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

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Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

If you ask any of the local aces that finished in the top 10 they’d say the bite was “off” for the second event of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury.  For a fishery such as this one, off is still pretty dang solid as winner Scott Dobson showed as he weighed three bags over 21 pounds for a total weight of 68-8 to take the W by more than 7 pounds.

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth.

Dobson’s winning pattern

Top 10 baits

Complete results

 

Chris Johnston

2. Johnston keeps hot hand for second

After locking up Rookie of the Year just weeks ago on the Walmart FLW Tour, Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, kept the momentum rolling adding yet another top 10 to his resume.

Johnston was one of the most consistent anglers in the event catching 20-13, 20-7 and 20 even for a total weight of 61-4.

“Anytime you catch 20 pounds a day it’s a good week, especially considering the conditions,” says Johnston. “But I know what kind of fish are out there and the potential and it wasn’t that good. I didn’t even catch a 5-pounder all week. Usually out here you can get one close to 6.”

Obviously, Johnston holds himself to higher standards, but he makes a good point. Usually 20 pounds a day will get you in the top 10, but not a second-place finish. Regardless, he still earned over $14,000 for his efforts.

Johnston covered a bunch of water each day and targeted smallmouths from deep to shallow. He says the fish he weighed were about 50/50 in terms of deep and shallow.

A Jackall Crosstail Shad was his primary bait rigged on a drop-shot. He varied his weights depending on the conditions – like depth, wind and current.

 

3. Climpson slips to third in first event

Making his first FLW appearance was Cal Climpson of Sharon, Ontario, who caught 23-1 on day one and followed it up with 18-11 in the river on day two, which kept him in second. The high winds on day two caused his fish to relocate on the final day and he dropped to third with a total weight of 58-8. Not too shabby for a rookie.

“I was trying to fish Lake Ontario all week focusing on transitions, rock piles and isolated rock in 16 to 20 feet of water,” says Climpson. “I did try to check some shallow stuff on day one but the wind made it tough to fish.”

Climpson’s primary area was two small humps on Amherst Island that held big schools of big bronzebacks. He scrambled on day two and sacked most of his weight off of a drop in the river channel.  On the final day after running roughly 50 miles to his starting spot he realized day two’s strong wind had covered his area in moss and the schools had scattered.

“I fished a few places early [Saturday] that I had fished during the tournament,” Climpson explains. “When I saw all that moss I knew I had to start running spots on my was back towards the river. I basically did a milk run of everything I know.”

The Canadian rookie leaned on a drop-shot with a Jackall Crosstail Shad using weights from 3/16- to 1/2-ounce.

 

4. Elder Johnston mixes largemouths and smallmouths

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, loves fishing the 1000 Islands and proved it this week with his fourth top 10 in FLW competition on these waters.

His main goal was to fish Lake Ontario and he did that on day one to the tune of 19-12. Due to the conditions on day two he did have to catch some largemouths and boated five green ones worth 18-1. Calm conditions on the final day let him run wild on the lake and he corralled 20-9 to keep him in fourth place with 58-6 total.

“I was fishing deep; anywhere from 20 to 42 feet,” says Johnston. “I had probably 12 spots I was trying to hit. I ran a long way and burned almost a full tank of gas. A lot of guys were making similar runs and having to gas up, but that Evinrude G2 is so efficient I didn’t have to worry about it.”

On the lake he was stopping on breaks, rock piles and isolated rocks. He didn’t have any big schools he could load the boat with, instead, it was more hunting individual fish. He averaged catching around 10 fish a day.

Like his brother, Cory also kept a drop-shot with a Jackall Crosstail Shad in hand. He favored either a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce weight for most situations.

 

5. Izumi up one spot for fifth

The 1000 Islands champ in 20ll, Bob Izumi of Milton, Ontario, did what he does best to climb the leaderboard all week to catch 54 pounds, 11 ounces worth of bass to take the fifth spot.

Izumi is known for his experience on Lake Ontario, but like Cory Johnston had to switch gears completely to punch mats in the river for largemouths on day two and weighed 17-13.

When he could make it out to the lake he caught 19-8 on day one and 17-6 in the final round.

“I think I won practice,” Izumi says jokingly. “Everyone was saying how tough it was, and I agree it is a little off but I was still catching 20 to 21 pounds in practice. It wasn’t until the tournament started that I found out how tough it was.”

The final day saw sunny, calm conditions and that usually means the deep bite can get a little slow.

“My deep fish just didn’t go [Saturday],” Izumi says. “I caught everything I did up shallow. Slick days like that they just don’t bite as well out deep.”

Izumi employed a drop-shot with a 1/4-ounce weight for fish he could see up shallow and a 1/2-ounce weight for deep water. He favored a Gulp! Fry Worm or regular Minnow on the drop-shot. Izumi also kept a 2 1/2-inch Berkely PowerBait Power Tube tied on with a 1/2-ounce tube jig to throw at fish he saw cruising.

 

6. Carnahan stuck to river for sixth

Dennis Carnahan of Cazenovia, N.Y., started the week out with a 17-pound, 9-ounce limit of smallmouths. He then brought in another 17-4 on day two and saved the best for last with 18-6 to move him up to fourth for his first top 10 as a pro with 53-3 overall.

“I fished the river exclusively this week,” says Carnahan. “I was targeting 30-foot flats in the main river. I had probably half a dozen spots I was fishing and I wasn’t getting a lot of bites.”

His fish were suspended off the bottom, so he would make drifts over the flats hopping a tube with a 1/2-ounce head to entice a bite.

“I’m shocked to be in the top 10,” Carnahan says. “I stuck to my game plan and it worked. At the end of the day I never second guessed myself.”

 

Andrew Slegona

7. Slegona falls to seventh

Andrew Slegona of Walker Valley, N.Y., had a solid first two days with limits of 18-1 and 19-8. In the end his patterned dwindled and he caught 11-1 on the final day to give him a three-day total of 48-12.

“I had one area that was a swing in the river with a grass flat nearby that had a sandy patch in it,” says Slegona. “It was about 50 yards around and the fish would come up out of deep water in the morning to feed on it.

“It was slick calm [Saturday] in the morning and they just didn’t come up to feed. That was my time to capitalize on them.”

Slegona is usually a largemouth guy and figured he would mix it up and try for smallies in this event. While the sand patch produced good smallmouth for him, Slegona hoped that his largemouth area would pump out a kicker or two, but the punching pattern never produced.

A Carolina rig was his main deal over the last two days and a YUM Mighty Craw was the ticket. He also threw a YUM Kill Shot on a drop-shot and a YUM Bad Mamma with a 1 1/4-ounce weight for punching. According to Slegona, rotating baits on his main spot was key to give the smallmouths a different look.

 

8. Vanore relies on largemouths for eighth

John Vanore of Mullica Hill, N.J., saw limits of 15-2, 19-8 and 10-12 to give him a final tally worth 45-6 and a solid payday all from St. Lawrence River bucketheads.

“I was strictly targeting largemouths in the river,” says Vanore. “I caught most of them off points and docks.

“I caught 30 or 40 fish a day in practice. I’d hit a spot, catch one and leave. Throughout the tournament I caught 15 to 25 fish per day, but today was slower.”

Vanore focused on a five-mile stretch of river where he’d run anywhere from 35-50 spots a day. A 1/2-ounce Keitech Tungsten Casting Jig (green pumpkin blue) with a Zoom Super Chunk was the perfect candy for hungry largemouth.

 

9. Richardson sampled it all for ninth

Making the drive up from Kernersville, N.C., was Joel Richardson who did a little bit of everything this week for his top-10 finish.

On day one he figured it was too rough to run out to the lake so he stuck to the river and caught both largemouth and smallmouth for 16-8. When confined to solely the river on day two he went all green and upgraded his limit to 17-15. The final day gave him the conditions he wanted to run to Chaumont Bay in Lake Ontario where he caught just three fish for 7-13.

“I was trying to catch up on the final day,” says Richardson of his decision to run after smallmouths. “I could have went and caught a limit of largemouths but that wouldn’t have helped me. I could see the smallmouth in Chaumont Bay, but they wouldn’t bite.”

Richardson almost didn’t make the hour-plus run back due to mechanical issues, but some quick thinking got him back in on time.

“I actually took my carburetor off of my engine and fixed it myself,” Richardson says. “Because of that I was able to make the long run back to the dock.”

Richardson used a 3/8-ounce vibrating jig to do most of his work, but a spider jig and Lucky Craft Pointer 78 were also valuable tools.

 

10. Farlow rides big day two to tenth

Neil Farlow of Niagara Falls, Ontario, caught just 13 pounds on day one leaving him in 51st. On day two he just went fishing and catapulted in the top 10 with a monster 21-2 limit. He caught just four bass for 5-7 on the final day earning a three-day total of 39-9 and solid paycheck.

“My main plan was to go to Lake Ontario and fish deep and shallow,” says Farlow. “With the wind on the first day I couldn’t go shallow and there wasn’t much happening out deep. It was tough on day one.

“On day two I just went fun fishing in the river and it worked out. I caught four largemouth and a smallmouth. I just went to stuff I had fished in the past.”

Farlow stuck with a 1/2-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait (chartreuse color) for the majority of his weight.

“I went back to the lake [Saturday] but the fish still were not set up like the way I want. There were fish around, but it just wasn’t right. I should have just stayed in the river.”

Tags: 1000-islands  kyle-wood  post-tournament  2016-07-21-1000-islands 

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