On Wednesday July 18th, Benji and I headed over to Ben Woo's house where we worked on Ben's Charger, fine tuning some areas before the event. Soon after, Ben and I loaded my gear and we were off to the Pre-Tournament meeting in Plattsburgh where we saw some big names fishing the event, including Michael Iaconelli, JT Kenney, Joe Lucarelli, Ish Monroe, Dave Lefebre, Dave Wolak, Jacob Powroznik, and Gaspare Costabile. I met my boater for the first day and learned what we would be doing. I felt confident because we would be fishing the same pattern that I established during the pre-fish, however, in different areas. Ben and I headed out to grab a quick bite and then back to the hotel to rig our rods for the next morning. My goal for the event was to try and duplicate the areas we were fishing in pre-fish and continue with the pattern that we established.
When the alarm went off at 4am I sprung out of bed with the realization that I will be fishing my first FLW Tournament! However, the tournament did not go as planned. The cold front that came through the night before, shutdown the areas we were fishing in the northern end during pre-fish. I rigged my rods with Swimbaits, Drop Shot Rigs, Spinnerbaits, Senkos and Jigs. It did not take long for me to figure out the fish, quickly hooking up on the swimbait, however, the fish were few and far between. I managed to catch a couple more on the senko and drop shot weeding through many 10 inch bass just to catch a couple moe 15 inch fish, what were decent fish that day.
I caught my fish that day on the swimbait texas rigged on a 4/0 D&M Custom Baits Worm Hook with a 1/4oz. Cajun tackle House Baby Toe Tungsten Worm Weight. The reason why I downsized from the 3/8oz. to the 1/4oz. is because of the cold front that came through the area the day before. I was throwing this this rig on the 7'2MH Cumara rod and Citica 200E reel spooled with 15lb fluorocarbon. I was throwing this rig for the most of the day and the lightweight feture of the Cumara made it effortless!
I also caught a good number of fish on the Drop Shot rig with a Bass Magnet Lures Twitch and the BML Quiver Stick wacky rigged with the K&J Tackle Wacky RIG'R Fishing Tool. With the small fish that we were around, I was losing a lot of baits and
the Wacky RIG'R saved me lots of baits and was probably the reason why Mike Nabulsi did not get a call with an order for the next day!
I was able to scramble out a 5 bass limit weighing 7.07lbs, which put me out of contention for a cheque, in 100th place. I kept my head high with high hopes for Day 2 as I heard we were going to Ti!
I was excited to hear that I was going to be fishing Ticonderoga, because that is where majority of the top anglers in the event were fishing, and the fish were on fire! I rigged my Shimano rods with my favourite jigs, punch rigs, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and senkos! I did not film this day with my GoPro as I told myself I had to focus just on the fishing with the limited time we had to fish. Ticonderoga was a long run, well over an hour, one way and usually longer but the weather decided to co-operate that day!
I managed to boat three fish early in the boat on the Bass Magnet Lures 5" Quiver Stick in the Black colour and the D&M Custom Baits Black and Blue 1/2oz. Arkie Jig! Unfortunately those were the only fish I boated, apart from the many Pike, due to the circumstances I was in.
It really hit me on this day how outstanding the Crucial rods are, I was using the 6'8M Crucial Spinning Jig and Worm to throw my stick baits, and the 7'2MH Jig and Worm Casting to flip my jigs. If you are ever are at a store considering purchasing a Shimano Crucial rod, do not hesitate! You will not be dissapointed!
My three fish weighed 5.11lbs and kept me in the 100th spot, and my total for both days was 13.2lbs.
I had a great time at this event despite the poor finish! I got to spend countless hours on the water with friends and lots of time fishing along side and talking to some of the biggest names in the industry!
I would like to thank all of my phenominal sponsors for giving me this opportunity. Without them, I would not have been able to experience a trip of a lifetime like this!