Elites tackle Day 1 on St. Lawrence

It’s no secret that Justin Atkins hasn’t had the season that most expected he would have, but the Alabama native notched a Top 10 at Pickwick Lake and looks to continue that momentum on to the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence.
Atkins finished second on this famed fishery just a year ago.
After a long run early in the morning, the second year Elite pro settled into a few areas and began to get a few bites.
Atkins hooks up with his first keeper of the day.
Not the quality that he hopes to end up with, but good to get a keeper in the boat early.
Atkins hooks up again with another small fish.
“Rats man,” said Atkins has he flips the smallmouth in the boat.
Off to another spot.
Almost as soon as Atkins pulls up to the next spot, he hooks up quickly.
This is the quality of fish that he’s been looking for. A solid five pound fish.
Unfortunately, he follows the giant smallmouth up with a small one.
Another solid fish for Atkins.
When Atkins got a bite in an area, he would often catch several more shortly after.
After a change of scenery, he hooks up with another nice fish. Solid cull.
We caught up with Gerald Swindle just before noon, after the Alabama pro had climbed into the Top 12.
He was fishing on the edge of Lake Ontario, working shallows.
Shortly after we pulled up, Swindle set the hook.
The bass had some heft to it.
The fish weighed in at more than 4 years, and was added to the livewell.
That allowed Swindle to release his smallest fish. The cull pushed his limit to more than 20 pounds.
Swindle was using a moving bait as he moved around the shallow flat, bumping the lure steadily along – but he didn’t catch a fish on it while we watched.
It was apparent the moving bait was to help lure fish closer. Swindle would see a fish chasing his moving bait, and then quickly switch to a plastic and put it in the bass’ face in hopes of provoking a strike.
This worked again, as Swindle soon was fighing another smallie.
This 3-pounder didn’t make the team and was quickly released.
After working the shallow flat thoroughly, Swindle pulled up his trolling motor …
… and headed to another area.