PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — A fortunate draw on all three days and the fortitude to push through a tough early morning on Day Three paid off for co-angler Marc Lamphier.
The veteran Lake Champlain angler from the other side of the mammoth body of water put his experience to the test to take the title in the Champion's Choice presented by Toyota Tundra and the $50,000 Triton/Mercury prize package.
"I'm fortunate in that I've fished this lake a lot under a lot of different conditions," he said. "I couldn't have asked to fish with three nicer people who took such good care of me."
Lamphier, a business owner in Burlington, Vt., was fortunate to be fishing as he had been fifth on the waiting list to get in the tournament.
"My three pro's were all on good fish," Lamphier said. "Kevin Wirth told me this morning 'I'm going to do everything I can to win you this thing.'"
Lamphier fished down south with Shaw Grigsby on Day One for a good sack of largemouths and said, "How he zeroes in on the details of his spots is the most amazing thing."
On Friday, Lamphier said he was just giddy when Jason Quinn took him fishing mid-lake for smallmouths on the Vermont side, which Lamphier has done numerous time.
"It was hard to stay quiet when we fished a few of my spots over there," he said.
On Saturday, Lamphier put another limit of smallmouths in the livewell with Wirth on the New York side of the lake. The clincher didn't come without some trepidation. Lamphier didn't put a fish in the boat until around 9 a.m. as Wirth put on a clinic of sorts on deepwater structure — gravel and grass humps in 15-35 feet of water — for brown bass with both a Carolina rig and by drawing the fish from the depths with a jerkbait.
"I not only learned a bunch of spots but how to catch them in deep water, all on the New York side of the lake," Lamphier sadi. "It's not something I had any confidence in, but once I started watching Kevin I did OK."
Lamphier said he didn't think he had it won until Wirth told him so when he put his fifth fish in the livewell.
James Hill held the hot seat for awhile with a total of 39-7 before succumbing to Lamphier's 13-9 pound sack. Colorado's Larry Triplett turned in a third-place showing with 37-8.