UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Champlain offers ideal test case

Champlain offers ideal test case
Partly cloudy skies greeted anglers at the day two boat check on Lake Champlain.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - A lot of folks watch FLW tournaments and wonder what it's like to fish for a living. Well, World Fishing Network host Mark Melnyck is getting the front-row, hands-on experience during the FLW Series Eastern Division event on Lake Champlain.

As part of WFN's "Reel Fishy Jobs" show, Melnyk entered the tournament as a pro to document the highs and lows of anglers who make their living on a bass boat. Joined by a WFN cameraman, Melnyk will handle all aspects of a tournament campaign with the objective of offering viewers that coveted insider's perspective of a profession many admire, but few understand.

"'Reel Fishy Jobs' showcases occupations in the fishing industry, from making chum to being aMark Melnyk, host of World Fishing Network professional angler," Melnyk said. "Whatever goes on in the fishing world, we're here to do."

Melnyk is doing more than playing a role; he's immersing himself in it. It's reality TV with a heavy dose of reality that resonates deeply with the host.

"I've learned that being a pro - which I am not - is extremely difficult," Melnyk said. "Time away from your family, time on the road, money spent chasing little green creatures and little brown creatures that you have no control over; all to make your living is not for the faint of heart. I liken it to bull riders - you have to play to get paid, and if you don't play well, you're not going to cash a check."

On day one, Melnyk finished well inside the top half of the field with a limit catch of 14 pounds, 15 ounces. Targeting a three-quarter-mile stretch of a grass-lined flat, he's drop-shotting a tube and fishing a swimming jig. He's confident that his area holds more than it yielded on the first day of competition.

Tied with David Wolak for the pro lead, Jason Ober hopes to dropshot his way into another  Champlain win."I didn't get any help at all for this tournament - I've never been to Lake Champlain before, and I came in here blind," Melnyk said. "(National Guard pro) Scott Martin is my coach, and I asked him for some help and he said, `We're fishing for the same $50,000 pot - you're on your own.'

"Yesterday was the worst day I've had this week. My two practice days were awesome - I was over 17 pounds both days. I came in just shy of 15 yesterday; my (day-one) co-angler (Christopher Hall) is sitting in second place with 17-12; so those fish are there. I just need to figure them out."

Hailing from Ontario, Melnyk is one of 23 Canadians competing in the FLW Series event: seven pros and 16 co-anglers. Visit World Fishing Network at www.wfn.tv for more information.

A look at the leaderboard

Atop the Pro Division, Jason Ober of Johnstown, Pa., and Dave Wolak of Wake Forest, N.C., enter day two tied at 21-2. Both have vast experience on Champlain and both have fared well in past events. Ober won the American Fishing Series Northern Division event on Champlain in 2008. In July, Wolak took fourth in this year's AFS event and won a Bassmaster Northern Open tournament on Champlain.

Targeting smallmouths, Ober is fishing the lake's northwest corner and drop-shotting an Attrax cut-tailThird place pro Sheron Brown signals he grub over a broad flat near the Champlain Islands. Wolak is also fishing Champlain's upper end, but he's looking for largemouths in grass beds. He's using a homemade ChatterBait-type lure made from an accessorized Arkie Jig.

Although Ober and Wolak were the only two anglers to break 20 pounds, the next three pros - Sheron Brown, Anthony Gagliardi and Lancen Halbert - were knocking on the door with 19-13, 19-12 and 19-9, respectively.

Chris Kinney-Hermes leads the Co-angler Division with 18-15.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Dock Street Landing located at 5 Dock Street in Plattsburgh at 6:30 each Anglers line up for the day two boat check.morning. All weigh-ins will also be held at the marina. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will begin at 2:30 p.m., and Saturday's final weigh-in will begin at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to a Family Fun Zone at the marina prior to Saturday's weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. There will be a drawing for a $300 Cabela's gift card, and drawings for rod and reel combos will be held every 30 minutes during the event. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include a boat simulator and National Guard obstacle challenge. All activities are free and open to the public.

On Sunday, Aug. 29, the Plattsburgh Bass Club will host the Lake Champlain Open at Dock Street Landing in an event that will support the USO. The National Guard Family Fun Zone will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three based on the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:09 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 61 degrees
Expected high temperature: 71 degrees
Water temperature: 69
Wind: WSW at 10-12 mph
Max. humidity: 70 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy

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

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