Find the gobies, find the bass

WADDINGTON, N.Y. — Lure selection for the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Divisional this week on the St. Lawrence River will be pretty simple, according to Chris Flint, a competitor in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens presented by Allstate. The New York pro recommends choosing some type of soft plastic minnow bait on a drop shot rig for smallmouth bass in deep water and a spinnerbait for shallow fish.

“The Xzone Lures Slammer always dominates up there in green and purple patterns that imitate a goby,” said Flint, who attaches the lure to a drop shot rig. “A spinnerbait is good if you get over the right chunk of grass with a rock mixture and if the wind is pushing up on it pretty good.” He recommends a white-and-chartreuse skirt with gold willowleaf blades.

Flint said he predicts most of the St. Lawrence smallmouth will be feeding heavily on gobies hanging around rockpiles, shoals and drops in depths of 20 to 50 feet.

“I am sure that’s where the winning pattern will come out of,” he said. “You can get shallow fish that time of year, but you won’t get as many of them.”

Current and wind will play key roles during the divisional. “The current and the wind position the gobies, so that makes you have to adjust accordingly and get over the top of those fish in the right area,” Flint said.

“I expect there will be one or two of the days where the wind will really blow. So you will have days when guys will come in with some really big bags and then if you get one of those windy days it can really knock down the weights, especially if the guys can’t figure out how to adjust their baits in that current.”

River facts

Forage base — gobies

Length — 744 miles

Average channel depth — 41 feet

Expected water clarity — 20 feet of visibility

Dominant structure/cover — rockpiles and shoals, channel drops

Predicted winning weight — 60 pounds, 8 ounces