Steve Kennedy is being even more secretive than usual about the bait that has been his main weapon this week at Champlain. It's a swimbait. But even if the exact make and model is revealed, and the "Bassmaster LIVE" crew is really trying to get the information, that won't be the most important detail in what Kennedy is doing.
Kennedy has been experimenting the last three weeks with 3/4- and 1-ounce swimbait heads/treble hook combinations that a big smallmouth can't throw. There's been much frustration in the process. Kennedy came to the St. Lawrence River four days before practice began and fished in the pool below tournament waters near Massena, N.Y., simply to work on landing smallmouth bass on a swimbait.
Kennedy thought he had the technique refined. And he did, for 4-pounders and smaller bass. But the 5- and 6-pounders, the difference-makers, were still throwing the bait.
"This is the third time in a row I should have been leading this tournament on Day 1," said Kennedy last Thursday in Waddington. Stories about the big ones that got away continued the next day, when Kennedy finished 60th.
He acknowledged yesterday that he's received three special orders of treble hooks this week, and Kennedy may have finally refined the technique. He also, of course, lamented the fact that a "Bassmaster LIVE" camera was going to be in his boat today - revealing all his hard work to the world. So far, Kennedy's secret is still intact.