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Top lures at St. Lawrence River 2023

See the lures that the top Elites used at the Minn Kota Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.

Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams. A fitting headline for the Minn Kota Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, where something always magical happens where the river meets Lake Ontario. 
Four anglers—Taku Ito, Kyoya Fujita, Chris Johnston, Patrick Walters—entered the Bassmaster Century Club with four-day weights exceeding 100 pounds. The Top 50 anglers weighed an eye-popping 60 pounds or better. Come in with anything less than 20 pounds and you missed the cut, with 40 pounds the minimum weight to fish on Semifinal Saturday.  
Patrick Walters led the pack, setting a B.A.S.S. record for the heaviest winning weight of 20 smallmouth in Bassmaster history with 105 pounds, a blue trophy, $100,000 and an automatic berth in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota. 
Turning in daily weights of 24-14, 27-3, 28-5 — Day 3’s heaviest bag — and 24-10, Walters edged Canadian superstar Chris Johnston by 1-4. Forward-facing sonar and finesse soft plastics accounted for the patterns of the Top 10. See what they used and stock up for smallmouth fishing on your favorite lake. 
Click here to buy these lures at Bass Pro Shops.
Scott Martin (10th; 90-5)
Martin rotated through three drop shot-rigged soft plastics, and a Ned rig that he used as a follow-up bait to prolong the bite in his strike zone. 
He made drop shot rigs with a Googan Baits Drag n’ Drop, Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm Minnow and Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flatnose Minnow. He rigged those to No.2 drop-shot hooks and 1/4- or 3/4-ounce weights, depending on depth and wind conditions. 
Martin made the Ned rig with a Googan Baits Rattlin’ Ned, rigged on a 1/4-ounce jig head. 
Matty Wong (9th; 94-4)
Wong rotated between two drop shot rigs to give the smallmouth a different look. 
He used a 3-inch Megabass Hazedong Shad, rigged on a 1/0 Gamakatsu Light Wire Worm Hook, with 3/8-ounce Freedom Tackle Tungsten Worm Weight.
Alternatively, he used the same hook and weight with a Netbait Lollipop 3.5-inch Baitfuel Supercharged Worm infused with Baitfuel
Justin Hamner (8th; 95-6)
Hamner caught his smallmouth using soft plastic finesse baits rigged for various strike zones and moods of the fish. 
A standout bait was this Netbait Lollipop 3.5-inch Baitfuel Supercharged Worm infused with Baitfuel. He rigged it on a No. 2 Spearpoint GP Finesse Hook, with a 3/8-ounce Freedom Tackle Weight.
Using the same hook and weight, Hamner also used a Netbait Flat Sided Shad 3.5 Baitfuel Supercharged worm infused with Baitfuel.
Kenta Kimura (7th; 95-10)
Kimura rotated through a Neko rig, swim bait and drop shot. 
He made the swimbait setup with a 3-inch Megabass Hazedong Shad, rigged on a 3/32-ouce homemade jig head
For the drop shot, Kimura used a 3-inch Megabass Hazedong Shad, rigged on a No. 2 Ryugi Talisman Hook, with a 1/2-ounce drop shot weight
He made the Neko rig with a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm, rigged on a No. 1 Ryugi Talisman Hook, with a 3/16-ounce weight
Cory Johnston (6th; 96-0)
Johnston’s primary bait was a drop shot. 
He made it with a new 6th Sense Party Minnow, rigged on a No. 2 hook, with 3/8-ounce 6th Sense Drop Shot Weight.
Click here to buy these lures at Bass Pro Shops.
Kyle Welcher (5th; 99-12)
The 2023 Progressive Bassmaster Elite Angler of the Year used a drop shot setup with a light weight for calm conditions and heavier version for deeper water. 
He made the drop shot with a variety of soft plastics, rigged on a No. 1 Gamakatsu Light Wire Worm Hook. He used 3/8- or 1/4-ounce sinkers depending on the water conditions. 
Taku Ito (4th; 101-7)
Ito used drop shot rigs to coax his smallmouth. A key was applying a new fish attractant solution and coating the baits in a strike-enhancing powder. For both plastics, he used Nories Aging Bass Liquid, available in September, coated with Nories Bite Powder. 
He used this Bottom Up Breavor Micro Worm, rigged on a No. 2 Ryugi Talisman Hook, with a 3/8-ounce Ryugi Heavy Delta TG Weight
Ito also used this 2-inch Ecogear Rock Craw, rigged on a No. 1 Ryugi Talisman Hook, with a 3/8-ounce Ryugi Heavy Delta TG Weight. 
Kyoya Fujita (3rd; 102-5)
Fujita rotated through three different soft plastics for different looks to his drop-shot pattern. 
He used a 1.5-inch Jackall Revoltage RV-Bug, rigged to a No. 4 hook, with a 1/4-ounce weight. 
Using the same size hook and weight, Fujita also used a 2.5-inch Jackall Crosstail Shad.
He also used this 4.5-inch Jackall Yammy, rigged on the same size hook and weight as the previous rigs. 
Chris Johnston (2nd; 103-12)
Johnston kept it simple with a drop shot rig, focusing on shoals and points in Lake Ontario. 
He made it with a SPRO CJ Smasher, rigged on a No. 2 Gamakatsu Aaron Martens G-Finesse Drop Shot Hook, with a 3/8-ounce WOO! Tungsten Weight. 
Patrick Walters (1st; 105-0)
Walters rotated through a Ned rig and drop shots. He wisely chose to fish the river on Day 1 when boat positioning and lure control were challenges on the lake. He spent the remainder of the tournament mostly in the Canadian waters of Lake Ontario. 
He used this 1/4-ouncer VMC Ned Rig with shortened Zoom Fluke Stick.
Walters made drop shot rigs with a variety of soft plastics, rigged on No. 2 VMC Redline Drop Shot Hook, with 3/8- to 1/2-ounce drop shot weights.