The FLW tour is headed to Lake Champlain for the final stop of the 2019 regular season on June27. This time of year lines up perfectly with the smallmouth spawn and anglers will be faced with a multitude of decisions if they want to finish on top at this historic venue.
The first decision that needs to be made is whether to focus on Largemouth, Smallmouth or a combination of both.
In tournaments past during this time of year, anglers generally head north to look for bedding smallmouth in the Inland Sea/Missisquoi Bay areas or shoot down south to Ticonderoga in search of giant largemouth.
If anglers make the decision to head north, it’s key to locate as many bedding fish as possible and mark the exact location in hopes of returning to get them to bite. Catching a limit of 3 to 4 pound smallmouth is a sure way to make the cut. With catching a limit of smallmouth, you will hear a lot of anglers talk about getting those one or two big largemouth bites to propel them up the leader board.
FLW Pro, Austin Felix is hoping to capitalize on the spawning smallmouth. “The only reason I would fish for largemouth is if the weather doesn’t allow me to fish for smallmouth. High winds and storms will make it difficult to search for beds.”
Once the beds have been located, Felix will go to work with the combination of a tube, Ned rig, and drop shot to entice bedding bass to bite.
For anglers who decided to make the trip south and search for largemouth, this might be the year when a primary largemouth strategy takes the top spot. “The largemouth bite will pay off a little more than usual because the water is so high and there is more stuff for the largemouth to get into,” Felix said.
Largemouth are generally found in protected coves among shallower vegetation and requires more running around than the typical smallmouth strategy. With the lake being so big, anglers will most likely have to focus on a specific section and thoroughly understand that area.
For that strategy, expect to see flippen sticks and finesse stickbaits come into play.
Only time will tell for which species will propel anglers to the top of the leaderboard. Takeoff is at 6:30am EST from Plattsburgh City Marina. Full coverage of the event can be found at https://www.flwfishing.com/.