We are in the second week of the New York swing. Last week, it was all smallmouth for the top finishers (except Brock Mosley) at the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Historically, smallmouth win tournaments there, and for good and obvious reasons.
Not so at Lake Champlain. The lake has a viable largemouth fishery. Historically speaking, the most fertile largemouth waters have been at the far south end of the lake, near Ticonderoga. In recent years that has changed. Largemouth and their habitat are flourishing in the Plattsburgh region.
Carl Jocumsen found out in the final minutes of the 2018 Basspro.com Eastern Northern Open held here. Across the lake from Plattsburgh, on the Vermont side, Jocumsen's glide bait caught a 7-pound class largemouth. It wasn't alone. Other largemouth in that size class followed it. Jocumsen caught one and ended up in 6th place.
This week he's broadening his strategy to include smallmouth and largemouth.
"I'm going to be chasing smallmouth for most of the day," he said. "If I can get to the 17-pound mark with the smallmouth then I'm going to go for largemouth."
He continued, "During practice I caught the biggest northern largemouth that I have ever seen. What I've learned here over the years, and this is one of my favorite lakes, is that it takes largemouth and smallmouth to win."
Brandon Lester, who calls Champlain his favorite lake of them all, recognizes the potential that largemouth have here.
"In my opinion, it's easier to get a good limit of smallmouth," he said. "If you want to win you need a really good limit of smallmouth, 15 pounds or more, and a couple of kicker largemouth to keep you in the hunt."