi said. "There was a bunch of fish there and they all turned on and started feeding and we caught them pretty good for about 45 minutes. I'm sure that some of the places I fished earlier had some fish on them and they may have turned out at some point. It's just a timing deal - you have to be at the right place at the right time."

Gagliardi was mostly dragging plastics along the bottom but he mixed in some cranking and jerkbaiting throughout the day.

Lancen Halbert of Enoree, S.C., caught a 19-pound, 9-ounce limit and placed fifth.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the FLW Series Lake Champlain event:

6th: Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, 19-5
6th: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., 19-5
8th: Mark Hickory of St. Albans Bay, Vt., 19-4
9th: Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo., 19-1
10th: Matthew Applebaum of Johnson, Vt., 18-15

Kinney-Hermes tops co-angler field

Top co-angler Chris Kinney-Hermes gained significant experience through the National Guard College Fishing Series.Chris Kinney-Hermes of Champlain, N.Y., caught an 18-pound, 15-ounce limit off the back of the boat to lead his division. A recent graduate of his hometown school, SUNY-Plattsburgh, Kinney-Hermes said he developed his angling skills and competitive prowess while participating in the FLW National Guard College Fishing circuit.

"College fishing is great because it gets (young anglers) out on a lot of different bodies of water," he said. "It's a great opportunity for college kids because the boats are furnished, the entry fees are paid, and it gives you great experience getting out in bass boats on big bodies of water. It's an introduction to tournament fishing."

Kinney-Hermes fished drop-shots baited with Yamamoto Flat Worms and Shad Worms. He also cut a 5-inch Senko to 3 inches for his drop-shot.

Christopher Hall of Clarks Summit, Pa., placed second with 17-12, while Pat Lay of Cleveland, Tenn., took third with 17-10. Fourth place went to Tony Bushey of Champlain, N.Y., who caught 17-6. Robert Gulley of Tupelo, Miss., and Jerry Thompson of Bemidji, Minn., tied for fifth at 17-3.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the FLW Series Lake Champlain event:

7th: James Dixon, Southfield, Mich., 16-15
8th: Jeff Gengler of Tulsa, Okla., 16-11
9th: Max Allen of Frankfort, Ky., 16-0
10th: Edward Pecore of Plattsburgh, N.Y., 15-10

Day two of FLW Series action on Lake Champlain continues at Thursday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. PT at Dock Street Landing located at 5 Dock Street in Plattsburgh.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2010-08-25-lake-champlain 

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