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InsideLine – BASSMASTER Elite Series – Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River

Category : HAWK TALK

The River or Lake

Coming into this event I didn’t have much experience on the St. Lawrence River or Lake Ontario. I felt I needed to spend my three day practice period focusing on one or the other, not both.  I picked the river because Lake Ontario, quite honestly, intimidated me.  A 65-mile run would be required just to reach the mouth of the lake from the tournament launch in Waddington, NY, which would significantly cut into my day’s fishing time.  The wind was also a factor.  If it blew significantly (which it often does on the lake) from the south or west it could make the lake difficult or near impossible to navigate and fish.  Ultimately, I felt the lake was too much of a gamble.

Practice Session

Photo: Steve Bowman

I launched in Chippewa Bay the first practice morning and started looking for rock with my Lowrance Structure Scan on island points and underwater humps in the main river.  The rock I found ranged from softball size to boulders as big as the hood of a car.  The smallmouth seemed to prefer the bigger rock, but not exclusively.  I discovered the most natural way to present my dropshot rig was to point the nose of my boat into the current and make a short cast in front of the boat.  I let the current sweep me down river while I occasionally touched my trolling motor to slow or straighten my drift.  Most of my bites came when my bait landed on the down current side of the rock.  I think the smallmouth positioned behind the rock because it created an eddy allowing them to get out of the current.  It was a perfect ambush spot to attack bait as it washed downriver.  I also kept a close eye on my sonar for any fish directly below the boat.  If I saw one I’d quickly reel in and drop it on top of the fish.  By the end of the day my best five weighed close to 20 pounds, so I decided to expand on the area the second day. Read the rest of the article >

Originally published over on the InsideLine online magazine
September 2, 2013

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