UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. While the most recent FLW history on Champlain has mostly been in June, this tournament runs July 18-20. It’ll be a much different event considering the highs have been in the 90s more than a few times leading up to it. Suffice to say, spawning smallies won’t be a factor.

 

Lake Champlain

The lay of the lake

At more than 100 miles long, Champlain offers plenty of options, and it’s not hard to find something in your comfort zone no matter what you like to do. Plattsburgh, where the tournament takes off, is a great place to be for access to the plentiful smallmouths in the more open areas of the north end, and it provides equally convenient access to the largemouths in the bays. The only issue is getting to the largemouths down south near Ticonderoga (Ti), which involves a 60-mile run over a lake than can get extremely rough at times. Dirtier and grassier, Ti has a well-earned reputation as a great place to go to win or make money, but it hasn’t been as good in recent years. Of course, that turned right around in last month’s FLW Tour event on Champlain, when Casey Scanlon won at Ti and seven of the top 10 pros ran south every day.

Though the weather has been hot for a good bit now, summer has only recently arrived at Champlain. The high water of the spring is fading, but the delayed spawn and grass growth that resulted from it has definitely had some carryover effects. So, while the spawn is over throughout the lake, true summer patterns have yet to really develop. The offshore grass is healthy, but not as topped out as it usually would be in July.

 

Ryan Latinville

A local perspective

Hailing from Plattsburgh, N.Y., Ryan Latinville has finished in the top 10 in the last two Costa FLW Series events on Champlain and is coming off back-to-back Angler of the Year titles in the Champlain Bass Series.

Heading into any tournament on Champlain, one of the main questions is if Ti is going to play.

“I don’t fish down there a whole lot, but when I do I usually find them,” says Latinville. “I put an entire day down there last week and only caught four fish. I know they’re packed tightly down there from what most of the people are saying, so I probably just didn’t hit them.

“I didn’t like what I was seeing, but the grass actually looked really good,” adds the New York angler. “It was just missing fish. It’s probably that the stuff I was looking at was right for a normal year, but the fish haven’t got out to it yet.”

When pressed for a prediction on how the top 10 might shake out, Latinville thinks that three or four will come from Ti, with the rest coming up north. That’s not the same level of domination of some years past or the Tour event, but certainly nothing to count out.

Overall, Latinville thinks that the fish just aren’t very concentrated throughout the lake. That won’t make things easy in practice, but it should provide a lot of variety. 

“The problem is the smallmouth spawned so late that they haven’t grouped up how they should be,” he says. “Major areas of the lake are not producing groups of fish. The areas around Rouses Point and Point au Roche don’t have groups. You don’t get them deep this time of year, but it’s been very random.

“I think that the largemouths up north are pushed back, too, and during the Tour event there wasn’t grass in places where they should have been,” says Latinville. “I think a mixed bag will be the deal on the north end, but someone will find a school of smallmouth to ride, too. But I almost guarantee a lot more mixed bags than you saw in the Tour event.”

 

Possible tactics

Because smallmouths and largemouths will both hit the scale this week, the patterns in play will be pretty varied. On the smallie side of things, finesse baits such as a drop-shot, a Ned rig and a spy bait will do work. Moving options such as a swimbait or a topwater are sure to put fish in the boat as well. If anglers do find good groups of fish offshore, expect to see a Carolina rig or two put in an appearance.

For largemouths, a lot of the damage is going to get done around grass or docks. For that, the ticket will be either some kind of plastic or jig skipped or flipped around it. A vibrating jig or crankbait will catch fish around sparser grass or rocks, and a frog will get the call for the cheese.

 

Bryan Schmitt

Recent results

Of course, speculation and years past isn’t all we have to go off. The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Northeast Division had an event Saturday on Champlain, and FLW Tour pro Bryan Schmitt won it with 19-10.

Fishing on about a half day of practice, Schmitt stuck to the north end of the lake and weighed three largemouths and two smallmouths.

“I just ran and checked a lot of stuff I fished in the Tour, and a lot of it had got better,” says Schmitt. “I ran some topwater on points early for smallmouth, and I got one real good one doing that, and then I was just running. They’re heavy on bluegills now, and I was fishing real shallow, inside grass, docks, that kind of thing. Then I caught another smallmouth on a Neko rig, just kinda aimlessly fishing some sparse weeds. I consider it a pretty lucky bite to be honest.”

 

What will it take?

Chris Adams, a Vermont local, figures that it will take 58 pounds or better over three days to get the win. Latinville is a little less optimistic, but still really close.

“Two years ago Ron Nelson had 54 pounds and won,” says Latinville. “I think 18 1/2 a day or maybe 19 will win this thing. So, 56 or 58 pounds. The way the fishing is for me, I think 17 1/2 a day could get you in the top 10. We’ve seen in the past where 17-10 or 17-12 a day can make the cut. But, if you look at the time period, this is a transition period, so maybe by the time the tournament starts a lot of things will be turning on.”

Though Schmitt isn’t fishing the Costa FLW Series event, he weighed in on the likely outcome as well.

“I really think this particular tournament is going to be a flip of the coin,” says Schmitt. “I think somebody could easily win out of Ti or win up north. If they can go to Ti and get back comfortably every day that’s going to be tough to beat, because it seems like a special year down there. But also, I think someone could be very consistent up north. I think it will take really close to 60 pounds to win.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6:00 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: Plattsburgh City Marina, 5 Dock Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Weigh-In Time: 2:00 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: Plattsburgh City Marina

Complete details

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-07-18-lake-champlain 

Mundy Takes Erie Co-angler Title

Mundy Takes Erie Co-angler Title

Despite weighing in just 9 pounds, 9 ounces on the final day, it was still enough to move Dan Mundy of Swartz Creek, Mich., from second to first for the win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With a total of 38-12, Mundy takes home a new Phoenix boat package valued at over $33,000. READ MORE »

Rogers Wins from 8th on Erie

Rogers Wins from 8th on Erie

Starting the final day in eighth place, Lee Rogers of Newton, N.J., rocketed up the leaderboard with the biggest limit of the day to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With the field confined to the area around Sandusky Bay due to wind, Rodgers brought 15 pounds, 10 ounces to the scale for a total of 48-12 to earn his first win with FLW. For his win, Rogers gets the trophy and a $32,439 paycheck. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 3

Erie Midday Update – Day 3

With big winds present even before putting boats in the water, it was obvious that day three of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was going to throw the anglers a curveball. After a short delay, the new boundaries were set from Marblehead Lighthouse to Cedar Point, and the pros blasted off in search of bass. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

The final day of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie is likely to change things up quite a bit. With many of the top pros making long runs, there’s a chance much of what happened on days one and two will be physically impossible on day three. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event has been pretty slow across the board, and particularly for the leaders. Though the weather isn’t too bad and the wind is fairly manageable, the fishing in Erie is slower than it was yesterday. READ MORE »

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

One of a number of pros who elected to make the run from Sandusky to the Detroit River, Troy Stokes pulled into the lead on day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was not dominated by St. Clair as some expected. Though St. Clair did produce the lead for Scott Dobson, a hodgepodge of techniques and locations got it done for the other top pros on Erie. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

The weights on day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie were about what folks expected: plenty of quality fish, but a lack of the plump 4- and 5-pounders that Erie is so known for. Weighing one of only two bags over 20 pounds, Scott Dobson put 20-12 on the scale after a day of fishing that took him as far from Sandusky as the mouth of the St. Clair River. READ MORE »

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

As we saw a couple weeks ago at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the Tennessee River is capable of churning out big bags of bass both deep and shallow. We’ll probably be reminded of the Chickamauga event on July 18, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division competes on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Conditions should be similar, with both deep and shallow patterns in the mix.   READ MORE »

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

The frog world is pretty stacked with good options these days, but the Strike King Popping Perch still manages to stand out. READ MORE »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

Though Jacob Wheeler won the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga in grand style, his win didn’t impact the Angler of the Year standings. Only the original Pro Circuit anglers were competing for AOY points. That means the AOY focus is still on Ron Nelson, who slipped off his blazing pace a bit, but still holds the lead heading into the final two regular-season events in July and August on the Mississippi River and the Detroit River, respectively. READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

Due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, FLW will shift its July 9-11 Toyota Series Northern Division opener from the St. Lawrence River at Massena, N.Y., to Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »