Here comes the wind

All week there have been two sides of discussion about the wind on Lake Champlain, and how it influences the bite.

One side wants calm conditions. A choppy surface diffuses the sunlight used by the smallmouth to spot prey from a long distance. A calm surface increases visibility throughout the water column.

The other side wants windy conditions. The wind-driven current also makes smallmouth--and baitfish--move around more. Fish are more active and feed more. 

Ideally, the best anglers are capitalizing on both with productive areas for each condition.

Tomorrow there will be only one choice. Wind. And plenty of it.

The National Weather Service Recreation Forecast calls for southerly winds at 11 to 17 mph, increasing to 23 to 28 mph in the afternoon, with waves of 3 to 5 feet.

That will be the game changer. Travel time in the rough water will chisel away at fishing time. So will lure execution. Keeping it precise will be a challenge in the rolling waves. 

So look for a rock-and-roll finish on Championship Sunday.

Canterbury with five — finally

Scott Canterbury hasn't had any trouble putting five keepers in the boat early the two previous days. It took him until 12:23 p.m. today to do so. 

"I can't believe how long it took me to catch five," said Canterbury, who started the day in 4th place, 2-15 behind leader Jamie Hartman.

BASSTrakk shows him with 14-10. So Canterbury has plenty of room to cull up and stay in contention going into Sunday's final.

Mullins culls up

David Mullins moved from hump to hump for almost two hours, with nothing more but a couple of throwbacks to show for it. 

But his persistence paid off a few minutes ago when he landed a solid keeper that allowed him to cull up. 

How much weight did he gain?

“Quite a bit,” Mullins said. “Probably half a pound, maybe more.”

That has him in sixth place with 16-4, According to BASSTrakk.

Hartman back in action

After returning to Plattsburgh City Boat Ramp with mechanical issues, Jamie Hartman has returned to fishing. Switching batteries was the key to getting back in the game. 

Hartman said he’s returning to the same spot he left, as the fish have had time to rest.

“I lost an hour and a half of crucial fishing time,” he said as he idled away from the dock. “The best thing for me to do is to put this behind me. There’s no sense dwelling on it.”

Loughran looking for larger

Loughran has added a third. This one in the 2-pound range. 

We thought earlier he had put a dink in his well. This one almost qualifies for that designation for this event. But it was three and gives 9-plus pounds.

It’s not quite the consistency he’s had the last three days. But there’s still time.

He knows he can’t stick around another day if that fish makes it to the weigh in.

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Mid-morning bite dies

David Mullins made a move to another flat and found Hunter Shryock fishing the same break.

The two began chatting about their day, and Shryock said the mid-morning bite hasn’t been great all week.

“From about 9 To 11, the bite just dies,” Shryock said. “But about 11, the deep bite seems to turn on.”

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Mullins doing ‘alright’

We just caught up with David Mullins drop-shooting a main-lake reef.

BASSTrakk shows him with just less than 16 pounds, enough to put him in fourth place currently.

“I’m doing alright,” Mullins said. “I lost a big one that would have helped me, but I’m doing alright.”

Intel on Feider's largemouth spot

I just traded text messages with a good friend from Vermont who is a frequent tournament angler on Lake Champlain.

He said the marina where Feider caught the 6-pounder yesterday is a very popular tournament weigh-in and release site. In fact, 30 bags of 6 fish each were released there in a large team tournament, including a 6-pound largemouth.

Marinas are popular for a lot of reasons, and especially on Lake Champlain. As I wrote yesterday, marinas offer shady ambush points for bass, and habitat for their prey.

In the late 1980s, when I was assistant tournament director, we partnered with several state fisheries agencies in scientific studies to determine if tournament-caught bass remained at weigh-in release sites.

The current live release boats in use by us and other tournament organizations was the outcome of the study. The boats, of course, are used to randomly distribute tournament-caught bass to prevent concentrations from building up in a specific area.

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Worth looking

With a couple fish in the well anglers start to talk a bit more.

Loughran is no different. He asked us if we were bored yet.

“Of course,” was my response. But it got better with a fish catch.

Loughran said that it hasn’t been this slow for him all week but the fish catches seem to come in flurries.

“I need a big flurry soon,” he added.

We need that as well. We have the luxury of watching BASSTrakk and seeing the catches. There’s always a debate on whether anglers should be able to look as well.

This would be one time when Loughran might be better off not knowing. And now the flurry has started. He’s added another 3 1/2 to 4-pounder to the well. And things are worth looking at on BASSTrakk.

And just like that ... here is Brandon Lester

Brandon Lester just made a quantum leap in the BASSTrakk standings, which shows him in 7th place with 16 pounds, 8 ounces. Lester was 31st on the Day 2 leaderboard, and his BASSTrakk total is 51-12.

Earlier in the week, Lester proclaimed Lake Champlain as his favorite bass lake, which is a strong comment based on Lake Guntersville being his near-home lake.

"The last Open we had here (in 2018) I found out you can catch smallmouth in 30- to 50-feet of water," he said. "In practice, I spent a lot of time searching in that depth range and found a lot of fish."

Added to his already strong southern smallmouth skills, that just adds more to Lester's angling wheelhouse.