opens Top lures at Oneida Lake 2022 Posted on July 11, 2022 Written by Christopher Decker Photography by Andy Crawford Brown fish ruled the day at the St. Croix Bassmaster Northern Open at Oneida Lake presented by Mossy Oak Fishing. But with smallmouth scattered largely between a postspawn and early summer pattern, plus different wind and cloud cover every day, the top anglers were constantly making adjustments to their game plan. Casey Smith of Victor, N.Y., used his local knowledge to find quality smallmouth and win on his home waters. An afternoon flurry in an area very sentimental to him on the final day was the catalyst for the win. Bags of 18-7, 18-12 and 18-10 gave Smith a three-day total of 55-13 and a berth in the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk. While traditional smallmouth presentations like drop shots, Ned rigs and jigs were popular choices amongst the Top 10, anglers utilized their own unique approach on Oneida Lake. With the bass scattered about the lake, multiple techniques came into play. A rotation of baits was necessary to figure out where quality bass were hiding. Need to revamp or retool your smallmouth game? Visit Basspro.com to find the selection of baits you need to make your next trip a success. Alex Wetherall (10th place, 38-5)Connecticut pro Alex Wetherall utilized two baits to notch his second Top 10 of the 2022 Northern Opens season. A Carolina rig was a big player for Wetherall in this event. He built his rig with a 1/2-ounce sinker, bead and clacker with an unnamed 3-inch crawfish bait secured with a 3/0 Lunker City Wide Gap Texposed hook. Wetherall also used a Megabass 110 jerkbait in TLC on shallow shoals or if the wind started to blow. He swapped out the original hooks for No. 6 Gamakatsu EWG treble hooks. Craig Townsend (9th place, 41-8)New Jersey’s Craig Townsend blew his boat motor in practice and had to idle an hour to get to his one area each day, but he still managed to put together a Top 10 performance. A Rico Popper in a shad pattern generated strikes for Townsend. He would switch to a bigger topwater if the waves kicked up. He also pitched Texas-rigged Strike King Rage Bug with a 1/2-ounce sinker and a Gamakatsu 4/0 EWG Superline hook. Grae Buck (8th place, 52-1)Grae Buck used two primary techniques to catch smallmouth on Oneida Lake. To generate reaction strikes when the sun got up, Buck burned a Bill Lewis MR12 crankbait in a perch color. When utilizing his Lowrance ActiveTarget, Buck pitched a drop shot with Z-Man Trick Shot on a Hayabusa DSR 132 HD size 2 drop-shot hook and a 1/4-ounce Angler Tungsten drop-shot weight. Kenta Kimura (7th place, 52-5)Bassmaster Elite Series angler Kenta Kimura used one primary technique to secure another Top 10 on the Northern Opens. Kimura dragged a weightless Berkley Powerbait Jago Rocket through the structure to generate bites. He rigged it on a 5/0 Ryugi Double Edge hook and cut the barb off for fish care purposes. Kimura would cast 50 yards ahead of the structure and drift back over it and his casts would last up over 10 minutes. Jacopo Gallelli (6th place, 52-5)Jacopo Gallelli rotated through three different baits to secure a top finish. Gallelli dragged a green pumpkin or Okie craw colored Molix Freaky Flip on a Carolina rig to mimic crawfish. He built his rig with a 5/8-ounce sinker and a BKK Nemesis 1/0 hook. He also generated topwater strikes with an old school Rapala Skitter Pop in a shad pattern. Gallelli’s finesse presentation was a BKK Ned style jig head paired with a Molix Caleo Craw. Don’t forget to visit Basspro.com to stock up on all of your smallmouth needs! Josh Summerville (5th place, 52-7)Pennsylvania’s Josh Summerville rotated through three different baits to land in the top five at Oneida. When conditions were clear and calm, he pitched a 1/8-ounce or a 3/32-ounce OutKast Feider Fly hair jig to the bass he could see cruising. To help with castability, he added a piece of a Berkley MaxScent worm for additional weight. He dragged a purple and brown 3/8-ounce Keitech Football jig with a Poor Boys Erie Darter trailer. Summerville also used an X Zone Finesse Slammer in green pumpkin purple gold flake on a drop-shot rig. A VMC no. 2 hook and a 1/4-ounce teardrop style weight completed the rig. Cody Meyer (4th place, 53-3)Cody Meyer didn’t generate many bites, but the three baits he used caught the quality he needed for a good finish. Meyer used a perch/bluegill colored Evergreen FA-87 jerkbait around smallmouth feeding on perch around grass lines. For topwater action, Meyer threw an Evergreen One’s Bug popper around standing grass clumps with smaller bait fish. The majority of his damage, however, came drop shotting a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm in green pumpkin/watermelon laminate. He rigged the bait on an Owner Cover Shot No. 1 3/8-ounce with a 1st Contact Tungsten weight. Coop Gallant (3rd place, 53-7)Canadian Coop Gallant used his smallmouth expertise to notch a top three finish with three baits. Gallant caught several key bass on a Shimano World Pop, a transparent bait with the flash boost inside. He would also use a Shimano World Minnow Flash Boost jerkbait in black gold. The bass would eat it on the pause in 8 to 13 feet of water. Gallant also used an X Zone Lures Hot Shot Minnow in green pumpkin gold flake on a drop-shot rig. He rigged it on a size 2 Gamakatsu drop-shot hook and a 3/8-ounce teardrop weight. He could see the bass on his forward-facing sonar, and he found a heavier weight would generate more of a reaction bite. Liam Blake (2nd place, 53-13)A Syracuse, N.Y., Native, Liam Blake put his local knowledge to work and fell just short of his first Opens win. Blake threw a 1/8-ounce Brown Dog Tackle Black Marabou Hair Jig with a Senko trailer for added mass and weight. He also drug a homemade 1/2-ounce green pumpkin football jig with a 2/0 Owner hook paired with a Strike King Baby Rage Craw. Around grass he used a 4-inch green pumpkin/purple copper Senko on a 2/0 Gamakatsu Superline hook with a 1/4-ounce drop-shot weight. Casey Smith (1st place, 55-13)Casey Smith used two main techniques to seal the victory on Oneida Lake. Smith threw a Z-Man TRD in green pumpkin goby on a 1/8- or 1/6-ounce Jewel jig head depending on the depth and how hard the wind was blowing. He also threw a 1/2-ounce homemade football jig with a Strike King Baby Rage Craw trailer in green pumpkin.