As is often the case on Lake Champlain, pros in the Walmart FLW Tour presented by General Tire could catch bass on just about whatever they liked. This week, a mix largemouths and smallmouths, hard and soft cover and deep and shallow got the job done. Here are the baits the top 10 called on when it counted.
1. Scott Martin picked up the win with a combination of lures. Martin says he caught a few, including a 5-pounder on the first day, on a LIVETARGET Threadfin Shad TDD70D crankbait, but that a M-Pack Lures jig he trimmed down and tipped with a small trailer caught the numbers. For bedding smallmouths, Martin says he tossed a wide variety of creature baits and other soft plastics.
2. Catching them big on days one and three, Jason Meninger relied on a 7-inch Z-Man Finesse WormZ that he rigged on a light shaky head or whacky with a nail weight, as well as a black sapphire-colored Zoom Z Craw and a few other creature baits.
3. Shinichi Fukae caught mostly smallmouths, but he waxed the largemouths on the final day to climb up to third. For smallmouths, his primary baits were a 3.5-inch Yamamoto Swimming Senko on a drop-shot and a 4-inch Yamamoto Senko he rigged whacky on a drop-shot. For the largemouths, Fukae turned to a 4.5-inch Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog.
4. David Dudley finished fourth with a mix of baits, ranging from a whacky rig to a vibrating jig and a creature bait.
5. Chris Johnston says he caught smallmouths on a variety of baits, but favored a whacky-rigged or Texas-rigged Yamamoto Senko and a black Punisher Mini Jig in the 9/16-ounce model up north and the 3/4-ounce model on the final day at Ti.
6. Rookie pro Austin Felix banked his first top 10 solely sight-fishing for smallmouths. He relied on a drop-shot with a short dropper and bold and natural colored Keitech Easy Shiners.
7. After threatening for the win, Bryan Schmitt fell hard on the final day. His baits of choice were an 1/2-ounce white swim jig, a Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper jig with half a Riot Baits Fuzzy Beaver for the trailer, a Fuzzy Beaver for flipping and a white SPRO Bronzeye Poppin' Frog.
8. Cody Meyer picked up his top 10 with a Strike King Dream Shot in green pumpkin and KVD Magic (which he ran out of) and a Strike King Bitsy Tube on a 1/4-ounce tube head.
9. Fishing for both largemouths and bedding smallmouths, Wesley Strader used a Zoom Z Craw Jr. and Zoom Z Hog for most everything. The Z Craw Jr. in the tilapia color on a 3/8-ounce Texas rig and fluoro was the deal for bedding smallmouths, while a California 420 colored Z Hog on a punching setup did the trick for largemouths.
10. Cashing his first ever check on Champlain with FLW, Stetson Blaylock earned it with a Yamamoto Senko and a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm on a drop-shot and the occasional bass on a Livingston Lures Walking Boss.