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Great Scotts!

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Scott Dobson of Waterford, Mich., will lead 20 of the nation?s top professional bass anglers into Friday?s semifinal round at the $210,000 EverStart Series tournament on Lake Champlain with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 34 pounds, 6 ounces. Photo by Jeff Schroeder. Angler: Scott Dobson.
July 25, 2002 • Jeff Schroeder • Archives

Dobson takes over pro lead, Green retains top co-angler spot at EverStart Champlain

TICONDEROGA, N.Y. – It was a tale of two Scotties Thursday as EverStart Series Northern Division anglers wrapped up the second day of opening-round competition at Lake Champlain. Scott Dobson of Waterford, Mich., surged into the Pro Division lead while Scott Green of Essex Junction, Vt., held onto the top Co-angler Division spot he gained Wednesday.

Dobson, who came into the day in second place, notched a five-bass stringer worth 16 pounds, 3 ounces to push his two-day total to 34-6. He topped second-place Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis. – who recorded a two-day weight of 32-9 – by almost 2 pounds.

While Dobson appreciated the idea that he leads after the opening round, he knows from experience not to count his chickens just yet. Last year, Dobson led the Northern Division tournament at Thousand Islands, N.Y., after two days. Then he suffered a collapse in the semifinals and finished 30th (30 anglers competed in last year’s EverStart semis).

“This lead means nothing,” he said pragmatically. “Tomorrow you’re still going to need 15 to 17 pounds to make the top 10.”

Dobson is encouraged, too, by the weather forecast for the semifinals this time around. He has been focusing exclusively on smallmouth bass all week and plans on continuing to do so. He did the same thing at Thousand Islands, but a northwest wind not conducive to smallmouth fishing knocked him out of the running on Friday. Tomorrow, the wind should be light and, more importantly, coming out of the south.

“I’m really excited that we’ll be back to a stable weather pattern,” he said. “Plus, I love this lake. It’s just incredible. There are a zillion baitfish and perch that the bass can feed on. You can see all the gulls just coming down to feed on the baitfish.”

Some anglers complained of tougher fishing conditions Thursday. While the entire field caught another near-record 185 five-bass limits, the lack of wind kept the water flat, which tends to turn off the smallmouth bite.

“The conditions were tougher today. I could actually see the fish in about 10 feet of water, but they were spooky,” said Dobson.

Still, the Michigan pro worked his favorite tubes over scattered weed, rock and sand beds and coaxed a limit of smallies into his livewell to take the lead. He caught over 16 pounds on a day where he said he tried to ease up, which is a testament to this prolific bass fishery.

He plans to return to his fruitful area to go to work Friday, but it’s going to be a long haul. He’s fishing some 60 miles north of the takeoff point at Ticonderoga.

“There are schools of smallmouth in my area,” he said. “I just want to make it there. If worse comes to worse and it takes me two hours to go up there and two hours to get back, that still gives me four hours of fishing. I just need to be able to fish it effectively and key on getting big bites.”

One of Dobson’s main concerns was the competition he faces from anglers fishing for largemouths. Thursday’s biggest stringer – 19 pounds, 9 ounces – was caught by pro Richard Doyle of Keeseville, N.Y., who targeted largemouth and moved into third place with a two-day total of 32-8. If the water stays flat and it becomes tougher to trick the smallies into biting, it could be the largemouth anglers who come out ahead.

Anglers squeeze in a few last-minute casts before ThursdayMonsoor awaits

Lurking just behind Dobson in the opening round was the dangerous Monsoor, a past Northern Division champion (Mississippi River, 2001) and major force at any tournament. Monsoor is one of those who is targeting largemouths, but he stumbled into a bit of luck with some errant brownbacks.

“I caught three big smallmouth,” laughed Monsoor, who was flipping a homemade jig into shallow water. “Yeah, they moved into my largemouth area. Hopefully, they’ll be there again tomorrow and we can have some fun.”

Monsoor has a lot of confidence in his homemade bait, which he calls “Tom’s Swimming Jig,” so much that he invites even the most finicky of smallmouth bass to try and avoid its allure.

“If the fish breathe on it, they’re mine,” he said.

Rounding out the top five in the Pro Division were John Kitchens of Smyrna, Ga., (fourth place) with 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 3 ounces and Robert Sherry of St. Charles, Ill., (fifth) with 10 bass weighing 32-2.

Taking home the big-bass award and $750 for the pros was Rodney Ellis of Greentown, Ind., who weighed in a 5-pound, 7-ounce largemouth.

Green smells the green

The other Scott to come out on top Thursday was Scott Green, who established dominance in the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 2 ounces. He maintained the lead he captured Wednesday by topping second-place Trevor Jancasz of White Pigeon, Mich., (10 bass, 28-10) and the rest of the field.

“With the amount of fish that came out of here today, it’s anybody’s ballgame,” said Green, who was the only co-angler to amass over 30 pounds in the opening round. “To win, you’ve just got to stay focused, confident and flip until your last cast.”

Green had little trouble with the flat water conditions, saying it helped as he and his pro partner moved around the lake a lot Thursday. He said the key to his success in the opening round has been the “subtle differences” he is employing while fishing.

“You’ve got to be very flexible and adaptable with your equipment,” he said. “And stay tuned in to what the pro is doing.”

Friday, Green is fishing with Dobson. He says he feels confident enough to catch 15 pounds, but added that he “wouldn’t mind catching 25 pounds” just to be sure.

Following Green and Jancasz in the opening-round co-angler top five were Daniel Cramer of Van Wert, Ohio, (third place) with 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 7 ounces; John Pellegrino of Smithtown, N.Y., (fourth) with 10 bass also weighing 27-7; and Stan Wehr of Huntington, Ind., (fifth) with 10 bass weighing 24-14.

Josh Van Stippen of Neenah, Wis., landed co-angler big-bass honors and $250 with a 5-pound, 10-ounce bass.

The semifinal round commences at 6 a.m. Friday as competitors take off from Ticonderoga City Ramp, located at the end of Fort Ticonderoga Road. The top 10 anglers in both divisions following tomorrow’s fishing will advance to Saturday’s final round. The pro winner takes home $15,000 and a new Ranger boat while the co-angler winner receives $6,000.

Day-two links:

Tomorrow’s pairings
Press release
Day-one weigh-in story

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