Immediately following the Elite Empire Chase at Lake Erie, qualifying pros will drive back across the state to Oneida Lake for the second Major of the season, the Bassmaster Memorial. It will be their third New York tournament during the month.
Last season, Tommy Biffle won the Empire Chase Elite contest here with slightly unconventional tactics. He brought in 63 pounds, 10 ounces of largemouth in a lake famous for its smallmouth. All he did was flip a soft plastic creature bait into shallow cover.
This 51,000-acre lake is one of the most fertile bodies of water in the northeast, and the smallmouth are just as prolific as the largemouth. Some pros reported catching as many as 50 each day of the Elite tournament. The trouble is, they're smaller, so some pros may opt for a quick early limit of brown bass, then try to improve their catch with largemouth.
Rocky points, sandy flats and weedy points are just some of the fishing options available. There are also numerous boathouses to target, but Biffle's tournament, during which he worked shallow, weedy cover with a plastic frog early and then finished by flipping that same type of cover, certainly won't be forgotten by the other pros.
Think about wearing green if you visit Tipperary Hill, a section of Syracuse dedicated to Irish traditions. Highlights include Irish cuisine, along with an upside-down traffic light with the green light on top. Another popular tourist shopping area, the Armory Square Historic District, features sidewalk boutiques, restaurants and other attractions. Favorite museums include the Erie Canal Museum, which includes a reproduced canal boat like the ones used to ferry goods down the famous canal. (www.visitsyracuse.org)