UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

1000 Islands Top 10 Patterns

1000 Islands Top 10 Patterns

The final stop in the Northern Division Costa FLW Series wrapped up at smallmouth heaven, also known as the 1000 Islands, which kicked out some impressive bags of fish. The event, presented by Navionics, is usually dominated by Lake Ontario, and while the lake did well again, the St. Lawrence River held its own this time around.

With the final day limited to only the river thanks to high winds, Kyle Hall stuck with his game plan to lock up his first FLW title. The majority of the top 10, however, fished the lake the first two days and were stuck trying to piece together a new plan in the final round.

Here’s a breakdown of how the rest of the top 10 targeted big smallmouths on an even bigger fishery.

Kyle Hall’s winning pattern

Top 10 baits from the 1000 Islands

Complete results 

 

2. Jocumsen stuck to the river

Posting the most consistent weights of the tournament exclusively from the St. Lawrence River, Carl Jocumsen brought in the biggest bag on the final day worth 19 pounds to earn his first top 10 with FLW and push his overall weight to 65-9.

Having spent some time on the fishery over the last few years, Jocumsen figured the river was the best place for consistency and knew he’d be guaranteed to fish it for three days, despite the weather.

“I stayed in the river all week and got dialed in to how the bigger fish were setting up,” says the FLW Tour pro. “The bigger fish wanted to be on the front side of the reefs that topped out at 10 to 15 feet. Everyone was trying to fish the backside where the current would make an eddy, but the big ones wanted to be right in it.

“When I figured it out, I would just Spot-Lock on the front side of the reef and cast upstream. I’d just keep tension on my bait as it drifted up the front of the reef. The bites were pretty subtle, I’d just lose the weight of my bait and when I’d set the hook, I’d have one every time.”

One of his better spots was downstream of Mallorytown, Ontario, and was a saddle between two reefs with sand and light rock. He and his co-angler on day two caught fish on 40 different drifts over the spot and Jocumsen calls it his best day of smallmouth fishing ever.

To catch big brown ones, Jocumsen used a drop-shot with a Molix Virago (perch color) and a 3/8-ounce weight on a Millerrods FlickFreak spinning rod with a 2500 Shimano Stella. He also caught a few on a Ned rig with a Millerrods FinesseFreak spinning rod.

“The wind [on the final day] made it tough to hold the boat in the right position since it was blowing against the current,” Jocumsen adds. “I’m sure a 4-pounder had my bait a few times today, but since the bites were so light I just couldn’t feel it.”

 

3. Johnston notches another top 10

Chris Johnston isn’t shy about saying how much he loves the 1000 Islands — and for good reason. He locked up yet another top 10 from the smallmouth factory, and likely had a good chance of winning had the lake not been made off-limits.

Sacking 25-12 and 23-14 over the first two days from the lake, the strong wind in the river on the final day made things tough and he caught just 14-12 – despite having actually put his time in on the river during practice, which he never does.

“The wind just makes it tough, especially when it blows against the current,” says Johnston. “I even practiced a few days in the river just in case we had a day where we couldn’t go to the lake. It’s getting old not being able to capitalize and win one of these.”

A drop-shot with either a Jackall Crosstail Shad or I-Shad did the trick for the Canadian pro. He focused on deep points, rock piles and humps in anywhere from 20 to 45 feet of water.

While catching fish is the name of the game, Johnston can’t help but stress the importance of fish care when pulling fish from those depths.

“Taking care of the fishery not only helps make it better for years to come, but taking care of your fish can help make you more money because you don’t lose ounces,” Johnston says. “For example, I caught a 3-pounder on day two in the first five minutes of fishing. I threw it in the box so I could get back down on the school and when I checked it an hour later its eyes were glazed over and it didn’t look good. I fizzed the fish and an hour later it had color back and was normal.

“I use G-Juice and put eight to 10 bags of ice in my livewell and run it on recirculate all day. If you do that and know how to fizz fish, there’s no way you should lose a fish.”

 

4. Slegona put faith in the river

Making his second top 10 appearance in a Costa FLW Series event at the 1000 Islands, AJ Slegona didn’t get distracted by the big-bag potential of Lake Ontario.

Sticking to the river, he put up back-to-back 23-pound limits over the first two days.

“I always like to fish the river when I come up here,” says Slegona. “I just see the potential in the river. It’s just a matter of putting five big bites together. Things are just more stable in the river, I think. I caught a 6-pounder each of the first two days. I just couldn’t do it [on Saturday].”

Slegona had four or five different shoals he rotated through, catching fish anywhere from 18 to 45 feet of water.

He kept a 7-foot, 3-inch  medium action Fitzgerald All Purpose spinning rod with an Ardent Bolt reel spooled up with 10-pound Vicious No-Fade Braid and an 8-pound Vicious Pro Elite Fluorocarbon leader in his hand all week. On the business side was a YUM Warning Shot on a drop-shot with a 1/2-ounce Woo! Tungsten weight. He also caught some on a YUM Tube.  

“The biggest thing to catching them on the river is timing the right rotation,” he adds. “There are certain times that the fish on a certain spot would bite. Keeping that in mind and running it once you figure it out makes a difference.”

 

5. Richardson rallies on day two

Like Johnston, Curtis Richardson has no lack of experience on Lake Ontario, and he utilized that to the fullest to land in the top 10. He had a “rough” start on day one with a 19-14 limit, but he dialed it on day two and sacked 25-10 to earn him a spot on the final day. Having not put much time in on the river, Richardson settled for a 15-pound limit and an overall weight of 60-15.

“I fished a lot of the same stuff I caught my 74 pounds on a few weeks ago [in the Thousand Islands Open],” says Richardson. “I was only getting six or seven bites in the lake, but they were the right ones.”

He was dropping a homemade bait he designed himself (on a drop-shot) on fish in 30 to 40 feet of water with a ½-ounce weight.

“I love fishing the 1000 Islands. Every year you see the weights keep going up. I always look forward to going fishing out here.”

 

6. Becker falls short of a title defense

Last year’s 1000 Islands champion, Matt Becker, made a strong case for a repeat performance after sacking up 26-2 on Friday – which included a whale of a smallmouth weighing 6-11. He was prepared to fish the river, but could only muster 13-4 on the final day to finish with 60-12.

Becker put the majority of his efforts into finding fish out in the lake and it worked the first two days. He even found some fish in the river just in case. Like the rest, size wasn’t the issue, but getting multiple bites throughout the day was.

“I was dropping on them when I saw them on my graph,” says the 2018 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year. “It was almost like hunting. I’d drive around on the trolling motor until I marked one and then Spot-Lock on them. I’d keep dropping on the fish until they’d bite. Sometimes I’d have to make 20 drops. It was very painful.”

A drop-shot was Becker’s main deal. The setup consisted of a 7-foot, 6-inch medium-action Denali Kovert Lite spinning rod with 20-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid and a 6-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon leader. He used a 3-inch Keitech Shad Impact with either a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce weight. One thing he does differently is add some scent to his Keitech.

“I love to add a few drops of Lip Glu garlic scent to the bag,” Becker says. “I really think it makes a big difference.”

 

7. Hunter lives off the lake

John Hunter came out of the gate hot with a 24-6 limit and managed another 20-pound bag on day two. That was good enough to put him in the top 10, and he scrambled around in the river on day three to settle in seventh.

“I was fishing a saddle out in the lake where it was about eight feet on the sides and 22 feet deep in the middle,” Hunter says. “I had four days of practice, and I spent three-and-a-half on the lake. From the long-range forecast I saw at the time it looked like we’d be able to fish the lake every day, so that’s what I planned on.”

Hunter caught his fish with a drop-shot when he’d mark them in the middle of the saddle on a Poor Boy’s Erie Darter with a 1/2-ounce JaKKed Baits tungsten weight. When he’d slide up shallow, a 6th Sense Provoke 106X jerkbait thrown on his signature Cashion CRT John Hunter baitcasting rod plucked some key fish.

 

8. Felix locks up Angler of the Year

Austin Felix had a narrow lead for Strike King Angler of the Year coming into the 1000 Islands, and after making his third top 10 in a row, he walked away with the title.

Felix is a master with his electronics and loves catching smallmouths, so it’s no surprise he did well in every Northern Division event.

“The schedule this year was awesome,” Felix says of the smallmouth venues. “I’d never been to the 1000 Islands and it fit in well with how I like to fish. It wasn’t as easy as I’d thought it’d be, but I put my time in and found enough.”

Lake Ontario was the place to be, and he was making one of the longer runs of the entire field. Fishing out near Duck Island, Felix found small rock piles that held fish in 40-plus feet of water.

A Ned rig with a Z-Man Big T.R.D and 3/8-ounce Treeshaker Tackle prototype head and a drop-shot with a 2.8 or 3.3 Keitech Swing Impact FAT (goby color) were the keys to his success.

Felix threw down 22-5 and 25-4 on the first two days from the lake and was in contention to win heading into the final day. With the lake off-limits on Saturday, his chances to go for gold went downhill quickly.

“I really felt like my shot to win went out the window when we were confined to the river,” Felix says. “But I put my time in where I thought I could catch them.”

 

9. Spellicy ran river pattern

Jesse Spellicy has spent plenty of hours on the 1000 Islands, and with limited practice he made the most of his previous experience to earn his first top 10.

Despite his local knowledge on the river and just two days of practice, Spellicy actually stumbled on a pattern he’s never fished before.

“I knew with two days of practice that I had to make the most of my time,” Spellicy says. “I knew the river wouldn’t be off-limits so that’s why I spent my time there.”

He wouldn’t go into much detail about his pattern, but Spellicy noted he was running deep shoals and could replicate it across the river. It not only produced some big bites, but numbers as well.

“I was catching 30 to 40 fish a day,” he adds. “[On the final day] I just couldn’t fish any of my stuff with the wind. It was hard to hold on the spots.”

His setup wasn’t much different than the rest (since a drop-shot was the mainstay). A Gajo Baits Spirit Shad rigged on straight 7-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon caught all of his fish.

 

10. Ford looked shallow and deep

Joe Ford was one of the only pros catching fish from 30 feet to 3 feet and it worked enough to carry him into his first top 10.

“I’d fish deep in the morning out in the lake,” says Ford. “I was fishing sandy points with little bits of rock on it. From there I’d go up shallow once the sun had been out for a bit. Hard bottom was key for both patterns.”

Ford kept it simple from a bait standpoint. A Set The Hook Baits 2.5-inch tube (goby in heat) and a drop-shot with a Set The Hook Drifter (smoken Joe) stayed on the deck each day. Both were rigged on either a 1/2- or 1/4-ounce weight, depending on the depth he fished.

“I just tried to keep it simple this week. Being around the bait is key. If you’re around the gobies, then you’re around the smallmouths.”

 

Tags: kyle-wood  post-tournament  2018-09-06-1000-islands 

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Being a rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit can be daunting no matter what age you are. This year, there are 28 newcomers eager to prove themselves against some of the best in the game. And while the bulk of them have been chasing the dream for a while, 22-year-old Laramy Strickland of Bushnell, Fla., will be one of the younger pros looking to make a name in the industry. READ MORE »

2020 Cherokee Lake Preview

2020 Cherokee Lake Preview

Built in the 1940s by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Cherokee Lake is nestled in the hills of east Tennessee. The Holston River impoundment lies roughly between Norris Lake to the northwest and Douglas Lake to the southeast. The clear waters of Cherokee can fluctuate about 30 feet between winter pool and spring flooding, which sounds like a lot, but isn’t out of the ordinary for the average east Tennessee reservoir. So, depending on the water level, Cherokee has about 400 miles of shoreline and 28,780 surface acres. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Martin Preview

2020 Lake Martin Preview

Lake Martin was created back in 1926 when the Martin Dam was completed on the Tallapoosa River. At the time, the 44,000-acre reservoir was the largest man-made body of water in the world, though it obviously no longer holds that distinction. READ MORE »

2020 Sam Rayburn Preview

2020 Sam Rayburn Preview

Sam Rayburn has a reputation as a phenomenal bass fishery and a giant in the tournament world. At more than 114,000 acres, it’s the largest reservoir contained entirely within the borders of the Lone Star State. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

Running Ditches for Winter Bass

Running Ditches for Winter Bass

There are a lot of excuses to not go fishing this time of year. Though, if you like catching bass and avoiding the crowds, you should definitely consider keeping the boat hooked up to your truck instead of the 4-wheeler. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Tom Monsoor

Check-in Time: Tom Monsoor

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Wisconsin pro Tom Monsoor.  READ MORE »

Nixon Ready for Fresh Start

Nixon Ready for Fresh Start

Except 2020 will be different for the General. He’ll miss the season opener on Sam Rayburn and stop No. 2 at the Harris Chain. In fact, he might not get to launch a boat for the 2020 Pro Circuit until stop No. 4 or 5 in April. READ MORE »

Review: VMC Tokyo Rig

Review: VMC Tokyo Rig

When the VMC Tokyo Rig first debuted at ICAST in 2018, a lot of folks didn’t know what to make of the weird-looking contraption. Some thought of it as a gimmick. I kind of felt that way at first until some industry friends told me about their success with it. It didn’t take long before I had a few in hand and was ready to take it for a spin. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Kurt Mitchell

Check-in Time: Kurt Mitchell

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Delaware pro Kurt Mitchell.  READ MORE »

Wall Back to Building Baits

Wall Back to Building Baits

The offseason for many professional anglers is a time to hang out with family and take a step away from a bass boat, while some even swap time on the water for time in a deer stand or duck blind. Not so for Jacob Wall, who just wrapped his first year as a professional angler. READ MORE »

How the Pros Spend Thanksgiving

How the Pros Spend Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends – especially those we might not get to see that often. And, of course, it’s time to indulge in some delicious food while giving thanks for what we have in our lives. For professional anglers, the holiday is even more special because it lands during that small portion of the year when they’re not on the road and can spend a little extra time relaxing at home. READ MORE »

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Growing up on Lake Okeechobee, Jared McMillan loves to flip for big fish when the opportunity presents itself, but he’ll be the first to tell you that mid-November can be one of the best times to be on the water. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Bradford Beavers

Check-in Time: Bradford Beavers

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with South Carolina pro Bradford Beavers.  READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Jeremy Lawyer

Check-in Time: Jeremy Lawyer

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Missouri pro Jeremy Lawyer.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Roger Fitzpatrick has had quite a fall fishing season. He won the BFL Super Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in September, then qualified for the All-American by winning the BFL Regional on Grand Lake in October. READ MORE »

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

It’s not often an angler wins a Strike King Angler of the Year title in a Costa FLW Series division by chance, and while skill is what carried Jake Morris to his first Costa AOY title, chance definitely brought him to the opportunity. READ MORE »