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Top 5 Patterns from the 1000 Islands - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the 1000 Islands - Day 2

Kyle Hall made the long drive up from Texas over a month ago and hasn’t been home since. He’s called the 1000 Islands area home for the last three weeks and it’s showing in the final Costa FLW Series Northern Division event of the season, presented by Navionics. Hall has wrangled 50 pounds, 1 ounce worth of smallmouths over two day, but the rest of the top 10 isn’t far off that mark.

Lake Ontario has pumped out some mega bags this week, but a forecast calling for high winds and big waves on the final day forced tournament officials to make the lake off-limits. Anglers will be able to fish the St. Lawrence River – which is more than enough water to work with – however, they won’t be allowed west of the ferry lines on the U.S. and Canadian sides of the river.

The large majority of the top 10 have been utilizing the lake – and especially within the top five – so the final day could be anyone’s game. Below is a look at how the rest of the top five have done their damage.

Hall's leading pattern 

Complete results 

 

2. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 49-10

Sitting just 7 ounces off the lead is 1000 Islands powerhouse Chris Johnston. Johnston caught 25-12 on day one and 23-14 today to put him in contention for the win.

This event will mark his sixth Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands and it’ll be his fifth top 10. While he’s seen success in big Canadian events on the fishery, this tournament has seemed to escape him.

“I’ve probably had four times when I was in contention to win the Costa and I’ve blown it every time,” jokes Johnston. “Hopefully I’ve got it all out of my system and I can finally seal the deal.”

With years of experience on Lake Ontario, Johnston has been hitting select areas out in the lake. Though he’s well within striking distance of the win, it hasn’t been easy fishing.

“I didn’t get near as many bites today as I did on day one,” says Johnston. “The pressure this week, and really all season on the lake has the fish kind of smart. Normally when you mark you can drop on it and catch it, but this week even for fish in 30 feet or deeper it’s like they know you’re on top of them and they won’t bite.”

Just because he’s been fishing way out in the lake– traditionally where he and brother, Cory, like to work – doesn’t mean he’s out of it for tomorrow.

“I don’t normally practice in the river, but with how many days have been canceled in tournaments this season I spent a few days in the river just in case,” Johnston says. “I found some decent fish and I would have ran to them today if they weren’t the complete opposite direction I ran this morning. Who knows if anyone has bothered them at all this week, but we’ll find out tomorrow.”

 

3. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 47-9

Minnesota’s Austin Felix has created quite the reputation for catching smallmouths wherever they roam and he’s proving that this week. With 22-5 and 25-4 over the last two days, he not only has a chance to win the tournament, but also locked up the Angler of the Year title in the Northern Division.

Felix is a guru with his Lowrance electronics and put in countless hours idling in the lake and river to find groups of smallmouths. His search took him out to Duck Island where he found some smallmouths that seems less pressured than others.

“I’ve never been to the 1000 Islands before,” Felix says. “I knew I had to try and find some fish that were less pressured and that was really hard to do. That’s how I stumbled on the fish I found, by idling out deeper until I could drop on them and get bit quick.”

The difference in weight from day one and two can be linked to the calmer conditions on the lake today.

“Today I could actually use my trolling motor to move with the fish as they moved,” Felix adds. “Yesterday I had to use my big motor to find them and when I did I dropped and prayed. I only caught seven keepers out there before I came back into the river.

“I did catch two 4-pounders that didn’t help me when I got to the river and I practiced in there some, so I’ll have some stuff to fish tomorrow.”

All of his fish have come on a drop-shot paired with either a 2.8- or 3.3-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT.

 

4. Matt Becker – Finleyville, Pa. – 47-8

Becker is the defending 1000 Islands champion and after plucking 21-6 on day one and 26-2 (the biggest bag of the day) today he’s in the hunt for a repeat.

“I went to the same two spots both days out in the lake,” Becker says. “I started on a place I found earlier in the week with a giant school on it, but they left and I’ve been checking it to see if they’d show back up. I caught a 5-pounder off it in the first 15 minutes and thought it was on.

“I didn’t get any more bites, so I moved over to my other spot and caught my fish from there. Eight of my ten bass have come from there.”

Becker also notes that the fishing this week is off based on how the fish are acting.

“Usually when you see one on your graph, you can catch it,” he adds. “You can literally hit them on the head this week and they won’t eat it. It’s frustrating. The biggest difference for me today was having the sun. It helps a lot. It also helps to have a 6-11, which is hard to replicate.”

Not being able to run back to the juice tomorrow may not be in Becker’s favor, but he’s ready for the challenge.

When asked how he felt about the final day, Becker simply chuckled and laid out the facts; “I was 4 ½ pounds back last year, and this year I’m only 2 ½, so we’ll see.”

 

5. Carl Jocumsen – Queensland, Australia – 46-9

Of the top five anglers, Jocumsen is the only pro to camp in the river both days. That strategy has provided him with consistent catches of 23-9 and 23 even to go with with some of the best smallmouth fishing Jocumsen has experienced.  

 “Today was probably the best day of smallmouth fishing I have ever had in my life,” exclaims Jocumsen. “Well, both days really have been, but the numbers today were insane.

“I hit 10 different areas on day one and it took me just about all day to catch my weight. The wind made it tough to drift and makes the fish harder to catch. I finished the day on a spot and caught a 5 ½ and a 4 and had to leave. So, I started there today and never left until 1:30. I made probably 40 drifts down it and we’d catch two or three each time. It was amazing.”

After putting on a smallmouth clinic, Jocumsen ran a few other areas with no luck. With only a few minutes left to fish before running back to weigh in, he stopped back on the magical spot.

“When I pulled back up there I caught a 5 1/2-pounder and had to leave, but I should have never left in the first place,” he says.

Since Texas weather isn’t the most enjoyable thing in the summer, Jocumsen has been a resident of the North for most of the summer. After moving from Australia eight years ago, Jocumsen has been putting in countless hours all around the country to make up for lost time. This week it seems like he finally dialed in the smallmouths.

“Since I have a Lance camper on my truck I can stay almost anywhere and I’ve been up here for about 2 ½ weeks,” Jocumsen says. “I really wanted to learn the area because I have fished here before, but would catch 18 pounds in the lake while other guys were weighing 25 pounds. It was frustrating to not catch them, but the past few weeks have taught me a lot. I’ve caught thousands of smallmouths this summer all around the North and I just feel like I’m in tune with them now.”

According to Jocumsen, on Sunday the algae got bad on the lake and it made fishing tough. A few solid bites in the river on the final day of practice told him everything he needed to know.

“I just thought the lake would be a hero or zero thing,” says Jocumsen. “But in the river I thought 21 or 22 pounds was very doable with the chance at a big bag.”

Jocumsen notes that the bait and correct drift are two huge pieces of the puzzle this week. Knowing exactly what the already finicky smallies want have put the odds in his favor.

“This is my fifth check in a row in tournaments and I’ve never done that,” Jocumsen explains. “When that happens something is going right, things are starting to click.”

 

Tags: kyle-wood  headline-story  2018-09-06-1000-islands 

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