Saturday, September 17, 2011

FLW Tour Lake Champlain Open Day 3: Wolak Rises to Top With Smallmouth and Largemouth

Wolak’s 19-pound, 13-ounce stringer pushes him into the lead
17.Sep.2011 by Brett Carlson
Dave needed both types of bass to take the lead.
(Photo: Brett Carlson FLW)
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The calm winds experienced on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain allowed the pros to efficiently bounce around from spot to spot. This was advantageous to those chasing mixed bags – in particular David Wolak and Daryl Biron. While Wolak overtook the lead from Gary Yamamoto, Byron sacked a 20-pound stringer to join what looks like a three-horse race.
Like he has each of the first two days, Wolak started on his smallmouth honeyhole and cobbled together a 16-pound limit. Wolak described it as a spot with moving water that has a deep depression that runs 18 to 21 feet deep. To catch those smallies, he uses a drop shot with Jackall Super Cross Tail Shad and occasionally a jig. Today he spent approximately two hours smallie fishing before heading north to Missisquoi Bay to target largemouths.
“Today I weighed in four largemouths and one smallmouth,” said Wolak, the North Carolina pro who is originally from Pennsylvania. “I grew up mixing like this and I really have a knack for it. I caught two of the largemouths up in Missisquoi and two in another area.”

For largemouths, the pro leader uses a ChatterBait, a spinnerbait and he flips grass with a Jackall Sasuteki Craw.
Despite the four largemouth upgrades, Wolak has no plans to abandon his smallmouth spot tomorrow.
“I need to get that steady base because the largemouths are hit and miss. My big one today I barely landed; it was completely wrapped up in weeds.”
Wolak said that his second-place finish at the 2007 event on Champlain still gives him nightmares. He wants to win tomorrow not only to avenge that memory but also because Champlain is special to him. His three-day cumulative weight is 61 pounds, 9 ounces, which gives him a 2-pound, 8-ounce lead over Yamamoto and Biron.
“This is the best I’ve ever done on Champlain in terms of numbers and size. I’m just going to put my head down and fish as hard as possible tomorrow. I’ve been in this position before. I just need to stay focused.”
Yamamoto slips to second

Despite catching a solid 17 pounds, 5 ounces, Yamamoto slipped to second. He said he was pleased with his effort and is looking forward to tomorrow.
As for his pattern, the legendary bait designer is throwing his namesake Senko around docks. But the devil is in the details as Yamamoto is weighting it a particular way to give it a different action. In addition, he’s using a non-traditional hook. Occasionally, he’ll throw a ChatterBait tipped with a Swim Senko around some grass in the cove.
“I think I need to break the record again tomorrow to beat Dave,” he said. Yamamoto’s 24-4 stands as the current Lake Champlain record.
Byron retains third

Despite catching a 20-pound, 3-ounce stringer, Daryl Biron didn’t budge on the leaderboad. He did tie Yamamoto for second, but Yamamoto owns the tiebreaker.
While he solely targeted smallmouths yesterday in the blustery weather, Biron started on largemouths today and caught a 5-pounder within the first 30 minutes.
“I really just wanted to try some green, untested areas,” said the Connecticut pro. “I caught that big one and then soon after I lost a giant. Then I moved to another area and didn’t have much luck. After that I moved to my next spot and Glenn Browne was already sitting there.”
Rather than play bumper boats, Biron opted to go smallmouth fishing.
“We caught the crap out of them. My smallmouth spot was just loaded. I thought about going back to a largemouth spot but they were biting so good I couldn’t leave. I didn’t want to miss out on a 4-pound smallmouth bite.”
When he targets brown bass, Biron uses a Carolina rig and when he’s largemouth fishing he’s mostly skipping docks.
“I still think I have an outside shot because I have both smallmouths and largemouths going. The mixed bag is the way to win here.”
Browne fourth

When Biron encountered Browne, it was likely that he saw him jacking fish. Browne caught over 20 keepers Saturday en route to a 19-pound, 2-ounce limit.
The Band Aid pro is fishing up near Missisquoi targeting mostly trees and some grass.
“This area is really only good because the water is up,” said Browne, a renowned flipper.
The Ocala, Fla., pro is using either a 3/4-ounce or a 1-ounce black and blue jig. His three-day total weight is 56 pounds, 4 ounces.
“I’m pretty confident I can catch them tomorrow but the guys in front of me would really have to hit the wall for me to win. I’m around the right stuff.”
At the conclusion of this event, Browne will be the points leader from the Opens.
Canterbury fifth

Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury caught an 18-pound, 2-ounce limit Saturday and like Biron didn’t budge on the leaderboard. He’s tallied 55 pounds, 8 ounces over the first three days.
Canterbury is basically junk fishing with a jig, a ChatterBait and a spinnerbait. He’s catching both largemouths and smallmouths and is fishing mostly shallow on the north end of the lake. Today’s limit consisted of four largemouths and one smallmouth.
“Each day I’ve caught a mixed bag over 18 pounds, but I still think I need to find some new water. But this is a pattern so I’m not afraid to fish new water.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros at the FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain after day three:
6th: J Todd Tucker of Moultrie, Ga., 52-11
7th: Kyle Mabrey of McCalla, Ala., 52-11
8th: Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., 52-6
9th: Brian Bylotas of Olyphant, Pa., 52-5
10th: Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., 52-2

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