UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Mitchell

Sun and fun

Sun and fun
EverStart finalists set out for a sunny day on the bountiful waters of the 1000 Islands.

CLAYTON, N.Y. - Two things are certain for the EverStart Series Northern Division finale at the 1000 Islands: 1) It will not rain today, and 2) competitors will need lots of sunscreen. Past that, the outcome is anyone's guess.

Statistically, a tournament's final day often finds one, maybe two anglers with a solid numerical advantage. Today, however, the victory is like an NBA rebound - it's up for grabs.

A quick look at the math shows a spread of only five pounds separating first-place pro Chris Johnston (40 pounds, 3 ounces) and tenth-place Eric Foltin (35-3). It'll take a serious twist of fate for a complete flip flop, but such a relatively tight range stands ripe for dramatic shifting.

That's particularly true at the upper end of the field, where Johnston sits less than three pounds ahead of Thomas Lavictoire Jr. and John McGoey who start today in fifth and sixth places with 37-9 eachPro leader Chris Johnston discusses the day (ties broken by first day scores). Drilling down even deeper, we find third-place pro Gregg Seal sitting just 13 ounces off the lead, while second-place Jeff Hippert - the day-one leader - trails by only 5 ounces.

On a fishery that has produced quality smallmouth and largemouth, the top-10 pro field includes anglers from Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont - all well-heeled in the ways of northern fisheries. And just to make things interesting, we'll throw in a seasoned tournament pro from Arkansas who's equally adept at rounding up brown or green fish.

What makes this all the more interesting is today's weather. Looking back, day one saw bright sunshine giving way to partly cloudy and increasingly windy conditions as a minor, albeit impactful front approached the 1000 Islands region. Day two was a wet, windy boat-beater, but today will see high, bright skies with lighter winds.

Lake Ontario will remain rough from residual wave action, but the sunlight will help. Cloudy skies dim the natural light and that puts fish in the roaming mood, whereas sunny days find them holding tighter to specific spots. The latter scenario makes it easier for anglers to target fish and potentially catch several from one location.

Hailing from Peterborough, Ont., Johnston will make a big run toward Kingston, Ont. and fish near Second-place pro Jeff Hippert will fish tubes shallow and dropshot a Jackall Cross Tail Shad on deeper spots.Wolf Island. Yesterday, the rough water damaged his trolling motor, so he fished with greatly diminished mobility. Today, he's fully operational and ready to give his spots a thorough workout.

"We're good to go, so no excuses today," Johnston said. "I'll be able to mark fish better and dropshot them today."

Johnston said he plans on hitting some of the same spots he tried to fish yesterday. He'll stick with a dropshot baited with a Slammer and adjust as needed.

"It's going to be pretty rough, so it'll take a little while to get (to my area), but I'm just going to do a little milk run and hopefully run into them," Johnston said. "If the fish get finicky, I'll change up colors and get a few more."

Hippert will return to the same shoals in 18-30 feet where he's fished for two days. The Hamburg, N.Y. pro will fish green pumpkin tubes in the shallower areas and dropshot Jackall Cross Tail shads outGluing eyes on a Poor Boys goby was the strategic idea of fourth-place pro Gregg Seal. deeper. After sacking up 24-8 on day one, Hippert saw his productivity diminish in yesterday's slop. Today's weather forecast has him in a highly optimistic mood.

"I'm stoked because the fish should bite better in this sunlight," he said. "Yesterday, they were scattered, but today, they should be holding tighter to the bottom."

Foregoing the lake's broader area, Seal will return to the St. Lawrence River, where he'll look for smallies along the channel edges. Yesterday, he fared well by rotating baits on his dropshot. He'll likely keep the same dynamics for today, but he'll give the Poor Boy goby a good workout. Seal modified this bait by gluing eyeballs to the bulbous head. Such tricks can push indecisive fish over the edge.

Remember the Arkansas pro? That's Kevin Short and he's hopeful that today's sunshine will trigger the shallow bite that eluded him yesterday. He managed one keeper on a Megabass 110 jerkbait in about five feet, but he thinks that meager depth range may see more activity today. If not, Short has also caught good fish on dropshots in 16-20 feet.

Logistics

Arkansas pro Kevn Short hopes to find a shallow bite with a jerkbait.The tournament is being hosted by French Creek Marina, located at 250 West Street in Clayton, N.Y. Saturday's final weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. at the Walmart located at 20823 NY State Route, Watertown, N.Y.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn., Oct. 27-30.Thomas Lavictoire Jr signals that he


Saturday's conditions:

Sunrise: 5:49 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 62 degrees
Expected high temperature: 82 degrees
Wind: NW 5-10 mph
Humidity: 70 percent
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2011-07-28-1000-islands 

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