Rain could help some, hinder others making long run

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Steady, spitting rain descended on the Plattsburgh Boat Basin from the west at 5:20 this morning, creating an eerie sunrise over the Vermont mountaintops as anglers prepped for Day Two of the Elite Series on Lake Champlain.Thunder was only occasional and benign enough from the take-off to prevent much more than a scramble for raingear as blast-off neared. Anglers with largemouths on their minds — whether far or near — were anxious to get after it as the orange and pink hues to the east were overtaken by a blanketing, watery gray.

 This will definitely increase the low light period, which is what I need," said Dean Rojas, who says he's staying close on a fairly reliable topwater frog pattern. "Yesterday they didn't really bite that well for me."

 Rojas says conditions such as what were seen at the launch is exactly what is keeping him from making the long run south.

 "In all my years of fishing this lake in tournaments, there's only been a few who have been able to make that run all four days," said Rojas, who tallied 16-11 for 15th place on Day One. "There's enough around here to keep me busy. You don't want to spin yourself out here. If you come in with 11 or 12 pounds, you're done. Guys will just leave you."

 Day one leader Steve Kennedy (21-6) says he found a much better bite in the rainy and overcast practice period in his area, which was about as far south as anyone dared go on Day One. The longer fishing day, he says, has relegated any thoughts of playing it safe to the backburner."We're launching at 5:30 and check-in for the first flight is not until 2:50. I'm in the middle flight, so it gives me about 10 hours of fishing time," Kennedy said. "Even if it takes you two hours to get there and two hours to get back, that's more than enough time to catch 'em.

 "You've still got to have a little time to build that bag, but in the area I'm in, I can get 13, 14 pounds in an hour. This weather doesn't really change anything for me. They say the wind comes out of the south, so that'll help coming back."

 John Murray managed to keep within striking distance (14-15 for 46th place) with a topwater pattern — the kind with treble hooks — far to the south and says he'll throw some baits with a little more meat on their bones today in trying to coax a big bite "I threw some smaller baits yesterday and I think that kept my weight down. The key is to get that five- or six-pound bite," said Murray. "I also probably gave up on the largemouths a little early. I thought I had some big smallmouths on the way in and couldn't catch 'em."

 The weather and long boat ride notwithstanding, Murray says he expects most all of the 40 boats making the run south on Day One to do so again on Friday."Anybody's who fished it in practice is pretty much committed," he said. "Even if it takes you two hours to get there, it's worth it."

 Editor's note: Check in daily during the tournament for live video of the weigh-ins and a realtime leaderboard at 3 p.m. ET Thursday through Saturday. ESPNOutdoors.com will air Hooked Up, the live Internet shows, on Sunday at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon ET on Sunday. The 45-minute Hooked Up show begins at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, leading into the final live weigh-in and a realtime leaderboard at 3:45 p.m. ET.


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