Saturday, July 31, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Tour St. Lawrence River Day 2: Cifuentes Claims Lead with 43-03lbs!

Canadian Erik Luzak 9th

Consistency key to Cifuentes climb into the lead. 
(Photo: MLF)


Press Release

Many anglers figured it’d take at least 20 pounds a day to compete for the win in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers event on the St. Lawrence. And after Day 1, 14 anglers had eclipsed the mark, with nine more within a pound of it to get the Savage Arms Stop 6 Presented by Abu Garcia off to a rollicking start.

Today, the number hitting the magic 20-pound mark got chopped hard.

Only six bags over 20 pounds crossed the stage today, and only five anglers have averaged that now for two days (six if you count Miles Howe being 1 ounce off).

It was a day of surviving strong, cold-front winds and some fickle smallmouth, and Joey Cifuentes survived the best to the tune of 18-14 today to get him to 43-3 for the event.

“Today was tough with the wind,” said the man many call “Cowboy.” “The fish were not biting really well. You want to bring your bait naturally with the current, but the wind was so bad and going against the current you couldn’t.

“Regardless, I’m on top and fishing Day 3. So, I’m pumped.”

Cifuentes is fishing deep humps in the Clayton area and got off to a strong start this morning with a pair of 4-pounders to get him around 17 pounds by the time he left his main area.

From there, he started trying different things, even going shallow to fish for largemouth at one point. While no green fish helped, he bounced around enough to keep culling up a few ounces at a time.  

Based on the rest of the field, the move shallow was the right call, as the majority of the bigger bags today came up shallow, especially once the sun popped out later in the day. That said, the majority of Cifuentes’ weight has come from those deep humps, and he admits it’ll be hard to leave them the rest of the event.

“I’m kind of zoned in on the deep deal,” Cifuentes said. “I just don’t know if my area is going to replenish. So, I’m going to start there [on Day 3], but I need to expand there. I’m going to have to find some new stuff. That’s just my gut.”

Fortunately, he feels he has plenty of new stuff to hit, as he has a number of areas and patterns from practice that he dabbled in today that produced fish. Still, the potential of his main area will play big in his mind.


Friday, July 30, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Tour St. Lawrence River Day 1: John Cox Smacks 24-12Lbs for slim lead!

Cox continues stellar year, Cifuentes ounces behind.
(Photo: MLF)


Press Release

Catching 24 pounds, 12 ounces of smallmouth in a day is a big deal. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime bag for most. The type of bag that should’ve put distance between John Cox and the rest of the field by a decent margin.

It didn’t. Not even a little. Welcome to the St. Lawrence River.

While Lake Ontario often steals the show for tournaments in the area, Day 1 of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers event showed that the river is hardly a slouch in terms of quality.

Aaron Britt cracked 20 pounds on the nose and didn’t make the Top 10 (he’s in 14th). And Todd Walters’ 18-pound bag squeaked him into the top 30.

So, circling back to Cox, yes, he had an incredible day; the best day of smallmouth fishing he says he’s ever had. However, it’s just a day here, and he knows it, especially since it was so unexpected.

“It’s crazy,” Cox said. “Both days of practice, I was like, ‘This is the worst practice I’ve ever had.’ Day two was so bad I loaded up at noon, went back to the hotel, took a nap, and then came back out at 5 and got a couple more bites.

“I don’t know why today was so different. I really just wanted to catch five because you don’t want to not catch five at this place. And I caught seven and they were just all big ones.”

If this story from Cox sounds familiar, it should. The man rarely has good practices and often finds things on the fly. Yet, it’s a pattern that routinely works for him, which should worry the rest of the field.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

2022 BASS Elite schedule features nine events across seven states

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — With this year’s 
Bassmaster Elite Series schedule barely written into the history books, B.A.S.S. officials are already looking toward a bright future with Tuesday’s announcement of the Elite Series slate for 2022.

The top professional bass fishing circuit in the world will once again kick off its season in warm, sunny Florida, with events on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Feb. 10-13, and the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Feb. 17-20.

From there, the trail will visit six more states in seven months while working its way to a season-ending event on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wis., Aug. 26-29. 

“We’re proud to have the kind of schedule that allows fans from so many areas to enjoy and celebrate the great sport of professional bass fishing,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “With events in seven states from Florida, north to New York, and west to South Dakota, it will be a true test of our anglers’ ability to compete on all types of fisheries.

“It’ll also provide an incredible variety of entertaining scenarios for our fans, both in attendance and watching live on the multiple platforms that are now available to them.”

2022 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule

Feb. 10-13, St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla.
Feb. 17-20, Harris Chain of Lakes, Leesburg, Fla.
March 4-6, Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, Lake Hartwell, Greenville, S.C.
March 17-20, Santee Cooper Lakes, Clarendon County, S.C.
April 7-10, Chickamauga Lake, Dayton, Tenn.
May 19-22, Lake Fork, Quitman, Texas
June 2-5, TBA
July 14-17, St. Lawrence River/1000 Islands, Clayton, N.Y.
Aug. 4-7, Make-up date
Aug. 18-21, Lake Oahe, Mobridge, S.D.

Aug. 26-29, Mississippi River, La Crosse, Wis.

This will mark the fourth-straight year the Elite Series has held its season-opener on the St. Johns River — a quintessential Florida fishery that features vast shoreline cover, big Florida-strain largemouth and breathtaking scenery with Spanish moss-covered trees, alligators and manatees. The 2021 event on the St. Johns was won by North Carolina rookie pro Bryan New with a four-day total of 79 pounds, 7 ounces.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Berkley PowerBait Gilly Wins Best of Show at 2021 ICAST

The new Berkley PowerBait Gilly, a soft, bluegill-shaped bait infused with the flavor of PowerBait, captured top honors in the ICAST 2021 New Product Showcase, winning the prestigious Best of Show award as voted on by international fishing media and retailers. With the win, the Gilly becomes the first bait to win the overall Best of Show award at ICAST, an award often dominated by electronics, rods and reels.

To win the award, the Gilly won the Best Freshwater Soft Bait on Day 1 of ICAST before competing against the 29 other best-in-category award winners on Day 2. In all, the PowerBait Gilly beat out hundreds of new products submitted into the awards showcase.
“Berkley’s commitment to innovation means every bait we make is the result of leading scientific research and constant testing in the labs and on the water truly making it a bait made by anglers. We’re proud of this award and for the recognition of this extremely important team win,” said Berkley CEO Harlan Kent. “And as science-fueled as the bait is, the Gilly is extremely accessible to anglers of all levels. Even new anglers will catch fish on this bait.”

Friday, July 23, 2021

ICAST 2021: ZMan's Chatterbait MiniMax

“This little blade really sings,” asserts Z-Man pro Luke Clausen, assessing the new, baby-sized bladed jig at the end of his line. After studying the lure’s physical assets, Clausen goes subsurface, contemplating how bass perceive the fresh-from-the-oven ChatterBait MiniMax on its levels of action and sound. 

“Everyone’s throwing ChatterBaits these days—and for good reason,” notes Clausen. “But that means bass eventually tune out the same baits and vibration, cast after cast, day after day. It’s been a major motivating factor driving the development of this new, bite-sized ChatterBait: to produce a subtler sound, profile and a vibe that stands apart from traditional bladed jigs.” 

From the first crank of the reel with Z-Man’s finely-honed ChatterBait MiniMax, lively tremors up the line sing an alternative tune— albeit, a few octaves above the usual bladed jig melody. As Clausen notes, too, its downsized blade and frame yield advantages such as the ability to burn the bait like there’s no tomorrow. 

“We crafted the MiniMax with a downscaled hex-blade and other componentry, but with enough punch and muscle to handle big, tough smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass, even in high-pressure tournament scenarios,” notes Clausen. 

ICAST 2021: Samurai J-Fluoro® Hidden Concept

A couple years back, Daiwa tipped the fluorocarbon line market on its ear with the launch of Samurai J-Fluoro®, a superior Japanese developed and manufactured fishing line. And now, Daiwa changes the paradigm in fluorocarbon again with Samurai J-Fluoro® Hidden Concept.  Aggregating all the principal features of the original Samurai J-Fluoro – narrow diameter, low-stretch, abrasion resistance, no float, minimal memory, strike indicating and long casting – the new Samurai J-Fluoro Hidden Concept takes perceptibility to a new tier, virtually eliminating its visual presence in the water column.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Humminbird MEGA Live Wins Best of Category for Electronics at 2021 ICAST

Humminbird MEGA Live® received the award for best electronics at the ICAST 2021 New Product Showcase, currently underway in Orlando, Florida, as voted on by fishing media and retailers. 

This new sonar technology, which rounds out the One-Boat Network®  to give anglers the best-equipped boats on the water, delivers unparalleled clarity and detail of MEGA Imaging® in live action. MEGA Live Imaging technology allows anglers to see fish and structure in real time, even watching fish on screen as they move or even bite an angler's lure. Now with the addition of MEGA Live, anglers will have access to the most complete package of industry technology to help them catch more fish. 

"It was important for us to get it right with MEGA Live. Building a live sonar technology that could operate at the level of MEGA Imaging took time but it was definitely worth the wait," said Humminbird Brand Manager Matt Cook. "It's very rewarding to have our efforts recognized by an international collection of key opinion leaders in the fishing industry and we look forward to bringing MEGA Live to even more anglers this year."

MEGA Live Imaging Views

• Down Mode: Live imaging looking directly below the transducer.
• Forward Mode: Live imaging looking out and away from the transducer, steered using the trolling motor's foot pedal or remote
• Landscape Mode: Live imaging from a wide, bird's eye view looking out and around the boat.
Humminbird's MEGA Live Imaging retails for $1,499.99 and will be available to ship come September 2021. MEGA Live Imaging transducers are compatible with all Humminbird APEX®and SOLIX® models, as well as HELIX® 8-15 G3N / G4N models with MEGA Imaging. For optimal performance, the MEGA Live Imaging transducer is designed to be paired with a Minn Kota Ultrex™ trolling motor. 

For more information on Humminbird,

ICAST 2021: ZMan's Big Blade Chatterbait


By the time you read this, Bryan Thrift will have already lipped livewells full of big bass on prototypes of a new bladed jig he’s been designing and tweaking on the down-low for the better part of three years. 

Can’t really blame Thrift if he’s been taking his sweet time, ironing out every last little kink and imperfection—all while more of less enjoying the fruits of being the only angler on earth with a few of these bad boys in his boat. Tough job . . .

These days, safeguarding any sort of “secret new lure”—especially one with so much boom and bravado—  is next to impossible. If you’ve been paying attention to recent bass tourney coverage, though, you might’ve caught a quick glimpse of the cage-rattling Big Blade ChatterBait hanging from Thrift’s rodtip. To date, the Z-Man-ChatterBait pro has flung the badass bladed jig toward several near-tournament wins, starting with 2nd place at the MLF Bass Pro Tour Stage One at Lake Eufaula last February. 

Following three years of R&D, Thrift has given his blessing on the definitive, head-banging version and says it’s your turn experience the Big Blade ‘boom’.

ICAST 2021: Daiwa's Zillion SV TW

Behold the new standard in freshwater low-profile baitcasting reels, Daiwa’s brilliantly designed Zillion SV TW. Style, innovation, research, and passion come together in the birth of the new Zillion SV TW. With 40 years of research and experience in magnetic braking systems, Daiwa has added a brand-new SV Booster System gives anglers total control, now with the added benefit of longer casting distance. The reels also feature Daiwa’s new Hyper Drive Design for an ultra-smooth retrieve and powerful winding performance. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

ICAST 2021

ICAST 2021 is upon us and the new products are flooding in. Covid has changed the overall dynamics of the show as Canadians, Europeans and most Asians retailers and exhibitors are banned from entering the USA unless with special permission.

None the less, the increase love for everything outdoors especially fishing and boating should make this show exciting. is not attending in person but our coverage will feature the most popular companies with added attention to new and innovative products. 

If you have any special requests, shoot us a comment and we'll try to deliver. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Taku Ito Wins 2021 Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River!

Cory Johnston 4th  & Chris Johnston 5th

Ito captures 26lbs final limit and first Elite!
(Photo: BASS) 


WADDINGTON, N.Y. — Saving the best for last may not have been his intention, but Taku Ito’s eye-popping 26-pound limit propelled the Japanese sensation to a convincing victory at the Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River with a four-day total of 90 pounds.


Hailing from Chiba, Japan, the second-year Elite placed 38th on Day 1 with 17-15, then improved to 11th with a second-round limit of 22-14. Day 3 saw Ito secure his Championship Sunday berth by adding 23-3 and improving to seventh.


Earning $100,000 for his Elite win, Ito anchored his third and fourth days’ limits with 6-pound smallmouth, both of which earned $1,000 daily awards for Phoenix Boats Big Bass.


“I love Waddington — I’m very, very happy,” Ito said with the engaging sincerity Elite audiences have come to love. “When I was 8 years old, I won the (Bassin’s Black Bass with Hank Parker) video game and now, on the St. Lawrence River, I won the Bassmaster Elite Series.


“Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams. Bassmaster!”


Ito, who placed sixth at last year’s St. Lawrence River event, devoted all four days to Lake Ontario. The first two days, he fished rock structures in approximately 20 feet. On Saturday those areas failed to produce, so he relocated to a spot in 26 to 27 feet near Chaumont Bay.


Calling this spot “Taku Disneyland” for its abundance of fish, Ito caught his Day 3 limit there and started on the spot Sunday.


“I was driving about two hours (each way) and I had about two hours and 30 minutes of fishing time,” Ito said.


Arriving at his spot this morning, Ito thought his graph was malfunctioning when he saw what appeared to be a false bottom at 13 to 14 feet. To his delight, it was a massive school of Lake Ontario giants.


“Usually, smallmouth are on the bottom, but today there was a school of big smallmouth suspended,” Ito said.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

2021 Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River Day 3: Cory Johnston Leads with 68-10lbs!

Chris Johnston 3rd & Gustafson 18th

Cory Johnston ready to score Canadian
hat trick with Elite win!
(Photo: BASS) 


WADDINGTON, N.Y. — For the past three days, Cory Johnston has mentioned saving certain fish he’d previously located for when he needed a big bite. On Saturday, he started with a trio of those difference-makers and took over the Day 3 lead of the Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River with a three-day total of 68 pounds, 10 ounces.


Hailing from Cavan, Canada, Johnston tied his younger brother Chris for second place on Day 1 with 23-7. He added 22-2 on Friday and slipped to third before moving into the top spot with Saturday’s limit of 23-1. Heading into Championship Sunday, Johnston leads Alabama pro Justin Atkins by 12 ounces.


Johnston said the smallmouth he targeted first were bed fish in about 8 feet. Picking off three solid keepers in short order gave him an early cushion and allowed him to “go fishing.”


“I fished a lot of shallow stuff today — 15 feet or less,” Johnston said. “Every spot was different; some were rock, some were sand, some were weed. It was a mix of everything.


“The strategy was: hit as many spots as you can and hope you get the right ones to bite.”


As he’s done the first two days, Johnston said he fished multiple spots throughout a 90-mile stretch from the take-off area to Chaumont Bay outside the mouth of the St. Lawrence. He caught his fish on a drop shot with an 8- to 10-inch leader.


“I had a limit by the noon hour,” Johnston said. “I upgraded a little bit, but not much. I didn’t want to burn too many fish.”


Essential to his execution was Johnston’s use of a Flogger — a cone-shaped device with a clear, flat screen that sits at the water’s surface and allows him to view details below. Similar to looking through a dive mask, without the submersion, the Flogger provides key perspective that aids in presentation.


Seth Feider is the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Angler of the Year!

Seth Feider wins with 792 points. Chris Johnston in second place in the Angler of the Year standings with 729 points. Former AOY (2017) Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, is in third with 702 points. (Photo: BASS)


WADDINGTON, NY — Seth Feider of New Market, Minn., wrapped his arms around a lifelong dream as he kissed the Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophy on Day 2 of the Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.


The seventh-year Elite Series pro currently sits in eighth place with a two-day total of 42 pounds, 3 ounces, so he’ll be competing for at least one more day. More importantly, though, his points total of 792 gave him enough of a cushion to secure the coveted AOY title no matter how he finishes the tournament.


“It’s a milestone; it’s a (lifetime of) work,” Feider said. “Ever since I was a little kid, every minute fishing was to get to this, it feels amazing.


“It feels like the weight of the world is off my shoulders now that it’s all over. It’s been a stressful last couple of months.”


While Feider can relax and make plans to spend the $100,000 prize that comes with the AOY title, there is still much to be decided this week.


Leading the event, Gainesville, Fla., pro Bernie Schultz overcame a painful loss Friday to maintain the top spot with a two-day total of 47-14. Schultz added 22-9 to the 25-5 he weighed on Day 1.


How painful? Put it this way: Schultz is one of the coolest heads on the water, but when Bassmaster LIVE showed a big fish that Schultz estimated at 5 pounds come unbuttoned right at the boat, the seasoned pro experienced an understandable moment of obvious exasperation.


Returning to the same 250-yard flat near Chippewa Bay where he caught his Day 1 limit, Schultz found the fish scattered over various sections of broken bottom comprising rock, gravel, sand and grass clumps.

Friday, July 16, 2021

2021 Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River Day 1: Bernie Schultz Leads with 25-05lbs!

Chris & Cory Johnston Tied for 2th & Gustafson 15th

Bernie Schultz, of Gainesville, Fla., is leading after Day 1 of the 2021 Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River with 25 pounds, 5 ounces


WADDINGTON, N.Y. — A patient approach to what Bernie Schultz described as a slow area rewarded the Gainesville, Fla., pro with a five-bass limit that weighed 25 pounds, 5 ounces to lead Day 1 of the Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.


“I found a spot near where I fished last year,” Schultz said of his upriver area, near Chippewa Bay. “I haven’t seen another tournament boat in two years and I hope I don’t — unless it’s a camera boat.”


Schultz, whose best finish on the St. Lawrence was sixth place in 2013, described his spot as a flat approximately 200 yards long with depths of 3 to 8 feet. Starting on one end of the flat in practice, he quickly caught a 4-pounder, and by the time he’d completed his drift, he had another 4- and two 3-pounders.


“It’s a really good area and it’s protected,” Schultz said. “That’s what I like about it — it has everything the fish want and it has everything I need to fish, no matter what the weather does.


“There are numerous islands and I’m cradled right in the middle of them. I decided to start there today and it was a good call. It started quickly and I left them biting.”


Despite an impressive performance, which included the day’s Phoenix Boats Big Bass — a 6-2 — Schultz said the spot he fished required such a laborious effort that he believes most anglers would have abandoned it.


“It’s a precise drift that I’m making,” he said. “It’s slow enough that if anyone practiced there, they probably would have gotten discouraged.


“The fish are in certain sections of the flat and I had to locate them today because they moved a little bit. I had a 5, that 6-2 and a 3-pounder pretty quickly, but after that I had to move around on the flat to find them.”


Schultz fished a diverse arsenal of baits including a 1/2-ounce Hildebrandt Drum Roller spinnerbait, a Shimano jerkbait (debuting next week at ICAST), a 1/8-ounce black Marabou jig, a drop shot with a green pumpkin Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm and a Ned rig with a 3-inch green pumpkin watermelon laminate Yamamoto Senko.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

3 Scorching Hot Bass Tactics

When the temperature shoot up, the bass fishing can be equally as hot. Check out this video on how to capitalize on 3 scorching hot bass tactics. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Bryan Schmitt Wins 2021 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain!

Bryan Schmitt, of Deale, Md., has won the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain with a four-day total of 78 pounds, 5 ounces. (Photo: BASS) 

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Bryan Schmitt talked all week about “special little things” that were happening to help him maintain the lead at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain.


 But the most special one happened just 15 minutes before Sunday’s final weigh-in, as Schmitt landed a 3 1/2-pound smallmouth that gave him a 12-ounce upgrade and allowed him to secure his first Elite Series win with a four-day total of 78 pounds, 5 ounces.


Call it luck. Call it fate. But the win seemed meant to be for the second-year Elite Series pro from Deale, Md.


“I pulled up to a buoy cable this afternoon right before time to come in and saw two fish on my (Garmin) LiveScope,” Schmitt said. “I threw that drop shot in there, felt the bite and didn’t really think it was a bass. But it turns out it was a bass — and without that fish I don’t win.


“When things like that are happening, man, it’s a special week.”


Schmitt talked each day about a waning bite, but he still managed to catch 21-11, 21-5 and 19-4 the first three rounds. Then on Championship Sunday, things did get tougher and he only managed to bring in 16-1.


That barely helped him stave off a hard charge from Texas pro Keith Combs, who finished with 77-13 — just 8 ounces behind the leader.


To catch his bass, Schmitt used a Spro Spin John, a Neko-rigged Missile Baits Quiver Worm and a Missile Baits Ned Bomb on a drop-shot rig.


“I caught a couple of key fish on the spinbait, but the Quiver Worm produced the bulk of my fish for sure,” he said. “I was fishing it on a Hayabusa Spin Muscle Guard Hook with a little nail weight just to get it down.


“These fish are smart, I guess. You could throw a jig in there and they wouldn’t bite it, but they would eat that Quiver Worm.”

Saturday, July 10, 2021

2021 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain Day 3: Brain Schmitt Leads with 62-05lbs!

Chris Johnston 12th & Gustafson 15th

Bryan Schmitt, of Deale, Md., is leading after Day 3 of the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain with a three-day total of 62 pounds, 4 ounces. (Photo: BASS)


To hear Bryan Schmitt talk there isn’t a single bass left in Lake Champlain. They’re all gone. Just vanished.


But don’t buy any of it for a second.


The perennially pessimistic Maryland pro caught another big limit Saturday — this time five bass that weighed 19 pounds, 4 ounces — to increase his three-day total to 62-4 and maintain his lead at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain.


He’ll lead a field of 10 qualifying anglers into Championship Sunday with a chance to claim his first Elite Series victory and a $100,000 first-place prize. But of course, he sounded less than confident about his chances.


“I don’t even know how we got it done today, to be honest with you,” Schmitt said. “Tomorrow’s the day. Whoever catches the big bag tomorrow. It’s still anybody’s tournament.”


Schmitt, who has been either first or second all week long, said he spent Saturday’s semifinal round fishing the same areas he fished the first two days. The areas produced big bites, but Schmitt had big bass break his line twice and he admitted he was starting to feel a bit defeated.


After going to an area where he knew he could catch some small fish “just to calm down,” he revisited more familiar areas and put together the bulk of his weight with largemouth.


“I can’t get my smallmouth to go,” Schmitt said. “Yesterday, they were there but it was too rough to fish for them. Today, they were just gone, not even there. I saw one or two fish on my electronics, but I’m not even sure they were smallmouth because they wouldn’t bite.”


Schmitt’s five-bass limit included three largemouth and two smallmouth. Those two smallies came late in the day after he had abandoned his largemouth pattern.


“I caught a 4-pound largemouth that made me feel a lot better, but I started feeling like my largemouth were just burned,” he said. “So, after I caught that 4-pounder, I went smallmouth fishing and caught two that helped me upgrade.

Friday, July 9, 2021

2021 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain Day 2: Brain Schmitt Leads with 43lbs!

Gustafson 5th, Chris Johnston 25th & Cory Johnston 48th

Bryan Schmitt, of Deale, Md., is leading after Day 2 of the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain with a two-day total of 43 pounds. (Photo: BASS)


Bryan Schmitt has insisted two days in a row that big smallmouth will be the key this week if he wins the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain.


But he just keeps catching big largemouth.


The second-year Elite Series pro from Deale, Md., caught a five-bass limit Friday that weighed 21 pounds, 5 ounces and moved from second place into the lead with a two-day total of 43-0.


Once again, his bag was anchored by a big largemouth — this time a 4-15.


“I’ve burnt my largies down,” Schmitt said. “I got some lucky bites today. They happened on some places that I like fishing, but I know they were lucky bites.”


One of those lucky bites came late in the day and helped him upgrade into the lead.


“I pulled up on a spot this afternoon and made a cast with a spybait,” he said. “As I was reeling it in, something boiled out beside me and a baitfish jumped out of the water. I cast over there and caught a 4-pound smallmouth.


“That, to me, is very lucky. Little things like that have been happening for me this week.”


Besides good fortune, Schmitt has also benefited from the generosity of fellow Elite Series competitor John Crews.


The Virginia pro and founder of Missile Baits gave Schmitt a “goody bag” that was filled with Quiver Worms in the green pumpkin flash color. Schmitt said both species have been eating the worms when conditions will allow.