1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns – Day 2 - Major League Fishing

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

It’s turned into the battle of Lake Ontario
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Kurt Mitchell Photo by Charles Waldorf. Angler: Kurt Mitchell.
July 28, 2017 • Jody White • Archives

Last year at the 1000 Islands, Scott Dobson spent two of the three days in the St. Lawrence River en route to his win. So far, it appears almost certain that this year’s Costa FLW Series showdown at the 1000 Islands will be won far west of Clayton, N.Y., somewhere in Lake Ontario. Despite 6-foot or more seas both days, a hardy crew of Great Lakes hammers has pounded out and back two days running, bringing in hefty bags of smallmouths plucked from the vastness that is the Great Lakes. Leading the way with better than a 22-pound average, Joseph Fonzi has a fairly significant edge, but it’s far from safe. After all, day two saw three bags over 25 pounds, including one monster 26-7 sack from third-place pro Chris Johnston.

Fonzi’s leading pattern

Complete results


Timmy Thompkins

2. Timmy Thompkins – Myrtle Beach, S.C. – 42-11 (10)

In second place, Timmy Thompkins is very out of place. Most of the other pros in the top 10 have years of experience fishing the Great Lakes. Thompkins has just one day.

“This is just luck,” says Thompkins. “I came here and practiced every day in the river, and I was catching two to four fish. The last day I was headed from the motel room to the river, and I changed my mind. I decided I was going to the lake the last day, and if I couldn’t find them there I’d wing it in the river.”

Thompkins apparently found them. He says he’s fishing deep transitions and rocks in Lake Ontario, and is catching most of his fish in about 25 feet of water, with some as deep as 35 feet. So far, he’s done most of his damage off one area, but he’s a little concerned about it based on the pressure it received on day two.


Chris Johnston

3. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ont. – 42-9 (10)

Smashing the largest bag of the tournament, Chris Johnston vaulted from 40th to third on the strength of a 26-7 limit of smallmouths dredged up from Lake Ontario.

“Yesterday I made a gamble. I took like two and a half hours to get to my spot, and the water was dirty,” says Johnston. “So I scrambled to get what I had. Today I went for the safer route, where I thought I could get 18 or 21 pounds. I just ended up pulling up on one spot about 11:30, and I stayed there the next two hours.”

Johnston says he’s dropping down on them in 20 to 40 feet of water, and had a surprisingly hard time getting them to bite despite marking a lot of fish. He says he caught about nine fish today, but every one he tangled with was a big one.


Casey Smith

4. Casey Smith – Macedon, N.Y. – 41-12 (10)

Staying pretty consistent, with 20-8 on day one and 21-4 on day two, Casey Smith has relied on Lake Ontario, but has fished both shallow and deep.

“Today I stayed out of the wind. I got to where I went yesterday, in the wind, and it was just too much,” says Smith. “Once I got to some stuff that was more protected that I could pick apart I started catching them.”

Smith says he fished deep with a drop-shot on day one, but picked up his moving baits on day two and fished shallower – in perhaps 10 to 20 feet of water. Though he caught good numbers on day two, most of them were small, with just five or six key bites.


Kurt Mitchell

5. Kurt Mitchell – Milford, Del. – 41-10

Falling from second to fourth, Kurt Mitchell was thrown for a loop by a bad morning that resulted in a “light” 18-pound bag.

Starting where he caught them on day one, Mitchell found the fish positioning closer to the bottom and could only get small ones to bite.

“I made a long run at about 11 o’clock,” says Mitchell. “I went to a different island and started seeing fish and started dropping to them.”

The sophomore FLW Tour pro doesn’t have much experience on the Great Lakes, but he says he likes the fishing a lot.

“I’ve been to Lake Erie one time for a Costa event, and that’s it,” explains Mitchell. “I always do pretty good fishing for smallmouths. I don’t know why. It’s simple fishing; you just see one and drop down and catch them. I just look for the main stuff. If you’ve got a giant point you know there will be fish on it somewhere.”