Foli finds first place on a day of limits - Major League Fishing

Foli finds first place on a day of limits

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Pro Daniel Dyke (left) and co-angler Glen Miller work the edge of a weed bed near the southern end of Lake Champlain Wednesday. Photo by Jeff Schroeder. Anglers: Daniel Dyke, Glen Miller.
July 24, 2002 • Jeff Schroeder • Archives

Champlain serves them up in droves as usual

TICONDEROGA, N.Y. – If you’re not a fan of the weigh-in process or seeing lots of big bass, don’t come to Lake Champlain. On the other hand, if you’re reading this, it’s a pretty safe bet that you have a healthy appreciation for lots of bass. So come to Lake Champlain. Soon. There’s more than enough quality bass to go around and plenty of weigh-in action for everybody.

This jewel of a bass fishery – once again – delivered a near-record number of five-fish limits on day one of competition at the second EverStart Series Northern Division tournament of the year. Pros and co-anglers caught a total of 180 limits Wednesday, unofficially making this one of the most productive days on record in the EverStart Series. Out of 166 pros, 121 of them caught limits. Only Texas’ Toledo Bend Reservoir in 1998 has delivered more limits on a single day of EverStart competition.

Climbing to the top of this fish pile was Luke Foli, a second-year pro out of Granger, Ind., who notched a limit weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces. He edged out Scott Dobson of Waterford, Mich. – who weighed in 18-3 – for first-place bragging rights on day one.

“It was one of those days where everything just came together,” said Foli. “The first three (fishing) areas I went to I didn’t catch anything but 12-inchers. But at the fourth area, my partner caught three giants, and I caught four.”

At last month’s Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop here at Champlain, the lake set tour weight and limit records. While the fish were spawning then and have since moved into a deeper post-spawn pattern, they certainly don’t seem any less catchable now.

“There are just fish everywhere here,” said Dobson, who is a fishing guide on another lake notorious for its prolific bass fishery, Lake St. Clair. “I spent a lot of time weeding through the small ones just to get to the big ones.”

When everybody is catching fish, how does an angler gain the edge? Foli used a green-pumpkin Gambler Bacon Rind rigged with a 1/2-ounce weight to catch the majority of his keeper fish. The key, he said, was to slow down the presentation to accommodate the post-spawn bass. And, of course, target the bigger fish.

“You just don’t do anything with (the bait),” he said. “I was casting it up against the bank, but the fish were in 5 to 7 feet of water. I would just let it come back. If you know the big fish are there, you just take it really slow.”

Foli considered easing up after he had a limit of 13 pounds in his boat earlier in the day. Then, showing the respect he has for this fishery, he reconsidered.

“I thought: ‘This is Lake Champlain. I’m going to need everything I can get,'” he said. “I’m glad I caught what I did. It might take 24 pounds just to make a check and probably 28 or 29 pounds for the cut.”

Third place in the Pro Division went to local angler Rob Lamoy of Plattsburgh, N.Y., who corralled 17 pounds, 13 ounces of smallmouth bass. Lamoy runs a fishing guide service called North Country Tours on the Plattsburgh end of Lake Champlain and is fishing in his first EverStart event.

“That’s why I’m here: I’m hoping to win that Ranger (for first place),” said Lamoy, who made a 60-mile run north in a borrowed boat to fish familiar water Wednesday. “I’ve heard that people keep calling me the premier smallmouth guide on the north end of the lake. Now I’ve got to prove it. As long as I can get to my water tomorrow, I know I can make the cut.”

Chet Reed of Muskegon, Mich., caught five bass weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces and placed fifth while former EverStart champion Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas, caught five bass weighing 16-7 to take fifth place.

A 5-pound, 9-ounce largemouth landed George Polosky of Alliance, Ohio, big-bass honors and $750 in the Pro Division.

Green rides an early bite, inspiration into co-angler lead

Scott Green of Essex Junction, Vt., claimed top honors in the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces. Making a run with his pro partner John Kitchens of Smyrna, Ga., not more than 15 miles from the takeoff point, Green harvested his limit of bass by 7 a.m. Wednesday and never looked back.

“We used one of my (fishing) spots,” said Green, a Lake Champlain local. “I just had a great day. Honestly, I didn’t think I had the weight that I had. The fishing’s just great in that spot.”

While he cryptically described the baits he used as “all plastic,” he admitted that there might have been a subtle difference to the way he was fishing them compared to the other plastic-bait anglers today.

“It seemed like speed was a definite factor,” Green said.

Whatever he was doing to catch his fish, Green’s lead on opening day was especially rewarding for him for more reasons than just pride.

“My girlfriend’s father passed away on Saturday, and that man loved to fish. This really would be a great win for him if I can do it,” he explained. “Today gave me confidence to give it all I’ve got. Hopefully, I can follow through. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Trevor Jancasz of White Pigeon, Mich., (five bass, 15 pounds, 8 ounces) in second place; Jerry Otto of Saddle Brook, N.J., (five bass, 14-15) in third; John Pellegrino of Smithtown, N.Y., (five bass, 14-10) in fourth; and Stan Wehr of Huntingburg, Ind., (five bass, 14-6) in fifth.

A 5-pound, 11-ounce largemouth landed Ron Gerstenmaier of Uniontown, Ohio, big-bass honors and $250 in the Co-angler Division.

Competition resumes at 6 a.m. Thursday as competitors take off from Ticonderoga City Ramp, located at the end of Fort Ticonderoga Road, for the second half of opening-round competition. The top 20 anglers in both divisions following tomorrow’s fishing will advance to Friday’s semifinal round.

Day-one links:

Tomorrow’s pairings
Press release

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