Bryan Schmitt’s pre-tournament prediction was spot on, after three days of practice for the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain.
“I think Champlain is fishing right on point, from one end to other for both largemouth and smallmouth,” said Bryan Schmitt, who won a three-day Open here in 2016 with 59-13. “It might be a tick better because there haven’t been a lot of tournaments this year with the Covid (pandemic).”
As you can see in the chart below, it is “a tick better” than it was on Day 1 – July 27, 2017 – the last time the Elite Series was here. There were a few surprises, like the number of 19-pounds-plus five-bass limits – 13 versus 7 on Day 1 in 2017.
“I didn’t think there were going to be that many big bags caught,” said Seth Feider, who is in 4th place with 20-1. “I knew I wouldn’t be leading, but I didn’t think there were going to be that many 18s, 19s. I can’t believe how many good bags came in today.”
It’s always about consistency in a four-day tournament, but especially so at Lake Champlain. You cannot afford a slip-up on any day, even slightly. That’s reflected in this fact: Of the top 10 anglers on Day 1 in 2017, only one was left in the top 10 when the tournament ended after three days, due to weather. It’s not like they fell far. But Day 1 sets the benchmark. The leaders must match their benchmark each day or get left behind at Lake Champlain.
“There’s a long way to go, but I just can’t see 20-pounds-a-day over four days not being hard to beat,” Feider said. “When I get 20 (Friday), I’ll quit. If not, I’ll burn everything I’ve got and worry about the next day after that.”
|Day 1 ||7/27/17 ||7/30/20|
|Total anglers ||109|| 85|
|Limits caught ||107 ||85 |
|% catching limits ||98.2% ||100%|
|1st place ||21-1||22-1|
|5th place ||19-8 ||19-13|
|10th place ||18-12 ||19-6|
|25th place ||18-0 ||18-3|
|40th place||17-0 ||17-2 |
|50th place ||16-9 ||16-7|
|75th place ||14-11 ||14-0|
|Big bass ||6-1 ||6-2|
|Bags over 18 lbs. ||25 ||28|
|Bags over 19 lbs. ||7||13|
|Bags over 20-lb. ||3 ||4 |
|Total fish weighed ||539 ||425|
|Total weight ||1,732-12 ||1,425-4 |
|Ave. wt./bass ||3.21 lbs.|| 3.35 lbs.|