20 EverStart anglers left in each division
TICONDEROGA, N.Y. – The last time that Jimmi Leuthner and Jim Tutt fished in the same semifinal round, rookie pro Leuthner went up to Kellogg’s-sponsored pro Tutt and asked him to autograph a toy Matchbox truck decorated in Kellogg’s logos that he happened to have with him. That was at the Wal-Mart FLW tournament at Lake Okeechobee, Fla., last January and Leuthner nearly won the event, finishing second. Friday morning at Ticonderoga City Ramp, Leuthner found Tutt and asked him to sign the truck again.
“It brought me luck,” said a grinning Leuthner. “And his name had worn off.”
The 20 EverStart Series Northern Division semifinalists in the pro and co-angler divisions fired up for takeoff at 6 a.m. to compete in Friday’s one-day shootout on Lake Champlain to see who advances to Saturday’s top-10 final round. At stake is $15,000 plus a Ranger boat for the pro winner and $6,000 for the top co-angler.
Leuthner, fresh off a semifinal-round appearance at FLW Lake Champlain in June, likes his chances today. A Connecticut native, he calls Lake Champlain his home waters, saying, “I have so many spots to fish here.”
But he has his work cut out for him. Scott Dobson led all pros in the opening round with two hefty stringers Wednesday and Thursday, and he hinted that there are much more fish where those came from. “Looks like we’ll be paired up again tomorrow,” Dobson said, referring to his partner Friday, co-angler leader Scott Green. In other words, Dobson plans on fishing out of boat number one again in the finals.
The pro cut-weight estimates hover around the 14- to 15-pound mark. The pros likely won’t feel comfortable until they have 17 pounds or so in their livewells Friday. For the co-anglers, the cut could range between 10 and 12 pounds.
Conditions again are balmy and calm, but clouds could roll in by afternoon. The slick water on big Lake Champlain will make moving around a lot easier, but it could make the smallmouth bite a little skittish.
Friday’s weigh-in begins at 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart located at 1134 Wicker St. in Ticonderoga.
Sunrise: 5:36 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 58 degrees
Expected high temperature: 73 degrees
Wind: from the south-southeast at 8 mph
Relative humidity: 93 percent
Day’s outlook: mostly cloudy