This is my seventh year on the Bassmaster Elite Series, and this week is my fourth time competing on the St. Lawrence River. So I have some history here, but this year we are putting in at Clayton, N.Y., which is a long way from Waddington where we have always launched in the past. I’ve not spent much time on the river this far up. Lake Ontario is within the tournament boundaries this year, too, which throws a bit of a curveball into things.
The first two days of practice were super windy, and most of us stayed and fished in the river. I caught a few and looked at many places I’ve fished before and fished a lot of new stuff too. The whole key here is finding the section of the river where it will all go down. Over time, I have learned that there always seems to be a section that is fishing better. Last year that was near Ogdensburg, and two years ago it was the Morristown area. That area could be the lake this time – I don’t know.
You’re looking for 4-, 5- and even 6-pound smallmouth bites here. The first two days, I didn’t have any of those bites. Here in the last couple of days, I had some of those. We had an extra practice day for this event.
I’ve got a deal going in the lake, and I have a deal going in the river. I feel like it could be won on either place. Honestly, I haven’t entirely made up my mind of where to fish Thursday. I’m going to look at the forecast and decide. The problem is the river deal is 45 minutes away from the mouth of the lake, and the place I want to fish in the lake is about 25 minutes out into the lake. It could be a deal where I fish in the river one day and in the lake the next day.
Either way, it is going to be fun – I love this place. It is getting more pressure, though. I’m catching more fish with hook holes in their lip. The fish have just finished up spawning and are a little more scattered this year, and we are here a little earlier.
I’m going to drift a drop shot around and throw a Ned rig. The X Zone Slammer and the X Zone Ned Zone will be key. Pretty much every guy in the field will have those types of baits tied on.
We will see how it goes. Y’all stay tuned! We've gone through a lot of effort to fish this week, but the fishing in New York is always worth whatever is necessary. I love New York.