UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes
FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

Buckhorn, Ontario, was host to FLW Canada’s first stop of the 2016 season. The stadium was Chemong, Pigeon and Buckhorn lakes, otherwise known as “Tri-Lakes,” in the heart of the province’s cottage country. The tournament featured 82 teams consisting of Canada's most talented competitive bass anglers, who launched their rigs into the consistently shallow chain of lakes with hopes of making the top 10 and securing a spot in the FLW Canadian Championship this September on Big Rideau Lake located in Perth, Ontario.

FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack.

Never considered to be one-trick ponies, Vandermeer and Slute were models of efficiency during the first day of competition. While tossing the popping plug the pair kept a close eye on the shallows ahead, looking for big bass cruising the skinny water and hunting for an easy meal. Once a fish was sighted, the pair would cast a diminutive 4-inch stick worm well ahead of the fish’s swim path, being very careful not to spook the notoriously skittish fish into breaking for nearby deeper water.

“It was important to let the fish think it found the bait on its own in order to get bit,” says Vandermeer. “If you tried to force-feed them they wouldn't have anything to do with it.”

The pattern was so effective that, with the well-being and health of the fish caught early that morning in mind, the team weighed in three fish well before noon then headed back out to upgrade two remaining smaller fish that were kept in the livewell. According to FLW Canada fish care rules, any angler may weigh fish at any time if he feels it benefits the long-term health of the fish. If only part of a creel is weighed, the anglers are permitted to continue fishing, but are only able to submit the balance of the creel come check-in, which will be added to earlier documented weight.

When the whistle blew at the end of day one, Vandermeer and Slute lifted the day’s best weight onto the scales to tally 20.76 pounds of Tri-Lakes smallmouth bass.

At dawn on the second and final day, anglers were met with conditions similar to day one. As the day progressed, however, competitors dealt with increasing winds that under normal circumstances would rile up the fish. However, with many of the bass still suffering from a postspawn hangover the bite tapered off, leaving many of the brightest minds in fishing scratching their heads to try and figure out the magic formula for victory.

Following a weak start in the morning, Vandermeer and Slute doubled down and dug in to close the deal. With the sun now overhead and only a 12-inch fish in the box, the pair headed for the depths, foregoing the light line and small baits that had been so previously successful in exchange for heavier tackle geared to yank big largemouths from deep milfoil using a black flipping jig and chunk trailer.

“I thought we were in trouble, but at 12:30 we got our first big bite, and with just minutes left in the event we got our last big fish,” recalls Vandermeer.

And big fish they were, totaling 19.44 pounds of fat largemouths that ran up a two-day winning weight of 40.20 pounds.

For their efforts, Chris Vandermeer and Jeff Slute walked away with $16,000 and the first ticket punched to the FLW Canadian Championship.

 

FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

Greentree and Kazimierczuk take second place

Locking down the second direct trip to the Canadian Championship and $8,000 for second was the ultra-talented team of Jason Greentree and Ritchie Kazimierczuk of Oshawa, Ontario.

Over the two days of competition the pair stayed close to the shoreline and pitched blown-in weed mats, flipped laydowns and pitched docks using a variety of baits, including jigs, stick baits and creature baits.

Interestingly, as day one drew down, Greentree and Kazimierczuk made a crucial decision that hinged on a deep weedbed they inspected repeatedly throughout practice. When interviewed by Limitfish Media for FLW Canada, Greentree noted that he and his partner had found a weedbed that was "coming alive" more and more as the event neared. With approximately 15 pounds of bass in the boat by the first afternoon of competition, they made a quick run to the deep weed sweet spot and immediately set into quality fish and racked up an impressive sack of bass weighing 16.81 pounds.

As logic prevailed, the team found itself back at the sweet spot on the morning of day two. The game plan working perfectly as Greentree and Kazimierczuk got off to a quick start. They loaded the boat with nearly 14 pounds in roughly half an hour. However, as with many teams, Greentree and Kazimierczuk found the bite tailing off as the day progressed. They eventually abandoned their honey hole and went back to their day-one strategy of picking apart shoreline cover to try and upgrade.

After grinding out the afternoon and having connected with a few more substantial bass, Greentree and Kazimierczuk closed the final day with a weight of 17.22 and a tournament total of 34.03 pounds of Tri-Lakes largemouths.

 

FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

Vivian and Lacey finish third

Travis Vivian and JT Lacey of Peterborough arrived at the Tri-Lakes event rigged and ready for success. Each had logged numerous 12-hour days on the water in practice, and together they started day one confident that they could secure a solid bag of bass by day’s end.

Vivian and Lacey executed perfectly by catching some of day one’s largest bass and credited their incredible weight of 18.09 to the work ethic they demonstrated during practice. By flipping jigs to probe the weedy depths of approximately 2 to 4 feet of water, Vivian and Lacey's hard work landed them well within striking distance of the win.

As the event wound down on day two the pair reported that the bite had dried up, and catching fish was difficult.

“The lake changes from week to week at this time of year,” Vivian says. “Bass are transitioning from the shallows to the deeper weeds, and on Sunday they just moved out and away."

Yet even when faced with less-than-favorable conditions, the pro pair tracked down the fish and managed to catch a great bag of bass weighing 13.34 pounds for a weekend total of 31.43.

Vivian and Lacey earned a $4,000 check and the third of only 10 tickets on the day directly to the FLW Canadian Championship.

Here’s how the top 10 rounded out:

Place

Team #

 Angler 1

Angler 2

Day 1 Weight

Big Fish

# of Fish

Day 2 Weight

Big Fish

# of Fish

Total Weight

1

 28

 Vandermeer

 Slute

20.76

0.00

5

19.44

5.21

5

 40.20   

2

 13

 Greentree

 Kazimierczuk

16.81

0.00

5

17.22

0.00

5

 34.03   

3

 26

 Vivian

 Lacey

18.09

0.00

5

13.34

0.00

5

 31.43   

4

 30

 Cocks

 Dean

13.69

0.00

5

17.40

4.63

5

 31.09   

5

 21

 Palmer

 Blackman

18.51

5.41

5

12.40

0.00

5

 30.91   

6

 34

 Westerink

 Williams

17.90

0.00

5

12.51

0.00

5

 30.41   

7

 80

 Weiller

 Forler

17.64

4.70

5

12.28

0.00

5

 29.92   

8

 17

 Murison

 Lapidus

17.36

5.46

5

12.49

0.00

5

 29.85   

9

 9

 Campeau

 Merrill

18.16

0.00

5

10.91

0.00

5

 29.07   

10

 65

 Guindon

 Carr

15.58

0.00

5

13.35

0.00

5

 28.93   

Full Results

 

More Photos:

FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

FLW Canada at Tri-Lakes (photo courtesy of Limitfish Media)

Tags: flw-canada  trevor-kunopaski-limitfish-media  article 

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