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Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence Recap w/ Bob Downey

Published: Updated:

Recap with Bob for St. Lawrence

  • St. Lawrence River

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  • Z-Man Jack Hammer Chatterbait

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  • Z-Man RaZor ShadZ

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  • VMC Dominator Marabou Jig

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  • Storm Largo Shad

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  • VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig Head

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  • Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter Jr.

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  • Berkley Flat Worm - PowerBait MaxScent

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  • WOO! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight - Tear Drop

    WOO! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight - Tear Drop

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  • VMC Finesse Half Moon Jig

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  • All-Terrain Tackle A.T. Mighty Jig

    All-Terrain Tackle A.T. Mighty Jig

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  • Z-Man TRD TicklerZ

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  • Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter Jr.

    Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter Jr.

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  • Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel - EOL

    Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel - EOL

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    $159.99 – $199.99$199.99

  • VMC Dominator Marabou Jig

    VMC Dominator Marabou Jig

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  • Storm Largo Shad

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All Featured Products

  • Z-Man Jack Hammer Chatterbait

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    Jump to 0:59

  • Z-Man RaZor ShadZ

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    $4.99

    Jump to 1:04

  • Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics 5" Caffeine Shad

    Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics 5" Caffeine Shad

    $5.99

    Jump to 1:32

  • VMC Dominator Marabou Jig

    VMC Dominator Marabou Jig

    $3.49

    Jump to 1:53

  • Storm Largo Shad

    Storm Largo Shad

    $4.99

    Jump to 2:26

  • VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig Head

    VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig Head

    $4.49

    Jump to 2:29

  • Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter Jr.

    Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter Jr.

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  • Berkley Flat Worm - PowerBait MaxScent

    Berkley Flat Worm - PowerBait MaxScent

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  • WOO! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight - Tear Drop

    WOO! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight - Tear Drop

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  • VMC Finesse Half Moon Jig

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    Jump to 4:38

  • All-Terrain Tackle A.T. Mighty Jig

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  • Z-Man TRD TicklerZ

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    Jump to 4:48

  • Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter Jr.

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    Jump to 5:37

  • Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel - EOL

    Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel - EOL

    $159.99 – $199.99$199.99

    Jump to 6:12

  • VMC Dominator Marabou Jig

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  • Storm Largo Shad

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    Jump to 7:08

Video transcription

Hey everyone, Bob Downey here. Just got back to the Twin Cities from the St. Lawrence River. Had a great event out there for our 7th stop of the Bassmaster Elite Series. And going to go over a little bit of what I found in practice, how the tournament unfolded for me. Had a top 10 finish out there. Was second place going into the last day and fell a bit. But still, good week out there on the St. Lawrence River. I love that place. It's full of big brown fish. It really showed out. We had really calm conditions for most of the tournament. So that allowed guys to really move around a lot. And we could fish both the US and Canada. We could fish the river section and Lake Ontario. So guys really spread out, which I think helped with the weights, too. We weren't fishing on top of each other so much as we had in past years.

But for practice, the first day of practice, really, the shallow bite was really good for me. We had some windier conditions. I covered water with just a Jackhammer, chatterbait. Had a Razor ShadZ on there for a trailer. It's a really good system. Basically put a Razor ShadZ on at the beginning of the day. And you don't change it at all. I'd catch a lot of fish on it without that thing tearing up. Was able to cover a lot of ground and find active fish up shallow in that three to eight foot range for the most part. Had a good day. Found a good zone. It really allowed me to key in on a certain zone in the river section. Also threw a fluke style bait, the Caffeine Shad. I don't think it's really much of a secret anymore with smallmouth. If you don't catch them on it, it shows you a lot of times where those fish are. You can mark a dot and come back later and try and catch it under different conditions. So that was really key for me, too, to show me some fish up shallow.

When you get the calm conditions, the hair jig was another good bait for me. Once again, if they eat it great, if they don't, if they come up and nip it, there's fish in the area so you can mark a waypoint and come back. But that shallow bite was really key day one.

Day two of practice, I wanted to find some kind of plan B stuff, so I fished off shore a little bit more. Went back to some history that I'd found in prior years. And just typical deep stuff, drop shot, ned rig, tube. Found some good areas deep and some good areas shallow again. Threw a swimbait a little bit more that day, just a little Largo Shad, three inch with a 3/16 ounce hybrid head. You can cover a lot of ground with it. We had to touch calmer conditions that day, so chatterbait bite for whatever reason wasn't going as well. So that swimbait played a big role in me finding some more shallow stuff.

And then day three of practice, I went back to the zone that I was in on day one, but I fished off shore more. I didn't fish shallow, I wanted to find a plan B kind of in that same zone. So typical off shore stuff, drop shot, net, a little bit of tube. So that's what I found in practice, had a good practice, had 20 pounds each day, which come to find out was pretty average out there.

Day one of the tournament, I went to the off shore stuff that I found on the third day of practice. Now I was drifting shoals for the most part in the river. So there was current, these were current oriented fish. Any of the shoals that had a little point or a hump that stuck out into the main channel a little bit more than the rest of the structure I was fishing was really key. Caught all my fish day one in the morning, drop shotting a Poor Boy's Erie Darter, three inch green pumpkin. In fact, I probably weighed 90% of my fish in the tournament on that bait. Threw some MaxScent stuff, some Berkeley Flatworms caught a few fish, but this Poor Boy's really outshined everything else that I was throwing throughout the course of the week. And his typical drop shot set up, just a 3/8 ounce teardrop style weight. And then with VMC, we're working on a drop shot hook that's gonna be coming out next year. So I was using a number one Split Shot, drop shot hook from VMC. Just knows hooking that bait and dragging it and drifting it on those shoals. And you gotta get up current of the area that you're gonna drift spot lock, get your bait out there, let it hit bottom, and then take it off spot lock, and then you can slowly drift over those pieces of structure. And that's where those fish were sitting. And if there was more of them down there, you could actually spot lock there and pick up like a Ned style bait. There's VMC, Ned heads. There's the All-Terrain Tackle Mighty Heads. Either of them were working in that 3/16 or a quarter ounce range. And then I was using the TRD TicklerZ on that Ned. And if I would see them on Mega Live, I'd just spot lock and I'd quick throw that Ned down there and get down to him quick and be able to catch a lot of those fish they'd fall right down to the bottom. And you'd have to take advantage of those flurries. I didn't wanna be using my big motor and getting above them and drifting back over them and spending time doing that if they were right down there and I could see them. I could drop that bait down there and get them to eat. So that was day one. I think I filled out my limit up shallow on a swimbait.

Day two, I drifted that same shole and they weren't really there. So I moved over to the other side of it, a couple hundred yards down. And in five casts, I had 24 pounds. Once again, on the drop shot with the Poor Boys and then a few on the Ned. When I'd see him on live, you could just drop it down and they'd follow it to the bottom. Same drop shot set up, same Ned. Just using a 7'0" medium action, 7'0" medium power, fast action, St. Croix. It's what I've used for years for drop shot fishing, I think is just the perfect parabolic bend. It's not super stiff, but it's not a noodle either. You can get a good hook in them and still be able to fight them really well. And then just a 3000 size to two LT spinning reel is what I was using for drop shot in Ned.

Day three, same deal. Once again, went to that same shole. First forecast, I think I had like 22 pounds for probably 21 pounds for my best four and then I had to go up shallow and actually filled out my limit on a hair jig caught a four pounder and had another great day, had 25 pounds that day. Day three went back to the same darn shole again. They weren't really there. I think I caught three off of it and then I kind of had to scramble and was a little bit limited in how I could move around that day compared to the first three days. Filled out my limit ultimately up shallow. I think I did catch one that day or weighed one that day on the Caffeine Shad and then weighed another one on swimbait up shallow too. So kind of, you know, had a deep program and a shallow program all week. The deep program was really where I caught most of my weight on drop shot in Ned. And then up shallow, I just fished the conditions. You know, if it was super windy, I was throwing chatterbait, spinnerbait a little bit, if it was calmer and a little bit of ripple, that Caffeine Shad was real good. And then if it was just slick calm, I'd throw the hair jig and then sometimes if they would follow the hair jig and when he did, I'd follow up with a drop shot and I could catch them that way too. So it was really key to have kind of a two prong approach and really had one good spot in the river that really, you know, bailed me out each morning and then would fill out my limits in the afternoon.

So super fun week, caught a pile of fish. That place is unbelievable out there. I wish everybody who's a smallmouth nut could be able to go and fish out on the St. Lawrence River. It's like you're in the Bahamas and you're site fishing for big brown fish. It's just an absolute blast. So that's my recap for the St. Lawrence River. Had a great week out there. I really hope we go back next year and get back after it and try and catch some more big smallies. (upbeat music) 

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