Wind and rain hit Champlain

COLCHESTER, Vt. — Yesterday’s weather was nearly perfect for smallmouth fishing during the B.A.S.S Federation Nation Eastern Divisional presented by Skeeter and Yamaha, but today will be a different story at Lake Champlain.

Yesterday was sunny with light winds and the bite was on as all but one of the 96 competitors weighed in fish.  Smallmouth and largemouth were being caught on a wide range of lures from spinnerbaits to drop shot rigs, but the dock talk last night focused on the weather as the anglers kept checking their smart phones for the latest forecast.

Rumors were swirling about strong winds and rain for Day Two, which would wreak havoc for the contestants fishing the wide open spaces of Lake Champlain. Tournament leader Jamie Hartman said he slept “horrible” last night because he was fretting about the forecast. 

“It is what it is, though,” he said. “I am not getting too nervous about it. We have two more days left to go. I am going to go out and do the exact same thing (as yesterday) except I am going to slow down.”  

Hartman bagged 19 pounds, 6 ounces of smallmouth yesterday but he has no expectations of how much weight he will catch today.

“I never expect, not with smallmouth since they are so touchy,” he said.

The weather forecast proved to be right as the wind and rain started about 25 minutes before take-off. Connecticut angler Bob Jeffrey caught 17 pounds of smallmouth to move into fourth place, but he worries about how the wind will affect his game plan.

“I think the fish will still be there and be catchable,” he said.  “Whether the boat can stay on them will be the hard part or if we can even get to them because we were 10 to 12 miles away (from the take-off area).” 

Hartman had a 15-mile ride this morning to reach his first spot, and he was contemplating the safest route to take on the expected bumpy ride.

Runner-up Skip Sjobeck anticipates the rain, clouds and wind shouldn’t bother his tactics as he plans on throwing his XZone Lures Swammer swimbait again, a technique that helped him bring in an 18-10 limit yesterday.

“I don’t know how much weight I’ll have,” he said. “I plan on catching 15 (pounds) a day.”

Check out today’s weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. ET at Mallett’s Bay access to see if the foul weather turned off the bite or the contestants made the right adjustments to keep on catching Lake Champlain’s bass.   

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