Moving water

In places like this, current can mean everything in determining whether a fish will bite or not. The current here is dependent upon wind velocity, and as of this moment, there isn't much.

I imagine Kriet will stick it out until a later in the day, when the wind is expected to pick up a little bit.

Ken Golub pointed out something interesting. Both Kriet's and our boat are being held by Spotlock features on Minn Kota Fortrex trolling motors. Kriet's is facing into current flowing toward him from the cut, and we're facing into the wind, just 50 yards away.

The move paid off, for Kriet just hauled back on a good size smallmouth from the rocky cut. Golub says it will add 2 3/4 pounds to his creel.

Waiting on the wind

Jeff Kriet has drifted back 30 or 40 yards from the place where the car is only keeper of the day. He still lined up with a cut in the railroad Tressel which divides the main lake from a huge bay.

BassCam: Day 2 game plans

Todd Faircloth talks about his Day 2 strategy to keep the lead.

Jeff Kriet holds down third place. Watch him discuss his plan for Day 2.

Brandon Lester talks about his strategy for Day 2.

Checking in with Shane Lineberger

Matt Lee's game plan calls for calm, warm and sunny conditions.

Ott DeFoe sets up Day 2 on Lake Champlain

Faircloth made good decision

You hear pro anglers talk all the time about making good decisions. Those decisions usually involve where to go and when to move. Todd Faircloth made a good one yesterday.

"I was really mixed about which way to go (Friday) morning, south or north," Faircloth said at the Day 1 weigh-in. "I made a good decision."

Faircloth went north. When did he make that decision?

"About an hour before takeoff," Faircloth said. "It had been wearing on me for three days."

Yep, when you catch a tournament-leading bag of 21 pounds, 1 ounce, you've made a good decision.

Community hole

Ordinarily we don't want to reveal too much about and angler's chosen fishing spot, for fear that too many others will move into the area. But Kriet's fishing hole is different.

It is a bridge over a gap in a railroad trestle, and as our boat driver and photographer Ken Golub said, "it is about his community as community gets."

Apparently Lucas caught three just before we arrived. They weigh a total of 6-8, and moved him up to sixth place early on Day 2 of this event.

A minute ago, Lucas ducked under the bridge to fish the other side. That leaves Kriet with the hole all to himself.

Photo by Ken Golub

Kriet finally arrives

By trailering around to another launch site, we were able to beat Jeff Kriet to his fishing hole, but just barely, and only because he was among the last to take off.

And we were not the first to arrive. Two competitors in the tournament are fishing the same confined area, as is a local angler who seems to be parked on the sweet spot that gave Kriet third place with 20-4 yesterday.

No one on this side of a riprap wall and railroad trestle has caught anything that we were able to see yet, but shortly after pulling up, Kriet boated a small keeper.

The local angler drove off a few minutes ago, but an Elite competitor, Justin Lucas, remains in the vicinity. Kriet wishes he had it all to himself and said as much out loud.

McClelland limits at 6:48 a.m.

The first boat in the first flight left Plattsburgh City Marina at 6:15 this morning. Mike McClelland was in the fourth flight, boat number 95 of 109. And McClelland caught a 12-pound, 13-ounce limit by 6:48 a.m.

That should give you some idea of how good the bass fishing is at Lake Champlain right now.

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Riley Abair

A slugfest at Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain raised some eyebrows yesterday. For a time of year when many of the bass are skinny after spawning recently, it produced heavier limits than anyone was expecting.

For instance, Chad Pipkens 5-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces would have put him in fourth place in 2007, the last time the Elite Series was here. Yesterday it left him in 20th place.

There was also an unexpected smallmouth bass factor, although there were hints of it after the three-day practice period. Many of the post-spawn smallmouth are skinny. The common theory is you have to concentrate on largemouth bass to win a tournament this time of year on Lake Champlain. Jeff Kriet disproved that thought with a third-place bag of smallmouth bass weighing 20-4. The breakdown of the 539 bass that came across the scales was about 50-50 between smallmouths and largemouths.

The following is a comparison of the Day 1 weigh-in from 2007 and 2017:


2 - Bags over 21 lbs. 1 - Bag over 21 lbs.
5 - 18 lbs. or more25 - 18 lbs. or more
11 - 17 lbs. or more40 - 17 lbs. or more
28 - 16 lbs. or more61 - 16 lbs. or more
45 - 15 lbs. or more68 - 15 lbs. or more
60 - 14 lbs. or more88 - 14 lbs. or more
69 - 13 lbs. or more98 - 13 lbs. or more
85 - 12 lbs. or more105 - 12 lbs. or more
96 - 11 lbs. or more107 - 11 lbs. or more
5 of 108 anglers failed to limit2 of 109 anglers failed to limit

One big bite away from the top

At every Elite event a considerable amount of time is given to figuring out who to cover the next day and how to get it done.

It would seem easy enough. Cover the leaders, which is what we typically do. But on a lake the size of Champlain and it not be the final day, we need back up plans.

We always figure out something and normally we get pretty close. Probably isn't going to happen today.
This is like one of those games you play at the Fair for a stuffed toy. Looks like fun but the odds are against you.

Just a quick glance at the standings shows us 19 anglers with some sort of variation of 18-pounds and something or another. The ounces that separate them place them anywhere from 8th place to 24th. All of them just a pound and half from being in the Top 4.

If you were competing in this event you would likely have a sense of excitement mixed with some threads of dread.

On one hand you need to go catch at least another 18-pound-and-change stringer on a lake that is spitting out 15-pounds like it was a consolation prize. One wrong move and you get a consolation prize, while the other guy gets 18, 19 or 20. And you are left strangely in the dust.

So we are headed to cover Todd Faircloth and Alton Jones, two anglers who hit the 20-pound plus mark, wondering if they can both recapture their first day's catch. And they need every ounce of that to hold off the rest of the Elites, most of whom are just one big bite away from being on top of this event.

Connell with 16 plus

Dustin Connell is another guy showing zeros in BASSTrakk, but he tells us he has more than 16 pounds. One largemouth and four smallies. That would put him in 18th place or better. "And I lost a 5 pounder," he said. "Oh it hurt. I didn't have anyone in the boat to complain to, and that made it hurt worse."  Connell won the Ross Barnett Elite tournament in Mississippi earlier this year, and he is currently first in the Toyota Rookie of the Year standing. Not too long ago he was fishing in the Bassmaster College series for the University of Alabama.