WADDINGTON, N.Y. — Timothy Dube employed a divide-and-conquer strategy to sack up a four-bass limit of 23 pounds, 3 ounces to lead Day 1 of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Northeast Regional at St. Lawrence River.
Anchoring his bag with a 6-7 that leads the big bass standings, the Nashua, N.H., pro enters Day 2 with a lead of 1-1 over second-place Billy Gilbert of Hamburg, N.Y.
“That 6-7 was my second fish of the day, so that really settled some nerves,” Dube said.
Making an upriver run to the Alexandria Bay area, Dube targeted spawning fish. This region, he said, enhanced his opportunities by offering the fish more favorable habitat.
“The main-river current gets broken up more there than anywhere else, so they spawn in more places,” Dube said. “Every single fish I caught was on a bed today. They were in 8 to 12 feet.”
Thanks to the St. Lawrence River’s exceptionally clear water, Dube said he could see each of his fish. Using a Flogger — an underwater viewing device — to inspect each area in practice helped him understand the bottom composition and how each fish was positioned.
“I only went to four beds today, and those were the fish I weighed,” Dube said. “Those were the biggest four I found in practice, so I knew those were the ones I was going to start with.”
Dube caught all of his fish on drop-shot rigs. He showed the fish a variety of baits and also varied his leader below the hook.
“It depends on the mood of the fish; some of them like the bait up and some of them like it down,” Dube said. “I had two different setups, one with an 18-inch leader and one with a 12-inch. Both of them produced fish, and the 6-7 bit (the drop shot with the longer leader).”
Gilbert, who weighed in 22-2, made a long run up to the tournament boundary at Clayton, N.Y. Focusing on bed fish, he topped his effort with a 5-10.
Gilbert caught most of his fish on a drop shot with 2.8-inch Keitech FAT Swing Impact. He also threw a small swimbait on a ball-head jig.
“One of the keys was hitting them with the drop-shot weight just to irritate them,” Gilbert said.
The swimbait presentation yielded one of Gilberts’ fish, and the drop shot yielded the other three fish that comprised his Day 1 bag.
Dave Andrews of Hudson, Ma., is in third place with 21-10. Mostly targeting bedding fish, Andrews caught a limit early and then made one big cull around noon.
Andrews caught his bed fish on a drop shot and threw a hair jig for cruising fish. Precision casts, he said, made a big difference, and one of his bed fish required 30 minutes of focused effort.
John Giran of Elizabeth, Pa., leads the co-angler division with 14-1. Giran anchored his bag with a 5-7.
Larry Taylor of Blades, Del., holds the big bass lead among co-anglers with a 5-13.
The New York B.A.S.S. Nation leads the team competition with a combined weight of 289-7. The New Hampshire B.A.S.S. Nation follows in second with 272-10, and the Pennsylvania B.A.S.S. Nation is third with 265-11.
Thursday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6 a.m. ET from Whittaker Park. The weigh-in will be held back at the park at 2 p.m.
The event is being hosted by the Village of Waddington and St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. This tournament is supported by a Market New York grant from I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism awarded as part of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.