Kreiger’s early bite

Koby Kreiger pulled you to a shallow flat and started chunking a topwater.

And he’s already put two bass in the boat for more than 7 pounds. His largest is a 4-pounder that walloped the angler’s topwater and have an aerial performance at the boat.

“Now I just need four more like that,” Kreiger said.

A sea inside a lake

We are following Ed Loughran this morning into the Inland Sea.

That would be a sea inside a lake. It’s sort of a testament to how big this lake is.

The Inland Sea is definitely a big portion of it. Big enough to find a spot all to yourself. But not today. Loughran pulled up on his primary spot this morning, a long rock ridge that stair steps down well off shore. It’s a spot where he and two other semi-finalists are fishing.

Luke Palmer is on one end. David Mullins on the other and Loughran right in the middle.

And there’s plenty of room. Loughran has been the most consistent of the anglers with two 19-pound plus stringers.

Feider will lean on 'em today

Seth Feider had his 21-pound, 7-ounce five-bass limit caught by about 10 a.m. yesterday, capped by the 6-pound, 6-ounce largemouth he caught flipping a jig in a marina. He spent the rest of his day looking for new areas to fish today and Sunday. And one time he didn't set the hook on what felt like a quality bass.

"I did find two good spots," Feider said Friday. "I shook off a big one. I thought four different times about setting the hook on him. Then I thought I might need that one later, so I shook him off. I don't know that I'll ever get him to bite again. It was for sure a nice one. I don't know if it was a 4-pounder, 5-pounder, or what. It wasn't a 2-pounder, I know that."

There will be no shaking off fish today. Feider began the day trailing leader Jamie Hartman by 12 ounces.

"I think I'm really going to have to beat 'em up, because Sunday's weather looks really junky for largemouth fishing," Feider said. "So I'll probably be smallmouth fishing a lot on Sunday."

A "junky" largemouth fishing day - cloudy, windy - would take away half of Feider's game plan, which is start on smallmouth bass then try to add a kicker largemouth or two. His 6-6 largemouth yesterday is the big bass of the tournament so far.

Day 3 lineup at Champlain

It’s semi-final Saturday at Lake Champlain! The Top 8 anglers have paved the Elite Series field thus far and will be on Bassmaster LIVE all day and on ESPN2 starting at 12 pm ET. Don’t miss the action today!

No slip-ups allowed at Lake Champlain

Brock Mosley has noted how you can’t slip-up, even in the least, and expect to compete for a Bassmaster Elite Series title at Lake Champlain. But this place redefines what can be called a slip-up. Mosley was in 5th place after weighing 19-13 Thursday; he caught “only” 19-2 and dropped two places in the standings Friday.

“This is the kind of place where you can’t make up any ground,” Mosley said. “You’ve got to catch ‘em every day. Otherwise you’re going to fall pretty quick.”

Yes, it’s a stretch to say Mosley slipped-up on Day 2 of the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain. But there were five anglers who slipped out of the top 10. Leading the charge among the newcomers atop the standings was Koby Kreiger, who jumped from 26th to 3rd with a 22-pound bag. Only 12 ounces separates leader Jamie Hartman and second-place Seth Feider. And only 3-14 separates first from 10th place.

As you can see in the comparison’s below, Lake Champlain is fishing strikingly similar to how it did in the 2017 Elite Series event here, even a little stronger at the top of the standings. There will be no slip-ups allowed for anyone hoping to make the top 10 for Sunday’s finale.

Day 2 7/28/177/31/20
Total anglers10885
Limits caught 10783
% catching limits99.0%97.6%
1st place38-842-4
5th place  37-739-1
10th place 38-1438-6
25th place 34-1235-9
40th place33-533-13
50th place 32-232-11
75th place  29-1228-11
Big bass 5-86-6
Bags 18 lbs. or over 1625
Bags 19 lbs. or over 812
Bags 20-lbs. or over 25
Total fish weighed539423
Total weight1,687-61,417-2
Ave. wt./bass3.13.lbs.3.35 lbx


Day 1  7/27/177/30/20
Total anglers   10985
Limits caught 10785
% catching limits 98.2%100%
1st place     21-122-1
5th place      19-819-13
10th place  18-1219-6
25th place  18-018-3
40th place  17-017-2
50th place 16-916-7
75th place 14-1114-0
Big bass  6-16-2
Bags over 18 lbs.       2528
Bags over 19 lbs. 713
Bags over 20-lb. 34
Total fish weighed 539425
Total weight  1,732-121,425-4
Ave. wt./bass 3.21 lbs.3.35 lbs.


Hartman adds more hardware

As Jamie Hartman said, upon realizing his latest catch had another angler's drop shot weight hanging from its mouth, "It's been a crazy year." He was referring to the fact that Hartman caught a bass at Lake Eufaula that had an Alabama rig hanging from its mouth. They don't call them largemouth bass for nothing, huh?

This largemouth allowed Hartman to cull a slightly smaller smallmouth bass and improve his tournament-leading weight another ounce or two, after clipping off the drop shot weight, which was attached to a hook deep in the bass's throat.

Hartman adds another big smallmouth

It's beginning to look like Jamie Hartman will be atop the Lake Champlain leaderboard for the second day in a row. A 4 3/4-pound smallmouth caught at 1:58 gives Hartman a 20-pound bag today, and he's fired up about it.

"Look at that hammer," Hartman said as he lifted the bass in his boat. "That will get your heart going." His two-day total is now 42-1, according to BASSTrakk.

Buddy Gross makes big cull

Buddy Gross has had a tough day, especially when compared to Day 1 when he caught the 2nd-place bag of 21 pounds, 2 ounces. But he's not done. Gross just made a 2-pound cull with a 4-10 largemouth at 1:48 p.m. that vaulted him from 22nd place to 7th in the BASSTrakk standings.

It's a testament to how close the standings are and how much difference a 4-pound bass can make in everyone's place in the pecking order. There's a logjam at the 36-pound mark. Gross is one of seven anglers showing 36 pounds on BASSTrakk now.

Blaylock in stalking mode

Stetson Blaylock is taking advantage of the rare slick, calm water conditions on Lake Champlain. How he is doing that is searching for individual fish. It's an arduous task, but it paid off yesterday with a limit weighing 19 pounds, 12 ounces, good for seventh place on the official leaderboard.

Only thing is, Blaylock is not searching for them with his eyes to scan the calm and crystal-clear water.

"What makes this strategy ideal is that smallmouth movement is active in the sunny, calm conditions," he said. "Visibility is at its best, and the fish can see the baitfish from a distance.

Blaylock is using the Garmin Panoptix LiveScope live scanning sonar feature. It allows the user to see fish within a 360-degree range of the boat. With the trolling motor on and his eye on the screen, Blaylock is moving his boat across his fishing area. And he is holding his rod in the ready position, but not making a cast.

"If I do that, I might have the lure out and come up on a fish and see it on the Panoptix," he explained. "When I do, it's a done deal that I will catch it."

The takeaway is just another added benefit of the live scan feature of today' sophisticated fishfinders.