After that 3-11 smallmouth and another bite or two, Steve Kennedy bears watching for a while. It would take a miracle for him and disasters for the front-runners for him to win this Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at the St. Lawrence River, but he's fun to follow. Kennedy is fishing a broad flat crossing an indentation in the shoreline. Parts of it are 4 feet deep, but 8-foot ditches criss-cross it. He loves this relatively shallow water. "I know where I am now," he said. "I can see the bottom." Zebra mussel colonies create hard, light-colored patches on the bottom, and Kennedy has spotted several bass cruising around them.
"I stopped here yesterday and caught a 3-pounder early," he told me. I came back later (11 am) and caught a 4, a 4-4, a 5-4 and some others. This is my honey hole." Big bass of the tournament, the 5-14 that anchored Kennedy's limit Saturday, hit in deep water. Here, he's alternating between a wacky rigged Kinami flash soft stickworm on a drop shot and a small swimbait. The swimbait has produced best. Kennedy found the spot "just idling by," and didn't fish it much until Saturday. Doug Kirkbride of Beaver Falls, N.Y., a frequent visitor to these waters, says it's one of his favorite spots to fish with his friends and family members. "They just have a ball."