New York state of mind

We're headed for New York and the St. Lawrence River for the seventh event of the Elite Series season. Personally, I don't think New York gets enough credit for how good the fisheries are there. With Lake Erie, Champlain, Oneida, 1000 Islands, and the St. Lawrence River, just to name a few, New York has some great places to fish.

As I travel the country I get asked where's the best place to fish? I'll usually say Clear Lake, Falcon, Okeechobee or some of the other southern big fish lakes. I guess I should ask, "When?" because at this time of year I'd rather fish in New York, Michigan, Wisconsin or anywhere up North than down South in the heat. Besides the temperature, the fishing is better, too.

With the New York fisheries you won't have a chance at a 10-pounder or better — at least not a good chance — but you will be able to catch a large number of quality fish. On Erie and the St. Lawrence River you have the chance to catch world class smallmouth, and on most of the lakes you can catch some very nice largemouth as well.

I'd suggest that anyone looking for a mid-summer/early fall vacation consider New York, especially upstate or western New York. You'll find gorgeous lakes, great fishing and some fun stuff to do off the water, like Niagara Falls or the New York State Fair.

Personally, New York has been good to me. Since 2000 I've fished in New York nine times on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and I've cashed checks in seven of those events — that's 77 percent! Some of my most memorable events have been in New York. Last year, I finished off the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title on Lake Oneida with a sixth place finish. In 2006, I finished second behind Denny Brauer on Lake Champlain.

While I didn't cash a check way back in 1995 (when I fished my second ever Bassmaster Top 100 tournament on the Hudson River), I remember my preconceived notions about New York: the people were going to be unfriendly, and the fishing was going to be bad. Like most preconceived notions, I was way off. I have made some great friends in New York, and even though the Hudson was challenging, the rest of New York has been great fishing.

I'm looking forward to arriving in New York later this week and to catching some fish. The temperatures should be tolerable, and the fish should be biting. This St. Lawrence River event is going to be good, and I wouldn't be surprised to see quite a few 20 pound bags come to the scales. It should be a fun one to follow right here on

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