Nation: Calm conditions avail long runs

There’s no lack of quality fish in and around the tournament site in Waddington, N.Y., but with light winds keeping the St. Lawrence River calm, Day 1 saw a handful of anglers making the 70-mile run to Clayton, N.Y. near the western boundary at the mouth of Lake Ontario.

Historically, the lake has consistently produced more of the larger fish, but for some anglers, it was a comfortable mix of access and familiarity.

Fifth-place Phil Curtis and 10th-place Danny McGarry, both representing the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation, got their limits near Clayton. McGarry said his experience with the river’s western end told him he needed to capitalize on the pleasant conditions, so he focused his entire practice on the Clayton area.

“It was a great day; super calm out, super nice weather,” McGarry said. “It couldn’t have shaped up to be a better day.”

Curtis said it came down to fishing what he knew, rather than burning time trying to break down unfamiliar waters.

“I fish a lot of tournaments out of Kingston, Ontario (at the river’s mouth), so that’s my area down there,” he said. “Up here (Waddington area), I have no idea.”

Despite the pleasant running conditions, Curtis took precautions to make sure he had no delays during the long run back to weigh ins.

“We made the run and were heading back by 11,” he said. “I didn’t want to risk it, so we ran 30 minutes, stopped and filled up, ran 30 minutes, fished a few spots here and there and then just came in early.”

Notably, second-place boater Billy Gilbert of Hamburg, N.Y. also fished the Clayton area. Day-1 leader Timothy Dube also ran upriver, but he spent his day in the Alexandria Bay region.

Day 2 has brought similarly calm conditions, so it’s likely we’ll hear of anglers again fishing the Clayton area and other regions upriver from Waddington.