Day 2 notes from Champlain

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James Overstreet
If the AOY race were based on cumulative points for all events fished, a challenger for that title would be Bobby Lane Jr.

Lane’s hot streak

If the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race were based on cumulative points for all events fished, a challenger for that title would be Bobby Lane Jr. The Florida pro is setting two trails ablaze with hot finishes thus far at the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Eastern Opens.

In the Opens, Lane won the season opener on Lake Kissimmee, finished 16th at the next stop on Lake Norman, and currently holds down second place at Lake Champlain. Unofficially, he leads the Eastern Opens AOY standings.

On the Elite Series side, Lane has a pair of seventh-place finishes in the books at Kentucky Lake and Lake Travis in Texas.

To sum it all up, Lane has four Top 12 cuts between the tours, is 14th overall in AOY Elite Series points, and is on tap for one of the most successful seasons of his decade on the B.A.S.S. tours.

 

This time last year

“I’m still in shock.”

That was Aaron Martens’ opening statement when interviewed by the media immediately following his stunning victory at the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series held the week before the current Open underway on Lake Champlain.

Martens surged from 19th place on the final day with a phenomenal limit weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces. His was a rare feat due in part to a weather-shortened tournament on Champlain. The normal Top 12 championship round was eliminated by a cancelled day, and the Top 51 anglers fished for the title.

The big catch came from a grassy flat inhabited by smallmouth and largemouth, although it was the latter comprised the big catch. Martens fished a finesse worm in shallow water, opting to fish the same bait on a drop shot in water up to 30 feet earlier in the week.

Coincidentally, a mixed bag of fishing is in play this time, with largemouth accounting for the most size and numbers.

Headed south

This morning at Plattsburgh City Marina a large flotilla of boats were seen headed south, most likely to the largemouth-rich waters near the town of Ticonderoga, N.Y. The reasons are twofold: Calmer winds and a hot bite. Cross the scales in a tournament with a heavyweight bag of largemouth and it’s no secret where they likely came from on Champlain. That occurred more than a few times on Day 1. And the crowd down south will expand even more as more anglers are drawn to the temptation of making a final charge for more money, points and of course, qualify for Championship Saturday.

Big fish, green fish

On Day 1, a three-way tie was in play for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award. Breaking the 5-pound, 9-ounce tie was Pete Gluszek, the co-founder of the Bass University and a pro from New Jersey. Gluszek’s largemouth weighed 5-11 and held up as the biggest of the day.

Ton ‘o bass

On Day 1 more than a ton of bass caught by the pros crossed the scales. Total weight: 2,675 pounds, based on a total of 926 bass brought in. The catch accounted for 172 limits by the 196 pros competing. All of the top 10 anglers weighed limits over 20 pounds, the predicted weight needed to be in contention for Championship Saturday.

Blasts from the past

Lake Champlain ranks high on the favorites list of the pros and for good reason. Thursday’s box score was impressive but below average for Champlain. Here is the list of 10 previous tournaments held on Champlain, including winner and weight.

2015 Elite Series: Aaron Martens (58-12)

2016 Northern Open: Bryan Schmitt (59-13)

2014 Northern Open: Shin Fukae (56-13)

2010 Northern Open: Dave Wolak (54-01)

2009 Northern Open: Jason Knapp (56-03)

2007 Elite Series: Timmy Horton (83-10)

2006 Elite Series: Denny Brauer (80-03)

2005 Northern Open: Joe Lucarelli (56-07)

1999 Top 150: Michael Iaconelli (61-03)

1997 Top 100: Roland Martin (56-15)