UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Ti-me management

Ti-me management
Calm conditions greeted the FLW Tour anglers for day on on Lake Champlain.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - The sea sirens beckoning Odysseus sang never so sweetly as the alluring call of Lake Champlain's southern gem known as Ticonderoga. It's a long run from the northern takeoff site and the big gamble has dashed many dreams on the unforgiving rocks of time management. Nevertheless, conditions are prime for the FLW Tour Major event on this bountiful body.

Straddling the New York-Vermont border and tickling Quebec's lower edge, Champlain presents a unique northern fishery literally packed with smallmouth and largemouth bass. The latter is not uncommon in the upper U.S., but Champlain's green fish grow big and this time of year, tournaments can just as easily be won by either species. Largemouth exist throughout the lake, but the vast majority of big ones live down south in the fertile grass beds of Ticonderoga.

Given Champlain's relatively narrow figure, which slims significantly in its lower end, windy days bringAlabama pro Kyle Mabrey will commit his entire tournament to the Ticonderoga area. A topwater frog will be one of his main baits. big waves that rebound off high rocky banks for a brutal slop. Today's light winds will offer safe, comfortable rides and many will consider incorporating "Ti" into their game plans. For Alabama pro Kyle Mabrey, the decision was made prior to this day's dawning.

"I'm committed (to Ti) because the quality of fish I saw in practice is worth going," Mabrey said. "They healthy, they've recovered from their spawn and they seem to weigh good. The grass is looking good and I'm committed to the area no matter what it does. Shallow water grass fishing is what I like to do so as long as I can be doing that I feel like I have a chance."

Today's partly cloudy skies will see the fish out roaming more than they would during sunny conditions, so Mabrey plans to move around a lot and find fish with frogs, chatterbaits, swimbaits and spinnerbaits. He'll slow down and work active areas with flipping baits.

A swim jig will be an important bait for John Voyles of Indiana.Indiana pro John Voyles will be joining Mabrey down south. He spent two of his practice days in Ti and one produced the biggest 5-fish sack he's ever caught on Champlain. He also found a good smallmouth bite in the north end, but he's convinced that Ti is the place to be this time of year. He'll ply the grassy habitat with a swim jig, chatterbait and topwater plug.

For some, tournament parameters will influence their Ti decision. For example, North Carolina pro Dave Wolak, who won last year's FLW Tour Open event on Champlain, has an early check-in time, so he's fishing north today. He'll have a longer day tomorrow and he's already decided to point his nose south.

"I think the Ticonderoga factor is going to be the biggest factor," Wolak said. "The grass is right; the growth stage is right and the amount of grass is critical down there. When you get later in the summer and into the fall, there's so much grass down there and then some of it starts dying out and that dissipates the concentrations of fish. Right now, you have them concentrated."

National Guard pro and 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Martin scored FLW Tour wins on National Guard pro and two-time Champlain winner Scott Martin organizes his rods as his father, legendary bass angler Roland Martin looks on.Champlain in 2004 and 2009. Although Ticonderoga's weedy composition resembles that of his Clewiston, Florida home waters, he's taking a different strategy and splitting his focus between largemouth and smallmouth in the mid to upper lake.

"I'm going to start on the largemouth and hopefully I can stay on them and grind out a nice bag," Martin said. "If I need to catch smallmouth, I have a couple of areas close to where I'm fishing for largemouth that I might be able to catch a couple of 3 1/2- to 4-pounders. I might wish I would have went down south to Ticonderoga, but to be honest, I've caught so many fish over the years on the mid-lake to north end that I really just want to keep my confidence in that general area. It makes life a lot simpler, rather than trying to figure out which end I need to run to."

Martin's fellow National Guard team member Brent Ehler, who travelled cross country from his Redlands, Calif. home, will also mix it up with both bass. He'll throw dropshots, jerkbaits and Carolina rigs for smallies; and crank, frog and flip for largemouth. Also hailing from the Golden State, Cody Meyer, will focus his efforts on smallmouth in Champlain's northern end.

"I tried to fish for largemouth in practice but I didn't get them, so I'm going to fish for smallmouth and hopefully get some of the big ones on the light line," Meyer said. "Dropshots with a Jackall Crosstail California finesse expert Cody Meyer will focus on dropshotting for smallmouth.Shad will be my primary bait. I'll also throw some jerkbaits and if they come up behind it without biting, I'll throw the dropshot on them."

Wherever and however anglers fish, Champlain's abundance practically guarantees the opportunity to keep the rods bent. That may sound good, and in terms of general fishing fun, this lake can be a blast. But tournament success demands time management, so this field will forego the vacation moments and dial in their search for quality bass.

"I don't have a glory hole down (in Ti); I have a little milk run I'm going to hit and see if I can come up with some 4-plus-pound bites because that's the key to getting a good bag," Mabrey said. "I could go down there and catch 2 1/2- to 3-pounders all day and come in with 15 pounds just as easily as I could come in with 20.

"The deal is that you have to make a good decision every day, because I saw in practice that it has Anglers pause for the national anthem prior to the day-one takeoff.changed every day. There's a certain way they'll bite. That's the reason I practiced three days down there - to find the most productive water and then hopefully go in there on game day and make a good decision on how to get them to bite."

Martin echoes these thoughts: "Here's the thing about this lake: If it doesn't way 3 1/2 pounds, it doesn't count. No matter how fun this lake is, catching all these 2 1/2- to 3-pounders, those don't count for the tournament. They have to be 3 1/2 or better and that's what I'm going to fish for. I might not catch as many fish as I have in practice, but I'm looking for the big ones."

Tourney Format

During FLW Tour competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Anglers are permitted to weigh in their best five bass each day. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. The full field competes on days one and two. After Friday's day-two weigh-in, both the co-angler and pro fields will be cut to the top 20. On day three, the co-angler champion will be crowned based on the field's three-day accumulated weight. Also on Saturday, the pro field will be cut down to the top 10 pros. The remaining pro field will then compete during Sunday's final round of tournament action. The pro winner ultimately will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

The tournament will feature a full field featuring top awards of up to $125,000 in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 in the Co-angler Division.

FLW Tour competitors will also be vying for valuable standings points in an effort to qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. This year's Cup will be in Duluth/Gainesville, Ga., Aug. 9-12 on Lake Lanier and anglers could win as much as $500,000 - the sport's biggest award. Anglers are also vying for the prestigious 2012 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six FLW Tour Majors.

Tourney Expo and Logistics

North CarolinaAnglers will take off from Dock Street Landing located at 5 Dock St. in Plattsburgh, N.Y., at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Dock Street Landing beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the Plattsburgh State Field House located at 167 Rugar St. in Plattsburgh beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the Plattsburgh State Field House on Saturday and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Sunday the first 300 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a free rod and reel combo. Also on Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a Can-Am ATV. Both giveaways are courtesy of Fox 44, the Press Republican and WOKO. The ATV giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday's final weigh-in to win.

As part of the FLW Tour's community outreach initiative, FLW will be working in conjunction with the City of Plattsburgh and the Saranac River Trail to participate in a riverbank cleanup and education event at Waterhouse Park. The Saranac River Trail is a planned 17-mile greenway that provides opportunities for safe, non-motorized transportation and recreation through the city of Plattsburgh, excellent sites for appreciating nature, as well as access for fishing, kayaking and canoeing. FLW anglers will be on hand June 27 from 9-11 a.m. for the cleanup and education project.

Coverage of the Lake Champlain tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs Aug. 26 from 1 - 2 p.m. ET. "FLW" is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time to watch live streaming video and audio ofTournament competitors huddle in the Dock Street Landing marina prior to the first day today's opening-round weigh in.

Daily on-the-water coverage will also be available online at FLWOutdoors.com.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 5:11 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 60 degrees
Expected high temperature: 79 degrees
Water temperature: 66-68 degrees
Wind: NW 5-10 mph
Humidity: 50 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2012-06-28-lake-champlain 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

The weatherman did it again. About two weeks prior to today’s kickoff for the Toyota Series Western Division season at Lake Havasu, the forecast called for highs in the mid-80s and sunshine for three straight days during the tournament. Instead, practice was rainy, and the current forecast calls for precipitation for at least the first two days and highs that likely won’t top 70 degrees.  READ MORE »

Game Day on Okeechobee

Game Day on Okeechobee

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southern Division is hitting Lake Okeechobee later in the year than usual for FLW. Typically, big, multi-day FLW events on the Big O go down in January and February, but this one runs March 12-14 and should offer a different look at the familiar and ever-changing body of water. READ MORE »

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell kicks off the 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division season this week with a three-day, mid-week showdown of the area’s best bass anglers, hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina. Hartwell definitely has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags, but Mother Nature has decided to create some havoc with lake levels this winter, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how well the fishery shows out. READ MORE »

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Freezing temperatures greeted anglers for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga this morning. As usual on Lake Chickamauga this time of year, every angler is hoping for a 30-pound-plus bag of bass during the Feb. 27-29 tournament. READ MORE »

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

Championship week for any sport is as exciting as it gets and it’s no different for the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance this week on the Harris Chain. Competing for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard, 162 college bass fishing clubs will have free range of the chain to vie for the title. READ MORE »

Warmer Weather Good Sign at St. Johns

Warmer Weather Good Sign at St. Johns

The cold front that moved through northeast Florida last week shut down the fishing on the St. Johns River in a big way, just as bass were starting to move up to the banks to begin spawning. With the weather that came through, many of those fish pulled back off the bank to wait for more stable conditions. Fortunately, stability arrived this week in the form of warmer weather, but it remains to be seen if those three or four days of warm, stable conditions are going to be enough to get fish back up on beds. For now, it’s safe to assume anglers are going to have to be adaptable over the next few days in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. READ MORE »

Feast or Famine at Toledo Bend

Feast or Famine at Toledo Bend

It’s been nearly six years since the Toyota Series has been to Toledo Bend, but this week the Sabine River impoundment takes center stage to kick off the Southwestern Division season. READ MORE »

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 »