UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FLW Tour Recap: Lake Champlain

FLW Tour Recap: Lake Champlain
Dave Lefebre nabs a Champlain keeper

(Editor's note: Veteran bass pro Dave Lefebre has agreed to take time to share his insights into each FLW Tour event of the 2011 season. After every event, Lefebre will give his thoughts on tournament strategy, winning techniques and other behind-the-scenes stories/information that is compelling to our readers. The following blog represents his 10th installment. Lefebre ultimately finished the FLW Tour Lake Champlain event in 19th place with a three-day total of 46 pounds, 4 ounces. For his efforts, Lefebre walked away with over $10,000 in winnings.)

When you ask FLW Tour pros what their favorite lake is most of them will say Champlain. And I'd probably have to agree with them. The lake is so full of fish it's amazing. The best thing about Champlain is that you can catch them just about any way you want. And because the lake is so big, you can almost always find unpressured bass and fish away from the crowds. Unfortunately, the fish I found this time around were not "unpressured." In fact, more than half of the top-10 pros were in sight of me throughout the event. However, the lake level was up and, as such, the largemouth bite was quite a bit better than normal.

I usually fish way down south by Ticonderoga during Champlain events, but this time I couldn't find enough good groups of fish down there. The water was muddy and about 4 feet higher than I've ever seen it. I found one big school in some scattered coontail, but I just couldn't see running 75 miles for just one or two places, so I decided to stay up north this time around.

On the first morning of practice I checked an area where I've done well in the past. It was a shallow, rocky bar that is usually only good in the fall. Well I guess the unseasonably cold weather brought fall in a little early because the smallmouth were loaded there. My practice partner, Tom Rizzo, and I quickly caught five or six 31/2- to 4-pounders in that spot. After I left, I then checked some similar areas and found the same results. I felt confident in the northern section of the lake. I didn't even check a single dock, willow tree or reed bed because I knew as soon as I caught a decent limit of smallies I was going to go flip a jig shallow the rest of the day.

On the first day of the event I had a little over 18 pounds of smallmouth and my co-angler had 16 1/2. It was a fun day; we caught them everywhere we went and never went for largemouth. On the second day I planned on catching those smallies again and then going for the largemouth, but I couldn't on this day because most of the leaders were in the same area catching them all. It was a tough day for me because the smallmouth didn't bite at all and my backup plan was getting pounded by Gary Yamamoto, Glenn Browne, Scott Canterbury, Joe Lucarelli, Iaconelli and the eventual winner, Dave Wolak. I guess my backup plan should have been my main plan! However, I had a little weed point I found five years ago and thankfully I was able to catch 15 pounds from it on day two and squeak into the cut in 19th place.

On the final day I banked on those big smallies and it just didn't happen. I stayed around them all day before going back to that weed point at the end of the day just to catch 131/2 pounds. It wasn't enough to make the top-10 cut on day four so I ended up 19th.

As usual the fish were caught on a variety of different baits. Most of the smallmouth were caught on various drop-shot baits, Carolina rigs and spinnerbaits. The largemouth ruled this event though and the hot baits were mainly a jig and a Senko. There were a few high finishers throwing ChatterBaits and one friend of mine caught his fish in Ticonderoga on a big spinnerbait in the muddy water. I guess some guys were still getting some frog fish despite the cold front and wind. Like I said earlier, you can catch them however you want on Champlain.

Our next and final event of the 2011season is another FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. I'm sure it will be another good one. I can't wait!

To read more about Dave's life on the road, check out On Tour With Dave and Anne, sponsored by Chevy. Throughout the 2011 FLW Tour season, Dave and his wife, Anne will be keeping a detailed blog of their experiences while traveling the country in their Chevy Trucks.

Tags: dave-lefebre  blog  2011-09-15-lake-champlain 

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