Friday, September 16, 2011

FLW Tour Lake Champlain Open Day 2: Wolak and Yamamoto Share Lead

Wolak, Yamamoto each tally 41 pounds, 12 ounces
16.Sep.2011 by Brett Carlson

Gary still in charge but shares lead with Wolak.
(Photos: Brett Carlson FLW)

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – After two days of Walmart FLW Tour competition, there’s a tie at the top of the leaderboard. Gary Yamamoto still has the official lead thanks to his tiebreaking 24-4 stringer from day one. But David Wolak has the momentum. While Yamamoto sacked 17-8, Wolak caught 19-4 in what was a blustery day two on Lake Champlain.
With several top-10 finishes on Champlain, Wolak appears extremely confident. As he continues to employ his mixed-bag strategy, he has one thing on his mind – adapting to the changing conditions.
“My whole practice is focused on finding semi-protected areas for the different weather conditions we could have,” he explained. “I’m not just committed to one spot. Today I fished entirely new areas because of the conditions and I also wanted to let another spot reload.”
Wolak’s day-two limit consisted of three smallmouths and two largemouths. He fishes for the smallmouths first and then dedicates his afternoons for the greenies. This has earned him the nickname “mixmaster” on Tour.

“The smallies usually bite right off the bat. I think they’re more stable so I fish for them first and then I slow down and fish for largemouths.”
Dave Wolak has good history here.
Wolak fishes deeper water with a jig and a drop-shot for the smallmouths. For largemouths, he uses a ChatterBait, a spinnerbait and he flips the grass with a couple Jackall craws.
“That second-place finish I had back here in 2007 still haunts me. I want to win any tournament that pays $100,000 for first place. But I especially want to win on this lake.”
Although Yamamoto’s weight declined significantly, he still caught over 20 keepers. He fished the same areas he did on day one, but reversed the rotation.
“By 9:30 this morning I had all the fish I just weighed,” he said. “I just could not get another big bite. I fished the same type of stuff as yesterday. There were a lot more boats hitting some stuff in the area. Maybe that had an effect.”
Yamamoto said he probed docks and the back of a cove with a Senko and a ChatterBait. The Senko is his bread and butter, but he caught a few on the ChatterBait, which he tips with a Swim Senko trailer, in some shallow grass.
His 17-8 consisted of all largemouths.
“I left a whole area for tomorrow so that should be good. I still feel pretty confident.”
Byron up to third
Daryl Biron improved one spot from fourth to third after catching a limit of smallmouths worth 17 pounds, 10 ounces, bringing his two-day total to 38 pounds, 14 ounces. The South Windsor, Conn., pro wanted to fish for largemouths in the afternoon, but felt it wasn’t time efficient considering the blustery conditions.
“I was lucky to get what I had considering the wind,” he said. “I just couldn’t bring myself to leave and go to my largemouth spot because I didn’t want to forfeit all that fishing time. But all things considered I’m right about where I wanted to be.
“Today I had to upsize my weight on my drop-shots and Carolina rigs with that wind. I would just drift across the reef.”
Schmitt fourth
While it looks great on paper, fourth-place pro Bryan Schmitt nearly experienced disaster Friday. Around 10 a.m. he blew a powerhead and was dead in the water with 17 1/2 pounds in his livewell. Eventually Georgia pro Jeremy York took him and his co-angler back. In total, he said he lost roughly five hours of fishing time.
“It probably cost me an upgrade or two, but I’m just thankful to be back,” said Schmitt, who finished fourth at the Potomac River.
The Deale, Md., pro has weighed 9 largemouths and one smallie in two days for an opening-round total of 38 pounds, 3 ounces. He found a strong congregation of smallies during prepractice, but located even better largemouths during the official practice. He plans to continue targeting green fish tomorrow as that’s his comfort zone.
“I’m a grass fisherman. I came up here for the first time expecting large milfoil mats but that wasn’t the case. The few places I’ve found milfoil there are either a ton of fish in it or none at all. And today with the cold front I think the largemouths moved to the closest hard structure they could find.”
Canterbury fifth
Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury rose from eighth to fifth after catching a limit worth 18 pounds, 3 ounces. Canterbury weighed three largemouths and smallmouths both days of the tournament. At the halfway point, his cumulative weight sits at 37 pounds, 6 ounces.
“I start on smallmouths, but I spend most of my time junk fishing up shallow,” said the Springville, Ala., native. “I ran some new water this morning and caught one there, then I went to my three better areas.”
When Canterbury is targeting largemouths, he fishes grass and wood by flipping and throwing a ChatterBait or a spinnerbait. On the smallies, he’ll resort to a drop-shot. He noted that if he can find a grass mat with wood, it’s usually a largemouth goldmine.
Canterbury has been fishing the north end of the lake. But his spots are beat up and he’s contemplating running to Ticonderoga tomorrow despite not practicing there.
“I just don’t think I can win up here; I’ve beat those three areas to death.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros at the FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain after day two:
6th: Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., 37-2
7th: Brian Bylotas of Olyphant, Penn., 36-6
8th: J Todd Tucker of Moultrie, Ga., 36-3
9th: Joe Lucarelli of Center Harbor, N.H., 35-11
10th: Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Texas, 35-7

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