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Hawk Talk – St. Lawrence River Elite Event
Category : HAWK TALK
I fished the St. Lawrence River my first season on the Elite Series and had a great tournament targeting smallmouth with a dropshot rig, so I didn’t see any reason to change my game plan for this event, especially since we’d be fishing close to the same time of year. While the River can produce nice largemouth, I knew it would take big smallmouth limits each day to win the event.
I began my practice around the 1000 Islands area near Clayton, NY and was amazed how deep and clear the water was in this section of the river. I could easily see down 20 feet deep which allowed me to spot several smallmouth sitting on the top of underwater shoals, but most appeared under 3 pounds. I knew it would take an average of 4 to 5 pound fish to win the event, so I kept searching.
When I reached Chippewa Bay the river widened and the amount of shoals exploded like black spots on a Dalmatian. I stopped and idled over and around each shoal looking for smallmouth, but I wasn’t seeing any on my sonar. I figured with the spawn well over there’d be more deep fish than I was seeing. This should have been my first hint the smallmouth weren’t set up deep in numbers like they were last time we were here.
I continued to work my way downriver reaching the Brockville area, the area I caught my solid limits in 2013, and was disappointed to see the area covered with boats—both competitors and recreational anglers. Despite the crowds I spent the remainder of the day in the area catching four smallmouth between 3 3/4 and 5 pounds. These were the size fish it would take to do well, but the lack of bites concerned me.