Fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series, and the tournaments I fished before I qualified, has been a real opportunity. I’ve been blessed to see this country up close and to fish the best bass waters she has to offer.
I have to be honest about something, though. No matter where I’ve gone or where I’ve fished, I’ve never been anywhere that compares to the St. Lawrence River out of Waddington, N.Y.
And my opinion about that isn’t because of the bass fishing there, although it is unbelievable. My opinion is based on the whole package. It’s like a Disney World for adults.
We’ll talk about the fishing first.
When you wet a line up there you never know what you’re going to catch. I’ve been there three or four times and I’ve caught perch, walleye, musky, rock bass, pike and carp. They’re all healthy and big within their species. It’s incredible. It’s just plain fun to fish that river.
I’ve caught catfish, too, but I don’t know for sure what kind they are. They’re black, big and bad to the bone. I’m guessing they’re flatheads, but they don’t look like the flatheads I’ve caught in other places, especially here in North Carolina. If anyone out there knows what they are, throw me a post. I’d like to get the straight skinny on them.
What can I say about the smallmouth? They’re golden-brown with no marks on them. Most of them look like they’ve never seen a lure before. That’s because they probably haven’t. It seems like the local anglers target perch and walleye mostly.
But even if the fishing was slow I’d still say the St. Lawrence River was a favorite place to go fishing. The beauty of the river takes your breath away. In places the water will have a green tint to it, other stretches it will look blue. Sometimes it’s just clear. All of it has a translucent, clear look to it. It reminds me of the Caribbean.
I remember one tournament when I was running up the river and saw a white patch in front of me. I swerved and backed off the throttle right away. I thought there was a rock in front of my boat. There was, but it was in 23 feet of water.
The scenery is gorgeous, too. There are islands that create a tranquil effect on anyone around them, and the castles and historical buildings get bigger and prettier the farther upstream you go. It’s a pleasure just to ride around and look.
The last thing I want to mention is Waddington, N.Y., itself. The people there are super nice and the anglers are interested in what we’re doing. I get a kick out of them when they want to know why we’re catching smallmouth. It’s like it doesn’t make sense to them. After all, there are walleye and perch out there. You can eat them.
I can’t wait for the middle of August when we go there to fish the 2019 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River. I’ve won two B.A.S.S. professional level tournaments in my career. I can only imagine what it would feel like to win my third on the St. Lawrence River. I love that place.